Monday, May 3, 2010

JUST THE WAY YOU ARE

I'm here. Finally.

It's been a long day.

I was originally planning on writing a longer, newsier post, but for now a few bullet points and a summary or two will have to suffice.

I slept very poorly last night and was up at 5:30 for the visit to the two surgeons. I haven't had a nap yet plus, I actually drove an hour on the way home which, while very exciting (I haven't driven in ten days), was sort of tiring.

Here is the day in a nutshell:

They did remove two of the four drains. I was told that they don't usually remove all four at the same time because when they take out two, the other two usually drain extra for a few days, just to "finish the job." (Or something like that.)

If my drains don't fill up a lot this week, I can go back on Friday to have the remaining two removed.

Four and a half hours on the road. $30 for gas and food. All for a 2 1/2 minute, drain-removing procedure. Sigh.

So while I was thrilled to be rid of two of the drains, it's a bit disheartening to still be haulin' the remaining two of them around. I'm trying to experiment with different ways to hide them and tuck them away but I've basically come to the realization that as fashion accessories, drains are pretty much non-starters.

We left the plastic surgeon and drove over to the cancer surgeon where we got the pathology report from the surgery. And here is the news from that report:
  • Four lymph nodes were removed during surgery; all are clear.
  • There is no need for chemo.
  • There is no need for radiation
  • There is no need to take Tamoxifen
  • I don't need to see a medical oncologist (in addition to the surgical oncologist)
  • My prognosis is excellent
So hooray for that fabulous report!

In an interesting bit of news, they did pathology on the right breast tissue as well, and found quite a few atypical cells. Even though atypical doesn't always equal cancer, atypical is still not a good thing. So I'm glad I went ahead and did the bilateral mastectomy and just got everything done with. For good.

The plastic surgeon will give me a couple weeks to heal up and then I will go back for the first saline filling. (There's probably a medical name for that procedure but at this juncture, "saline filling" is the best I can do.)

We'll continue the "saline filling procedure" for several months and then at some point (probably late summer) I'll have another surgery to remove the saline filled expanders and have them replaced them with permanent implants.

Doesn't that sound like such a fun time? (How I spent my summer vacation.)

In closing, last Thursday night, I really hit rock bottom. Physically and emotionally, I'd just had it. I cried all the way through dinner (Sarah was at a friend's house so she didn't have to witness my emotional crumbles) and by the end of the evening, this is what I looked like.

















I felt ugly, and depressed and non feminine and unlovable. I dragged myself off to bed early and wished that I could just disappear. For a very long time.

Friday when I finally took my weary self downstairs for breakfast, this is what I saw at my place at the table.















































I'm so grateful for a 28-year marriage that isn't based on appearance and perfection and non-stop wonderfulness. I'm thankful that after a cancer diagnosis, and a mastectomy, and all the complexities of emotional and physical changes that have to be grappled with, I am married to a man who still loves me just the way I am.

Imperfect. Flat chested. Weary. Disheartened. Expensive. (In medical terms.)

And yet, in his eyes, still lovely.

I am blessed.

30 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Michelle said...

You are blessed indeed!

MN Mom said...

Becky, I have been checking most of the afternoon, hoping you would have the energy to let us know how you are doing. What terrific news from the pathology report! Knowing that this is the worst you are likely to feel, has to be uplifting (no pun intended!) Steve's note is just what I would have expected from him, at least from the way you describe him. Much lies ahead, but your strong faith will get you through. I hope there is chocolate in your future!
P.S. Isn't there a hospital closer to you that could take the remaining drains out? Sure does seem a waste of time, money and energy to have to drive so far for a pretty simple procedure.
Prayers as always,
Liz

Anonymous said...

Oh Becky...Steve's note made me cry!

J+TMcLamb said...

I agree with Liz about finding a closer doctor's office/hospital to remove the remaining drains (coming from an RN!) :) CONGRATULATIONS on the wonderful fantastic fabulous news from the pathology report. God still knows what he is doing. Love & prayers!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Becky, I am so glad that the pathology reports were so good! I know that you are still facing a lot, but remember, patience is accepting God's timing! As always, you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Hugs,
Linda in Pittsburgh

MaryH said...

