Friday, June 26, 2009

A Very Good Day

Today has been a great day. I got good news from Dr. Lawson. There were NO cancer cells found in the lymph nodes that she removed last Thursday. That was the news that I wanted to hear. I don't know what means as far as treatment but that does mean that we caught the cancer before it started spreading too bad.

Today's appointment was almost enjoyable. Dr. Lawson was in a good mood because she had good news so we were able to chat about better things. We laughed over my drain "oops." She told me that she had tried something new on me to help the drainage issue and she was pleased that it had seemed to work even though I didn't keep the drain in too long. I don't have to go back to see her until September for a follow up.

I go to an oncologist on Wednesday, July 1st. I guess I will get an idea of what the rest of my treatment will be. I hope that the treatment will go smoothly and I will be back healthy.

I have to say that God DOES answer prayers. He is amazing and He loves us so much. Life is not easy and we will encounter many bumps along the way. God is always there and He listens to us. I would have never chosen to have cancer. When I found the lump, I prayed that it wouldn't be cancer but it was cancer. My prayers changed asking Him to help me through this. I asked for prayers from my friends and I got prayers from people all over the world. Missionaries that my father works with in Central America and as far away as Australia have been praying for me. People I have never met but who know my friends or my brothers or my parents are praying for me. These prayers have been answered. I AM fighting this cancer and so far I feel like I am winning. I still have long road ahead but whatever I am given, I know that God is there and will take care of me.

Monday, June 22, 2009

My Little "Oops"

Yesterday was Sunday morning. The kids spent the night at my parents and it was just me and Kevin at home. I decided to stay at home from worship service and get a little more rest before the kids came home. Kevin left for church and I decided to go ahead and get cleaned up for the day and that is when I had my little "oops."

So, I have told you about my the drains that have been plaguing me since my first surgery. If you want to really know about the drains you can click here. At this surgery, Dr. Lawson removed both drains and gave me one back. She told Kevin that she did inserted it differently so it wouldn't drain as much and would be able to be removed earlier. So it was doing it's job and I was doing my job by emptying it twice a day.

Well on Sunday morning, I went to take a "shower". I still had a piece of gauze wrapped around the drain tube and it was taped to my skin. Now this drain is UNDER my left arm. I use the fingernails of my right hand to pick the tape off but the gauze is wrapped around the the tube. The only way to get it off is to use a pair of scissors. Common sense should have told me to wait for Kevin to come home or at least to pull the gauze down the tube so I could reach it better. Common sense did not prevail that morning. I lifted my arm and went snip. In my hand, I held the piece of gauze along with the tubing of the drain and I had a piece of tubing sticking out from under my arm.

I immediately called Kevin and he came back home. Fortunately he had just left and was not far away. He was ready to take me to the emergency room. We decided to call the doctor first. Kevin spoke to the doctor on call (I was too shocked at my own stupidity to do anything). Since I had not been draining that much fluid, the doctor told Kevin that he could just pull out the rest of the tubing and I should be okay. We thought about this for a minute. We considered going next door to see if our neighbor who is a nurse was home or I about sent Kevin to go to church and get a friend who is a surgical nurse at Baptist to do it. Kevin was brave and he said he could do it. I laid down on our bed. Kevin washed his hands and grabbed our handy dandy scissors (I had a stitch holding the tube to my skin that he had to cut first). He snipped and pulled. It really didn't hurt too much but I was just so mad at myself that I cried. But it was over in just a second and now I am drain free.

I spoke to Dr. Lawson's nurse this morning and she seems to think I should be okay. I just need to make sure that I don't get a lot of swelling. If it starts to swell too much, I will need to go in and get the fluid drained. I am not too concerned. I am thankful that I know several nurses and my friend who is the surgical nurse has already told me that she would look at it and let me know if I need to see the doctor.

I made my appointment to go back to see Dr. Lawson on Friday, June 26. She will check my incisions and will give the results of the surgery. Pray that there was no more cancer in the lymph nodes so my treatment plan will be easier.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Yesterday's Surgery

Yesterday (June 18th), I had additional surgery to remove more lymph nodes from my left side. On my original surgery, May 28, they removed the sentinel lymph node and first glance showed no cancer. The final pathology report came back with 2 small specks of cancer so Dr. Lawson wanted to remove more lymph nodes to see if any cancer had spread. If they find cancer in these lymph nodes, I will probably have to have radiation treatments.

