Sunday, November 28, 2010

Post-Surgery Update

Ok just to update everyone on my surgery. It went well...well as good as it could lol.  The surgery took about an hour and a half.  The nurse blew my first vein and so had attempt a second vein and the other nurse couldn't spell the medication I was taking....always entertaining ha ha...I mean u gotta find something to laugh at :).  Before surgery was very difficult on me and I know those I love.....I had a hard time being calm enough to go back into surgery but luckily they have good drugs to aleviate my anxiety and keep me calm.  :)  My surgeon, Dr. Webber, did discover 2 new tumors,which would total 4 tumors,  that were not seen on the MRI on PET scan.  The tumors have to be sent to pathology to fully diagnose them as cancerous. And so with that I can say that I am very happy that I had the surgery sooner rather than later seeing as how there were new tumors that have grown in a 2 week period since my PET scan.  After surgery there was a small party going on in my room lol.  I had a big burst of energy that last for about 20 minutes and then I was out of energy lol.  I have received more flowers, cards, and love from everyone than I deserve.  As I sit here tears fill my eyes as I think of how loved and blessed I am to be surrounded by such wonderful friends and family.  The days after surgery have their ups and downs.  I am up and moving around and planning on returning to school tomorrow, god willing.  The down part of my day really comes with moving my arm.....the pulling and ripping feeling I experience is not so much fun but I know I have to keep my arm moving so I don't loose mobility in it.  As for my scars.....well at this moment they are more than I am able to talk about.  I can only say that at this moment the verse Rev. 21:5 "Behold I make all things new" is a verse that I cling to.  I long for the day when Jesus will come and make all things new and my scares will be no more but for now I am adjusting.  We have to wait about 5 days or so for pathology reports to come back and we are praying and hopeful for good reports :) For all the prayers, encouragement, cards, flowers, etc that I have received THANK YOU.....I am undeserving and amazed at the love I have felt. :) Here are some fun pics we took before, during, and after surgery. :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Surgery 102......The Next Step in Life's New Journey

So the Surgery Date has been set for 10 am tomorrow  at Baptist West. I know I'm just now posting a blog the DAY BEFORE surgery but that's because I just scheduled it on Monday.  I obviously don't want to have the surgery and my head knows that its just trying to convince my heart that its something I have to do.  I have struggled with it for almost a week and I knew that if I waited 3 more weeks till school was over I was giving the cancer 3 more opportune weeks to do or go where ever else it wanted to.  As hard as my decision was (it actually wasn't even a decision it was just actualy scheduling the surgery that was tough) I know that I have not choice and I can't be stupid or play games when it comes to cancer.  I am blessed enough to have friends who have called, texted, emailed, sent presents, cards etc. to me and just really listened to my fears about the whole situation.  I wish I had enough money to pay everyone back for all they've meant to me but even then it still wouldn't show my gratitude and thankfullness for all of u.  Though the road before me is uncertain I still choose to praise god through this storm and say blessed be the name of the Lord....I know he's with me through it all.
Here's a pic of me and few friends having a pre-surgery celebration.......I am so blessed. :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Life's New Journey......

