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St. Basils Cathedral at St. Thomas Houston

St. Basils Cathedral at St. Thomas Houston

It’s been a long week and an even longer time dealing with my health issues.


On Thursday, I had what was supposed to be a quick fifteen minute procedure to remove what we all thought was a lymph node in my upper chest. That little varmint turned out to be a rather large Schwannoma, a rare tumor of the myelin sheath originating from my brachial plexus. (for the medically unaware folks, that’s the covering of the nerve and the nerve is the one that runs your entire arm). It was a surprise to everyone including the surgeon who had changed the schedule to put me ahead of the two hearts because he thought it would be something pretty simple and easy. Thanks to You-tube, I watched a surgeon removing one much closer to the shoulder—mine was closer to my neck—and am grateful for the skill of the surgeon who was able to remove it under less than ideal circumstances.


I have some numbness in my arm and hand but the nearly constant back pain that I had prior the surgery is reduced by about 90% or more, an incredibly welcome trade-off. I’ve tried to figure out how that would happen but I think I’m just going to say Thank you and concentrate on recovering from the surgery. What’s been most amazing to me (and humbling) is the number of people that have worried and extended their love and concern to me. I can’t lift anything much heavier than a fork or a toothbrush but I think perhaps tomorrow I might try some sketching or painting. My husband is home to take care of me and work thankfully can be scheduled around my recovery time. I feel so fortunate.


It’s been hard for me to plan much of anything beyond two or more weeks away not knowing what that mass in my chest meant. And then I truly did not feel well enough to do much of anything beyond work. In a day or so I’m sure I will feel frustrated that I can’t climb up on the ladder and put up the new wallpaper border I just bought or dig in my garden or prune the hedges or go back to the gym lifting weights. But that is in the future and for today I have the letters from Vincent Van Gogh and my Kindle to occupy my time.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Wishing you a speedy recovery, glad you had such skilled care. You will be in my thoughts.

    August 10, 2009
  2. Take care. I hope you will be doing well very soon.

    August 10, 2009
  3. Annie Smith #

    Holy cow, Sylvia! Glad the recuperative process is going well. Hope you will have recovered adequately to attend our Studio 105 meeting next Monday, 17 August. We will be happy to see you. All the best to you.

    August 10, 2009
  4. Cynthia Wenslow #

    Sylvia, I hope your recovery goes well. Such a shock to discover it was something more than expected.

    August 12, 2009
  5. Best wishes to you on a full recovery. It’s a shock when something that’s “nothing” turns out to be a major something. You are blessed and have the gift of renewed health. It is a time to reflect and to allow philosophical thinking. Thanks for letting us know how you are doing.

    August 12, 2009
  6. Noel Ann McCord #

    Decided to see what you were up to via your website and blog. Boy, did I get a shock. Glad you are recovering. Enjoy your quite time. Cathy, Alice and I are leaving for Joshua, TX for a week of sewing. Wish you were going along. Hope to hear from you soon.

    Take care,
    Noel Ann

    August 15, 2009

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