Trusting God

26 Nov

I am very happy to post that I recently had my 5 year cancerversary.  Praise God that he chose me to live through the journey and for some reason is choosing to bless me even more.  When I look at the last 5 years I’m in awe. I can’t answer why he takes some and ends their journey here on earth but he has healed me and blessed me.  I can only be grateful for his abundant grace on my life.  

Almost 2 years ago he answered the many many prayers for the desire of my heart.  To be a mother.  All those years of heartache.  All those years of crying out like Hannah.  Being jealous of Hannah.  That God answered her prayer but he wasn’t answering mine.  Then, in the blink of an eye my prayer was answered with the most beautiful, amazing, sweet little boy.  I couldn’t have written a better story.  God loves me so much.  I just needed to be patient and wait for his perfect timing.  He was molding me as I was waiting on him.  He was making the greatest story I could’ve ever come up with.

In my last post I announced the adoption of our son, Josiah.  He is almost 2 (time flies!).  I never blogged because I had no time with a newborn.  I was sleepy.  I think I was exhausted the whole first year, but boy did I enjoy it.

We are now on what seems like a very long journey to adopt our son Malachi.  He is 6.  When we adopted Josiah we found out a few days after Thanksgiving that it might be possible for us to be the parents of a baby boy that would be born soon.  We took him home from the hospital on February 7th.  It was so quick.  This is not the case with Malachi.  We started the process in February and we are still waiting for the many papers to work their way through all of the areas of international adoption.  

As I think about the upcoming adoption of Malachi I want to remember all that is in my heart.  The prayers, the hopes and the worries so I can look back one day and be reminded of all the blessings God has provided.  I want to see that God was right.  I shouldn’t worry.  I should rely on him.  His perfect timing.  His perfect will for Malachi and our family.

Questions in my heart…

  1. How will our China trip go?  Will we be able to communicate with him?  Lord, help him to not be scared of his new future.
  2. Will he sleep on the plane ride home and transition well to our time zone?
  3. How will I handle the medical procedures that his little body needs?
  4. Will I be strong enough?  Josiah was burned recently and it was so hard to see my child laying there and in pain.  😢
  5. Will he take his medication or will it be a daily battle?  
  6. Will he be scared in a new country with a new language?  
  7. Will the surgeries give him a long life with no additional surgeries?  Please Lord guide the doctors and please help our son to never need a heart transplant.
  8. Will he be able to run one day and not worry about his heart?
  9. Will we be able to communicate with him what is happening at doctors/hospital appointments?
  10. Will he learn English well?  Please Lord help me to teach him well.
  11. Will Josiah and him be best buddies?  Oh Lord please!
  12. Will he like American food or will I have to make him Chinese noodles every day?  🙂
  13. Will he ever know his birth parents?  I sure hope so.  Lord, please bless them for allowing us to be his parents.
  14. Will he sleep well once he is here?
  15. Will Josiah be terribly jealous or will he love having a new playmate?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7

Nothing is Impossible with God

27 Dec

Wow.  It has been awhile.   Over a year since I have posted to my blog.  I’m still here.  I’ve been a little busy.  [I will get to that in a minute. 🙂 ] My health is great.  I’ve had two oncology checkups and the 5th anniversary of my diagnosis is coming up in April.  I cannot believe it has been 5 years already since my diagnosis.  Time flies.  I cannot believe what can happen in a year of being away from my blog….you are about to find out.  Ha!

So….this happened….. Continue reading

Question for my Breast Cancer Survivor Friends

12 Oct

Dear Breast Cancer Survivor friends who’ve had lymph nodes removed…I have a question for you,

I’ve had lymph nodes removed from both sides.  I have occasional lymph node pain.  Mostly in my chest, armpits, neck and inside of elbows.  It gets so bad I have to just lay flat and work from bed.  I haven’t had it since May and I thought it was gone for good.  It returned last Thursday and I’ve been dealing with it all weekend.  I went back to my calendar to see if there was some connection.  Well, I’ve been on a plane 4 times in the last 2 weeks.  Same as earlier this year when it was happening.  Have you experienced lymphatic pain after flying?  I do wear my compression sleeves when I fly and I’m wearing them today to see if it will help me. I don’t know if I want it to be from flying or not.  I want an answer to this pain, but not sure that is a good answer.

