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Pectoral muscles and my new hobby…

26 Sep

I’ve struggled since my mastectomy/reconstruction in 2012 to do things that I used to be able to do.  During surgery they cut the pectoral muscles when they inserted the tissue expanders in order to create a pocket for the implants once I had the reconstruction.  Some of the things that I have a hard time with are raking leaves, shoveling dirt, bowling…pretty much anything that really uses my pectoral muscles.  It would either hurt immediately or I would be paying for it the next day when I had muscle spasms.  I wanted an exercise that would build up those muscles, but also be fun.  Honestly, I hate exercise…it is boring.  I love going on a hike or for a long walk, but anything that makes me sit/stand in the same position while staring at a wall (think treadmill, elliptical, lifting weights) or even running down the road without enjoying what I’m running past is no fun.

For the last 5 years or so my husband has wanted me to go kayaking with him.  The first time he asked we lived in Florida and the thought of kayaking along side an alligator did not appeal to me.  I didn’t like the idea at all.  So, I’ve been saying no, changing the subject or telling him I *might* do it if it is a 2-person kayak. I’m not a very good swimmer.  I worried about falling out and thought if he was in the boat with me he could help me get back in it. I always had an excuse of why I couldn’t do it.  The excuse during the last year or so was my pectoral muscles couldn’t handle the paddling.  🙂

In August we went to Michigan for my family reunion.  It was held at my brother’s farm.  He has a pond and a canoe.  My other brother brought his kayaks over in case anyone wanted to paddle around in the water.  While we were there Kev asked me if I wanted to go in the canoe.  I thought it would be so much more stable so I said sure.  As I was getting in I almost tipped it over.  The thought of Kevan getting into it too alarmed me.  I knew we would end up in the water if we couldn’t keep the thing balanced.  Knowing that he always wanted to go in a kayak and knowing that I’d be in it BY MYSELF I asked him if he’d rather go kayaking.  I knew I could keep it balanced if I was in the boat by myself!  I’m a little of a control freak sometimes.  He said he wanted to go in the kayaks.  Whew!  So, we did.  Let me tell you…..I loved it!  It is the most peaceful thing.  It didn’t hurt me to paddle at all.  Although, it was a little pond, but we did paddle around for about 40 minutes altogether that day (we did it twice).

Once we traveled back home I became a little obsessed with kayaking.  I’m pretty sure Kev was very excited that I was finally on board with the idea.  We researched kayaks and found out that there was a kayak manufacturer (Jackson) near us.  It made us happy that they were made in the US and locally.  We love to support our local economy.  We decided to rent a couple of kayaks just to make sure we really liked it.  The kayaks we rented ended up being Jackson kayaks as well.  We loved them.  As we did our research we realized that we also wanted to fish.  We didn’t just want to paddle/float around.  So, we would lay in bed and watch YouTube videos of people fishing on their kayaks and looked for things we might want our kayak to have (a place for rods, dry compartments, etc).

Here is a picture of me trying out a Jackson Kilroy.  We were near the Caney Fork dam and the water was freezing, but it was fun.

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I was a little worried about sitting in a kayak for a long period of time since I have horrible tailbone pain since chemo treatment.  This made me want to try a few with seats as well (the molded plastic ones, the small inserts and the larger full seat that can be removed.  We finally decided on which kayaks we would get and it had the removable seat.  The seat lets me sit up really straight (it has adjustments) so I don’t have to sit back on my tailbone.  It is very comfortable.  Kev ended up with a sit on top and I ended up with a sit in.  WE LOVE THEM.

Here is a picture of the one I purchased from Caney Fork Outdoors – it was dark out so the pic is pretty dark….but it is really pretty.

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The next day, I used my Silhouette to cut out a vinyl breast cancer ribbon and “Survivor” sticker to put on my kayak.  I added one to both sides.  See below.

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Here is a pic of Kevan in my kayak.  I am usually the one with the camera so I don’t have a picture of me in my kayak.

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Being in my kayak is so restful.  I love paddling around rivers and lakes looking at all of God’s creation.  It is so beautiful.

