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Is it over?

8 Jan

Friday I had my last drain removed.  It was great.  I hardly felt this one when he pulled it out because it was placed after surgery, in their office.  So, the end that was in my body was not as long as the normal ones.  The doctor said everything was healing great.  He even lifted my restrictions.  I’ve been able to clean my house and cook again.  It is wonderful.  I had a little helper this weekend (a friend that has been staying with us on the weekends) so she did help me clean some on Saturday.  But, I still over did it and my arms ached all night while I was trying to sleep and my breast muscles were spasm-ing.  Is that a word?  

Sunday morning and evening I even made a fire in the wood stove and carried a few little pieces of wood in the house.  Kevan doesn’t want me carrying the normal size yet so he brought in the big ones.  It felt so good to do some normal chores.  I can’t wait until I can help him split wood again.  It is a chore we like to do together and as weird as it sounds….its fun.  lol!
Even though my restrictions were lifted I’m only supposed to lift 10 pounds.  Then, next week it will go up to 15 and so on.    The best is that I’m allowed to take bath’s now.  I have missed my nightly baths.  :o)  Also, I can sleep on my side now and she said I could try stomach sleeping in a few days.   I am a stomach sleeper and I have not slept on my stomach since April.  You do not realize how happy this makes me.  I thought I might not ever be able to sleep on my stomach again, but he thinks I shouldn’t have a problem.  I can’t wait to try.  Brings tears to my eyes just to think about it. 

Kevan was talking about me yesterday and I heard him say, “You wouldn’t believe what a difference it makes for Jayde to have the drains out.  I can tell she feels better and she even looks better.”  lol!  Even Kevan sees a difference.  When I was talking to the nurse I told her how sad I was that so much of the swelling is gone.  I told her I feel like I lost a size since I went home from surgery.  She said that everyone says that.  lol!  I tried on a few of my cute dresses and tank tops.  I think I’ll be happy with the size.  Not too big….not too small.  Just perfect.  :o)

Also, I wanted to mention how much faster my incisions are healing.  I’m not sure why this is, but they are way more healed than they were after my last surgery.  I’m putting Aquafor on them twice a day and massaging it in.  The massaging helps the scars to not be so raised and helps them heal faster.  I did this last time too.  

As I sit and think about how there really isn’t much left now.  I’ve been through the double mastectomy, the rounds of chemo and the reconstruction.  It is over.  I’m healed.  Praise God.  He healed me.  He walked with me through it all and I love him so much for it.  I’m so thankful for Him, for my family, my friends, everyone’s prayers….and for cancer.  Without the cancer I wouldn’t know what it is like to have to depend on God daily.  To cry out to him when I’m scared or when I’m lying in the floor sick.  To talk to him all throughout the day.  Of course, we are supposed to depend on him daily already, but I wasn’t consistent.  Cancer showed me how much better it can be if we just lean on Him for everything.

I am also thankful that it is over and I’m on this side of it.  All I have left now are the check-up appointments every 3 months.  It is a weird feeling.  I’m so glad that I am starting the New Year out healed and ready to get back to normal.  This is going to be a great year.  2013!  And…..even though it is over…..I will rely on Him.  Daily.  I hope and pray I do.

Reconstruction – 4 Weeks Post-Op

31 Dec

Special Prayer Request
I wanted to ask for prayer for a friend.  She has been on my mind all week and non-stop this morning.  She may be losing her mom today.  My heart is breaking for her.  She is so young to be losing her mom already and it is their kids only grandmother.  Please pray that God comforts her and her father as they go through this and that He gives them strength.  Also, pray for a miracle.  I know God can heal her mother and amaze the doctors if it is His will.  I am praying for that as well.  They will see her again one day and I am so thankful for that, but it is still hard for us that are left behind.  We still have to go on with our life while feeling such a loss.  I love you Wendy.  I’m sorry you are going through this and wish I could take your pain away.  UPDATE: Wendy’s mom is with Jesus now.  Please pray for her and her family.

Normal Post:

I probably shouldn’t be writing this post.  I barely slept last night so I’m pretty grumpy.  lol!  But, I need to remember what was going on 4 weeks post-op.  In 2 days it will be 4 weeks since my reconstruction surgery.

Not sure what was wrong with Kevan last night, but he snored louder than he ever has and he stopped breathing numerous times.  He was going to sleep on his cot in the office (we aren’t at home) and before I went to bed I said, “I didn’t get married so you’d sleep somewhere else!  Sleep with me.”  He’s so warm too.  I wanted him next to me.  Then, after he came to bed I wished I hadn’t said it and I wanted to wake him up and tell him to go sleep on his cot.  lol!  I never did though.  I prayed from midnight to 3am that he would stop snoring.  He finally did.  I fell asleep, but I was worrying and it wasn’t a good sleep.  I was worrying about my dumb drain and getting it out today.  I had a feeling things wouldn’t work out in my favor.

