Thursday, June 25, 2009

Praise God from whom all blessings flow! I am scheduled for a single mastectomy in the morning. As some of you know, I have been involved in many discussions with my surgeons regarding reconstruction, and the timing of reconstruction. I have met with the plastic surgeon, the mastectomy surgeon, and the oncology surgeon. They all have differing opinions because of their different expertise and concerns. My oncologist said, "I am on a time clock, I am dealing with cancer. They are not, they are sculptors, basically. I would prefer to deal with the cancer first, let your body heal, then somewhere down the road, you can make these decisions regarding what type of reconstruction and when to have the reconstruction. So, that is what I have been going with. I even put it in writing, no immediate re-construction, in an email to my oncologist, and asked them to forward it to the other two surgeons, since I did not have their email. Apparently, that didn't happen. This morning, Dr. Gillanders' office called to confirm my surgery for tomorrow, and to go over instructions again (nothing to eat after midnight, be here at 6 am in the morning, etc.). When she got to the part about "Do you have any questions?". Again, I questioned her about the expanders, and tell me again why I need those put in now, at the same time as the mastectomy. She said, "Aren't you having immediate reconstruction?" Uh, noooo. I told Dr. Tung that I wanted a DIEP Flap, later down the road, after my body healed from the mastectomy and lymph node intrusions. And that I had also shared with Dr. Tung, that I did not ever want implants of any kind. He had examined me, and confirmed that yes, I was a candidate for a FLAP reconstruction. But that he was uneasy about the radiation. So, I told him then, the decision was not to be made until we knew about radiation. He agreed, or so I thought. I asked her what the report said. She said, it says here, immediate reconstruction with expanders. I asked her, are the expanders to keep my skin stretched in case I have to have 6 weeks of radiation? She said, well, not really. The expanders have more to do with your reconstruction, but if you are not having implants, then you are right, you don't need expanders. I said, well, I know I don't know all there is to know about all this, but I have not had a peace about the expanders at all. But nobody was listening to me. So, I finally just gave up, and kept walking the path they wanted me to walk. But yes, emotionally, still a wreck. Why could I not get a peace about all this? I kept reading and studying, trying to figure it all out on my own. Trying to figure out why I needed expanders if I did not intend to have implants. Everything I read supported my idea that I did not need them, unless I was going to have them filled on a regular basis, stretching my skin over a period of time, then when the skin is stretched appropriately, the expanders are then exchanged for implants. The bottom line is, after today's conversations with Gillander's office and Dr. Tung's office, I was told that Dr. Tung's part of it will be cancelled, and we would just do the mastectomy. NO EXPANDERS!!!!! PRAISE THE LORD!!!!! I told her, "Nothing like changing everything at the last minute", she said, "oh it happens a lot more than you think. Don't worry about it. I am glad we finally got it straightened out." Sing it with me, praise ye the Lord, hallelujah, praise ye the Lord, hallelujah, praise ye the Lord, hallelujah, praaaissseeee ye the Lord!!!! I know, that you may not be feeling as elated as me, but seriously, this is a huge thing. A mastectomy is major surgery, complete with anesthesia. I have had to go do pre-testing to test my heart, to see if it could handle the "stress" that comes with surgery. I have had numerous MUGA tests, which is where they inject dye into me, then watch and take pictures of it as my heart pumps it through me. They will be injecting dye into me to see how it travels through my lymph nodes, and which lymph node it goes to first. Because of the surgery and the lymph node involvement, I am being told that I will not be able to pick up anything heavier than 1 lb, for at least a week. LOL! That rules out my purse and my laptop!! Oh well, moving on.

