We will go down to Houston on Wednesday, and we have my pre-op appointments first thing Thursday morning. We should find out more details of what will actually happen during surgery in that visit and will have my surgery on Friday, hopefully in the morning. According to how I am doing and what all they do in surgery, will determine how long I will stay in Houston.
Many people have asked what this surgery will be like and I'm not exactly sure how to answer that. One thing I do know is that it is much different than a breast augmentation. I know they are replacing my expanders with implants and doing a lot of work on my scars and trying to make my skin appear as healthy as possible. I still have a good bit of skin that is radiated and red, so I think they will be taking out some of that. I am not sure if they will want to do skin grafts, fat grafts, etc. to make me look more normal or what. A lot of what they do will be determined in surgery. For instance, if they take out the expanders and put in the implants and something does not settle right, they may have to reduce the size of the implants, or take out more skin, or put in more skin. Crazy, right?! It is a little unnerving going into a surgery not knowing what all will be done. I do know that they will take amazing care of me and that ultimately they are doing what makes me look as normal as they possibly can. I may or may not have drains, just according to what all they have to do. So, this surgery is much more than a breast augmentation, but much less than the other surgeries I have had, and that is good news:) Crazy to be having implants put in and I still have yet to see an implant! Not exactly how I would have pictured getting breast implants...Dr. Villa always reminds me that the goal is to look as normal in clothing as possible. So I am remembering that, but I also know God is big enough to have me look great underneath as well. Praying and believing I will look wonderful.
Of course, I want to look great, but most of all, I want to feel better. I still have very limited motion of my left arm and my radiation doctor said that could be in part to the tissue expander being sewed into my muscle. So, I am praying that the tightness is my pec muscle is relieved and my motion is better. The tissue expanders are sewed into my muscle, whereas the implants will be free floating. I am also praying that I feel relief in being able to comfortably lay on my stomach and not feel so much like I have an iron bra on all the time. It is so hard to explain what it feels like. I am so much better than what I was, but to feel like I have baseballs shoved under my chest muscle is not the best feeling:) I am thankful for a surgery that I am looking forward to. I looked forward to the others because I knew they were all steps toward my healing, but to have one that I am really looking forward to because I may feel better afterwards is refreshing. I, of course, am still nervous about the surgery but God has given me peace and I am ready.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Life has seemed eerily normal over the past few weeks. School and work are going well and I am making some strides toward my dissertation writing. My pain has seemed to have lessened alot in my abdomen and my stomach seems to be calming down some. Praise the Lord. His goodness is overwhelming. I know He delights in seeing me more peaceful.
We had such an exciting week last week, as my sweet niece, Sullivan Reese was born. My sis-in-law, Rachel, delivered amazingly and Lee and Rachel are wonderful parents. How blessed little Sulli is to have the God-fearing parents that she does. She was 7 lbs. 3oz and born on Thursday, January 24th at 11:16 a.m. We have had a wonderful time loving on her. Lee and Rachel live just a few houses down from us, so let's just say we will be seeing a lot of Sullivan. Can't wait to make sweet memories with her. I just a few short weeks, my sister will have her baby boy. So thankful to witness these miracles. It's amazing to see 2 people I love so much give birth to another...life and giving life is truly a miracle. The way God knit us together is so completely amazing...
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:13-14
January 24th was also a special day for Josh and I, as it was our 10 year dating anniversary. I am so blessed to have "grown up" with my husband. I was 15 when we started dating, and oh my goodness, how much I have changed in the last 10 years! How blessed I have to have the opportunity to grow up with and grow old with my husband. I know I am one of the few and far between. Thank you Lord for January 24, 2003.
I had another opportunity to speak and share God's story this past Friday at Cedar Crest Baptist Church. One of my great friends from school, Lauren, leads a girls' group at her church. Her husband, Jarrett, is the youth pastor there and does such a wonderful job leading the students to Christ. So, I spoke to this girls' group on Friday night. This was the first time I shared my entire testimony. Other times I just shared about how God helped me through my journey, or breast cancer awareness, or about my treatment, but this time, I was able to share more and I thought it went well. I am still trying to get comfortable with speaking in public, but I just pray that the Lord speaks, and not me. I know if He is able to do this, then his purposes will be accomplished. They were such a great group of girls. We got to talk a little after I spoke and I answered any questions they had. Excited about other opportunities I have coming up to share God's miraculous story!
Lately I have been meditating on Romans 12:12, where it talks about being joyful in hope. This is a scripture I have read probably hundreds of times and I don't know if I've ever meditated on it. The "joyful in hope"part of the verse has really struck me. I want to be joyful in hope. I may not be able to see the end of my story, but I know what I hope for. I know I hope for an eternity with Christ, for long life, for children to raise to serve the Lord, for seeing a Godly generation follow me and to all be together in heaven... I can be joyful in these hopes, even though they are yet to be realized. That is what I am focusing on...being joyful in HOPE! God is my only hope. Even when I don't feel joyful, I can be joyful in hope. It is a commandment and I know I want to obey, so here is to living with intentional joy in hope!
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12
I love you all. Josh will update you all as to surgery details. Please be praying for everything to go perfectly! Enjoy pictures below of my sweet niece and my husband and I celebrating 10 years.
10 years with my love
Loving on my beautiful niece, Sullivan