Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Recovery

Just checking in to let you all know how my recovery is going. The first week was pretty rough, especially since I spent most of it in the hospital. While the doctors and nurses took very good care of me, spending four days in a hospital is exhausting. And then there is the actual recovering...

Once I got home, things got much better. So far this recovery has actually been easier in many ways than the last time. It has taken much less time for me to be able to be comfortable walking around and there have been far fewer of the sudden pains from last time.

We did have one or two disconcerting moments when my incision would start bleeding. Once we even spent about 5 hours in the ER in the middle of the night to have it checked out. Turns out it is completely normal for this kind of verticle incision. And, as a bonus I actually got to have my staples out four days earlier than expected! (Which was good because I was about to start ripping them out myself - so irritating!)

There are still a few things I can't do for myself and I am still sleeping a lot during the day. But I am really hoping to be back at work and on with my life pretty soon. Mom and I have been completely spoiled by all the meals that have been delivered and all the downtime from our normally busy life. In fact, I'm afraid we are both going to need some serious incentives in order to re-enter the "real world" when she leaves in a week. I know I have really enjoyed having her around - guess I'll have to get used to only talking to the dogs again!

My next doctor's appointment is February 3rd and I expect to get some more info about what my follow up will look like over the next few years. I will keep you all updated after that appointment!

Specific Prayer Request for January 18, 2012:

1. Continued prayers of thankgiving! :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Thankful

As most of you know by now, the surgery was a complete success in more ways than one. They removed my omentum and multiple lymph nodes plus did biopsies of many areas inside my abdomen - and NO CANCER WAS FOUND! They did not need to do a hysterectomy - so they didn't do one! And today we received the final confirmation from the second set of pathology reports done on all the tissue samples - No Chemo will be necessary!!

I can say with all honesty that this was not the outcome I expected. It was certainly the one I hoped for and the one I asked all of you to pray for - but it isn't what I expected.

I had already done my bargaining with God, reasoning out which parts of this I would rather experience since I didn't think it was fair to expect that I wouldn't have to endure any of it.

But God has always been full of miraculous surprises.

A little over fifty days ago I was told that I had cancer - stage 3 was alluded to briefly. I was told that I would never be able to get pregnant - that a full hysterectomy would be inevitable. And I was told that I would certainly need chemo - they were even willing to start it prior to the staging surgery.

Today, none of that appears true. While I haven't had a long discussion with Dr. R, I believe my cancer will still be classified as Stage 1. It has not spread to any other part of my body from all the tests they have run. I have no reason to think I won't someday get to experience pregnancy - plus, I don't have to worry about menopause at 30 either. And lastly, chemo is not needed - no losing my hair, being sick, or worrying about missing work.

I am still not sure how to process all of this.

All that I know is that God has granted many many prayers. And that I am so very very thankful.

I know that God did not make this decision because I had so many people praying for me. I don't believe God makes those decisions based on who has the biggest prayer chain. I do not feel that I "deserved" this outcome - it is purely God's grace in action.

But I do believe that God has used this ordeal to promote His plan, to reveal certain truths to me and maybe even to some of you. I thank you all from the very bottom of my heart for pleading with Him on my behalf. I do believe that this entire ordeal would have been much more difficult if I had not had each and every one of you supporting me. And I hope that some of you will see the ways that God used this to grow your own faith in His goodness and mercy.

I certainly have had my eyes opened through all of this - and I believe I will continue to have some of the reasons revealed to me.

I am probably being discharged today. I will continue to keep you all updated on my recovery and on any further doctor appointments. I will see Dr. R in about a week to have my staples removed and to discuss follow up monitoring. So, for now I just request your prayers one more time:

Specific Prayer Request for 1/6/12:
1. Prayers of THANKSGIVING for granting all of my wishes and prayers! I can not thank God enough for seeing me through this and bringing me to the other side with such a miracle!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Tuesday - Its Surgery Day!

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is surgery day. I will be at the hospital about 9:15am to meet with my pastor before registering. Surgery is supposed to begin around 11:30am. A few of my closest friends will be keeping my mom company while I'm in surgery for about 3 hours. After an hour or two in Recovery, I'll be in my own room - well, my room for the next few days anyways.


All I can say that I am so glad it is finally here.


When Dr. R first told me that we would wait 4-6 weeks, I was relieved. I wasn't ready to be cut open again. And in truth, I wasn't ready for whatever the outcome would be from this procedure. I wasn't ready to deal with those first few painful days after the surgery. I wasn't ready to deal with the prospect of losing my chance to ever be pregnant. I wasn't ready to hear about how it may have spread, Stages and chemotherapy.


But today I feel ready.


I'm ready for surgery and the weeks of discomfort that I know will be on the other side. Mostly because I know that it is temporary and that within a few weeks I will be well on my way to recovery.


I'm ready to face any further treatment that may be needed head on. If chemo is necessary, then I feel confident that I can handle it. Thank you to everyone who told me about their own experience (or that of a loved one) and put it in perspective for me.


And, I know that no matter how ready I feel right now, I may not be fully prepared for what comes next.


I can't honestly say that I am alright with having a hysterectomy. I am sure that if that happens, I will grieve it for a long time. But I do feel completely at peace knowing that it will only be done if really necessary. So, while it will be hard, I will not have regrets.


I can't thank you all enough for all your support. I know I say it a lot, but it won't ever be enough to express how I would not be feeling nearly this confident without each and every one of you. Even if all you've done is sent an email, included a note in your Christmas card or "liked" one of my facebook statuses! Every little bit has made me feel less alone.


Thank you so much.


Once again I ask for your prayers, tomorrow more than ever.


Prayer Requests:

1. For Dr. R - that he will be confident and careful. That he will use his wisdom and experience to make the best decisions during my surgery as possible.
2. For a safe and successful surgery - that Dr. R will get as much information as he needs to make good recommendations for my future treatment.
3. That the cancer will not have spread past the cyst that has already ruptured and been removed. That no further organ removal will be necessary. And that it will remain Stage 1.
4. That I will heal and recover as quickly as last time.



Psalm 91
If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
{Emphasis mine}