Thank you for all your kind words about Victoria. It’s meant a lot to our family.
I thought I’d post a little update on how she’s doing but I’m not sure I ever posted much information to begin with so here’s a super short recap:
Victoria had surgery on May 2nd to remove a lump that had been below her ear for over a year. A doctor and specialist had told us that it was “nothing” but we finally pushed for it to be removed and another doctor agreed it was best since it was growing larger. The surgery was a parotidectomy, since the lump was sitting on top of her parotid (salivary) gland.
She had a difficult recovery, with a lot of pain and pretty severe swelling on the side of her face. At her two week recheck, the doctor informed us that a biopsy had revealed a rare type of cancer of the parotid gland instead of the benign cyst he was expecting. He said he was optimistic that it had all been removed, though.
Last week, we went to an oncologist who specializes in cancers of the ear, nose and throat who told us that the surgeon had removed the cyst in a way that was dangerous since he hadn’t known it was cancerous (basically, you want to take extra all around and “ink” it to help determine if there is more anywhere and be sure you got it all). She also palpitated the site to see how Victoria was healing.
Within about an hour of the appointment, Victoria was in a lot of pain and by that evening she was in excruciating pain, sobbing and shaking with a high fever. We rushed her to the emergency room, where they gave her large doses of pain medicines and IV fluids to no relief. She spent the night in the hospital and in the morning we rushed her back to Sioux Falls to the oncologist’s office. Victoria’s oncologist was now in Aruba, so another specialist saw her and immediately admitted her to the pediatric ward of the local hospital. She had a severe infection where she’d had the surgery (it’s likely the infected area burst and spread during the palpitations the day before). They did emergency surgery that night to deal with the infection, and she was released from the hospital on Sunday.
The good news is that she’s healing very well from this surgery and she’s in much less pain. She had her stitches removed yesterday and the surgeon told us he looked at the pathology report from the initial surgery and the cancer does seem to have been removed well (there were clear margins all around, meaning that the extra that they want was there). She will have a special type of CT scan in three months to look for more cancer.
Victoria is still on antibiotics and pain medication, but she’s getting back to her usual self. She’s pretty weak and things like chewing still cause her pain, but her spirits are much better.
(If you’d like to send her a card or pick-me-up, you can at: Victoria Bayer, PO Box 304, Westbrook MN 56183)
The cancer is a very rare type and it tends to be very slow growing, which is good news. Victoria’s surgeon has another young patient who had the same type of parotid cancer and has been doing well for two years. We’re optimistic right now about the cancer, the surgery, the infection and her medical team.
Meanwhile, every other member of our family has been sick this month too. We’ve had coughs, colds, flus, an eye infection, a respiratory infection, fevers, stomach pains, allergies, sore throats, headaches, lost voices and general exhaustion. We all finally seem to be getting better now that the worst of the crises are over. We have high hopes for June!
I’ll be back soon. Thanks again for all your sweet comments, thoughts, prayers, letters and words of support.