Drain
I STILL HAVE MY DRAIN!  UGH!!!!!!!!  I was supposed to get it out today, but it went up last night.  We drove into Nashville last night and stayed with my MIL hoping I would be getting it out at my appointment today, but nope.  Grrr!  It has to be UNDER 5cc’s for 3 days.  The last 4 days have been 5, 5, 5 and then 6.5!  Really?  It has to go up??  I’m so sad.  I want this thing out of me.  I understand it is doing good and I need it there because I have 3 less lymph nodes on that side and I don’t want an infection, but I’m so tired of it.  I’m tired of the pain of having it, trying to hide it in my clothes, having to empty it twice a day and trying to sleep with it attached to me.  I talked to the nurse this morning and she confirmed that it cannot be 5cc’s.  It has to be UNDER 5cc’s for 3 days.  I have an appointment on Thursday and she didn’t think I would make that one either since it went up last night. 

Lypo Pain
Still having the bruising pain from the lyposuction they had to do on my stomach.  It doesn’t hurt unless my stomach gets bumped or if I’m taking my clothes on/off.  But, when it does….it HURTS! My stomach doesn’t look any smaller and I am under the impression at this point that lypo is not worth it!  lol!  Although, they didn’t take much…just enough to help fill in areas in my breast that needed it.  It hurts for weeks and I have to wear a belly band still.  Although, they let me change to a Spanx, but since I’m not allowed to pull with my arms I have to have Kevan help me put it on.  Since he can’t come with me into public restrooms this becomes a problem since it is a one piece thing.  Also, for those that don’t own a Spanx….you buy your size and when you take it out of the package it looks like it would fit a newborn…and your expected to fit into this TINY thing.  I was able to do it, but can you imagine wearing that all day and all night.  I’m so ready to not be bound anymore.  I’m still having to wear my sports bra and breast band all day/night as well.  I can’t wait to be free!!

Prayer Works!

26 Dec

Thank you to all who have been praying for me.  This drain pain has about did me in.  I didn’t want to post because I didn’t have anything nice to say.  lol!  I don’t know how people handle chronic pain that never goes away.  It is constant and you never get a break.  It wears you down and I was starting to think I might have to be institutionalized soon.  I was going insane.  BUT, in the last 24 hours things have improved.  Kevan slept in our bed with me last night for the first time since my surgery.  I had to have the bed higher and cannot sleep flat so he’s been sleeping in the guest room.  I lowered the bed last night and it actually helped me sleep.  I kept waking up and thinking, “Wow, I’m not hurting.  What is different?”  Once I got up this morning I thought that maybe it was because there was no pulling on the drain line.  

As I was getting ready to take a shower I forgot to pin my drain to my lanyard on my neck so it fell and pulled on the drain site.  It hurt soooooo bad!!  I screamed.  Kevan and his mom came running asking me what happened.  I told them I’m just a baby and everything was okay.  lol!  Then, I took a band-aid, gave the drain a little slack and then taped it to me.  I don’t know why it has taken me a WEEK to think about doing this.  But, it hasn’t hurt since.  Thank you Lord!  I was even taking around the clock hydrocodone and I was still having the pain before the band-aid idea.  I didn’t want to take it today since I need to work.  Now, when I’m walking around, sitting, moving, etc the drain isn’t pulling all the time because the band-aid is holding it in place.  I have relief!  Kinda dumb it took me a week to figure out how to stop the pain.  Duh! But, I believe it was an answer to prayer.  I’m just slow sometimes.

I found out bad news today.  I cannot have the drain removed tomorrow, like we thought.  The fluid has to be less than 5 cc’s for 3 days straight.  The last 4 days have been 8, 10, 8 and 9.5cc’s.  None are less than 5.  It even went up yesterday.  Ugh!!  Our morning check today was already 5cc.  So, today will not make it either.  Have I told you how much I HATE DRAINS!  I was pretty depressed this morning thinking about having this stupid drain for another week….but I’m feeling a little better now since the pain has subsided.

Kevan and I had a good Christmas.  We were able to spend it with family and that is all that matters.  We read some good advent stories, listened to a few Christmas sermons and thanked God for His Son.  Also, my mother-in-law came over and has been cleaning and doing my laundry for 2 days.  I don’t know what I’d do without her!  I love her!!  I also love that my house looks and smells so much better.  :o)  She is wonderful.

