Archive | November, 2012

Final Reconstruction Surgery in One Week

28 Nov

A week from today I will be in surgery.  I’ve been looking forward to finally having everything over with, but the last few days I’ve been struggling a little with sadness thinking about it.  So much so that I have been near to crying several times.  I just don’t want to go through surgery again.  I am almost 7 months post-op from the mastectomy.  I’ve gone through so much healing and now I have to go through some of it all over again.  My incisions will be re-opened and it just makes me sad to think about it.  I finally feel so good when I lift things and can do exercises normally again.  I remember the 1st few days/weeks after the mastectomy and how hard it was to do much for myself.  I don’t mind having people help me, but it takes so much energy to get back to normal.  I feel tired already. 

I know that I will be very happy a month from now and very glad I went through it, but on this side of surgery I can only see the hard road ahead.  Of course, I will be soooooooo happy to get rid of these tissue expanders, but it is still a little scary not knowing what it will be like having implants.  I still cry sometimes when I take a bath because I miss my old body.  The one God gave me.  It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was natural and felt normal.  Tissue expanders are SO strange and feel so hard.  Implants also seem so unnatural to me, but hopefully it will be better.  I also miss having feeling in my chest.  It is strange to run my fingernail over the skin and not feel it at all.  Kind of freaky.  I don’t dwell on these things for long because I am thankful that I live in a time where medical procedures are available to me to look normal again and that doctors can repair what’s been lost.  I am thankful.  Very thankful.  But, it still has some sadness to it.

I was talking to Kevan this afternoon about how sad I’ve been about having to have surgery again.  He turned to me and said, “I’m sorry sweetheart that you have to go through this again.  I really am.”  He’s so sweet.  He followed it up by knocking on my breast with his hand and saying, “at least you will be rid of these 1/2 baseballs!”  LOL!  I guess he’s looking forward to it too.   Even he’s tired of the “rocks”.  ;o)

Anyway, one more week. I am coveting any prayers regarding my surgery and my anxiety.  I have also developed allergies or a cold and haven’t been feeling or sleeping well the last few nights.  I’m hoping it doesn’t get worse and I’ve prayed that God would remove these symptoms.  We have some VERY busy days coming (women’s retreat with church and I have to travel to Atlanta for work) before my surgery…so that is adding a bit more stress to my mind. 

I will leave you with a few pics.  The first one is me sitting on my brother’s motorcycle.  I’ve heard rumors that someone said I was riding around Michigan on my new motorcycle…so I thought I better fess up here and say that it isn’t mine at all and it was even OFF when I was sitting on it.  lol!  I just thought the motorcycle would go well with my do-rag on my head so I put my older brother’s leather jacket on and sat on it.  :o)

Here is a current picture of Kevan and I attending a benefit dinner.  I have my wig on, of course, since we are at dinner and I wanted to look nice for my hubby.  :o)

Lastly, here is a picture of me with my immediate family.  I’m the one in the middle that looks like a boy.  Oh, and someone told me they thought I was my nephew when they first saw the picture.  Thanks Marie.  lol!  This should give you an idea of how long my hair is now.

Speaking Opportunity

21 Nov

God’s been providing a few opportunities for me to share my cancer testimony.  A few weeks ago I was asked to speak to a group of ladies about how my illness affected our marriage.  The group was doing a series on marriage and a friend thought it would be great if I could do the “in sickness and in health” portion.  I was honored that she thought of me.  It was very sweet of her to ask.  It was also a lot of fun to participate.  Since the ladies were in Florida and I was in Tennessee we did it over Skype.  They hooked up a laptop to the television.  Here is a picture of me talking.  ;o)

I spent a few hours putting together a testimony of my cancer journey.  It was about 3 pages.  I was given a time-frame of 20-25 minutes.  One morning I read it out loud (by myself) to see how long it was and it was exactly 20 minutes.  :o).  Thank you Tonya for letting me be a part of your ladies group.  :o)

The scripture that I shared was:

Colossians 3:12-17
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”
The reason I used this scripture is because it had so many verses that explained our journey together.  Kevan had to clothe himself with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” as he took care of me.  I know it was hard on him.  We have to forgive each other when we were both tired of the journey or I wasn’t feeling well.  We “put on love” for each other and tried to “let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts” when the journey got tough and we weren’t sure when things would improve.  We tried to “sing psalms, hymns…with gratitude in our hearts to God” for what He was doing in our life always “giving thanks” to God.  We knew through the journey that this was God’s plan and it made it a lot easier to go through knowing God was right there with us.

If I have some time later I might type up a little more about what I spoke about.  But, I wanted to share that it was great opportunity and I was very thankful that Tonya invited me to participate.  Thank you!

Pre-Op Appointments

17 Nov

I had all of my pre-operation appointments yesterday.  This will probably be a boring post, but I just want to remember it later…so this is for my documentation mostly.  

I thought I would just walk into the doctor’s office and pay my portion of the surgery and that would be it, but it wasn’t.  Since I will be a part of a clinical trial (since the implants they will be using are not approved by the FDA) I had to fill out TONS of papers and sign & initial a lot of pages.  Also, they ask that I come back a bunch of times for follow-up visits and to fill out questions again regarding the clinical trial.  Good part is that I get paid $50-$100 each time I come in and do their surveys.  🙂

I guess I’m part of the “satisfaction and psychological” portion of the clinical trial and not the “health” portion.  It sounded like there were different groups.  I had to answer 11 PAGES of questions about how I feel about myself, my body and my breasts.  lol!  A lot of them were pretty funny.  I had to choose a number between 1 and 5 stating how I felt about my eyes, nose, hips, butt, feet, etc….#1 being I dislike them and 5 being I’m very happy with them.  lol!  I also had to indicate whether I was a depressed or happy person about 40 times, but the sentences differed slightly.  Kevan thinks that it is for them to tell whether the new implants helped my self-image and made me less depressed.  Since I’ve had a double mastectomy….I’m guessing that is going to be a YES.  lol!  It also asked me if I considered myself to be a healthy person.  Well….I just had cancer…so….not so much.