12 Years With You…

4 Oct

Kevan,

I was going to post just a short Facebook post and tell you Happy Anniversary, but since I’m stuck in a hotel for a couple of hours I thought I would spend a little more time thinking about what today means.  We’ve made it through 12 years of marriage.  My eyes tear up when I think about it too much.

Remember when you proposed to me at the Leatherwood Overlook.  We had only been dating about 6 months.  You took me to Hardees the week before and I start bawling my eyes out because I thought you had changed your mind.  Ha!  I wouldn’t tell you why I was crying.  lol!  We ran through the trail because the flies were so bad.  It was a horse trail.  You set the camera up to make sure you documented our special day.  Look how young and thin we look.

Leatherwood

We married before my braces.  You loved me even though I had messed up teeth.  lol!  Here is a picture of the 27-year-old girl you were about to marry.  This was our wedding shower that sweet Dottie had for us.

WeddingShower

Our wedding day was perfect.  The weather was perfect, the venue was perfect and it was just a great day.  One of the best days of my life.

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You are my Knight, my Edward, my Mr. Darcy.

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This picture shows just how much we would laugh together.

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This picture shows your “original” wedding ring.  Now, you are on your 4th.  The first one was a “loaner” and you’ve lost 2 of them.  lol!  Thankfully, I still have my original.

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When we went on our honeymoon I remember freaking out that I had not even known you a year yet.  What if I had made a mistake getting married so soon?  We went to St. Maarten and it drove you crazy that our room had “issues” so you went to the Home Improvement store on the island and bought some things to fix it.  I thought you were crazy!  lol!!  Little did I know that your love to fix things would benefit me so much in our marriage.  You have made me so many things and fixed so many things that have needed fixing.  You are such a blessing to me.

We’ve been through so much.  After 6 years of marriage our marriage almost ended.  We were both being selfish.  I thought it was all your fault until God showed me in His Word exactly how bad I really was and how I was putting myself before Him and you.  I’m so thankful that God got a hold of me.  I can’t imagine my life without you.  I love you so much more today than I did the day we got married.  We’ve learned that love is a choice, not a feeling.  You just have to keep holding on during the hard times.   Keep communicating!

Wedding Pic 2

You’ve encouraged me so much.  From the “first” day I met you you have tried to encourage me.  You didn’t even know me but you knew that I needed encouragement.  You’ve been my cheerleader during our journey through breast cancer and my double mastectomy  I cried and thought I looked like Frankenstein and you somehow could see past all of it.  I don’t know how you did it.  You are amazing.  You loved me without hair during my chemo, you helped me to the bathroom when my legs just couldn’t hold me up anymore and you brought me a bowl when I needed to throw up.  You’ve always been there at doctor’s appointments when I needed you (even when we were dating).  You love me through our infertility.  You make sure that I know that you love me even though I haven’t been able to give you children and make sure to tell me that God loves me even when I feel like He doesn’t.  I pray that God blesses you with a son one day.

We’ve lived in 3 different states and 6 different homes.  We’ve traveled to many places.  We’ve hiked, kayaked, flew, cruised and walked many miles together.   We’ve loved to root for Auburn football and we even had fun watching the Outback Bowl in the cold rain together.  I am so thankful that I got to experience all of these things with you.  You are my best friend.

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Our 5th Anniversary Cruise

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Outback Bowl

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Kevan and his kayak

One of my favorite things about you is that you are my bible teacher.  You love to read and study scripture together.  When I have questions you always try to answer them.  You encourage me to grow in my knowledge of the word and to help others with their study of God’s word.  I know what a huge blessing it is to have a husband like you.

I know that there are little things that bother us about each other, but it is easy to overlook them when there are so many reasons to love each other and when you try to put God at the center.  I hope/pray that we will have MANY more years together.  I pray that we will have a family one day and I will be thankful for the many years we had alone together.  I’m thankful you chose me 12 years ago to spend the rest of your life with.    I love you!!

Second Opinion Update

3 Jul

In my previous post I explained the results of a laparoscopy I had recently.  It wasn’t good news.  My local doctor was telling my husband and I that I needed to have a hysterectomy and that if we had a child there was a possibility I would die during pregnancy, due to my uterus rupturing.  This prompted us to get a second opinion.  Yesterday, we traveled to Nashville to see a doctor that specializes in fertility and endometriosis.

