Saturday, February 28, 2015

Uni-boob!

Well I'm officially a uni-boob and it's never felt so good! Looking down and not seeing cancer hanging off of you is pretty much the best feeling in the whole world. I know most women that have a mastectomy have a lot of trouble with losing one or both of their breasts, and maybe I'll be sad about it eventually, but all I can think about right now is- woohoooo!!!!

A week ago I was so depressed- no trip, cancer was growing again, and we were running out of options. I honestly thought I had 3-6 months to live- max. Going to MDA this week, I was preparing myself for the worst. Instead, we heard that 1) my cancer had not spread, 2) that the tumors in my breast were stable and/or breaking down, and 3) we had a window for surgery and that they would make room for me the very next day- it was all so unexpected and simply mind-blowing.

Surgery

The day of surgery was pretty uneventful all things considered. I was really excited getting ready for surgery. I was literally dancing in the pre-op waiting room I was so excited.
Yes! Cut this cancer off please!
Brad had a little entourage in the waiting room with him. Thanks for everyone that stopped by and kept him company!  There was a status monitor that showed my progress from pre-op to currently in surgery to recovery; Brad joked around that it's like ordering a pizza from Dominoes where you can monitor the status bar as they make, bake, and deliver.
Range in surgery- yay!!
The doctor came out at the end of my surgery and gave Brad a summary of how it went. The short story is that it went extremely well and there were no downsides to the operation. She felt she was able to get clear margins (removing tissue beyond the tumors, therefore getting it all out). She was able to get out my infraclavicular nodes (lymph nodes below the collar bone) and all of my axillary lymph nodes (armpit ones). She took as much skin as she possibly could while still being able to close the wound without a skin graft. I asked her before the surgery to take as much tissue/skin/lymph nodes as possible and still keep me alive at the end of the surgery. I didn't care about how it looked, I just want the best chance possible of living. I think she got the memo.

They gave me some IV drugs as I was wheeled into the OR so I was still awake but feeling pretty loopy. I don't really remember this, but later this story was relayed to us by the doctors and nurses who were present in the OR at the start of surgery: I took off my mask and said, "Hey everyone, I have something I need to say before we start." Everyone stopped what they were doing and just turned and looked at me. The nurse said I had everyone's attention. Then I proceeded to pray over all the staff and the surgeon and the operation. The nurse the next day said it was less of a prayer and more of a short sermon as it was at least two minutes long- hahahaha. She said it was actually really articulate and beautiful. Don't ask me how someone can be "articulate" while on loopy drugs. I'm going to go with that was the Holy Spirit speaking. Too funny, right?

Another funny anesthesia story is that right when I was waking up, I told Brad we needed to check on the status of the recliner I ordered off of Ebay. Brad was nervous someone let me online shop while drugged up- now that sounds dangerous! So apparently I was still decorating, even under general anesthesia.

A bunch of friends were there when I woke up from surgery that night and staying for a couple hours with me. It was so fun having a little party in my room! (Wish I had taken a picture!)

Recovery


I didn't sleep much the night after surgery. I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning. It felt like the night after delivering Noah. The nurses kept coming in that night, finding me holding Noah in my arms, just staring at him. They told me to put him down and sleep while I could! I told them I had waited nine months to meet him and I couldn't look away- I was so in love. It was that same kind of happiness and excitement that kept me up, excited to finally be free of the primary tumor, excited to have a drastically increased chance of living past the next 6 months.

I was discharged 12 hours after waking up from surgery. We were told to hang out in Houston for one night before making the drive back to Dallas. Our host home has taken such good care of us.
Tough life I have, I know.
Julie- the most amazing hostess!
Julie even made us homemade chicken noodle soup with home-made noodles, broth, and mashed potatoes all from scratch!! It was the best tasting soup I've ever had. Wow!

Our good friends Allison and Joey helped me home from the hospital too. Allison is a nurse and did an awesome job getting me cleaned up and settled at the house. Allison even made me PJ's with pockets for my drains. (you don't want to know what a drain is, it's gross.)

Next Steps

So overall I'm feeling great. My pain is being managed well with the drugs prescribed. Brad is rockin' it as my nurse. I'm trying my best to just relax (as much as I'm able to do that). Life is good!

We go back to MDA March 10th to follow-up with the surgeon and to start prepping for radiation. Radiation should be starting in 2-3 weeks from now (rushed from the standard 4 weeks for me, hopefully).

To be honest, I'm still pretty nervous about being off chemo for so long. Please continue to pray for my organs to be protected from the many cancerous cells floating around in my lymph system and bloodstream. Pray that none of them would land and start to grow anywhere else in my body. I've heard lots of stories about women getting metastases during this post-surgery waiting/healing time.

