Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving is Coming and I'm Thankful I Can Have Surgery!

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and I am not prepared! No surprise! Maybe it counts a little that I bought the big box of bread crumbs for stuffing at Costco last week. Now for a turkey and a few other necessities so that the family can make our Thanksgiving Dinner. That's right, I'll probably be watching or maybe even sleeping on the couch because I will be having surgery the day before!

Art and I went to see my Plastic Surgeon on Monday to discuss having the implant relocated and removing the other small lump. As he is assessing the situation and leaving no room for modesty, he asked about the remaining tissue under my arms. I quickly said, "well I would love to have it removed but you said that would be an out-of-pocket expense and we can't afford it". His response shocked me! He said that recently they have been able to do such surgeries as a covered procedure following mastectomy surgery, especially for women like myself that were large busted prior to cancer. I was speechless for a second and then responded, "sign me up". Seriously, you have no idea how uncomfortable this issue (or tissue) has been for me and how often I've wished (and prayed) that it could be done. This is a huge blessing!!

He asked when I wanted to have the surgery and Art and I had already discussed some options. We definitely want it done before the end of the year because I've met my deductible for 2010. Then, the doctor said he could do it next week. Are you serious? He was and I agreed to it! So the plan was to have it done Tuesday, which would give me Wednesday to recover a bit before Thanksgiving Day. Yesterday I receive the call saying that the hospital doesn't have any availability for Tuesday but they could do it Wednesday...ugh...deep breath...the day before Thanksgiving, are you serious? Well, that's the plan now and seemed like the best solution for several reasons. The following week is Sherry's birthday and the kids are planning to go to Disneyland. I knew they would cancel if I was having surgery. The week after that is my mom's 80th birthday and we are planning a little party. I also have "clients" closing on their home that week. Then we get closer to Christmas and all the festivities! So it's settled, next Wednesday, unless they have a cancellation for Tuesday.

I text Art this morning and asked him if I was crazy. Fortunately for me, I have a hubby that loves to cook and be in the kitchen, accompanied by two wonderful daughters that are great cooks, as well. Of course I can't forget Josh, my 9 year old grandson who aspires to be a chef someday and is always excited about helping in the kitchen.

God is good and His provisions always come at the right time!

If It's Not One Thing...

My goal was to schedule the recommended surgery to remove the lump and move the implant before the end of the year but I was determined to pay off the surgeon for previous services before I would schedule any more. I also found out that I needed to have some hand surgery to release a couple of trigger joints. I had it all planned out. I would have the breast surgery and then about a month later I would take care of my hand....that was until my fingers became so painful and locked up more frequently. The doctor was unable to give me any more cortisone injections and surgery was inevitable.

I had the hand surgery in October and I'm almost completely healed. My middle finger still has slight swelling and lack of range of motion. Sometimes it feels as though it's broken but hopefully in time it will heal completely. I am thankful that I can open and close my fingers now without them getting stuck. Now I can play that little finger game with the kids, "open shut them, open shut them, give a little clap, clap, clap". Before surgery it was a little more delayed and pretty comical.

Mystery Rash Returns

The middle of June, I began not feeling well and although I couldn't really pin point why I didn't feel good, I just knew something didn't seem right. I started having chills and fever and feeling weak. One day, about a week after Jordan had arrived, Sherry said, "mom your face is flush, have you checked your breast area". She said this because in December I had developed some type of mysterious skin infection that set into my chest area and was bright red. I hadn't even thought about the fact that it could be a similar problem again, after all, that was so strange when it happened the first time. Sherry followed me to the bathroom mirror and as I lifted my shirt we saw the familiar redness and it was warm to the touch.

I knew I would probably be accompanied to the hospital once again but I didn't want to think about it. As you can guess, I didn't have a say in the matter! Art promptly took me and Sherry to the hospital and dropped us off while he ran to his own doctor appointment. A few hours later I was being admitted to hospital and pumped full of strong antibiotics that I can't even pronounce. Fortunately, this time they were able to catch it before it spread as much as the first time around. I was seen by the same Infectious Disease Doctor and she was just as puzzled about it this time as last. After a few days of care in the hospital, I was released and I continued the medications at home. The only explanation they can give is that my immune system is compromised and infections hit the weakest area. Hopefully this is the last time!!

Bundle of Joy...Little Jordan Arrives!

The biggest bright spot in my summer was the arrival of my 4th grandson! Jordan Alexandar made his grand entrance into this world on June 18th! He tried to make his appearance several times but the doctors were able to hold mommy's contractions off long enough for him to be healthy and strong, even though he insisted on still coming a bit early! What an awesome experience to witness his birth, as I have with the other three boys. My emotions were raw, as I realized how blessed I was to be here, alive, and to hold him in my arms.