After all of the paperwork Miss L (my favorite nurse there) took my temperature and blood pressure.  Of course, I can’t have a blood pressure cuff on my arm anymore (due to my bilateral lymph node biopsy) so they had to take it from my leg.  It is pretty annoying.  Then, Miss L walked us through how to take care of my drains (again) and what to expect.  Ugh.  I hate drains!  Also, I will have to do my exercises again (hopefully, I will remember better than last time) and I will have lifting restrictions as well.  They want me to be able to lift my arms that day.  Thinking about it hurts.  Then, I got to pay a huge payment for my surgery since the doctor is out of network.  😦  Not so fun.  I’m glad we had the money in savings, but we were hoping to not have to pay so much since Kevan still doesn’t have a job.  Oh well.  God knows and he will provide what we need.  Luckily, the hospital is in network so all of that stuff will be paid for…just the doctor is out of network.

After all of the stuff at the doctor’s office we had to head to Centennial hospital and pre-register.  After registering we met with two nurses to go over surgery information.  They acted all excited for me.  lol!  They said they can’t wait for my surgery and that they think I will look great when I leave.  They will be in the surgery…so that was a little odd since they are going to see me without my clothes on.  lol!  I know….they see it all the time.  They told me this surgery should not be as bad as the one in May.  I should be able to lift myself up…unlike last time…I couldn’t do it for almost 3 weeks.  The downside is that I won’t be able to unwrap my chest wrap for 2 days after.  So, not only am I gonna be stinky….I won’t know what I look like either.  Bummer. 

Today I had to have an ultrasound of my ovaries.  I’m still having some major menopause symptoms so they wanted to check them out.  The doctor said everything looks good.  So, no worries there.  🙂

Preparing for Advent

14 Nov

As Christmas is nearing I am thinking a lot about Advent.  I try to do something each year during the days leading up to Christmas to prepare my heart to celebrate Christ’s birthday.  When I was little we lived near a place called Bronners.  For those of you from Michigan, you know this is Christmas Wonderland and is the largest Christmas store in the world.  It is the place that kids in Michigan look forward to visiting every Christmas.  Just typing this makes my heart skip thinking about visiting this place when I was little and how it felt so magical.  Growing up we would visit around Thanksgiving and each year my mom would let us pick out our own advent calendar.  An advent calendar is basically a cardboard picture of a Christmas scene (religious or secular) and it will have little doors labeled with each number of advent (1-25).  Behind those little doors would be a surprise picture.  I loved waking up in the morning to open up the little door and see what was behind it.  By the time I was a teen they had “improved” versions where the little door led to a piece of chocolate!  From then on, I chose the chocolate version.  While researching for this post I even found a wooden one and each day reveals a magnetic character that can be added to the Nativity scene.  I love it!

Anyway, as you probably know, now that I’m an adult I don’t do the fun advent calendar. Now, I either read a chapter in Luke each day, listened to a Christmas praise hymn each day or read an advent type book.  Well, last year I think I found a book that will now be a tradition in my life each Christmas.  It is called “Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative“. 

It is a great book to read leading up to Christmas and Andrew Peterson has a music CD (or mp3’s) that you can also purchase with the book.  I purchased the kindle version of the book for myself and a few of the mp3’s from Amazon.  I plan on giving a few hardcover versions as gifts over Thanksgiving.

Kevan and I had the opportunity to see Andrew Peterson in person at an adoption conference we went to in Florida.  Now, I love his music.  The song on Andrew Peterson’s album, “Matthew’s Begats” makes me smile every time I hear it.  My pastor in Florida sang it as part of the church’s Variety Show this year.  He did a great job and everyone loved it.  The entire album is very good.

I think this would be a great tradition for families to do together each night leading up to Christmas day.  We also read Luke 2 out loud on Christmas morning.  If I had children I would also love to do what my friend Julie does with her 3 boys.  They make a birthday cake for Jesus to enjoy on Christmas day.  

If you have any advent traditions I would love to hear them.  Please comment and let me know.


10 Nov

I….will…..not….start….this….post….with…an…apology.  I keep telling myself not to apologize for being away from my blog for over week.  But, I AM sorry that I have been too busy with….life…to write.  I said LIFE!  Isn’t it amazing.  I’m cancer FREE!!!  I know you all knew that…but I am still so thankful that God brought me through it and I am able to shout it.  After months of being sick…I am enjoying life. I love my life.  I loved my life before, but enjoying life on the other side of chemo and a cancer diagnosis is just fantastic.  I cherish so many more things now.  I am thankful for my eyelashes!  I’m thankful for sweet doctors and nurses!  I’m thankful for my husband and that I got to see a side of him I never knew he had.  He nursed me and loved me so much during this time.  It was precious (oh…and he will have to do it again soon since I have another surgery in December).  I’m thankful for working bowels. HaHa!  Thank God right now for your working bowels!  ;o)   Can you tell I’m excited???
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