Absolutely, you are blessed. Steve is blessed in return. Cherish each other. Cherish the wonderful report from the surgeon. Everything else will get accomplished and worked through in time. You do not need further treatments and you have time. Isn't that the most wonderful news. You have time. Praying for continued improvement and patience and strength for the next steps along this road.

Anonymous said...

All Clear - how wonderful that sounds to me. So thankful. Still praying.

Love,
Guerrina

PS: How's your chocolate supply?

Pam D said...

Clear... CLEAR! Clarity is a beautiful thing, whether in scans or in the eye of the man who loves you.. just as you are. "Just As I Am" has always been a favorite hymn of mine; to know that you are blessed with not only a Savior who loves you just as you are but also with a life companion? As well as two beautiful children, one perfect fluffy dog, a mother and mother in love, siblings... well gosh! Your cup overflows with blessings to the point that you just might need a bigger saucer. :<) Nevermind the fact that you have an adoring blog family who love you, too... just as you are!

Sue G said...

You sure are blessed. Blessed to be cancer free. Blessed to not need chemo. Blessed to not need radiation. Blessed to not need Tamoxafin. Blessed to have a wonderful prognosis.

And blessed to have a family who always knows exactly what to say to remind you that in their eyes--as in God's--you are a perfect creation of beauty, love, and all things wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Hi Becky,

I know you have had such a long day, but I am glad that you received such awesome news - ALL CLEAR! And, I really loved Steve's note - it brought tears to my eyes. He new just what to say...

Hoping that the rest of the week finds you feeling better and better each day.

Debbie H. in Sacramento

Lesley said...

You have a Keeper!

No cancer AND a house? Wow!

So awesome all the way around.

Now you just need Nathan home :)

Kellie said...

You are BLESSED and you are also a BLESSING! I am so glad that you got such a good report after such a traumatic experience.

Melanie said...

I'm so glad you got a good report!
Steve's note was so sweet. What a wonderful husband you have! :)

THOMBU1 said...

You are truly blessed and a blessing. I give glory to God for your good reports, but as you know we all are going to believe the report of the Lord, and He says YOU ARE BLESSED, for His presence is blessing enough! And of course Steve's presence is a double blessing :>)

THOMBU1 said...

What joy demands, the heart desires. The words spoken gently in the ear bring comfort with their soft refrain. Creating serene thoughts of yesteryear and bringing more innocent times near.

Thoughts keep running through the recesses of the mind, bringing static to the peace that resides there. They bring out the old feelings of fear, where faith has fallen away, and hope keeps its distance in shades of grey. The words of hope, spoken to the heart, keep alive the fire that burns within to achieve what is desired.

There never seems to be the power to achieve the ultimate goals, where the worth of desired results transforms. To keep the faith, in power and love, becomes a chore, when all that life throws at you is realized.

Don’t take it your mind replies, with all the twists of truth and bald faced lies. Yet the lies seem true, when twisted thoughts arise. They must be dealt with and that right now, to keep their subversive actions at bay. Their insidious power to deceive lay waste, and hide behind the semblances of truth that lay along the way. What tones of blue they add to the soul that is bound to feel their sting.

Blue is the soul, and hard is the way of the worrisome fool. They are like the fury of the tempest tossed, their hearts of gold now melted. Cleave to that which is good, and hold on with a passion, to the right ways we’re told. While hungry hearts just desire the thing that makes them happy, and race toward that goal.

Keep truth in front of the eyes of your mind. Bind them to the doorposts of our lives, our habitations of flesh. Wanting and waiting, longing for reprieve, the soul cries out for the pain to leave. Keep calling out to the One who brings hope to the mind, whose power and greatness lies in Love Devine. What joy and peace His heart brings to bear on the soul that is trusting in His love and care.

