Friday, October 30, 2015

Bubbly Boobies!

Oh man, I personally love the title I chose for this blog; however, I might be biased 😉

But first, I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone, all of you, that have prayed and come over to deliver flowers or meals or just to keep me company, and for reading my blog, and for everything else you have done to support me!!!

Second, updates! 😀 Went for my first follow up visit with my plastic surgeon yesterday. I was really nervous about this appointment, because I knew they were going to take off the bandages, and I would have to see my new chest for the first time.

They checked the drains and said everything looks good there, but I still need to keep them in for another week  (ugh, but I'd rather have them draining fluid out of me, than having to keep that fluid in me and cause more swelling!). Then they took off the ace compression  bandage off.

The first thing I felt was relief, because I realized that what's causing a lot of my chest pressure was the wrap! It felt good to stretch a little, and take in a few deep breaths. They removed the rest of the bandages, and said all the incisions looked normal. So I took a deep breath (since I finally was able to), and forced myself to look down.

What I saw was not what I expected. I expected several large, thick, and ugly incisions marks. I expected lots of bruising, coloring my chest in blues and purples. I expected the drain tubes to just be hanging out of holes in my chest wall. I expected a pancake-flat, bloody chest. Can you see why I was excited for this appointment?!? Lol.

What I saw when I looked down was skin; my own skin, in its normal color. I saw one steri-strip covering one incision a few inches long on each breast. I noticed the drain tubes coming out the sides of my chest, sutured nicely into tiny incisions. The best part was seeing that there were small curves on my chest wall - not flat as I had anticipated.

So all this was quite a relief!!! Praise Jesus! 😀👆

I was exhausted after the appointment  (it's amazing how easily drained of energy I am now days), so I took a nap (my favorite activity this week). I woke up to visit with two of my awesome coworkers, and with a good friend who brought supper the a few other good friends had made.

During the afternoon and evening, the pain subsided a bit more. I started noticing a very bizarre sensation in my left breast: bubbling. Bubbling!  Like fizziness, carbonation-like. It felt like someone dropped an alka-seltzer tablet into my breast!!! I know it is just the fluids moving around the tissues and drains, but it is the weirdest sensation I have ever felt!!!

But I will take some bubbling over burning pain any day! 👍 Champagne breasts...has a nice ring to it! 😉

Last night I felt pretty good, and I was able to brush and flood my teeth! One more step in the right direction!!! This morning is pretty good also, I'm only about a 3-4 out of 10 (minus the cat waking me up by walking across my chest...yikes!). But a major pain decrease, finally!!! But I could not do all this without the strength, peace, and hope given to me by God, and by all the love you all have shown me. Thanks again for reading...God bless!!!

P.S. GO ROYALS!!!!! ❤⚾❤⚾❤⚾

Thursday, October 29, 2015


I've had to do a lot of tough things in my life, but my surgery on Monday was probably the toughest. I felt peaceful and calm going into it (both of my surgeon's were able to be there, yay!) which was good. I felt REALLY good about it once they gave me that happy twilight medicine stuff right before they wheeled me back to the OR! ;-) lol.

It amazes me how fast blood circulates through the body.  Almost immediately after giving IV drugs into the vessels, you feel the effects from head to toe. But I digress...

When I woke up from surgery, there was a ton of emotions. Good emotions about the cancer being gone, and everything went as planned. Not-so-good emotions about the pain. I thought my chest and sides were either on fire, bleeding out, or a combination of both. I've never experienced that kind of pain before, and I panicked because I thought something was very wrong. The nurses were all great, and were patient and helpful in managing the pain. I also cried out to God, and thought about all the amazing women I've met who have fought this same battle, and have won. I was also upset when I found out they took all my left lymph nodes, instead of just the sentinel biopsy (the surgeon said they felt swollen and what not, so she took them). I know this is a common procedural, but I was hoping and praying that the lymph nodes weren't involved, but better to take them than to leave them in there! And of course we will know more once the final pathology report comes back.

I eventually got wheeled to my little room at some point (which was actually pretty nice, minus a bathroom). I remember my friends and family coming to visit, which was soooo nice and reassuring!

My nurse that night, Tess, was awesome. She was very kind, gentle, and patient. I don't think I could have made it through that night without her and my mother! I was unable to do anything, which was incredibly frustrating. If I wanted a sip of water, I needed help. If I wanted a bite of graham cracker, I needed help. If I wanted that annoying strand of hair out of my face, I needed help. While it was a very humbling experience, I am so thankful for their help. Especially when it came time to use the bathroom.