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A great bonus is that I’m getting exercise.  Sometimes we have to paddle more because we are on a lake (no river pushing us along) or because the wind is is pushing against us and we are trying to make it back to where we put in at.  But, I LOVE IT.  I don’t mind the extra paddling or the exercise.  I actually love it more when I have to paddle then when we are just on a lazy river.  I love pretty much….every minute of it.  I also love that I’m in MY OWN kayak.  Kevan and I were on a lake last weekend and we were arguing (just a little – ha!)….I said, “You should be glad you are in your own kayak right now because if I was in it with you I would push you out!”  HAHA!!  We both laughed and he said the feeling was mutual.  lol!

Another great bonus is that we catch DINNER.  Yes.  I love fresh fish.  Kevan cleans it and I cook it.  Perfect match.  It tastes so good.  Here is a pic of Kevan with a bass he caught for our dinner while we were camping the other day.  It looks tiny, but it actually fed both of us.

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Here is another great pic of my best friend.

Kayak Kev

Just because you are a breast cancer survivor who has had a mastectomy and reconstruction doesn’t mean you can’t do things like kayaking.  YOU CAN DO IT!  I am so blessed that God has healed me and that I’ve had the opportunity to experience paddling around with my husband and enjoying God’s creation.  One more thing that I find myself doing while I’m kayaking is praying.  It is just so peaceful and I won’t even realize that I’ve been sitting there talking to God (in my head, not out loud) while I’m paddling around, fishing or sitting back and looking around.  I don’t use my computer, my smart phone or watch TV on my kayak….so the time that I’m sitting there I tend to end up praying.  I asked God a question the other day while I was paddling around.  I *thought* I heard an answer (in my mind).  So, I was a little shocked.  I asked God if he really answered me.  Then, Kevan came up beside me in his kayak and said the EXACT SAME THING that I thought God had just told me.  I think God was confirming to me that He really did just answer my question.  It was such a special thing.

So….lastly, it is a great way to spend time with God in prayer.  I love it!

Rib Lump

16 May

Last week I helped Kevan with getting our garden ready.  I was using a hoe to break up dirt and rake the grass/weeds out of the garden area.  That night and the next 3 days I had pretty bad muscle pain and spasms.  Sunday night I was still having the pain so while I was taking a bath I was rubbing my chest muscles and noticed that above my breast I had a pretty large painful lump.  I freaked.  This is only one year and 36 days since my original cancer diagnosis and only a little more than 8 months since I finished chemo.  I made Kevan feel it twice and, much like the first time I had a lump, he was not very excited to do so.  lol!  I immediately made an appointment with my breast surgeon Monday morning so he could take a look at it and get his thoughts.  The appointment was made for Thursday morning (today).  This meant that I had to wait 3 days to find out what it “might” be.  It was hard to work, I couldn’t concentrate and my thoughts kept leading me to “what if” scenarios.

Unfortunately, I worried.  A lot.  Kevan walked into the kitchen on Wednesday and said, “Sweetheart, is there something you aren’t telling me?  Are you on strike?”  I’ve been so worried and depressed that I haven’t cooked at all this week or cleaned much.  We’ve eaten out every night and I was too depressed to clean.  So, he figured I was on strike because this isn’t normal for his wife.  I was taking the extra time I had not cleaning/cooking to google all about weird chest lumps and freaking myself out.  I told a few friends so they would pray and mentioned it to my Ladies Bible Study group on Wednesday night.  They were so sweet and prayed a prayer for me right then (which made me cry).  They prayed that it wouldn’t be anything serious and asked God to give me peace if it was cancer again.  Well, last night I actually felt peace.  I thought a lot about Christian women that I knew that had breast cancer that was found in other areas of their body and died young.  Each of them is such a special woman and I knew that God allowed it to happen in order to bring about His ultimate plan somehow.  As scripture says, “all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.  So, I thought, if this was cancer, that I would feel privileged that He felt that I should undergo what these other women did in order to bring about His purpose.  Does that make sense?  Then, I said a prayer for my mom and my husband because I knew that, if it was, it would be so hard on both of them.  It was so hard on them the last time.  They would need special prayer.

