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  • Todd Graves

First Mayo Trip

Finally, the time had come for this highly anticipated appointment at the Mayo. Let me preface this by saying that only by God’s grace did I even get an appointment with Dr. Kwon as he is heavily sought after, and many patients have not had the privilege of being seen by him yet.

My wife and I flew into Minneapolis and rented a vehicle for the hour and a half drive to Rochester. We settled into the hotel and prepared for the appointments that began the next morning with blood work at 6:50 am and then the appointment with Dr. Kwon at 10:30 am that morning.

I must admit that after going to many hospitals in my life none had seemed as smooth or as organized as the Mayo so far. We did the blood work, had some breakfast and then headed over to the urology department to check in for our 10:30 am appointment. The size of the facility can become a bit intimidating (especially on first visit) but I know my God is greater than anything this world can or will throw at me. The Scripture confirms this in 1 John 4:4, You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. This is a wonderful confirmation of God’s faithfulness and love for us that God is greater than any trial or adversity you may face… ever!

After we were called back to see Dr. Kwon, we were met by one of his Physicians Assistants who conducted much of the appointment. The PA reviewed my past medical history and treatments thus far, then Dr. Kwon came in and she caught him up to date on everything we discussed. As he discussed my situation with us he suggested that I get the C11 Choline Pet Scan which was one of the tests that Mayo is known for due to the sensitivity of the scan and that it more meticulous than other Pet Scans. I will tell you that what is impossible for man is truly possible with God (Luke 18:27). The first miracle, was that Dr Kwon does not give you this scan until your PSA has reached a certain number which mine had not, and then on top of that the question would be whether insurance would even cover the scan? In addition, he wanted me to get an additional MRI of the pelvic bed to see if he could see any spread. The next challenge was seeing when we could get the scan done as we would like to do it while we were still in town versus having to go home and turn around a week later and come back. As the scheduling team worked on that my wonderful wife called the insurance company who gave us no resistance but actually knew our doctor and mention he was well regarded (how cool is that). With the insurance approved we then discovered that Mayo was able to get both our Choline scan and MRI completed that very afternoon and early evening. What a miracle! God is so good I cannot even put into words how relieved we were. After getting all of that settled we scheduled a follow up appointment with Dr. Kwon to review the reports the following morning.

Once the scans were completed we went back to the hotel, grabbed a bite and reveled in God’s goodness and then called it a night. The next morning there was a definite high level of anticipation as to what the scan would show. We headed over to the hospital for our follow up appointment with Dr. Kwon and his team. Once we were ushered back to one of the examination room it did not take long to meet another of his PA’s who started to review the scans but did not discuss the results in layman terms, so we had to ask a number of questions to clarify he results. Shortly into our discussion Dr. Kwon came in and quickly shared that there was nothing on the scans that concerned him (Praise God) except for an area in my neck that glowed on the Pet Scan. The area of questions was in either directly in my thyroid or in the lymph glands in that area. Dr. Kwon suggested we look at this right away and ordered an ultrasound to be followed up by a needle biopsy to determine whether it was cancer or not. I must admit his level of concern and immediate action was both comforting and concerning. Could this be another cancer… or did it spread from the prostate cancer that was I was already battling I was already dealing with? This was a perfect time for John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. This was just another step in the journey, God’s throne did not shake when we received the news, nor was He taken by surprise. I just need to stay the course and keep my hand in His and know that my hope and joy was and is in Him.

The next miracle was that we were able to get the ultrasound and the biopsy on that very same day as well… wow what an amazing trip and what an amazing demonstration of Gods provision. As I went for the ultrasound the technician started to give me hope that if it does not show anything then I may not have to have the biopsy. Once the biopsy was completed she went across the hall to show the Radiologist to read the report and he confirmed we needed to proceed with the biopsy. I was not looking forward to getting a needle stuck in my neck especially six of them, but it went quickly and smoothly. The radiologist said I should have the results in a week or so and confirmed there was a nodule on the right lobe of my thyroid. The waiting game began, so we packed up and started the journey to head back home. Later that week we received the news that the biopsy was inconclusive but identified as a follicular neoplasm and we needed to remove it to determine whether it was cancerous or not.

Next step was to schedule the consult with ENT Surgeon, pre-operative consult, blood work and follow up with Dr. Kwon as soon as we can.

As you can see there were many confirmations of God’s provision during this trip, but it really starts at the very beginning. If we were not able to see Dr. Kwon we would not have had the Pet Scan and would not been aware of the possibility of a second primary cancer in my body. We need to trust in God all the time and in every situation, the more time we spend with Him through His word/prayer/Christian fellowship the closer our relationship with Him will be. The journey is never easy but letting God handle the details and all the worry and fear sure helps.

Proverbs 3: 5-6 is a great reminder what God wants us to do, trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Surgery coming up…

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