Pity Party

21 Dec

Last night I was in a lot of pain where my new drain site is and I was “losing it” a little bit.  I ended up whining a little too much to Kevan (who was being very patient with me considering!) and then went to bed early because I thought if I could fall asleep I wouldn’t know about the pain anymore.  I had been off my pain meds for 2 days, but ended up taking a 1/2 as I went to bed last night.  I laid in bed having a little pity party with myself.  lol!  I was emotional and wanted to cry, but I was able to hold back the tears.  I laid there for about 30 minutes and couldn’t fall asleep because it was just hurting/burning too bad.  I couldn’t get comfortable and I still can’t lay flat.  I prayed and asked the Lord to help me.  Then, as I was praying I thought that turning on my iPad, opening the iHeartRadio app and listening to a local Christian station sounded nice.  They were playing Christmas music and it really helped my mood and I was able to lay in bed (in the dark) and sing praises to my Lord.  :o)  I figured that if this was my last night and tomorrow (12-21-2012) was the End of the World…it was good I was falling asleep praising my Lord.  HaHa!  Then, during commercial segments I heard about a little 2-year-old boy diagnosed with cancer and was in the hospital in Nashville.  They were asking for prayer for his family.  Then, the next commercial break asked for prayer for a woman that lost her husband and her job recently.  I can’t believe I was feeling sorry for myself.  Man, I am so blessed.   I’m sorry for having my pity party.  Things could be so much worse for me.  Thank you Lord for showing me.

I wanted to mention a recent prayer Kevan and I had.  Kevan had to hike through the woods with a neighbor and some people from the state of Tennessee.  We are trying to get a permit to clean up the dam that has been created in our creek at our bridge.  The bridge was built for cars to pass over it, but was only used for a short time (a long time ago) It is 1/2 ours and 1/2 our neighbors.  We love our bridge, but we hate that during storms TONS of wood and garbage gets stuck at the bridge causing a dam and the land near the bridge is also being washed away so soon we won’t be able to access the bridge since the water is trying to find an alternate route.  Also, it floods our land and our neighbors land due to the dam.  Here is a picture of the debris that piles up.


Anyway, while Kevan was hiking to it he ended up losing his smart phone.  He was devastated.  Once he got home we prayed together and then he headed out to find it.  I tried calling it when he would radio me to do so, but he never heard it ringing.  Sometimes we don’t have a signal on our property.   He came home without a phone.  I encouraged him to go out one more time before it got dark to search again because it was supposed to rain the next day.  We prayed, our mothers prayed and a friend that had stopped by also prayed with us.  He was gone about an hour and still had not found his phone.  Our neighbor, Mr. B, stopped by the next morning, knowing Kevan had lost his phone and offered to help Kevan search for it.  Mr. B is in his 70’s and he hiked the woods with Kevan searching for his phone.  He is such a sweet man.  They searched for about an hour and Kevan started to pray and ask the Lord why He wasn’t answering his prayer.  That so many had prayed and he just didn’t understand why God wasn’t answering this simple prayer.  During his prayer he heard the Lord say, “Did you ask your neighbor if he prayed?  Did you pray with him?”  He hadn’t.  So, he found Mr. B resting on a log.  He asked him if they could pray about it together.  After they finished praying the phone was found within 5 minutes.  Praise the Lord!  It was found in an area Kevan had already passed 3 times and each time he hadn’t found it.  We were so thankful that we could celebrate this answer to prayer and that it had a sweet story…so I wanted to share it with you.  Also, it had rained a little bit that morning, but his phone is working fine.  :o)  Oh, and we are still waiting to hear about the permit for the bridge clean-up.

I’ve Learned Yet Another New Word I Didn’t Know Before Cancer

20 Dec

New word: Seroma – a lump or swelling caused by an accumulation of serum within a tissue or organ.

First, thank you to those that prayed for me.  I felt better today when I woke up (probably due to the antibiotics they started me on – Cipro and Bactrim) and I prayed that when we arrived at the doctor that Kevan and I would just look like paranoid idiots and that there really wouldn’t be an issue.  I would much rather look like an idiot than have an infection or seroma.  I did not have a fever this morning and my right breast didn’t look as red.  So, it seemed that maybe everything was fine.

We packed the car with overnight clothes/items just in case.  If it was serious I may need to stay at the hospital or if we had to see the doctor again tomorrow we could just stay at my MIL’s instead of making the long drive two days in a row.  We arrived 30 minutes early.  We had given ourselves the normal 2 hour drive, but traffic was down so we arrived early.  We finished listening to a Christmas Sermon by John MacArthur and then headed in to see if they could take us a little early.  Kevan and I love the modern technology.  We have been listening to YouTube videos or streaming sermons lately during our long drives.  It is pretty cool that our cell service is able to stay connected well enough that the video/audio is never interrupted and it gives us so many more options than just listening to the radio.

