I am so indebted to those who have spent time on their knees on my behalf. I literally could burst into tears at any moment when I think of someone praying for me. It is just so humbling. I had my closest friends and family come to my surgery, which I know was such a sacrifice...Josh, my mom, Mr. Joey, Jessica, Mr. Terry, Ms. Renea, Kelly, Ainsley, Margot, Thomas, Jonathan, Arvil, Cheryl, Ms. Tammy... I love you all so very much and I am the most blessed woman on the face of the earth. Seriously. I am..don't even try arguing with me!
Surgery was much tougher than I expected, but realizing what all I had done makes more sense to how I have been feeling. I had all my breast tissue removed in both breasts, 2 lymph nodes removed on my right side, 17 lymph nodes removed on my left, 5 drains put in under my breasts and armpits, and 2 tissue expanders put behind my chest muscles. So, I am realizing that it is ok for me to be feeling not-so-great:) I know Josh already explained what I struggled with, but the heat was intense!!! I was so hot and nauseous after surgery.. I hate to feel like a bad patient, but that is what I was. I couldn't get comfortable and nothing would make me feel better. Josh was so patient with me, as he iced down rags and put them all over my body. That was the only way I got relief! But, that is much better now, thank the Lord. I still have a lot of tightness in my chest and limited range of motion in both arms, but that is getting better too...this was just a crazy-involved surgery!
Josh has been the best nurse ever. Emptying my drains, bathing me, cleaning my incisions...He is amazing. I couldn't do all of this...he will definitely be the diaper-changer in this family:) I can't take grossness! He sets his alarm to give me my medicine and sets all my pillows up at night just perfectly. I am SO taken care of. Just had to give him a little shout out:) Of course, I think he's good at everything, but he would have been an excellent nurse!
So, on to the amazing, miraculous, exciting, unbelievable, incredible, there-arent-enough-awesome-words-to-describe- news!! No evidence of disease!!!!! We did not know whether we would find out the results on Monday or Tuesday, because we didn't know if the pathology would be back or not yet. When Dr. Litton and the other doctor walked in that room with the biggest smiles on their faces, we were in awe. When she said the news was perfect, Josh and I immediately burst into tears. She explained that she typically would go through the results and talk about possible clinical trials or things we needed to do, but since nothing came back, there was nothing to talk about. She explained that because I'm "triple negative", if anything had come back, she would have had more of a concern about reoccurrence. Because it was clear, she of course is still concerned, but not nearly as concerned as she would have been. Josh and I bawled and she continued talking and as our new friend, Brandi, said, it was like Charlie Brown"wa wa wa"... I don't remember much, but it boiled down to her saying, "You are now one of my follow ups!" Dr. Litton is so great and she oozes confidence. Her eyes welled up and just gave me the biggest hug. She literally was giddy. The entire moment (which was only about 10 minutes) was literally one of the best of my life. Obviously, because of the good news, but the atmosphere in that room involved 4 truly ecstatic people. It was fun to see 2 doctors so excited. The other doctor that she brought in was the doctor that initially wrote my scripts, so it was special for him as well. Oh, and Dr. Litton asked if she could call Dr. Morrow to tell her the news, and of course said yes!! I wish I could give her the biggest hug. I know she is thrilled for me. I keep pinching myself---this really did just happen!!! I expected my healing, but to have it happen---indescribable.
Oh, and Dr. Litton said that I wouldn't see her again for 3 months! Yes, 3 months! Craziness, right?! I am excited about this, but it is kind of like someone taking your security blanket away. I haven't gone longer than 3 weeks without seeing an oncologist, and now you're telling me I won't see you for 3 months?! Great, but kind of scary/crazy...I have no reason to fear, but it is kind of like ending chemo...bittersweet, when almost 7 months of your life have been seeing a doctor almost weekly. By one pathology report, everything changes..wow,wow, wow! I will cast down all imaginations, fears, and thoughts that do not line up with the word of God.
"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down all imaginations, every high things that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." 2 Corin. 10:4-5
Josh felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off of him yesterday. I don't think it has really hit me yet. This morning I had a joy that I don't know if I have ever felt in my life, so in that way I feel different, but it is just surreal. God has literally surrounded me as a shield. I am so grateful..and humbled..and honored.