Also, while I'm absolutely thrilled about making it to surgery, and honestly thought that this might never happen, we are not out of the woods. Unfortunately I still only have a 10% chance of making it to two years out.  That number is based on the historical data around the population of folks who share these characteristics: IBC Triple negative patients treated at MDA, that made it through chemo, surgery, and radiation, were stage 3 at initial diagnosis, and still had residual disease at surgery. Though the numbers are still grim, getting to surgery at all made my chance at survival go from ~1% to 10%, so I'll take it! I feel like I actually have a real shot at making it again! woohoo!

Hope you are getting ready for that fifth birthday for David. Getting to surgery is going to be written on at least ten balloons!

16 comments:

  1. WhoooHoooooo!! Thrilled to read about your journey over the past few days. Our prayers for you continue and we are fully expecting THE miracle of your healing. So looking forward to David's 5th birthday where we will get to hug you all in person. Thanks so much for your treasured note. We love you!!!

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  2. Prayers from Florida! What a beautiful update!!!! So exited to see you SO excited. LOVE watching Gods glory being manifested through you.

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  3. Prayers from Florida! What a beautiful update!!!! So exited to see you SO excited. LOVE watching Gods glory being manifested through you.

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  4. You make me laugh and smile! Can't wait for five year balloon release!

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  5. Thank you Jesus! I didn't even know about the surgery until Amanda told me to look at the blog, but God had me completely focused on your throughout my God time that morning! What a praise, a miracle, God is victorious over cancer. Praying him to release his blessing and favor continuously over your body and your family! You are loved, by God, and by strangers (like me)

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  6. This is AMAZING!!!! - C Cunningham

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  7. Woo-hoo! So happy to hear about all the great progress.

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  8. Ashleigh- we have been praying and fasting for you and have felt our home blessed through our strong desires and faith for your health and family. I have cried many times as I've thought of this wonderful news. We are always hoping for the very best for you and your sweet family. Thank you for sharing your journey and your incredible faith!

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  9. Trusting that God is bigger than those stats! 2 Corinthians 2:5 -Your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power

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  10. شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام التفاؤل شركة نقل اثاث بالخبر كما انها افضل شركة نقل اثاث بالجبيل نقل عفش واثاث بالجبيل والخبر والقطيف والدمام
    شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
    شركة نقل اثاث بالجبيل
    شركة نقل اثاث بالقطيف

    ReplyDelete

  11. اهم شركات كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام كذلك معرض اهم شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام والخبر والجبيل والخبر والاحساء والقطيف كذكل شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة وتنظيف بجدة ومكافحة الحشرات بالخبر وكشف تسربات المياه بالجبيل والقطيف والخبر والدمام
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام

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  12. اهم شركات نقل العفش والاثاث بالدمام والخبر والجبيل اولقطيف والاحساء والرياض وجدة ومكة المدينة المنورة والخرج والطائف وخميس مشيط وبجدة افضل شركة نقل عفش بجدة نعرضها مجموعة الفا لنقل العفش بمكة والخرج والقصيم والطائف وتبوك وخميس مشيط ونجران وجيزان وبريدة والمدينة المنورة وينبع افضل شركات نقل الاثاث بالجبيل والطائف وخميس مشيط وبريدة وعنيزو وابها ونجران المدينة وينبع تبوك والقصيم الخرج حفر الباطن والظهران
    شركة نقل عفش بالرياض
    شركة نقل عفش بالطائف
    شركة نقل عفش بالدمام
    شركة نقل عفش بجدة
    شركة نقل عفش بمكة
    شركة نقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة نقل عفش بينبع
    شركة نقل عفش بالخرج
    شركة نقل عفش بالقصيم
    شركة نقل عفش بخميس مشيط
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    شركة نقل عفش بالظهران
    شركة نقل عفش واثاث
    شركة نقل عفش

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  13. افضل شركة نقل عفش بالدمام

    شركة المنزل افضل شركة نقل عفش بالدمام فهي تعتمد علي افضل الفنيين و النجاريين لفك و تركيب العفش و افضل العمالة المدربة علي نقله و تغليفه بافضل الطرق لعدم حدوث اي اضرار
    شركة المنزل شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام مع افضل السيارات المخصصة للنقل و الشحن مع امهر السائقين
    نقل اثاث بالدمام


    http://elmnzel.com/moving-furniture-dammam/

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  14. شركة تخزين اثاث بالطائف
    شركة المنزل هى شركة تخزين عفش بالطائف لدينا المستودعات المجهزة والخالية من الحشرات والقوارض كما ان جميع مستودعاتنا مؤمنة من السرقات والحرائق ونحن نستخدم احدث الروافع والاوناش فى خدمات تخزين العفش والاثاث بالطائف ونقدم جميع خدماتنا على اعلى مستويات الكفاءة وجميع خدماتنا بأرخص الاسعار .
    تخزين عفش بالطائف
    http://elmnzel.com/moving-furniture-taif/

    ReplyDelete