Going to the bathroom after surgery was the second hardest thing ever. I had figured I could just use my abs to sit up, but that intensified my chest pain so much that I would just fall back onto the bed. Once I finally made it upright, I felt that burst of excruciating pain again. While both sides hurt a lot while standing, the worst spot was below my left breast. I panicked again, as I thought the sutures had split open and fire and blood was now pouring from it. Tess and my mom reassured me I was fine, it was just the new tissue expanders shifting with gravity, putting pressure on the incisions.

I thought I was either going to hurl, pass out, or simply die right there (having very low blood sugar was not helpful).

Fortunately, none of those things happened, and I made my way down the hall to the bathroom. Once in the bathroom, I needed help holding my gown so it didn't fall in the toilet. I needed help getting the toilet paper, as I couldn't reach out far enough. And we all know how long it takes me to Once that was finished, I had to stand up again to go wash my hands. I figured since I was still upright, moving from sitting to standing wouldn't be too difficult. So I just stood right up, and immediately felt the shift of the expanders, along with the intense, burning pain. The whole episode took about 20 minutes...just to go pee!

Anyways, I got some rest that night, and got some food and fluids down me. The hospital dinner they gave me was chicken, green beans, and mashed potatoes, which was all actually VERY yummy!!! So that was a pleasant surprise :-) Getting dressed in the morning was also very humbling; I felt like a giant American Girl doll, but nowhere near as cute! (If I were an American Girl doll, I would totally want to be Samantha. Even though they retired her. Lol).

The ride home wasn't too terrible, but I did notice how terribly rough and bumpy a lot of the roads are! Once I got home and settled, I just watched movies and the first part of the Royals game with my boyfriend (who also took good care of me, bringing me whatever I needed, and would patiently position my little heart pillows under my arms until they were in juuuuust the right spot). I wish I could have watched the entire game (all 14 innings!), but I am glad we won!

Yesterday was still a struggle with pain. Not too bad during the day, but last night it increases again greatly. Again, crying out to God and remembering other survivors got me through those tough moments. I was fortunate to have friends come to visit, which was soooo nice,and my mom washed my hair in the sink (this was painful, but I must admit I did sleep better!). And I did get to watch the Royals win! :-)

Feeling much better today, as I'm not experiencing that intense, excruciating pain as often. I can even feed myself now! Even though I'm never hungry now, which is weird lol. I also took a record 5 laps around the table this morning when I got up to use restroom! 😆 I felt like Eric Hosmer or someone rounding the bases (bases, chairs, same thing!). 😉⚾ I have an appointment later this morning with the plastic surgeon to check my incisions and what not, and if I said I was not terrified of looking at myself for the first time, I'd be lying. I also hope I get my drains taken out. Even though they're not terrible, they are just a (helpful) nuisance! Lol. I know that God will get me through this!!!

Thank you for reading, and I will update soon!!!  God bless! 😊💟🎀👆

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Do You Trust Me?

I was finally feeling ready to attack this cancer and have surgery when I woke up this morning. Good thing my surgery isn't scheduled till Monday, because I was notified that my surgeon had left town last night. She had left for St. Louis, where her mother was in ICU. I was informed of this so that I could move a Thursday appointment to Friday (to prep for my surgery Monday), and I didn't think much of it at the time.

Once the call ended, my mind (of course) started going crazy with the beloved "what-ifs."

Ahhh, those what-ifs that ruin many of our days! I began to worry what if her mother is severely ill, and she can't return in time for my surgery? Or what if her mother passes, and she has a funeral to attend, instead of my surgery? Or what if all ends up ok, but she is distracted as she works on me??? I got myself so worked up I was "stuck." This happens to me periodically as it is (thank you OCD!), but this time I prayed.

First, I prayed for my surgeon and her mother. I immediately felt selfish after my initial thoughts, and realized the bigger picture. Then I prayed for peace about my situation. As I was sitting there praying at my desk (thankfully the phone didn't ring, giving us some peace at the front desk), I heard a whisper: "Do you trust Me?"

My initial response was "Oh God, not now, I don't have time to trust, I just need PEACE!" Then I remembered who I was praying to. If I have time to pray for peace, then I have time to trust, and then I for sure have time to receive peace.

