Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Perfect Timing

I had my follow up appointment with Dr. Levy today. First, a doctor came in that I had met shortly while being sedated in the pre-op room and gently investigated my incisions and surrounding area. I wish I could remember her name, as I really liked her. She then covered the report she held in her hand, stating information we already were aware of as well as some new information. The cancer they removed was 1 centimeter (2.5 centimeters is an inch) it was a grade 1, which is slow growing. They removed 3 lymph nodes, which upon initial biopsy looked to be all clean, however, upon closer inspection, the first lymph node removed contained a “carcinoma”… Ok, that was news. She then proceeded to inform us that typically they recommend medication at 1 centimeter or more, none for less than 1 centimeter and because I also indicated cancer in a lymph node she was sure they would recommend medication. I, being na├»ve, assumed the medication she was speaking of was Tamoxifen. Dave on the other hand asked “Chemotherapy?” to which she replied “yes”, … I could not tell you what else she said after that.

After she left the room, I sat stunned for a moment, managed to blurt out “Crap”, grabbed a Kleenex and hopped back on the table to await Dr. Levy. Dave came to me and gave me a hug then we both sat stunned. Eventually Dr. Levy came in, washed his hand, and began to poke around my incisions forgetting that I was under them and still fresh from surgery. After satisfying himself that no lymph node fluid was building up inside or infection was present, he declared me “looking good” and proclaimed I could begin to resume “normal activity”.

Dr. Levy then began to restate what the previous doctor told us, and informed us he would get phone numbers to oncologist in the Independence branch (as it is a bit closer to home). He said the oncologist could recommend removal of more lymph nodes, although he doubts any cancer would be in any more nodes and would note it that he does not recommend any more to be removed. He also informed us there is a test that could be done, a genetic mapping, that would show if the cancer tissue removed will likely come back in the future, or not. (I will insist on this test!). Dr. Levy said there are some studies out now that suggest that Chemotherapy does not add any more value than taking Tamoxifen alone. However, he was careful to remind us he was not an oncologist and we should consult with one before we make any decisions. Each cancer is different. I have made an appointment for this coming Friday the 29th, in Independence, to consult with a medical oncologist that will handle any treatment that I may need now that surgery is over. Chemo or not, I will still need radiation and most likely Tamoxifen. Needless to say that I spent the majority of today trying to process this information.

Later this afternoon, a friend from church brought over dinner and dessert for us. (Thank you to Donna (and Angeli), Kacie and Joann for wonderful meals that were lovingly and thoughtfully prepared for us, all were delicious!) Shortly after Joann left, a beautiful basket of violets, butterflies and vines, as well as a box of chocolates, were delivered from the local florist sent from my co-workers at Verizon Wireless. My brother, Tim, called to check in with me just about the time the flowers and chocolates arrived, and my other brother Rick stopped by tonight to see how I was doing and to give me a much-needed hug.

I have received prayers, cards, texts, e-mails, comments on my blog, meals, flowers and chocolates, and calls during this journey and I want to let you all know that each and every one have come at a perfect time, when I needed them the most. I cherish each of you and feel humbled by your generosity and spirit of compassion. Thank you just doesn’t seem to be enough. Thank you for allowing God to work His perfect timing through you.

Flowers and chocolates that arrived today from my friends at Verizon Wireless.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

She's Home!

Hello All,

This is Jenny, writing in place of mom today. I want to first off thank ALL of you for your prayers, calls, texts, e-mails and comments! They have meant so very much to Mom, and us, you guys are wonderful!

I can sum up the surgery in two words...are you ready...? PRAISE GOD. :)

Yup! It went well. We had to have Mom at the hospital at 7:30 this morning, to which we arrived a bit early - and then waited. Brian and John (our pastor and friends from church) arrived shortly before they called and took Mom to the back...without me or Dad! There, I am assuming, they went over the check list (did you eat, do you have contacts in, this is what is happening...) and they had her change and put the IV in her. After that Dad and I were allowed to go back and join her, where we were then told about how long we should expect to wait, and when we would talk to people afterwards. After this, and the introductions to the nurses, I went and retrieved Brian and John from the waiting room and they got to come back and see Mom and pray over her. They had given her some anesthesia when I had left, so by this point, she was starting to get sleepy. The doctor came while we were praying, so when the prayer was done they had her get into the wheelchair and they took her off.

Fast forward an hour and a half later and Dad and I were called back to recovery to watch Mom wake up. The doctor came in with a smile on his face and said that the surgery went well and he was pleased. They got a clean margin around the tumor, they had to take out 3 lymph nodes, but each was cancer free, and she had no drain! WOO HOO! Her vitals were all normal, and they had her munching on some shortbread cookies and a ginger ale...what a breakfast! After all our updates Dad went out and told John and Brian the news, bid John goodbye and Brian came back to check on Mom himself and pray over her again. After Mom had woken up some more, and the nurse went over the precautions and wound care information with us, we were able to bring her right home! No over night stays! Mom is currently sleeping in her own bed.

I bet you understand now why I said it could all be summed up with the words "Praise God"! Every step was an answer to prayer... and you, our dearest family and friends, have been a blessing with all of your love, prayers and support. I thank you all for your diligent care of Mom.

God bless you all.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Time has Finally Come.

The time has finally come to remove this cancer from my body. We need to be at the hospital tomorrow (May 21st) at 7:30 am. Although I am not looking forward to surgery, I am looking forward to starting the process to be well again. First step...surgery.

When we met with the nurse last week she told us of all the issues we may encounter. I may need a drain under my arm if my lymph nodes produce too much fluid or don't re-route right away, I may have to spend the night due to pain, bleeding, etc. I am asking for prayer that I come out of this surgery in the best possible shape I can be in and will not need a drain or need to spend the night.

Thank you all for your prayers through this process. I have felt encouraged and focused on God through it all.

I will have Jenn update the blog tomorrow to let you all know that things went well (speaking from faith!), until then thank you for continued prayers.