It seems that when we as Christians have to walk through troubled waters, it never fails, that someone is going to question God's plan for having us go through them. I have been through my share of troubled waters, trust me. I had my first miscarriage between my first child and second child. That was an ordeal by itself. I was admitted to the hospital for a D&C, but yet, they refused to do one, as it was not easily determined that I had a "clinical abortion", which is what the hospital notes were saying. Apparently, my body was still producing whatever it needed to produce to show positive on all the pregnancy tests they were running, so despite the fact that I had been bleeding heavily, for 5 days, they were saying I was still pregnant, and therefore could not perform a D&C. It had something to do with the fetal pole, which was still being seen on imaging equipment. Anyway, after more than 5 days in the hospital, bleeding heavily the whole time, I was feeling extremely weak to say the least. I felt as though I was "bleeding out" right there in a hospital! They finally came in and were sorry to tell me that I had indeed lost the baby, and they were going to go ahead and do the needed procedure. The next day, I was discharged and allowed to return home. Then when I was pregnant with my second child, my husband's factory closed it's doors, and our insurance was cancelled. After many phone calls, we were told that my pregnancy was a pre-existing condition, and yes, they would cover it. One part of the stressful situation was covered, but we still had that other part, the part about the factory closing down, and my husband being unemployed. The company had offered him, because of his seniority, positions in other states. My husband did not feel like that was an offer he could take. His family and my family lived in Festus, and he would not even consider moving us away from our family. Trust me, there was lots of prayers going on during this time. My husband finally decided to go out on his own and become self-employed. Starting a business from scratch, from the ground up, at a time when a major employer in our small town had just closed it's doors, leaving many unemployed, was hard. Lots of tough times followed. But God uses those tough times, those troubled waters, to build our faith, to grow us. "For richer, for poorer." I have endured many IRS audits. I have gotten the dreaded phone call from the officer of the law informing me they had my son at the Fredericktown jail, and we would need to come pick him up. He had been drinking, and he was only 18. That was followed by us being involved in church discipline, which ended up in us not being allowed to worship where we had been. Lots and lots of ugliness between Christian people. And, yes, on February 8th, 2007, I got the phone call from my daddy, telling me he was in St. Anthony's Hospital, and they had told him they thought it was Leukemia, but they were transferring him to St. Louis University Hospital by ambulance and he didn't want to go by ambulance, could I come and take him. Oh yea, and "I didn't tell your mom, I just told her it was something in the blood and they were going to run some more tests. I don't want you to tell her just yet until we know for sure." It know that God is in control, because when I got that phone call from my daddy, I was not at home, I was in the car with Keith, on I-270, a mile before the exit needed to go to St. Anthony's! Within 5 minutes of that phone call, I was sitting in daddy's hospital room. Mom had already left to go home, taking a ride from a member of Herky FBC, where daddy was Interim pastor at that time. Daddy filled me in on all that he knew at that time. And then, again, he told me he didn't want me to tell anyone until they got to SLU, and knew something more definite. I argued with him, and told him that my siblings deserved to know now. Daddy's argument was, they would over react, panic even, and all come, and he didn't want that. He wanted to wait until he knew for sure what this was. I stood firm, and instead of honoring my dad's wishes, I told him, I was going to call my brother and my sisters, and tell them. He was our daddy, and if this hospital thought that what he had was Leukemia, and it was serious enough to transfer him to SLU, then yea, they deserved to know.......NOW. I have been told on more than one occasion that I am "pushy, domineering and severe". I don't think I am like that all the time, but yes, I know that I can be, when it is called for. That phone call set into motion a series of events that turned into a year long battle, with my daddy fighting that life threatening disease which eventually got named as Acute Myloid Leukemia, or AML, as we learned to refer to it as. I don't know why I am including all this in today's posting, except, it is all wrapped up in what I am going through now. In the time my daddy was going through all this, there were many many trips to SLU Hospital, lots of doctor appointments, lots of changes. And because of all that, when I myself got diagnosed with cancer, it was so very very emotional for me. Every doctor appointment involved terminology that was so very "familiar". Even the drugs they prescribed for me, so many of them were exactly the same. Cancer is cancer, and the drugs they prescribe for cancer and all it's various side effects are the same. Changes are hard to deal with, no matter when they come into our life. I have said it many times, your life can change in a phone call. I know this intimately. Your life can change in an instant, when you sit down in front of your computer and look at your history file, and find out that someone in your house has been looking at things that are unacceptable. Then after all the questions, finding out it is one of your sons. After all the roller coaster of emotions that came with the year long path we walked with daddy, it ended with daddy going home to be with his Jesus. The Lord of his life. The Lord he loved more than life itself. I always felt that daddy had the relationship with Jesus that suggested he had breakfast with him this morning! Sat at a table with his coffee and chatted with Jesus. With my daddy, that was the best way to describe how I saw him live out his relationship with his Lord. Jesus was truly his best friend. And when it came close to the end of his life, and he knew it, we all began to question him about leaving momma. His words were, and I will never forget them as long as I live, "If I can trust the Lord with my life, I can trust the Lord with my wife." He went on to reassure me that God is in control, we are not. Nothing comes into our life, or crosses our path, that doesn't filter through God first. If it crosses our path, God has allowed it to cross our path. For reasons we don't need to know or even question. God's plan is just that, God's plan. As Christians, we know and trust in the one that created this world from scratch. The Bible says, the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. We have a tendency to read the parts of the Bible that we want, and ignore the other parts. There is a song out now, by Mercy Me, that speaks to me every time I hear it. Allow me to share some of the lyrics,