Why we resist these simple and easy things, I will never know (other than good ol' human nature). About this time, two scriptures popped into my head:

Phillipians 4:6-7: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Mark 11:24: "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."

God reminded me that, not even a week ago last Friday, He has answered my prayers in a big way (regarding my post-surgery supploes); how could I be here not trusting Him to provide?

This calmed me a bit, but I was still concerned. I went and talked to my mom and some coworkers, who reassured me all would be fine. I realized yet again how God uses His people to help us hear Him...and I am so thankful for that (And those people)!!!

Sometimes I feel I'm just as bad as the people in Exodus - continually forgetting God's provisions and love. This is why I am so thankful for His grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love! And also for my friends and family who continually reassure me, and remind me of His love and provisions. I am still continually thankful for you all!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Honeymoon Phase

Well kids, the honeymoon phase is over.

I feel like some sort of sick (I guess I am though hah!) and twisted person to be saying this, but I do believe I had a sort of "honeymoon phase" after my diagnosis.  One website defines this as "A timespan during which problems are known to exist are either not manifest or are ignored, much like the newlywed period during which spouses are most cordial and passionate with each other.  In medicine, a honeymoon period is that which follows the diagnosis of a disease and before its impact is felt."

That is definitely what I experienced.  The past few weeks have not felt scary, just slightly overwhelming.  It has been almost exciting, as any new adventure does.  All the love and support was so great, and it felt really good to know that God has put such AMAZING people in my life (this means YOU!  You are AMAZING!).

Part of me was relieved that all the weird and annoying symptoms I had been experiencing (fatigue, night sweats, etc) were validated.  I was not just a whiny wimp that wanted to sleep all the time, I had a good reason to skip out on social events on Friday nights to sleep!

Another part of me was "happy" to have something that forced me to make some major lifestyle changes; changes I have wanted to make for years, but never had the real strength or resolve to make them last.  I was thankful for an "excuse" to purchase expensive organic produce and all natural beauty products.

And, of course, I've always wanted bigger boobs ;)

Thankfully, I know I can continue to focus on the positive things.  I do know, however, that these "excuses" are ones I should have been using for years.  I preached prevention to all my patients, but I did not practice what I preached.

Suddenly, reality has set in.  I am blaming PMS, as that is what gets me emotional on a monthly basis.  Also, this is the first time I have felt that anything about my situation is unfair.  PMS and cancer?!?!?  I mean, just uncap and dump the entire salt shaker in the wound!!!

While I am thankful for the lifestyle changes I have already made, the reality of incorporating them for the rest of my life overwhelms me.  I worry about things I should not even be thinking about right now.  Things like "What will my friends think if I only want to eat at 'healthy' restaurants?  Will it drive my family and friends nuts, or offend them, if I turn down baked goodies, or (my newest thing) only want to use glass food containers instead of plastic?"  With the holidays approaching, how on earth and I supposed to show all my loved ones how much I care without budget-friendly baked treats?!?!?  And holiday parties...ok, while I know I will bend my "rules" here, what AM I going to wear?!?!?

Thankfully, I know you all are amazing, and will support me in this fight however I need you to.  I've been drinking apple cider vinegar and kombucha for years, and you all still love me.  :)  Thank you!!!

Then there is surgery (worries of pain, external scarring, pain, internal scarring, pain, infection, pain, and oh those creepy/gross drains, etc) and chemo (nausea, fatigue, low white blood cell count during cold and flu season, and my biggest concern: whose hair WILL I pull?!?!?), but for now I am just focusing on my next step: preparing my mind, body, and soul for surgery.  I want to go into surgery as healthy as possible, so that I can recover as quickly as possible.  I have a LOT to do in that time off after surgery!  So much Netflix to watch and so many books to read...but I am terrified of the pain and side effects from surgery (especially the limited movement...yikes!  And I'm not even allowing myself to think about how I will look with clothes off for a long time...not that I enjoyed thinking about it previously lol).

Once I am healed up from that, then I can focus on the next steps.  But those are a few months away, and I know that with God and all you wonderful people, I will be just fine.  Please know that all your texts, calls, emails, Facebook posts, cards, prayers, and EVERYTHING helps me so much, every day.  I go back and look through them constantly, and I will use them so much over the next few months.  I hope God blesses you all as much as you have blessed me, because you have blessed me beyond words.