Sunday, December 30, 2007

Hair Products? Can it be?!

Yesterday, I walked down an aisle in Target that I haven't visited in 6 months - hair products. Seeing that I have a whole 1/2 inch of hair on my head, I thought it might be time to buy some product to help with the unruly hairs (the ones that stick straight up like Dennis the Menace).

We have taken the tree down and the Christmas decorations and Christmas is officially over in our house. It is always a little sad to take it down, but I am looking forward to some routine. I have about 6 weeks before radiation begins. I have some weekly appointments in the meantime but I enjoy these breaks in our cancer world where I can just be "mom" for a little while. Not as many moments of explaining to my children that "I can't because of . . ." is a welcome change.

I am also excited that I will begin the New Year with full range of motion in both arms. I am almost 4 weeks post op and am moving my arms in ways I couldn't 2 weeks ago. Thank you to my physical therapist and her encouragement, I will begin strengthening in another week.

Hope all of you had an enjoyable Christmas! Happy New Year!

Monday, December 24, 2007

I am presently supervising "present placement"

Well, David is asleep and Dawson is quickly on his way. Mommy & Daddy would like to be achieving that same goal very soon so we are putting out the presents now. This year, Christmas is filled with all kinds of thoughts and emotions - "We had no idea last year what this year would bring" . . . "What will happen next year?" . . . even "Will I be here to enjoy this next year?" Unfortunately, all of these thoughts sometimes make me into someone not so filled with the holiday spirit and those close to me are getting to know that "spirit." At the same time, I am finding some moments to be much more enjoyable also - like our Christmas Eve service, David talking about Santa in a logical way, Dawson just repeating "presents?", how many homemade ornaments my children added to our tree this year (everytime they colored a picture in the last couple weeks, it was added to the tree), and the joy of spending Christmas with my family.

Well, my wonderful husband has placed the presents in the proper manner and we will be able to sleep soon. I wish you all a loooonnnggg night's rest (hopefully, no 5 am tugging to open presents) and a very Merry Christmas. Remember to relax and enjoy (and I also know that it is easier said than done).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Hope filled Day

We will be going to sleep tonight feeling a little less anxious. We met with some folks about the pathology report post op and asked the question of what this information means in terms of the future. We were encouraged by the fact that my oncologist still considers me to be cancer free at the moment and will continue with the prescribed course of treatment. He is also realistic and said that I will be monitored very closely following the treatment to see if there is recurrence. We just needed some good news. We were also reminded today of those grace moments - times in everyday life that may seem a little more precious. Those are the moments where we see God's love amidst this sorrow.

I have also started my physical therapy and am getting close to full range of motion. I started driving yesterday and today was able to do the backseat pass. You know - "Mom, I want . . ." and I was able to reach back to the kids and give it to them. That movement was difficult but the desired item was passed.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Big Boy Beds!

I continue in my recovery and loved going to church this morning. I was really beginning to be affected emotionally by not getting out of this house enough. Dave and I were also able to go on a hot date (actually, quite cold) for 20 minutes and walked around the block this afternoon. Today has really lifted my spirits. Yesterday was difficult and the waterworks would start flowing and I had trouble stopping them. I try keeping it together when the boys are around, but when I climb into bed at night, sometimes, it just starts flowing.

We put together a toddler bed for Dawson yesterday. We were torn on whether to keep the child caged longer or not. The toddler bed doesn't require lifting but he is able to escape and escape he did. It was only a couple times, though. We kept the crib together just in case it wasn't working, but the way Dawson was talking about his "big boy bed" made us think he wasn't going back to the crib. This afternoon, he didn't want to get in his bed for his nap and I asked him if he wanted to go in his crib like a baby and his response was "No baby" so Dave is cleared to take it apart. I was looking at that crib yesterday and recalling some memories. I also realized it would probably be the last time we use it. Just more tears.

Friday, December 14, 2007

My Boys Are Back!

My boys returned last night and it wasn't quite the reunion I envisioned. Sure, everyone was happy to see each other but I was quickly told that I was not doing something the way that Gam did it and there were tears flowing. Reality set in but I was ready to get back into life as we usually know it around here. Granted, Dawson being awake and crying for about 1 hour wasn't exactly the reality I remembered.

I have accomplished many small everyday tasks in the last few days. I was able to take care of more of the boys' needs than I expected, but I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that they were cooperating!

I met with the breast surgeon yesterday. Everything looks good and he gave me some practical tips to help me avoid injury. He also told us that the cancer that was found in the right lymphnodes is the same as the other side, but they can not pinpoint how it got there. No cancer was found in the right breast or its skin. We will still meet with the oncologist to get his take on it. I have also been cleared to start physical therapy. We have a busy week next week, Dawson has a feeding evaluation and will begin his speech and physical therapy, I already have 3 doctors' appointments scheduled, and David has his Christmas program at school. So, I think I will just begin after Christmas. I have exercises to do at home in the meantime.