When we arrived my two wonderful nurses, Miss L and Miss B, took a look at the redness and didn’t notice any swelling.  They didn’t think anything serious was going on, but wanted to make sure with Dr. M’s confirmation.  So, Kevan and I waited (he was in surgery) until we could see him.  We just played around on our phones for 30 minutes and the time went by pretty fast.  :o)  I was very happy though…thinking that nothing was wrong and I’d be going home.

Dr. M came in and in the next 5 minutes he burst my bubble of happiness.  He immediately mentioned needle and drain.  I obviously got emotional because I hate both words.  He could tell I was getting emotional, but he knew that putting in a drain if he found fluid (seroma) was the right thing to do.   I already have potential issues because I’ve had 3 lymph nodes removed from that side and it is my cancer side so there was more trauma to the area during surgeries.  Of course, I wanted what was best, but I didn’t want to go through anything else so I was starting to cry a little just thinking about it.  Miss L and Miss B prepped the room for my “minor” surgery.  I was so glad they were going to let Kevan stay.  He moved his chair to the other side of me, held my hand and prayed for me.  Then, Dr. M stuck a few needles in me to numb the area (OUCH!!!) and then did the procedure to find any fluid that was there.  I felt a lot of pressure and some “jamming” which I did not care for.  lol!  I didn’t watch, but looked at Kevan the whole time.  At one point he had a weird expression on his face that scared me so I told him he wasn’t allowed to watch if he was going to make faces that scare me.  lol!  So, then he just continued to watch, but put his hand over his mouth so I couldn’t read him.  Anyway, there was quite a bit of fluid so Dr. M did need to put in a drain.  Have I told you how much I HATE DRAINS!  Ugh!  I am grateful for them, of course, because they have a great purpose, but I just don’t like this thing stuck in my body that has a big long tube that gross stuff drains through to get to a “bulb” that we have to empty 3 times a day.  Dr. M also noticed a blister that had formed and lanced it (ouch!).  For those that are brave and can look at medical stuff…I’ve uploaded a picture of what the blister and drain site looks like.  It isn’t pretty!  So, click here to see a picture.  I made the picture really small because it just looks grotesque looking at it any bigger. I will have to have the drain until the fluid coming out is less than 5cc’s for 3 days.  Last Monday, they removed my drains and the count had to be less than 20cc for 2 days.  So, you can see that the threshold has to be a lot less now.  My appointment to have it removed is next Thursday, but if it is more than 5cc’s I will have to move it.  I am praying it is next Thursday!

It is funny that the whole time I was laying on the table going through this, in my mind, I was thinking……”I want a big piece of Gondola’s cake for having to go through this”.  LOL!!!  I’ve fallen off the diet wagon and have cheated a few times lately.  If we had driven past it on the way home I would’ve made Kevan go buy me a piece of cake.  :p  I love their cake and I think it would’ve made me feel a little better.  LOL!

I am so thankful for Miss L and Miss B for always making me feel better when I have to go through these procedures or if I’m just having a rough time of it.  I’m also thankful for the ability that God has given to Dr. M.  Not just his plastic surgery abilities, but also his wisdom today to see that something was wrong and that he knew what to do.  Please Lord, please bless each of them.  Now, I will say that I think my little procedure was already a blessing to Miss L and Miss B because they both enjoy the little mini surgeries in the office.  lol!  I can’t imagine it!  But, Miss L was pretty excited.  :o)  

Finally, I want to say how wonderful my husband was to sit there and hold my hand the whole time and to pray with me.  I am so thankful for him and his support.  People tell me I am such a strong person all the time, but I have so much support (Kevan, Family, Friends, God) and that is how I’m able to be strong.  After each of the things I go through I appreciate so much more what my mother-in-law, Judy, went through.  She has had breast cancer twice.  She is a single woman.  I don’t know how she did it.  Kevan went to her appointments with her and tried to help her, but he wasn’t there for her first cancer experience because he lived in Texas.  Also, he couldn’t help her, like he does me, because that is just weird….cuz she’s his mom.  Ha!  Anyway, Judy….you are the strongest woman I know.  I don’t know how you did it.  I love you so much.  I wish I would’ve known you then so I could’ve helped you through each thing.  I’m glad God was with you though and got you through it.  I can’t imagine my life without you in it.

Post-op picture

6 Dec

Here is a picture of Jayde’s wraps and drains.  As you can see she is pretty swollen.  She’s been complaining about pain in her right heel.  She woke up with a blister and we are not sure how that happened during surgery.

The black near her shoulder is one of the sutures.  She has 3 on each side.  The lanyard around her neck is for her drains.  Pray she is able to do her exercises well.  She is having a hard time since it is so painful.

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.  🙂