In my last past I told u a small summary of what had been going on with me but I need to update everyone on the rest of the story.  I apologize I haven't posted this sooner but the truth is I wish I had better news.....and telling people has been difficult for me.  On the day I found out about my brother I also found a lump on my right side (which is the side my original breast cancer was on).  I, of course, began freaking out and called the doctor and went in for an appointment 2 days later.  But after my oncologist checked it out and determined it was definitely a new lump he sent me back to my surgeon who had me get it biopsied.   The next day I got a call from the radiologist saying that it was in fact a new case of cancer.  This came not only as a shock to me but to the doctors as well considering the fact that I'm still on active treatment of herceptin every 3 weeks and I just had a clear mammogram and ultrasound 2 weeks ago and so was confident that this was just a inflammation from my scars from the last surgery .  My amazing oncologist Dr. Briggs had it tested and determined that while my last cancer was ER +  and Her 2 New +..........this new cancer is ER-  and Her 2 New +.  Well the problem with that is that I'm on herceptin which should prevent any new Her 2 New positive cancer from growing which obviously its not doing. Just a little back ground for those who may not know.....Her 2 New is a receptor specific to breast cancer and Herceptin is the newest and best drug marketed to treat it.  
 Dr. Briggs said he had never seen someone have a re-occurence of cancer which still on of course like any normal person I"m at this point feeling like a "statistic".  However, he reassured me that I am not a statistic and we are gonna do what is needed to try and fix this.  I also had an MRI done of my chest and the cancer did not show up on the MRI...which means that cancer isn't acting like "cancer", which is obviously a problem. 
The next and biggest problem to us is that my right side has been swollen for almost 2 months from much so that all I've been able to wear are compression tops, it was the site of my last cancer, and now its the site for the new cancer.
My oncologist gave me all of this information so that of course I would be informed but also because his recommendation that we feel is gonna be the safest thing for me to do is a right sided masectomy.  As he said those words to me I felt like I'd be hit with a ten-ton of bricks.   It was obvious that as hard as that was for me to was also difficult for my oncologist to tell me.  Through his watery eyes you could truly see a man who cared......a doctor who I wish everyone had. He asked me "Do you feel safe leaving the breast on".........and the truth is No I don't but I'm terried at the thought of having a masectomy. He sat with me and my amazing friend Heather for almost 2 hours and let us ask questions and just think about what all he had said....I am so truly thankful for my amazing doctor.  Yes women have masectomies done everyday and to some its not big deal but to me its like loosing a part of me and I can't explain the grief associated with it. 
After waiting for almost a week for prior approval I had a PET scan to test to see if the cancer has metastasized any where else in my body which PRAISE THE LORD it has not.  But another new tumor was seen, which mean that there is a total of 2 new tumors on my right side that have appeared in less than 30 days.  So needless to say he wants the surgery done possibly next week.  Also, a new round of chemotherapy is dependent on the fact of how infected the breast is with cancer once its removed and biopsied.  There's the possibility that it might not be full of disease but I'd be risking alot to keep it and take the chance that it is.  The thought of chemo is one I can't really explain either.......I'll just keep it simple by saying It's a scary thought and those who have gone through it or been with someone whose gone through it know what I mean.
While a masectomy "sucks" still isnt' the worst that could happen and I'm thankful for all the doctors that have taken care of me up until this point.  You don't find alot of doctors that will call you from their cell phone to tell you your results on just sit with you in silence........for that I am beyond thankful.  I would be lying if I said I wasn't upset, mad, angry, confused and so many other words. But I also still trust in a God that I know has my best interests at heart and knows and understands my pains and fears, a God who is my healer.  It's in him alone that I trust during this uncertain time. 
Trusting in His Grace Alone,

Two Angels Above

There are many times in the past week or so that I have wished I were 5 years old again and my biggest worry was who was gonna play with me at play time.  But unfortunately we all must grow up and sometimes as I'm sure many people know we have things happen that we don't understand.....we don't see how the God we believe in could be involved in any way in the sadness we all have experienced at some time or another.  For the past 2 weeks these have been just a few of my thoughts and questions.   About 2 weeks ago I received a call saying that my oldest brother Brett had passed away....there aren't really any words I can use to express my grief or how my heart breaks thinking of the wife and 3 children he left behind.  I love the picture of my dad, me, mark (left), brett (right), and brittany.  It was taken almost 7 years ago on father's day in Cade's was soo excited to have us all together as
you can see by the smile on his face.  A story about my brother that I never get tired of telling is when we all were together at the hospice center in Nashville during Dad's last days with us.  We were all going to eat when I asked if we had everyone to which Brett replied "Everyone but Tator".  "Tator"? I said.....u talkin about Channing....brett replied "That's a Big Tator" lol.  Brett was witty and full of humor and once you got him goin it was all laughs.  At his funeral a young man Thomas, a young man Brett and his wife adopted, got up to talk about my brother and read a letter he had written to him. It had to be one of the most power funeral speeches I have ever heard.  Thomas told of never having a father figure around and how he had been to 5 high school in just the 4 short years high school lasts.  He told of how Brett brought him to Thanksgiving with the family, moved him into his home and made him apart of the family, and then helped him enroll at college at ETSU.  It was a powerful speech and I said whenever my time comes to go home to my heavenly father and just one person can get up and tell a story about how I impacted their life like Thomas told about how Brett forever changed his life..........then it would all be worth it.  How proud I am of my brother and the impact he made on the world and on the lives of many before he went home.  He had suffered and been sick for a while, as my father was before he passed away.  And while my heart breaks that he's gone it rejoices that he is no longer hurting.  I miss him and my dad more than any words I type could ever express. I'd be lying if I said I didn't question God or ask him why he'd taken two amazing men in my life.....why he had to have them RIGHT NOW....why he just couldn't wait.  And he reminds me with his gracious love that his thoughts are not my thoughts....nor his ways my ways.  I can't begin to understand his thinking but I have faith that it's all working together for my good.  A picture that always makes me smile is when I imagine dad and Brett seeing each other again for the first time in so long and embracing and watching us all together from heaven.  Now we have 2 guardian angels watching over us.....God bless my two brave men...I miss them so :)