Medical Update for the Kramers

Our family has continued to support the medical community.  Gannon got tubes in his ears last week…he has two appointments in Iowa City this week.  Georgia is getting tubes in her ears on Thursday.

….and me, well my case continues to be “challenging”.

You might remember that I have thyroid cancer that is doing it’s darndest to stay hidden.  We know it’s back according to my bloodwork numbers…but where, who knows for sure.

On February 10th I was back to Lacrosse to have a neck CT scan done.  A lymph node near my trachea had grown and the suspicion is that the cancer is there.  I’ve had several intervention radiologist look at and none have been able to get a biopsy on it.  In the meantime, I’ve had numerous other lymph nodes in my neck biopsied but none have come back cancerous.  This particular lymph node is more or less in the middle of my neck.  There are all sorts of things going on there….There’s a risk to my voice, to my trachea and now I found out my main artery too.

Well I’ve been waiting since the 10th to find out a plan.  I’ve not heard anything.  On the 14th I messaged my doctor and she said that my surgeon was supposed to be talking with the latest intervention radiologist and see if he might be willing to try this biopsy.  Apparently he was on vacation and no one told me so last week on the 20th, I messaged the surgeon.  I heard from his nurse a simple courtesy reply..and heard a courtesy rely on the 21st again.

Over the weekend I was frustrated.  All of my kids were home so I talked with them about it.  I told them I thought I was going to request to be sent on to Mayo Clinic.  So Sunday night I messaged my doctor.  She got back to me this morning.

She apologized and apologized for the delay.  She told me she was out all last week with Influenza A.  She had a cold when I saw her on the 10th so she’s had a rough time of things.  She sounded terrible on the phone.

We came up with a plan.  Here it is…
A biopsy on this lymph node is risky so we are going to cover our bases and make sure there is no cancer hidden elsewhere.  On the 12th of March my insurance will allow another PET and chest CT scan.  So we are going to do them sometime after the 12th.  I can’t call in and make an appointment until after the 1st of March or my insurance will just deny them.  If I wait until the 1st, they won’t deny it.

If they come back clear, I’ll likely get moved on to the Mayo Clinic.  Although Lacrosse docs are awesome and I prefer my care to stay there, my neck lymph node sounds like a complicated procedure be it a needle biopsy or a surgery.  So it’s probably best if I move on.  I was not impressed with my last doctor from Mayo.  She was very dismissive.  Hopefully, if I have to go, my experience is a little better.

There is still a chance something will show up on the PET Scan or the CT scan.  That might keep me in Lacrosse but move me to the east wing of the hospital where chemo and radiation happen.  I certainly hope I don’t end up there….that’s where Kramer, my husband who died of lung cancer last year, was.

Right now I’m back to waiting…and not really knowing what to hope for.  I feel good now and that is a real comfort.  I feel “normal” (whatever that is).  It’s so weird.  People always ask, “how are you feeling?”.  It’s so hard to answer because the answer is normal.  I feel like an everyday person with a busy life.

At this point, I don’t know what I’m suppose to hope for.  I guess the best thing I can hope for is a few more years with my family, however that happens…whether that means a risky neck surgery or where ever this road takes me.

Thanks so much for any thoughts and prayers.  Of all things, I need prayers for patience and acceptance.  I’m not really good at either of those things and I think I’m gonna need a lot of both before I get a little further along with all of this.

Thankfully the kids and getting tubes is not nearly as mind boggling as all of my stuff.  I have a feeling that Gannon and I both will be spending lots of time at the doctor’s in April…him in Milwaukee and me in Rochester.  Time will tell….

23 thoughts on “Medical Update for the Kramers”

  1. I wish I knew what to say to you with all the things you are going through. I wish the best for you and your family and your medical condition can be solved.

  2. My nephew had neck surgery and he had multiple cancers removed. Everything came out fine for him. He had a incision over his whole neck in the front to remove all he had in there. He healed fine too. He had his surgery at Sanford Hospital in Fargo, North Dakota. He had this done in the fall of 2019. All will go good for you too, I just have a good feeling about this. I will be praying for you.

  3. Continued prayers for you and the family and your medical team. I’m sure it’s frustrating. I admire how you keep it all together. Hugs!!!

  4. Mary Ann Mettler

    I have been wondering what the plan was for you. Thanks for filling us in. Lots of prayer for both you and Gannon.

  5. Catherine Dorsey

    Keeping you in prayers. Jo I hope surgery is successful because I truly believe that chemo kills you not the cancer.

  6. It was hard for me to “like” this post, but I did. I “liked” it to let you know that I read what you said and am praying with you about all of this. It’s probably a good thing that we don’t know what lies ahead of us in life; it’s surely a blessing to know our God will carry us no matter what.


  7. Jo, never underestimate the Power of Prayer and you have lots of your readers praying for you. I know He hears and answers our prayers as I am now eight years in remission from Stage 3 ovarian cancer. My prayers are with you and your grandchildren.

  8. I’m still trusting Our Lord will bring you thru. I can’t even imagine what you’re going thru with all of these things in your family and then how joyfully you create quilts for others. God has a wonderful plan for you- sometimes we just don’t see the whole tapestry until we turn it over…
    Hugs in Christ.

  9. Enjoy your life and all the active little ones in it! God will take care of the rest. Let go of the worry, my friend, it never solves anything. It can make you miss the life around you. Share that great smile of yours. I’m here if you need to talk.

  10. Judith Fairchild

    Lord Jesus, please give Jo the peace that passes understanding as she walks through this time of trials. Please heal her and her grand babies, as you promised in your word that by your stripes we are healed. Thank you Jesus for what you have done for the Kramers.

  11. As always, prayers are being said for you. I hope you have a better experience this time with the Drs at Mayo if that is.where you go.
    Love and prayers

  12. Jo – While the news is not the best – it is good to finally have a plan. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Mary Jo

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