"I can count a million times people asking me how I can praise you with all that I've gone through. The question just amazes me, can circumstances possibly change who I forever am in You? Maybe since my life was changed, long before these rainy days, it's never really ever crossed my mind to turn my back on you, oh Lord, my only shelter from the storm, but instead I draw closer through these times. So I pray, bring me joy, bring me peace, bring the chance to be free, bring me anything that brings you glory. And I know there'll be days when this life brings me pain, but if that's what it takes to praise you Jesus, bring the rain. I am yours regardless of the clouds that may loom above because you are much greater than my pain, you who made a way for me, suffering your destiny, so tell me whats a little rain." Bring on the rain!! We all want the good that God has to offer, but we don't want the bad. We don't want to do hard things. We don't want to suffer. We don't get to chose our "mission". We just have to be willing servants, to be used of God, in whichever plan He has chosen for us, to accomplish whatever He wants to accomplish. Change comes, life changing situations and events happen to us. It happens to everyone, but when it happens to Christians, how we respond is what should set us apart from those that don't have faith in Christ Jesus. When our world is shaken, when our world is rocked, when things are not going according to the plan we had in our heads, we should take comfort in knowing that God is in control, and God has a plan for our life. I don't need to know the plan, because I truly do trust the one who does. When I get knocked down, because I am human, and my focus is seriously messed with, I search my Bible for some scripture to help me regain that focus. And if I am not where I can do that, I turn on my Christian music, and turn it up loud, and trust that God knows what I need to hear, and when i need to hear it, and the perfect song will come on, that lets me know, and I smile, yea, God knows..........and now I know that He knows, what I am going through in my mind, because the words to that song just calmed my spirit, and helped me to know that I am not the only one to ever feel this way. God is so good to me. He loves me, and I know that He is with me every step of every day. For that, I am truly grateful, regardless of how tomorrow's surgery turns out. I know God has a plan, and I know God knows in my heart of hearts, I want to please him, and I don't care what it takes to do that. Whatever Lord, whatever. Bring on the rain!! I love you!! I will be fine tomorrow. Whatever direction the Lord has for me, I will be fine.

1 comment:

Heli gunner Tom said...

I am sorry to hear of your personal pain and sorrow. My wife, Sharon, just had open heart surgery on the last week of March and had many complications. it was very hard for me to see her in so much pain and misery.
I write a Christian based Blog called: 'Tom's Journal.'
Hope you will visit me sometime soon.

Warm Regards,
tom Schuckman
Disabled Vietnam Vet: 68-70
Jesus is Lord.