Thank you for all of your cards and prayers and I am planning on going to church this Sunday - big outing!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Doctor Update

I met with the oncologist today. My big question is "Why did we find this cancer?" He said that there is only a 20% chance that I would go into this surgery and no cancer would be found. They have found positive lymph nodes on both sides and cancer in the left breast. The pathologist spoke with the doctor while we were in the office. He was still checking the right breast for cancer. The main thing he wants the pathologist to check is to see if the cancer found on the right side is an estrogen/progesterone receptor. This would be different than the kind in my left. What that would mean is they put me on an additional long-term drug.

He didn't seem too concerned. We will meet with him again next week to talk about the final pathology report. At this point, my treatment will remain the same. I love this doctor because I always feel hopeful when I leave his office. We had met with other doctors, where we felt like my days were numbered. He has always been honest with us that I have a very serious and dangerous form of cancer, but looks at what we have beaten as opposed to what might still be out there.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Good squeezes from the boys

I was able to see the boys last night for about an hour. They both hugged my neck and it was the best feeling in the world. Dawson just laid his head on my shoulder and wanted me to hold him. He was really upset as I was leaving. David just said, "Mom, I really miss you." But, they are having a good time with Pop and Gam.

Dave went to McDonald's with everyone for lunch today. He was quickly reminded of the chaos known as David and Dawson.

I see the oncologist tomorrow for a scheduled IV drug but we will be talking to him also about this new development. I don't know if they will have the pathology report back or not. I am not sure what the best news would be or what the courses of treatment are, if any. This is upsetting to me and I have had to distract my mind from all of the thoughts associated with this. We need more answers and get to wait - again.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers!

I opened several cards, emails, and voicemail messages today. Thank you all for thinking of me and praying for me through the surgery and my recovery. I had a few surprise visits today, too. I have been doing my exercises, nothing too crazy, but just trying to get my arms stretched and more range of motion. I am discovering how many muscles it takes to open a childproof vitamins bottle!

Just knowing that so many people care is so encouraging.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Pain pills are a good friend!

Okay, I am sitting here at home with an 8 pound laptop on my lap (10 pounds is my limit), arms propped up, and pain pills that have just kicked in! When my surgeon told me this morning that cancer was found in my "good" side, I was concerned but more relieved in the choices we have made through this journey. Some of those choices were 6 months ago when we decided to change surgeons. If I hadn't chosen to have the right breast removed also, the cancer in those lymph nodes would not have been discovered until later. This is how the surgeon put it to us, "Another year from now, and it would have come back." Our lives would have been on the track to our new normal, and we would have to go through all of this again. It is so encouraging to me how God has guided our decisions.

My hospital roommate had the same surgery I did. She and I compared notes and were able to help each other through some tough times. I am so comforted by God's hands in all of this. We will get through this, one day at a time.

On a lighter note, I called Pop and Gam to talk to the boys. Pop answered the phone and went to fetch David. Well, David apparently had better things to do than speak to his mother who is recovering from major surgery - he was watching a movie and did not appreciate the interruption. Pop "encouraged" him to speak to his mother and he promptly got on the phone. He told me about the snow and his field trip today to the Christmas tree farm. Dawson was also very excited about the snow. I miss them - this house is too quiet without them here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Day of Thankfulness and Sadness

Barbara is resting in her hospital room right now. I hope she has a good night's rest. She made it through the surgery.

We are thanking God because he gave her the wisdom to pursue a bilateral mastectomy. It's a good thing she did, because the surgical team found new active cancer cells in some of the lymph nodes that were extracted from her right side. They will be sent off to the lab for further analysis to determine whether they are of the same type she has had or if she has a new type.

Please keep us in your prayers.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

An Early Christmas

Well, we celebrated Christmas this weekend with our families and it was really fun. It was a great distraction from what is about to happen on Tuesday.
Now, the distractions have run out and reality has set in. I will be saying goodbye to some good friends on Tuesday.
I entertained my family this afternoon with some of the things I was doing. My mind was certainly not in the right place as I covered sweet potatoes with provolone cheese (the cheese was meant for meatballs, not sweet potatoes), reheated the pumpkin pie instead of my lunch, and was generally a mess. I have a million things running through my head and find myself overwhelmed emotionally. We attended a special Christmas Carol Service tonight and singing those Christmas songs really got to me. Tucking in my children also has new meaning. Hugs are also wonderful because I won't be able to get them for awhile.
I will close with a line from my favorite Christmas Carol, "O Holy Night" - In all our trials born to be our friend. He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger.
I will have Dave update you with my status post-op.