Friday, September 7, 2012

Getting into "normal" and Race for the Cure!

Hey everyone! We just got back last night from Houston and it has been 2 1/2 weeks since my surgery. My doctor's visit with Dr. Villa went well last week and went well yesterday also. I just have one drain left, so that is wonderful, but am of course ready to be drain-free! With this last surgery, I had stitches, and with my first lat-flap surgery, I just had the dissolveable stiches. Dr. Villa explained to us that because my left breast had been radiated, he needed to use the regular stiches because the skin is just simply more difficult. So, I got my stiches out yesterday and a drain removed.

The drain removal really doesn't hurt. It is more just uncomfortable because you can feel something coming out of you, but yesterday it hurt!!! I could give details, but will spare you. As Dr. Villa took the stiches out, one part became open and looked terrible. He didn't seem too concerned about it, but I have to keep it bandaged and put a cream on it twice a day. I know I've already told you, but wound healing can be a problem when dealing with radiated skin, so please pray that this will heal quickly and perfectly. It was great to see Alisha and Dr. Villa once again. Outside of the drive, which really isn't all that bad, I really look forward to my appointments with them just because they are so great.

I won't have to go back to Houston for 2 whole weeks! My next appointment is on the 20th with Dr. Villa to see how that spot is healing up and to possibly start expanding. He gave us the ok to take the last drain out when it was ready. Josh knows how to take it out, so once it is ready, he will be able to remove it like he did with one of my mastectomy drains. I was calculating it out and I have had drains in my body at this point for almost 3 months, counting my mastectomy and past 2 surgeries. Looking forward to a good night's sleep without drains, showers, baths, and not having to safety pin under my clothes! It will be here soon enough. Soon the drains will be a distant memory, but I have 13 little scars to remind me they were there!

This week, I have officially started back to school and work, and it has really been a great week. I was concerned that I might feel overwhelmed, but I have really felt great to be back in the swing of things. I am in my last year of coursework for my PhD, and that is exciting. On my first day back, I had a full day of school, and also gave a presentation to some incoming freshmen. It was a busy day, but a good one. I told Josh that as I was giving my presentation to some of the freshmen, it was the first time I felt normal in front of a group of people in a long time. They couldn't see the 2 drains pinned up under my skirt and my hair is long enough now to look like an actual haircut. To any freshman there, they just went and heard a woman put on a presentation about the counseling center and they thought nothing about me, the way I looked, or the thought that I just was done with cancer treatment. I didn't know one student and it was kind of crazy, because in a way, I have felt like everyone knows what I have been through, and there are SO many who have no idea. I know I am rambling, but my point is that it was nice/surreal/wierd to be in a room of people and them just see me as a woman presenting and nothing more. Overall, it was good to feel normal for a bit.

One thing that is coming up is the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I have run in it the last few years, but of course have never done it as a "survivor." It is on September 29th at Forsythe Park, and I will post more details as it gets sooner. I didn't "officially" set up a team, but I would love if as many of you could come out as possible. There are "teams" that are set up in which people make t-shirts and fundraise, and I just wasn't able to do that this year- maybe next. BUT, I would love if you could make it out, wear your Aly's fight shirt, and we can all get together to take a picture after the race. As it gets closer, I can post more details about where we can meet up and details of the event. I am really excited about it. Ready to get this last drain out so I can start running!!! Here is a link, if you want to look for yourself and sign up.

Even though our lives are getting back to "normal", our spirits are still at war. God has blessed us mightily, but we cannot lose sight for a moment that Satan is continuing to try and destroy us. At some point, I will try and describe in words (which I don't even know is possible) what it feels like to be told you have cancer and you might die. That reoccurence risk is high. Risk for no fertility...I remain positive and stand on God's word with everything in me, but I can often feel like I'm walking on eggshells. I can't trust my emotions- they are just that- emotions. I have to trust the truth. My emotions- my gracious!- can change from one second to the next. I can't for even one second (at least at my current state) trust them very much.

"Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8

When Josh and I went skiing with our church this past winter, we drove from Denver to Winterpark and I remember looking at the mountains and the word "rock" came in my mind. I remember God speaking to my spirit and saying, "I am your rock. You can depend on me. I never move. I never change. I am your place of safety." I remember just tearing up to myself in the car and thanking God for that small reminder of what I knew to be true... I continue to run to the rock, cling to the rock, hide under the rock.

"The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety." Psalm 18:2

I am SO thankful for our great check-ups and a great first week back at school and work. God is so very faithful and he takes delight in me. I know if I could even see a smidgen of how much God loves me and hates to see me hurt, I would be overwhelmed. I am the most blessed woman to have such a loving God who rejoices with me and these last few good visits. Here are some things to be praying for until my next update.

1. That the spot on my left breast will heal wonderfully
2. Any aches or pains will be gone from my body
3. My drain will come out soon:)
4. That the enemy would flee from me and cancer never touch my body again
5. Wisdom, strength, endurance for Josh and I as we get back to "normal"
6. That God would restore my fertility for future babies
7. Peace and rest for Josh and I

I LOVE you all. I can't tell you the comfort I receive in knowing so many of you are praying for me specifically. When I get a text or call or message, or when I just feel peaceful, I know that is a result of your prayers. Thank you from the absolute bottom of my heart. I will update soon:)

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