The days around his birth were busy and exciting as we helped with the other boys and spent time getting to know our newest addition. There is nothing like being a grandma. There is nothing like being a cancer survivor and soaking up the precious moments of life! I realize how blessed I am!

It's Been a Rough Year!

I haven't been very deligent about updating my blog this fact, I realize now that I haven't blogged since February. I don't think I can fully explain my state of mind this last year and especially the summer months, so suffice it to say, I was in a bit of a funk and a little depressed perhaps.

Honestly, I feel like maybe everything finally caught up with me and my emotions. I was physically and emotionally tired of dealing with medical issues. It seems as though it's been one issue after another without any time to get my head above water for a deep breath.

Actually, I guess it started in the spring with the discovery of a lump in the same breast that had cancer. I did all the right things, I went to the doctor but was hoping he would say he didn't feel it and I was being paranoid. Unfortunately, he did feel it, as well, and sent me for an ultra sound. The report was reassuring, in that the radiologist believed it to be benign. However, shortly after my visit, my doctor called and suggested that I still consult with my surgeon for another opinion. I saw the surgeon and his opinion was that with my history, the lump should be removed or at the very least biopsied, although it wasn't urgent. I will be the first to admit that I want the lump out of there but his words brought mixed emotions. The good news was that he suggested it could be done at the same time that the implant is relocated to it intended position. He was afraid that if he just tried to biopsy or remove the lump he may rupture the implant. Now, I would need to meet with the Plastic Surgeon to schedule it.

On top of the medical issues I was facing, business was slow and finances were tight! Then I found out I needed a lot of dental work done which was going to cost more than I could afford! I just wanted off the merry-go-round because it wasn't very "merry"!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Slip Sliding Away

Over the past several months, I've tried to ignore the fact that one of my implants has decided to go south...literally, and sort of east, or west...depending on where the sun rises in your neighborhood. At first, I thought it was just my imagination but after getting the opinion of my family members, it was confirmed. Now, don't think we sat around the dinner table evaluating the situation, but privately, my hubby, and both daughters agreed that things were slip sliding away! Yes, they laughed a little bit, too!

Guess what? Some situations don't improve by ignoring them!! In November, I consulted with my plastic surgeon and he agreed that I was a bit out of balance. His solution was a "simple procedure" to surgically return the implant to it's intended position. I also addressed issues with the other side but he did not concur. It's amazing how he has changed his tune since I first started this process with him. Initially, he assured me that ALL surgeries that were related to the BC would be covered by insurance. However, now he's singing a different tune. Of course he would gladly take care of it all but it would be an out-of-pocket expense. No thank you!

Last week, I consulted with my friends doctor, to get a second opinion. Unfortunately, it cost me a $40 co-pay for him to tell me the same basic information, but he does get brownie points for being very professional, nice, and honest!! He agreed with my doc, with the exception of it being a "simple procedure". Simple for him, he smirked, but he said I may not agree. Obviously, it wouldn't be nearly as involved as the original surgery but would require some down time and limitations for several months. Ugh...not again! Not to mention the fact, there are no promises that it won't reoccur. Seriously?

I'm certainly not too concerned about the appearance but it is rather uncomfortable to have the implant shift downward and over under my armpit! If you're a visual person, I'm sure you're getting a hilarious picture in your's not THAT bad! I know I'm eventually going to have to deal with it but for now, picture me with my hands over my ears, singing loudly...lalalalalalalala! I don't want to deal with it, yet!

So, to the lady who said to me once, "I have a family history of BC and so I'm considering having a bi-lateral mastectomy and getting implants so my breasts will be perky!" (Yes she did say that to me!) You might want to rethink's not all it's cracked up to be!

Just A Reminder...

The purpose of my blog has to been to share my journey and my life following my breast cancer diagnosis. It's been healing for me to be able to share my thoughts, fears, frustrations, blessings and every other emotion I've experienced along the way. I'm encouraged to know that others have enjoyed traveling the road with me and continue to follow my blog.

Sometimes I have questioned how much I should share and how open I should be with my blog. After all, once it's on here...I'm not quite sure who is reading it. You know I'm talking about you "blog stalkers"! :) My prayer has been and will continue to be that somehow, through it all, God would be honored and praised, as I give Him glory for it all.

So, if you've been shocked by how open and transparent I am with such a personal issue, I hope you're not offended and maybe this isn't the place for you to come again. All others, please continue to share this journey with me. After all, any adventure is better when shared with a friend!