My sister-in-law, Lillian

I thought I would add Lillian's picture (with her daughter, Phoebe) to this post.

I am feeling a bit stunned right now. I wanted to share what is happening in our family because I know those of you who read my blog will say a prayer for my sister-in-law.

John is one of five siblings. He is the middle child. There are four brothers and one sister, Lillian. She is also the oldest child. Marian had her first three; boom-boom-boom. I believe Harris is eleven months younger than Lillian and John is sixteen months younger than Harris. Lillian is just fifty-seven years old.

Earlier this month, Lillian was referred to a head and neck surgeon due to the growth in her neck she had been ignoring for a while. She has chronic sinus infections and throat irritation, so she was being treated for sinusitis. Meanwhile, the growth was enlarging and friends were beginning to ask what was wrong. She was aware of it, but wanted to believe it was just an enlarged node from the infection.

After doing an aspiration and biopsy, the surgeon advised that she had a malignant tumor and needed immediate surgery. Her surgery was today. In fact, we are still waiting for the call to let us know that she is out of surgery. It's been over six hours since she was taken in and the doctor expected it to take five and a half hours.

We did get a call about midway through the surgery to let us know that the cancer is on her throat, larynx, tongue, palate and several lymph nodes. They are removing a large part of her neck and having to transplant pectoral muscle as well as taking skin grafts and a new vein from her legs. The surgery will be somewhat disfiguring but the doctor is also a plastic surgeon and is trying to do as much reconstruction as possible. We aren't sure how much he is removing as far as all the affected areas are concerned. It just sounds bad. She is living in Reno and none of the family lives out there. So a close friend is sitting and waiting for the doctor to give updates, then calling to relay the information to us. She said that radiation will follow surgery.

This is one of those times when you feel utterly helpless. My mother-in-law has been here all week and I am so glad she was with us when she got this news. She took it pretty hard. She was already planning to fly out to Reno and be with Lillian tomorrow. I will wait and go later as I know this is going to be a difficult and drawn out recovery for Lillian. John's brother, Harris, is also going to fly out to be there on Tuesday. I was so relieved to hear that because I really think Marian will need him. As a mother, I just can't imagine how hard this will be for her.

I would greatly appreciate your prayers for my sister-in-law's recovery, my mother-in-law's strength, and for the whole extended family during this difficult time. Please also pray that Lillian's heart will be drawn to Jesus as she faces these challenges.


Shari said…
We just got the phone call that Lillian is in recovery. There was more cancer than the doctor was expecting and surgery lasted over seven hours. But he believes he got it all and he doesn't think it has spread to any other part of her body. He did have to remove part of the back of her tongue and almost all of her palate. How much her voice will be affected is not yet known. And she will have trouble swallowing at first. But the external reconstruction looks very good, according to the surgeon. He said the next couple of weeks are going to be rough and she's going to need a lot of support. Thank you so much for your prayers.
Linda Greer said…

I believe God for Lillian's healing. I am especially praying for protection from fear for your entire family. Blessings to you all. Linda Greer