This surgery was a simpler surgery. According to Dr. Lawson everything went well. I was given the choice to stay a night in the hospital or go home that day. I chose to go home. I think Kevin regretted that decision later. I had a hard time getting over the anesthesia this time. I spent 2 hours after the surgery trying to wake up. When I finally was alert enough (which wasn't very alert), they brought Kevin in to help get me dressed and got me out of the hospital. I slept the whole way home, walked in the house and made it to the couch were I slept off and on the rest of the afternoon and evening. The anesthesia also made me nauseous this time and Kevin had to call the doctor to call me in some nausea medicine. I did get a decent night sleep, and I woke up this morning feeling much better and alert. The kids spent the night at my parent's house Wednesday and Thursday night. Tammy Robertson took the kids today and they are going back to spend the rest of the weekend with my parents, so I get a nice quiet weekend to recuperate.

I go back to see Dr. Lawson sometime next week. She removed both drains left from my last surgery but added another drain. She said that she did something different so it will not drain as much. When I am ready to have this drain removed is when I call to make the appointment.

On a funny note, I am not pregnant. I was told that three times yesterday. It's funny because, that was the last thing I was worried about especially since Kevin took care of that about four years ago.

Thanks for continuing to pray for me. I will see an oncologist on July 1st and will get my treatment plans.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Quick Update

Right now it is Saturday morning. We are being lazy and watching cartoons. Yesterday my mother-in-law went back home to Baton Rouge and I am excited about getting back to "normal"

I saw the plastic surgeon yesterday morning. I was hoping he would remove the last two drains that I have stuck on me because I really want to be able to just take a shower and dress in my regular clothes without having to disguise the two giant lumps attached to me. Unfortunately, I still have quite a bit of fluid draining so he felt like I needed to keep them for another week. He was afraid that if he took them out and I got fluid built up, they would have to go back and put them back in. I do agree that does not sound pleasant at all. So I will keep them till Thursday when I have to go back to surgery. While I am under, they can remove both but the left side will be replaced with another one for this surgery. So it looks like I will spend most of my summer wearing baggy clothing.

I go back to the plastic surgeon in 3 weeks and I think he is going to start "filling me up." These tissue expanders are not comfortable. I fill like I have rocks tightly strapped to my chest but it just part of the process. I shouldn't complain because I at least have this opportunity to get my body looking back to normal and I know it will all be worth it in the end.

I also got a call from an oncologist yesterday. I have an appointment to meet with him on July 1st. The lady on the phone gave me his name but I didn't ask how to spell the name so I can't tell you who it is. I do know he is part of Tennessee Oncology and he is located at Summit Hospital in Hermitage. I will let you know more about him after I meet him.

So yesterday was not my best day. I was disappointed about not getting my drains out so that was a real bummer. The call from the oncology office made chemo seem so real. I ended up with a bad tension headache and I just could not do anything except lay around. Kevin was home most of the day but he had to leave for a couple of hours. I was quite miserable but at least the kids were quiet even though they just watched TV all day. So today is going to be better. I am going to get up and take a shower and get my house back in order. Faith has a friend coming over to play with her and John Derrick is going to annoy them. Life is good.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Prayer Request for my Cousin, Laura Beth's Daughter, Carolina

Please keep my cousin Laura Beth's little girl, Carolina in your prayers. She is being treated for Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) which is a bleeding condition in which the blood doesn’t clot as it should.

You can read about Carolina on Laura Beth's Blog, high on life

Monday, June 8, 2009

Surgery Date

June 18th is the date set for the surgery on my lymph nodes. Thanks for keeping me in your prayers.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Bit of a Setback

My doctor called me today with the results of my final pathology results. It wasn't the best news but it is what it is and we have to take it one step at a time.

The right side where there was no cancer was perfectly fine. No cancer in the breast and no cancer in the lymph nodes. The cancer on the left side was a smaller then they thought. It was 1 1/2 cm and all the margins were clean and it did not appear attached to anything. The sentinel lymph node that they took out first was a little larger then normal. At first glance in the operating room, there appeared no cancer cells. As they did a little more investigating, there were 2 specks of cancer in the lymph node. The largest was 1 1/2 mm (not cm, but millimeters).

Dr. Lawson wants to go back in and take a few more lymph nodes out and test them. She wants to do this to plan my treatment better. She told me that I might benefit with having radiation done on my chest wall. This will probably guarantee that I will have to have chemotherapy. By doing this, I can lower my chance of the cancer coming back in the remaining tissue.

I will have to have surgery again but this time, I will do it as an outpatient surgery so I can get home quicker. I don't know what the date will be but I will let post it when I find out. I have found that this is annoying. It definitely is not what I wanted it to be but cancer is not simple and I knew that from the beginning.

Right now, I want to back to some type of normal. I miss spending time with my kids and doing for them. I miss sleeping comfortably on my bed and I miss Kevin sleeping beside me. I miss fixing dinner at night (but don't get me wrong, I LOVE having meals ready to fix.) I really miss taking a long hot shower. Right now I am just whining and after a good night's rest, I will feel better.

This is just another step that I have to take to get back to being myself. I am will do this and get it done and fight my way back to healthy. Thank you for all your prayers and keep praying.