Her first words were, “wow, you’ve been through a lot.”  I think this is every doctor’s first response.  lol!  We told her why we were there…for a second opinion…to see whether or not I should have the hysterectomy and give up on having children.  We thought that this would just be a consultation and we did not expect her to give us her opinion until she ran some tests and read through my records.  We were wrong.  She read through my surgical records.  She told us that due to my age (39) and my chemo background that I probably did not have a good egg supply [we’ve heard this before].  Although, she said that 4 rounds of chemo was not very much and she has patients that have had way more chemo who went on to have a child.  She then wanted to do an ultrasound to get a good look at my uterus and ovaries.  So, we all headed to a different room.

Continue reading

Exploratory Laparoscopy (Surgery Update)

14 Jun

At the top of this blog I have “My journey with God through breast cancer”.  I’m thinking a better title would be “My journey with God through life”.  Life is hard.  It is very hard sometimes.  But, if you have a relationship with God, the Creator of this world, you know there is hope even in the midst of the struggles.  I’m choosing to grasp onto that hope instead of despair.  I’m choosing to look to my Lord for comfort, healing and wisdom. Kevan and I have been given news we didn’t want to hear.

I had my 10th surgery, 5th laparoscopy last Thursday and I want to provide an update. It was exploratory.  Mostly to see the cysts that I had on my ovaries.  When the doctor did an ultrasound of the left ovary a few months ago he found a large one.  I’ve been having a lot of pain on the left side and I was already blaming it on a cyst before I even got the diagnosis that day.  As many of you know, I’ve been dealing with chronic pain in my back and tailbone area.  It started during my last month of chemo.  I think, due to the timing, I just assumed it was cancer treatment related…or would worry that my cancer returned, but after the surgery this past week…I’m starting to think differently.

Endometriosis Background

I’m about to talk about a very long word called ENDOMETRIOSIS.  Click the link if you want to know more about it.  I have a very long history of endometriosis and pain.  In 1991, at 15 years of age, I had very painful periods and I was told that I “probably had endometriosis” and was put on birth control to try to help with the pain.  It wasn’t until 1998 that it was confirmed.  I couldn’t take the pain any longer and I had my first laparascopy to have it removed.  In 2000, I had another one due to chronic pain.  The doctor told me to have a hysterectomy.  I was unmarried and wanted to children so I researched what to do.  The pain was getting so bad that I contemplated suicide.  I prayed that it would go away, but it was a daily struggle.  I don’t think I’ve told my family this, but I actually packed up my apartment in Chicago so that they wouldn’t be left with having to deal with my things, I wrote goodbye letters to my family and tagged the boxes with who should get my things. Then, I researched how I was going to do it.  I won’t bore you with the details, but while I was researching I ran across an article explaining a new revolutionary surgery for endometriosis patients.  A Dr. Redwine in Bend, Oregon.  I felt hope.  The next day, I contacted them and they informed me how I could apply for the surgery.  I would have to be accepted.  Well, I was accepted, but I would have to pay for everything out of pocket. My insurance would not pay for me to go to a surgeon in Oregon when I lived in Illinois.  I prayed.  The church I went to purchased airline tickets for me and my mother to go.  They also took up an offering and presented me with a $4,000+ check that would help me with the expenses.  Long story short – I went to Bend, Oregon in July 2001 with my mom and grandmother (yes, she came too to support me!) and had the surgery.  The total cost was over $13,000 (not including travel), but over time God helped me (and my future husband) pay it off.  I did not have any more pain.  At least I thought I didn’t have anymore pain.  In August 2012 I started having the chronic pain I now struggle with daily.

In 2013 I had a laparoscopy (my 4th) to see if anything was found that would prevent us from having children.  This was a doctor in Nashville, TN.  He didn’t really explain what he had found.  Some endometriosis, but he didn’t feel that pregnancy was out of the question.  I kept going in and out of menopause that year and he pretty much told me not to come back because he couldn’t help me.  I would not recommend him.

Current Surgery

The pain on my left side was getting unbearable so I made an appointment to have my 5th laparoscopy.  I was dreading it.  I hate surgery.  I hate anesthesia.  I hate the recovery.  The boring days of laying in bed.  Speaking of boring days….I don’t know how people spend all day watching TV.  I am not a TV watcher.  I wasted hours of my life the last few days just trying to find things to watch.  Something I wanted to waste more time out of my life watching.  lol!  I’ve watched a few movies, started reading a book (Nothing is Impossible with God) and I’ve done a lot of Pinterest the last few days.  I can’t take much more of this recuperating.

