• 48°

King recovering after operation last month

By Ben Carlson

State Rep. Kim King, who represents Jessamine County in the state legislature, is recovering after undergoing surgery earlier this month to remove a tumor from her spinal cord.

Speaking by phone Monday from her room at Cardinal Hill in Lexington, King said doctors in Louisville were able to remove the tumor during a 10-hour operation, and that she is now in rehabilitation.

“I’m working to gain what I’ve lost,” King said, who now also represents her home county of Mercer along with Anderson, Washington and a portion of Frankfort.

“I have a lot of inflammation and swelling, and I’m re-learning how to walk, feed myself, brush my hair … but the doctors gave me a good prognosis that I can regain those things, so I’m going to work hard to get back to my old self.”

That prognosis wasn’t nearly as favorable when King and her husband, Cary, found out about the tumor on her spinal cord.

King was with her husband for an Oct. 29 doctor appointment for his back, which he injured while moving sod Memorial Day weekend. Before the appointment, King asked if the doctor would examine her, as well.

“I wanted to see if he would look at my neck, which had bothered me most of the summer,” she said, noting that she had tingling sensations in her fingers and weakness in her hands.

The doctor performed an MRI and called her almost immediately with the results.

“He called terribly upset and said, ‘Kim, you need to get to Louisville as soon as possible. You have a tumor inside your spinal cord.’

“We were at a Veterans Day event. We didn’t say anything to anybody, we just got up and left. We got to Louisville and had a 90-minute conversation with the surgeon, who had nothing good to say, including that there was a 30-percent chance I’d spend the rest of my life on a respirator because the tumor was so high up on the spinal cord … where the neck hooks onto the body.”

“The doctors thought she’d be on a ventilator for at least a day and a half after the surgery,” Cary King said. “But when we got to see her after surgery, she was already breathing on her own.”

King said she was encouraged to seek second and third opinions from hospitals such as the Mayo Clinic and others, but decided to stay with the surgeon in Louisville.

“I felt strongly that the Lord put us there for a reason and made the decision that’s where we’d have this fixed.”

When asked what people can do for her and her family, King said others have volunteered to car for the family’s cattle while her husband stays by her side at Cardinal Hill.

“Just prayer, overall,” King said. “We’ve seen the power of prayer and appreciate every single one.”

State Rep. James Tipton said he’s confident King will recover and return to work.

“I have faith the Lord will bring healing to her and she’ll be back serving with us in January,” Tipton said Monday afternoon. “I know that is her wish, and I ask people to lift her up in prayer at this time.”

“That’s my goal,” she said.

Story submitted by Ben Carlson of the Anderson News in Lawrenceburg.