So, today, we met with Dr. Babiera and Dr. Villa. We all have really gotten to know each other better, and I feel so close with all of my doctors. It is amazing the bond that can form so quickly. I am typically one that takes a while to feel close to someone..my love language is time, and it is a quite odd feeling to feel so close to people so quickly. I guess when your life is in the balance and these people are playing a part in your healing, time goes out the window:) Anyways, Dr. Babiera was so thrilled at my news. She said I was healing wonderfully. We asked her if there was anything else she could tell us, since Dr. Litton told us so little (because everything was clear) and she said, "No, there's no way it could be better. This is the best we could hope for." She gave me the biggest hug and you could just feel the love in the room! I know I probably sound so goofy and sappy, but Josh will back me up!!!:) A mixture of God's presence and just love! It was wonderful. She said that she would see me again in 6 weeks. Once again, craziness to not think about seeing her for 6 weeks! I am so blessed with the best doctor team.
She told us last time how sad she was to remove my breasts and how much she enjoys talking with us. She hugged me so tight this visit and asked me to bring her a picture of us together that she wanted. So grateful for that. Can't believe I won't see her for 6 weeks... It is literally like once you get a good report like mine, there is no need to see them. They treat sick people- not heathy people, like me:) THANK YOU JESUS!
Then we headed to see Dr. Villa to see if any drains could be taken out and possibly get expanded. None of my drains could be taken out, although several of them are very close to coming out. I am glad that Dr. Villa is very conservative though, because I would hate to have them taken out too early and then have swollen, hurting arms, so I am willing to let them drain as long as they need to. I am healed!!! I'll have drains for the rest of my life if I have to!!!! :) I did get to get expanded though. The process is crazy and amazing at the same time. They inject the saline in the same way they accessed my port, although you can't see the port in the tissue expander. They find the port by a magnetic device, because the port is magnetic. It is pretty cool. Then they access it and inject the saline, and I grow by the second! It was crazy! He injected 75 cc's and it was a weird feeling. The tissue expander is placed behind my chest muscle, so not only is my skin being stretched, but my muscle is moving too! I should get expanded weekly or bi- weekly, just according to how my skin looks and how well I can tolerate the pain from expanding. Oh, and by the way, we love Dr. Villa. He is so great and so is his P.A., Alicia. He has gone over the top in reiterating that I will look very close to my old self when all this is said and done. Before my surgery, he came and marked me and assured me that he would take the absolute best care of me. I really have the best team of doctors. So many people prayed for this, and it is amazing to be living it and seeing the whole "team" and how they fit together.
So..what's next? Drains out, expansions, and radiation! We found out that I can be expanded and get my drains out here in West Monroe and my doctor felt completely fine with me doing that. There are some things that MDA is stickler on doing there, but this is not one of those things, so, tomorrow, I will work on making those appointments. I have an appointment set up for next Thursday with my radiation doctor, but that may be moved. We are still thinking that radiation will start around the last week of May, but will keep you updated.
I praise God for my healing and will continue to pray for life-long health. I am believing Nahum 1:9 in that my sickness has left and will not come back again. Affliction will not rise up a second time!
"Whatever they plot against the Lord, He will bring to an end; trouble will not come a second time."
Please pray and believe this with me. I won't pay much attention to reoccurrence rates, but I know they are high. It can be easy to think that every little thing in my body is the cancer coming back, so please pray that it never touches my body ever again, but also that God will give me supernatural peace and guard my mind. I want to be desperate for God and for my healing and others-- not just at times of famine, but in feast as well. I want God to know I am just as desperate for Him when things are going well, as when they are not. Please don't let your prayers stop now that I am healed. I know the Father has just basked in His conversations with all of us. Let us praise Him and talk to him even more. Please be desperate for your own sake, for my sake, and most of all to just simply give God glory, honor, and praise. Also, now that chemo is continually leaving my body, please continue to pray for my fertility... That my body would return to normal and show signs of fertility:) thank you in advance for these prayers.
I have posted several pictures below from surgery and happy pictures with my doctors. I figured you might like seeing pictures of my doctors and just my experience. Sometimes I feel like I post too much on here, but I want the people who have prayed me through to be as involved as possible. I love you all so very much...
Before surgery...not exactly realizing what I was getting in to!!
This was one of the terrible heat episodes! Josh put ice rags everywhere:)
After hearing my pathology results- with Dr. Litton and the other doctor!!
With Dr. Babiera..so happy after my appointment today:)