Anyway, the great news is that there were no cysts.  NO CANCER.  It looked like cysts on the ultrasound, but it was actually endometrioma.  Which is often mistaken for an ovarian cyst.  He staged it as Endometriosis stage 3.  I’ve been this stage before.  I guess I’m glad it is no stage 4.  He told us that he did the dye test to see if my fallopian tubes were open and it failed in both tubes.  Neither tube would result in a successful pregnancy.  I had this dye test back in 2009 and it was successful.  So this was a sad blow.  He went on to explain (and the surgery report also says) that the ovaries were totally adhered to the uterus.  Which means…they were all stuck together.  In 2001 the doctor found that my bladder was adhered to my pelvic wall which was causing all of my back pain.  So, I guess the pain on my left side was caused by these adhesions.  The report also mentions that I have the lesions on my colon.  Specifically, the colon near my tailbone.  Where I have my serious pain all day long.  Sounds like my pain is endometriosis and not anything to do with cancer.  He was able to excise (remove) the endometriosis that was not on the colon and help the adhesions, but it sounds like (from the report) he did not remove them from the colon.  He also mentioned that the endometriosis has caused a “defect” in my colon.  I guess we won’t know more about this until we see him on the 18th.  He has recommended a full hysterectomy and spoke to Kevan privately about the seriousness of it.  Endometriosis is damaging my body and I also have a higher risk of ovarian cancer because I’ve had breast cancer.

Kevan didn’t tell me until a day or so later, but he also informed Kevan that the tissue has been damaged either by chemo or by the endometriosis (his report actually says obliterated) and it will not hold up to a pregnancy.  Most likely, my uterus would rupture and I would die…along with the baby.  As you can imagine this didn’t sit well with Kevan.

We would appreciate your wisdom on what to do next.  Both for if/when I should have a hysterectomy and if/how we should go about having children.  Kevan told me the other day that he is surprised I’m handling this news better than he is.  He, understandably, is sad that God has closed the door to us having children ourselves.  I am very blessed that he has made sure to tell me that he loves me even if I can’t give him his own children.  I am so grateful that his love for me has not wavered.  I have always been open to adoption.  I am not one of those women that have to have their “own” children.  Whatever child(ren) God gives us will be “OUR” children.  So, I am not as devastated.  I just feel like God has closed this door and I have hope that he will open another.  I pray God gives us the wisdom on what to do next.  We want to be parents.

We are going to get a second opinion on the hysterectomy.  I don’t like the idea of it….hate it actually, but I know women go through it every day.  I just didn’t want to be one of them.  It breaks my hear to think of it.  Thanks for reading my blog.  Sorry it was so long this time.  I quit taking the pain meds because they were making me nauseous and hurting my stomach so I can’t blame it on the drugs.  lol!

Like the title of the book I’m reading – the bible says, “nothing is impossible with God“.  I hold onto hope that there is a child for us out there.  Some days it is harder to hope than others (since we are getting so old and decrepit.  Ha!)….but today I choose to hope in the Lord and not grow weary.

endoSource:  http://www.endo-resolved.com

Surgery (6/11)

2 Jun

The surgery to remove my ovarian cyst has been scheduled for Thursday, June 11th.  The pain has been keeping me up at night so I gave in and scheduled the surgery.  😦  I also heard a rumor that if it was over 5cm they automatically do chemo…mine is almost 4cm…so I want it out before it gets any larger.  No more chemo for me!

I am not looking forward to my 5th laparascopy.  Dreading it.  Ugh. I hate that Kevan will have to take work off to be there with me at the hospital, but I don’t want to go without him.  I feel better with him there at the hospital with me.  Also, it will be at our small local hospital and he’s a little worried about not having it done in Nashville.  I’m sure it will be fine…..I’m praying!

So, on the 11th I’ll have the ovarian cyst removed and then on the 23rd I’ll be having the lipoma removed from my back.  What a fun June, eh?  lol!

My body pain has been better.  I’ve been using a pain reliever cream that the doctor prescribed that I rub on my skin.  My stomach cannot take any more pain pills. I’ve been having horrible acid reflux (at least that is what I think it is).  The cream doesn’t hurt my stomach.  🙂  Hoping the acid reflux will improve soon.  I’m popping tums, gaviscon, zantac like they are candy.  lol!  Those that knew me as a kid are probably thinking, “why should she be any different as an adult.”  I was a weird kid.  I used to “break in” to my grandmother’s fridge and drink her dimetapp.  I loved the grape taste.  It was soooo good.  I would eat her gavison pills like candy because I loved how they foamed up in my mouth.  It wasn’t just medicine.  I loved to eat lipstick and I drank my mom’s perfume too.  Haha!  I remember hiding under our basement stairs to drink it.  I must have had a vitamin deficiency.  lol!

