We made a super short trip to Houston and got in Wednesday night and stayed with the Stanfills. My appointments started at 7:15 the next morning and we headed home after chemo, around 3:00. It was a long day, but we were so happy to be home Thursday night.
I had blood work, then immediately went to my ultrasound. The ultrasound showed that I am responding to the FAC!! Praise God!!! I get so many mixed messages back when I am having an ultrasound done. The ultrasound techs are obviously trained to say nothing while doing an ultrasound, which of course makes it un-nerving. This particular nurse that I had this time was very talkative and sweet. At the end of the ultrasound, she said "I normally do not say things like this, but I think you will be very pleased with your results." As she left the room, I just cried and cried and thanked the Lord over and over. About 10 minutes later, the radiologist comes in and does another ultrasound and is completely silent. He hands me my results and does not act excited at all... talk about mixed messages! No one went over my results with me and I left happy, but slightly confused. As I reviewed my results, it looks like the lymph nodes have shrunk slightly, but mostly remained stable. This still means I am responding, which is wonderful news!
We saw a different doctor this week because my doctor (Dr. Morrow) was out because she had surgery. The doctor we met with was very nice, but it was basically a 5 minute meeting so that she could order my next round of FAC. I had her look at my ultrasound results and she said that it looked like my lymph node size were back to normal or very close to normal...so, once again, some mixed messages, but I am choosing to believe that my lymph nodes are free of cancer and normal!!
One of my dear friends prays for me every night with her sweet daughter. She said that recently, her daughter does not want to pray for me, because she says "Miss Aly is already healed!" I agree and believe that wholeheartedly.
At our last doctor's visit with our regular doctor (Jan 26), we were so disappointed to learn that our doctor is moving to California. She explained to us that this type of job takes its toll on her, seeing so many terminally ill patients, and she has taken a job in researching cancer in California--to hopefully find a cure very, very soon. I immediately burst into tears when she told us, because she has been so wonderful and walked with us through this process. She feels bonded with us as well, as we all cried and hugged together. She is referring me to a doctor that she assures me is wonderful. It is one of her friends at the hospital, and she specializes in fertility after cancer- How good is our God? We were hoping to tell Dr. Morrow a final goodbye at this past visit, but she was out having her surgery. The doctor that saw us said she was calling from her hospital to check on us- she is amazing. She is one of those people you want to be more like after you visit with her- more kind, more caring, more funny, and just more joyful in general. We will miss her immensely. So, on our next visit, we will meet our new doctor, Dr. Jennifer Litton. This will be my oncologist that I, will in theory, see for the rest of my life.
We also met with the Physician's Assistant of my reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Villa. We were a little confused after talking to others about the sequence of my reconstruction, and made an appointment to just gain some clarification. Here is the information that we have so far concerning my surgeries: The first surgery I will have will tentatively be on April 23rd and this will include the mastectomy of the left breast, which will be done by my surgical oncologist. After she is done with this, the reconstructive surgeon comes in and places a tissue expander in and sews me up. The tissue expander can be inflated and deflated in order to get my skin ready for an eventual implant. A few months down the road, once I am healed from the previous surgery, the same thing will be done on my right breast. This is called prophylactic, because this is the non-cancer breast, and is being done preventatively. Then once both tissue expanders are placed and the initial 2 surgeries are done along with radiation (end of July), they will be expanded for 6 months before implants will be placed. The reason for the 6 month time period is because my skin will be radiated on the left side and they want to have ample enough time for the skin to stretch, since it typically behaves differently than non-radiated skin. So, around December, I should have one of the final surgeries in which I will have my implants put in. This could be a pretty major surgery, all dependent on how my skin responds to radiation. If my skin responds poorly (or the way it is expected to respond), my back muscle will be rotated forward to have healthy tissue for my implant to sit on. This is a very common surgery and I've heard positive and negative things about it. However, if my skin responds better than expected, the back muscle will not be needed and I can use my own skin and tissue without having to use my back muscle---confusing, right?! So, it looks like I will have a minimum of 3 reconstructive surgeries and hopefully be done with the main surgeries in December. I am praying that my skin responds greatly to radiation and they will not have to use the back muscle!
Now, I try to go back to real life for 3 weeks until my next appointment on March 9th. Please pray with expectancy and thankfulness that I am healed. Please pray that God continues to give me peace as I continue to receive direction from Him on how He would have me handle my healing process. I am striving to abide in the Lord and in His word.
"Give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight: Keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are LIFE to all who find them, and HEALTH to all their body." Proverbs 4:20-22
His word gives me LIFE! I will hide His word in my heart and meditate on His promises in giving me life and health.
Here are some pictures from my 14th treatment!! 2 to go!!
Also, Josh shaved my head on Friday morning! Up until this point, I still had a tad-bit that I could put back in tee-tiny pony tail, and I didn't even have enough to do that, so we decided to go ahead and shave it off. It really isn't that much different than before, because so little hair was there, but here is a pic of the bald me!
And here was what was shaved off- as you can see, not much at all!
Love you guys!!!!