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One Year Later – Thank you Lord!

9 May

Last year, on May 8th, I had a double mastectomy.  Last night, I read through a bunch of the posts from that time.  It is so amazing how much my mind has forgotten.  I’m so thankful that I can’t remember the pain that I was in or the nights of sleep that I went without.  The morning of the mastectomy I was all prepared to see what God had planned for me, but I remember once I was at the hospital I started to get scared.  I had to keep stopping to pray for strength and you know what?  God provided it.  I went through one of the most painful things that day too.  I had to get a shot put into both of my N’s.  It WAS HORRIBLE.  I cried.  The sweet nurse held my hand and God got me through it.  That pain was just the beginning of what God was going to show me over and over throughout the journey.  That He would be WITH me.

When I woke up from surgery I couldn’t really see myself, but I imagined I looked pretty bad.  I was a little horrified by the cute intern that stopped by to check on my post-surgery body, but it is a pretty funny story to remember now.  Then, on day 3 when I finally saw myself….I remember MANY weeks of Kevan trying to encourage me and tell me that this was just the transition.  That things would look better one day.  I had my doubts.  I cried so many times.  I had to pray a lot for strength.  I prayed that Kevan would still love me even if I was deformed or always looked like Frankenstein.  My N’s turned black, but you all prayed for me and GOD ANSWERED! He healed them and they work perfectly today.  🙂  Praise the Lord.

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6-Weeks Post Reconstruction and a BIG Praise

19 Jan

I haven’t had much time to post lately.  I have a lot going on.  I’m back at work and takes up most of my time.  I was scared that it would be hard to get back in the “groove”, but it wasn’t hard at all.  Actually, I love my job so much (programming and designing reports) that sometimes I want to work into the night.  lol!  Kevan has to remind me to stop.  Also, I’m teaching a Wednesday night women’s bible study now on the book of Luke (the ministry of Christ) so I am doing quite a bit of preparation each day for that study.  I love researching and preparing for the study, but I still have a hard time with the actual leading of the study since I am an introvert and all eyes are on me.  I’m hoping that it will get better as time goes on.  It still scares me to death each week.

Arms/Chest Muscles
My body has healed very well since my surgery.  I am feeling great.  The only thing that has been bothering me are my arms and chest muscles.  For example, I cannot stir like I used to.  I used to make up batter (cookies, cakes, etc) and stir them…but now….those chest muscles hurt A LOT when I do that so now I have to lug out the stand mixer.  If I end up stirring manually I have muscles spasms the next day.  Also, the other day Kevan opened the kitchen window and when I went to shut it the muscle pain in my chest was awful.  It feels like something is tearing.  So, I’m going to talk to the doctor about exercises I need to be doing.  I also reached out to the personal trainer I used to go to in Orlando (Hi Rena!) and we might have some FaceTime sessions so I can learn some arm/chest/back exercises to help me.  I will let you know how that goes and if this pain gets better.  I pray it does!  Farm chores will be really hard in the spring/summer if I can’t get these muscles back to where they used to be. Continue reading

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!!

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.

Encouragement and Unspeakable Joy!

14 Dec

What a difference a week makes!  Or 8 months.  I am a week and 2 days out from my final reconstruction surgery.  The swelling is gone, the pain is getting better, the stitches have been removed and things are looking good.  I wanted to write a post to encourage those women that have to go through the same procedures.  The journey is hard, painful, stressful, discouraging, sad…..but in the end….it is worth it.  I have talked on this blog many times about the pain and internal turmoil I experienced the first time I saw myself after my double mastectomy and how it took weeks…maybe even months for me to look at myself without crying.  Sometimes crying the whole remainder of the day.  It was hard to experience and hard to believe that I would ever look normal again.  God was with me though and I prayed and prayed that the doctors and my husband would be right.  That I would be able to look at myself and be okay with it.  That God would answer my prayer and I would look normal again.  I know a lot of you prayed as well.