Well, that is all for now.  I’m exhausted.  I might just go to sleep while the sun is still up.

Biopsy (6/23) – appreciate your prayers!

20 May

Another Lipoma
I’m writing this post to mostly remember what went on at the doctor today. I have a tendency to forget and want to make sure I have it written down somewhere in case I need to go back. I went to see my breast surgeon today. A couple of weeks ago I found a lump under my mastectomy scar. I read online that if cancer comes back it usually will show up near the mastectomy scar so I made an appointment to get it looked at. I don’t know if that is true, but Dr. Google said it. Anyway, I saw my doctor today and he did an ultrasound. He believes it is a lipoma. A lipoma is a non-cancerous lump of fat. Nothing to worry about. Unless you are Jayde. Unfortunately, my first lump was cancer even though it was a lipoma. BUT, he really believes it is just fat, not cancerous. But, last time he said there was a 2% chance it was cancer.  He wants to watch and wait right now. He said my cancer was very aggressive and my lump tripled in size very fast. So, if this is cancer the size of it will change rapidly. I will see him again soon to see if it has grown.

Another biopsy and removal of neurofibroma
While I was in his office, I asked him if he could recommend a surgeon to remove a lipoma I have on my lower spine that has been causing pain. My gynecologist confirmed a few weeks ago that it was a lipoma.  He seemed excited and told me he would do it. Lol! He did an ultrasound to take a look at it . While he was looking at it on the ultrasound he kept saying things like, “interesting”, “that is strange”, “wow”…..I was getting a little nervous. The reason for his comments was because he could see the different layers of skin, subcutaneous layer, fat, muscle, etc and when he would go over the lump one of the layers would disappear. Apparently, it was surprising. He believes it is a spinal neurofibroma. He thinks he can remove it all and would like to at least biopsy it if he can’t get all of it. I am scheduled to have it removed on June 23rd. I will go back on June 26th for the results. I would like to ask for prayer. He thinks the reason for my pain is because it is sitting on a nerve on my spine. It could take my pain totally away when he removes it….or it could make it WORSE. Will you pray that this removes the pain I have and that my pain will not increase? Also, that the biopsy will come back benign.

Lastly, I’m in the midst of one of my pain episodes that they cannot figure out the cause of. It started the night of 5/18. The last one ended on 4/11. I’m entering this here so I remember later. Pain is in my upper chest, neck, ears, underarms, spleen, lower back, behind elbows and knees. I also have been running a low fever (99.5-100) for the last 2 days.  I took an 800mg ibuprofen yesterday and it took some of the pain away, but not entirely. They usually last 3-11 days. I’m hoping/praying for 3 days this time. Not 11.

Thank you in advance for your prayers and for caring/reading my posts.

Mayo Clinic

6 May

My oncologist is considering referring me to Mayo Clinic for a 3-day workup.  They just cannot figure out what is going on with my lymphatic system and he thinks that the Mayo Clinic will be able to figure it out.  Anyone out there been a part of one of these types of things before?  I’m just wondering what I will experience.  Also, he wants me to go ahead and have the laparoscopy to remove the large ovarian cyst beforehand.  I don’t know if I want another surgery so I’m thinking about it.

One Very Opinionated Doctor

21 Apr

Since this blog is now 3 years old and I’ve been off treatment now for 2+ years I thought I should provide an update.  That is code for: I just really want to share my experience with a particularly opinionated gynecologist.  lol!

Hair

My hair is so long! I’m loving the length. Also, my oncologist was right. He said it would take 3 years for my hair to grow back to the length it was before chemo. It is now that length and it has been almost 3 years. I’ve attached a pic below. I was having it highlighted, but it was such a pain because it is so dark now that I just hated going in so often. So, I had my friend, Tracy, dye it back to the natural color and it is DARK. It has been this color for 7 months and I’m ready to go back to blonde. I still don’t know who the person is in the mirror when I see her. Ha! Also, I told a few people (who I won’t name here, but they know who they are) that I was going back to blonde and they told me how happy they were that I finally came to that conclusion. Um…..so you have hated this long, eh? Lol! Continue reading