Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hello Drains..we meet again!

Well, I have been out of the world for several days and it is good to be back. So thankful Josh was able to update you all during my surgery and hospital stay. As you know, it all happened so fast, so it has been a whirlwind. I don't know why God had things happen the way he did, but I know He is trustworthy. I am so thankful I was able to have surgery on Tuesday and He got me in as quickly as possible. One of my good friends, Christi, immediately texted me after knowing I was going into surgery and she affirmed me by saying that she was thankful I did not have to wait or be anxious and the Lord was getting me to surgery ASAP, for both my body and mind. That was so true!

Overall, the surgery was a lot better than I ever expected. My chest is not sore, not even one bit. It doesn't feel like anything happened in my chest. My back is the only thing that is sore and I can feel it getting better each day. I really think this recovery will be fairly easy. I do have four drains though- 2 in my back and 2 in my chest and they come out at my right side. I have not missed these drains one bit and I am reminded by having them again! They aren't draining very much, so I am hopeful that many if not all can come out Thursday at my check up appointment! It is just simply impossible to try to conceal them. At church Sunday, I wore a black, long, somewhat baggy dress and I still had "growth- looking bumps" poking out through my clothes. Sooo attractive:)!

As Josh told you all, we walked into Tuesday's appointment not knowing when or if we would have surgery, but mostly knowing we would. They were trying to get me on the schedule for Wednesday and were having trouble getting me on the schedule. I didn't eat or drink just in case they wanted to take me back for surgery on Tuesday, just to be safe, and I am so thankful I didn't. After trying to get me on the schedule, the PA walked back in and said, well since you haven't eaten today we are going in for surgery today- NOW. Josh and I looked at each other and were like, "Ok, let's do this." The Lord had prepared our minds and hearts for this possibility and I personally was not thrown off my by the immediacy of the surgery. I truly think the Lord knew it was best for me to have it that day, as my heart and mind would be more guarded. I don't think even an hour passed from the time we were told I was having surgery that day to being put asleep. Another upside of an emergency surgery- no wait times- I just went straight back!

When I woke up,  I was hot and slightly nauseous, but nothing compared to last time. Ms. Tammy and my mom were able to come in that night and I really don't remember much else from that night. I do remember waking up and telling Josh that I really didn't feel that bad. My drains were huge up until the time I left. I am still not sure why they were so much bigger than my mastectomy drains, but they said that the bigger drains have more of a suction on them. They were so heavy. Getting me out of bed was quite a challenge with IV's, drains, a foley, bandages and keeping my gown on:)  I had 3 nights in the hospital, which overall weren't too bad. The nights are really the worst, because it feels like someone is coming in there every 30 minutes. It was nice having Josh there with me at nights, but I felt so bad for him with all the commotion in the night. Thankful he is a hard sleeper.

I had some really great nurses: Brenda, Andrea, and Sharai. Sharai was one of my nurses after my mastectomy, so she remembered me from April. My respect and thoughts of nurses is so high and well-thought of. The things that they do, see, and deal with each day is overwhelming. I know that nursing is not for me...you have to be so patient and tolerant and skilled in so many ways! I was so impressed with my nurses and their care for me. Thank you nurses for all you do. I have never truly valued your career until I have seen what you guys do day in and day out. THANK YOU!!

Each day Dr. Villa and his PA Alisha would come and check on me, and they were so pleased with how I looked. Every nurse that saw me would comment over and over again on how great I looked. The surgery could not have gone better, and I am ready to be feeling like myself again. I have the best plastic surgeon team ever. We were all so disappointed that my expander became exposed. We were all hoping and believing it wouldn't happen. In the doctor's office on Tuesday, when it had been confirmed it was exposed and surgery was going to happen, I couldn't hold back the tears any longer. Once again, tears coming, when I least expect it. I always make my PA Alisha cry, and I just love her. So, there we were, all in tears.. Josh, me, Dr. Villa, and Alisha. I love these people. Then of course, Dr. Villa, reassures me that he will take the very best care of me and I will look wonderfully. Even though we are in Houston, we have built a "medical family" that we couldn't imagine being anywhere else. They have gone through the ups and downs with me and truly care about me. We are blessed.

My pain has been completely manageable. The last 2 days, I have just taken my pain medicine before I go to bed. The main reason for this is that I have been having nausea and stomach discomfort with my pain medicine. I have felt much better since I have reduced my pain medicine, but of course have a little more pain. It just really isn't that bad. I have been so pleasantly surprised with the way I feel. The Lord is so good to me.

So, now we will start expanding similarly to what we did after my mastectomy. They decided to put an expander in instead of an implant to remain as conservative as possible. By being able to gradually stretch my new skin, we would make sure that everything looked great before my final surgery. So, I should only have one more major surgery when they do final reconstruction on my left breast and switch out the expander for an implant on the right side.

I will go to Houston on Wednesday night to be there for my appointment Thursday morning. I should start getting expanded on my left breast and have them evaluate my right. Not sure if I will get expanded yet on that side though. Also, my first 3 month oncology check-up is coming up. My appointment is on next Friday, August 10th. As far as I know, no tests will be run, but I still want to pray for a wonderful appointment outcome. Cancer- free for the rest of my life.

As I've told you all before, my type of breast cancer that I had is called "triple negative" and is most likely to recur in the first 2 years and possibly the first 5 years. If a survivor makes it past these markers, their chances of survival are great. I by no means am hanging on to these "statistics", but it does make me want to turn 26 and 29 really soon! I am continuing to meditate on scripture and believe I will live and have a long life. I still need you all praying so hard for me, especially until I meet these milestones. So, you may be thinking, so you want me to pray without ceasing for 4 more years?? (since I'm on the edge of my first year) and the answer is YES! YES! YES!!! I am depending on it.

Please pray for my check up to go great on Thursday, that I will continue to feel better and better, that I will look better and better, and I will have a great first oncology check up on next Friday. Cancer-free in Jesus name, for all of the rest of my days. Nahum 1:9.

Here are some pictures from the hospital and my surgery from last week. So thankful for my husband, my mom, and Ms. Renea that were there with me as I recovered. They all completely dropped everything they were doing and came to be with me. I wasn't very fun to be around either- drugged up and typically having things done for me. So I am so grateful for my wonderful family. I am one blessed girl. Below are my pics from last week's surgery.

I believe this was on my last day. I was walking around pretty well and those drains were so heavy!!

Walking some laps around the floor with one of my nurses, Andrea

When Josh saw me for the first time after surgery. So pitiful!

Before surgery!

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