I am here as a witness now to say, “I look pretty darn good!”.  God answered those prayers!  In some ways, I look better than I did before I had breast cancer.  I am very happy with the results.  The surgeon was able to use new technologies to do so much…it is pretty unbelievable.  I still have a lot of healing left, but things should improve week by week.  My scars will eventually fade and as far as I can tell….no one would ever know I have breast implants under this skin.  The implants we chose look so natural.  I didn’t want to look fake and I don’t.  Praise God!  The tissue expanders felt like rocks….the implants feel so much better.  They took the sutures/stitches out yesterday so those areas still need healing and I still have dissolving stitches all along the bottom of my breasts, but I have joy today.  I can see now what the doctor and my husband kept telling me in the beginning.  I would look normal again and I would be happy with it.  I am.  I am grateful to God for blessing me so much.  I am so so so grateful that my husband is excited and very happy as well at how things are looking.  lol!  As a married woman, this means more to me than my own acceptance of myself. But, to have both (mine and my husband’s joy in it) and not having to feel like I “look as good as can be expected after breast cancer”…..but I “look good” and believe I will look great in weeks to come is huge to me….this is HUGE to me.  God’s grace.  God’s love for me.  It overwhelms me.

How I look shouldn’t matter.  I know this.  Who really sees me anyway besides myself and my husband?  But, it matters.  It matters that I feel beautiful for my husband.  It would matter even if I was a single woman.  It matters that underneath it all I’m not left with the memory of the horror of it every time I see myself without clothes, but instead the beauty of what God has done for me.  He brought me through a very hard time and left me better than I was before.  Not just on the outside, but also on the inside.  Only my Lord can do something this powerful.   Oh, how I love Him.  I know it mattered to my Father because it mattered to me.  He doesn’t do things small…..He delivers BIG.  He is the Creator of the world….why couldn’t He make me look great again?  Of course He can!  He made man from the dust of the earth….He spoke the world into being.  He healed me from cancer, He walked with me through it all, He gave me strength to endure it and HE gives me this joy today.  I am so thankful and blessed.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”Romans 15:13

This song….is so fitting for my heart today and for the season – UNSPEAKABLE JOY!


A Painful Night of Sleep

11 Dec

I did so well yesterday that I decided to cut back on my pain meds and did a little more than I had been doing (putting dishes in the dishwasher, worked on my laptop, etc).  I thought I was doing great.  At about 10pm I had Kevan help me into bed and gave me my nightly hydrocodone.  Then, 30 minutes later I called him on the Wilkie Talkie and begged for a Valium.  I was in so much pain I was crying.  Kevan gave it to me and we waited 30 minutes to see if it was going to get better.  It didn’t.  By then, I was bawling I was in so much pain.  I kept telling him I felt like I had been shot.  Lol!  Not sure why, since I’ve never been shot and don’t know what it feels like.  Anyway, Kevan helped me to the bathroom and then he unwrapped my chest.  The pain immediately subsided.  

Then, he rewrapped me and helped me back to bed.  We figured maybe I was wrapped too tight.  But, within an hour it all started again.  If I laid down I was in extreme pain and if I sat up or walked around it was better.  I went back to bed, raised the back of our adjustable foundation as comfortable as I could and then tried to sleep through the pain.  I haven’t had any more tears but it sure was painful.

I got up this morning on my own because I didn’t want to wake Kevan.  This was also stupid because I felt the stitches in my stomach pull as I tried to get up.  I called the doctor’s office this morning and asked them what could be happening.  They think I did too much yesterday because my pain wasn’t as bad and one of my stitches tore something.  I am right handed so it makes sense.  Also, I lifted my laptop and used my laptop for the first time last night so that could’ve pulled something.  I’m not supposed to lift more than 5 pounds and I’m pretty sure my laptop is at least 10 pounds.  That is what I get for trying to work when I’m supposed to be off.  Bad Jayde!

I am very groggy today.  I’m guessing from lack of sleep.  So, I’m off to try to take a painless nap.