The truths that He spoke were so pure and clean, they spoke of compassion through lips that were never mean. Hear the great exhortations from the One who hung the moon, the One who has come, and was, and is, and is coming back soon. We never held His words dearly, till the chatter of men poisoned our souls and robbed us of that sweet peace within.

The light of the soul shines bright onto our way, and we see it through eyes that do not appear, but peer through the darkness to visions so clear. There we see what He shows us today, to trust and obey Him along life’s’ difficult stay.

We never are to look back to view yesterday, but learn from the stumbling that hindered our way, and know that His light that shines on our path will lead us to Glory and into His arms.

Blessed Be the Name of The Lord Jesus Christ!!!
tbush

maranatha said...

Your pathology report is an answer to many prayers. Congratulations.
Our God is an awesome God!

Anonymous said...

You really should have issued a Tissue Alert... You are blessed. But you deserve it.

Kris H

Anonymous said...

You are very blessed yea for no chemo or radiation. I also think you are a beautiful, wonderful, awesome person that God has placed in my life. Thank you for sharing.
Hugs from Iowa,
Marjie

Lyndsay said...

Aw that Steve! He's a keeper!!!
And thank you God for an amazing pathology report!

Marysienka said...

Yay for the path report! And yay for your amazing husband :)

(((hugs)))

R.

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee


Thank you LORD for the path reports..thank you, thank you!! And thank you for wonderful husbands ,LORD, with all our hearts.

(And everybody said "Amen.")

Ann Martin said...

Becky, what great news!!!! No cancer and no more treatment after surgery (that's enough, I'm sure). With 2 drains gone I imagine you'll feel better and when the last 2 come out oh, what joy. Each day should be better than the one before. Steve is terrific and quite a blessing, too. He is wonderful to talk with when I call. You two make quite a team. Hugs for all and prayers, too. You are entitled to those "down times" but I know you will bounce back. Congrats on driving some today. That was awesome. To God be the glory, great things He hath done.

Anonymous said...

just got home from making the confirmation banner..

it's about two hours past my bed time, but I just needed to check on you before I hit the sack......
wonderful report! and a wonderful note from your wonderful Steve!

mrs pam

Becky, UK said...

I am so pleased by the news from the doctor's visit, hopefully now you can heal and get on with life but without the worry of cancer over your head.

Steve's note made my eyes fill up.....please don't post updated like that on a workday as crying as work does tend to ruin the eye makeup *smile*! You are definitely blessed.

Anonymous said...

You are blessed! And, that's wonderful news that you won't need any further treatment. I'll continue to keep you in my prayers.

Cindy from VA

Anonymous said...

Wonderful news indeed! Cancer free. Has such a sweet ring to it. In a different way I too felt un-womanly after my hysterectomy. No, there were no physical signs to be seen but all the same feelings inside. I do realize that having your breast removed is a more traumatic experience but just know that you are the same beautiful. loving and caring wife, mother, daughter and friend no matter what. And hey! while the rest of us get older and sag to our knees, you'll be perky from here out!

Lots of (gentle)Hugs!

Dana in SC

Karen C said...

Yes, you are so blessed with such a good report and a supportive husband and family. I imagine most of us would have the same or similar emotions you are having. We put such pressure on ourselves to be or look a certain way each day, and for things beyond our control, we simply cannot do that. Thank goodness we are blessed with husbands who understand and take in the whole picture of who we really are -- both inside and out. God is good.

Anonymous said...

So much good news yesterday! Hooray! Praying that the other drains CAN come out on Friday so you can find a bit of normalcy and not have to get out the glue and sequins to dress them up.

Melt downs are to be expected. I'm sure that won't be the last. Like it or not, our breasts are a part of our body and to lose any part would be difficult. This is especially difficult since that is a part that our husbands do find attractive and appealing. I know I would be incredibly insecure by such a change in my appearance.

Prayers and hugs continue to come from NE!

Connie F-G

Anonymous said...

Becky

Can you not have your drains taken out by a local doctor? Seems to be a waste of your time and energy to travel that far to do so!!!
No chemo...no radiation....you are blessed!

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