Breast Cancer Awareness and Me
Sun. 3/12/17 – Chuck went to Sam’s today for a couple of things and came back with a fountain drink for me. He knows how much I love them, so he brought me one. This is who he is. And one of the reasons I know I am going to be just fine.
Mon. 3/13/17 – Last night was the first night I’ve slept through the night with no pharmacological help since I found out what I’m actually facing. My brain must be processing it now and not just running like a hamster wheel.
Tues. 3/14/17 – Got news today that my lymph nodes under both arms were “lighting up” on my MRI. They are doing a “second look sonogram” and biopsy tomorrow to determine why. I’m trying not to get anxious about the uncertainty of this…My surgery is scheduled for March 23rd. That is a week and two days away. So many tests and appointments before then. It all feels like it’s starting to barrel down on me. So fast. So many people wanting money. But so many people offering prayer and support.
Fri. 3/17/17 – Today I had a CT scan with contrast so the plastic surgeon could see the vein pathways in my abdomen. Even though it is only fat being moved, it still needs a life force, so they are using vessels from my abs to make blood pathways in my boobs. Even though it’s not nearly as serious as an organ, I am, in essence, having transplant surgery! That’s the main reason it will take so long…I have to write about the way I see God all over this. If Chuck was still working for Sam’s, not only would he have trouble getting off to go to all my appointments with me, but he would have been in Florida at the Year Beginning Meeting when I got my diagnosis call…I’m still having trouble sleeping at night and my blood pressure hasn’t been normal at a single doctor’s appointment. These are the only ways I know I am anxious. I truly don’t really feel it. God is my strength and has given me such peace.
Mon. 3/20/17 – The looming surgery date has taken another hostage. Allie had trouble sleeping last night and came to get in bed with us. I’m feeling a little bleary eyed today. In the early morning hours she cuddled up to me and said, “Pretty soon I won’t be able to snuggle you so tight.” It’s starting to get real that surgery is this week.
Tues 3/21/17 – After blood work and other pre-op info, we were finally on our way home after a long and tiring afternoon. I cried in the car. The first tears in a couple of weeks. I told Chuck I was going to have a moment – and then I’d be fine.
Thurs. 3/30/17 – I’m finally writing about my surgery one week ago today. We have been slowly cutting back on my pain meds so that i’m not sleeping as much and staying more clear headed..Surgery day came early, 5:45am report time. Chuck prayed over me in the car before we went in…When I came out of recovery, Chuck was fit to be tied. After that long surgery, he still was not allowed to see me for almost two hours…The first night in the hospital they woke me up every hour to check vitals and my surgical sites. They say this is necessary because of the “transplant” aspect of my surgery, wanting to make sure that the blood pathways were “taking” and no skin was dying.
Tues. 3/28/17 – We got a call from my oncologist’s office. The final pathology of my breast tissue showed 5 mm of invasive cancer tissue. *Sigh* At each step along the way I keep thinking “it will be no big deal”, but at each step it seems I get surprised with “a big deal”. I’m tired of surprises.
Sun. 4/2/17 – Shelby had a horrible night of seizures and wakefulness. I feel so bad for Chuck having to take care of all of us…Terri offered to come over and hang with me to help with Shelby so Chuck could take a nap. It was the perfect way to help that I didn’t think to ask for…I almost got a shower taken all by myself today. I can’t wait to get these blasted drains out so it will be more feasible. And having no core strength is no joke.
Wed. 4/5/17 – Talked to a guy in line at the pharmacy who must have seen my drain tube and felt free to discuss his wife’s boob job with me. Weird.
Thurs 4/6/17 – The doctor put me on 2 strong antibiotics to fight off infection. If these don’t work, he laid out a plan of hospital admittance for IV antibiotics and back to the OR to open up my abdominal incision for a clean out. I cried. Partly because I felt so bad – spiking a fever of 101.5. Partly because I was so weary of asking Chuck and Kristen to do so much. Lastly because I am afraid. Every time I’ve been told there was a slight chance of something happening, that’s exactly what happens.
Mon. 4/10/17 – Dr. Nagel felt like the antibiotics were doing their job, but wanted to leave the other drain in until all evidence of infection is gone. I’m glad for the good report, but so tired of lugging around and trying to conceal a drain…Even though this one doesn’t hurt me like the other did, I’ve decided to give it a name since he seems like he’s going to be my constant companion. Wilson.
Thurs. 4/13/17 – Mama and Papa came to stay to give Chuck a night duty break. We all went to Maundy Thursday service at church. I was undone by a praise song calling God our healer and telling fear it had no place.
Mon. 4/17/21 – Dr. Nagel is having me keep the Wilson drain another week and extending my antibiotics. He is concerned about some hardness around my abdominal incision and some spots there and on my breast that aren’t healing quickly enough. He said he can’t just let them do their things because I’m doing chemo. You can’t have open wounds when you start chemo because they won’t heal. So now he wants to get into the OR with Dr. Seda when she places my port. Oh, lucky me.
Wed. 4/19/17 – Chemo tech class was a little overwhelming. Just the number of prescriptions they wrote made my head spin. One in case I run a fever, one in case I have diarrhea, one in case I’m constipated. One in case I have mouth sores, two in case of nausea, etc, etc, etc. They took me on a tour of the infusion room. Everyone looked so sick.
Sat. 4/22/17 – Allie had an all day volleyball tournament and I made it through…My drain only came open and spilled on my pants once (eye roll).
Mon. 4/24/17 – Sleeping back in my bed was not quite as comfy as I had hoped. Lots of positions still don’t work, and rolling over with my severed core is a chore.
Wed. 5/3/17 – Surgery at noon. Mama and Papa came in to help with the kids after school. I woke up in recovery hurting and grouchy. The abdominal re-incision is a few inches long, and the vein in my neck that Seda attached my port to is so sore. This feels unfair. Like going backward. I’ve already recovered from surgery. I don’t want to hurt again, and the pain pills they gave me this time are not cutting it.
Fri. 5/12/17 – Chemo felt so weird. And yet it didn’t. Of course I couldn’t feel it at all. It was just my emotions that felt weird.
Fri. 6/2/17 – Dr. Nagel drained my wound. I made jokes about the thing from the movie “Alien” being in there…I had to skip chemo because of the hospital stay and infection. Nagel has decided to take me back to the OR, re-open the would and clean it out. This time he’ll leave it open for a couple of days to continue to clean it and change dressings. He explained that after leaving the hospital I would get a wound vac, having an open wound until I finished chemo. I kept it together on the phone and then sobbed after I hung up. I’m glad my sister Erin was there.
Wed. 8/9/17 – Started teaching my yoga classes again today. The abdominal surgeries have taken a toll on my balance and strength. But it feels good to be on my way back.
It’s been almost 5 years since all the cancer was cut out of my body. My husband suggested I keep a journal of the journey. I picked out a few passages that best described that time in my life to share with you. What stands out to me the most? How faithfully God brought us through. How He was always with me in Spirit, and physically through the hands and feet of His people.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I get to watch my kids and grandkids grow up because of early detection. Get your mammograms. Don’t delay. And please let me know if I can help in any way. I’m praying for you in this.
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