Monday, July 15, 2013

I'll just keep holding on.


As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I see clients all the time that struggle with depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, addiction, relationship problems etc... It has at times been hard for me to identify with clients who struggle greatly, as I have seemed to be able to overcome depression, anxiety, relationship issues in the past fairly quickly. Well, since my cancer/ healing journey, I can identify on an entirely different level. Many of my friends and clients who knew what I was going through were slower to open up to me because they thought that their problems were nothing compared to what I was going through. It was also very hard for me to open up to others, because many just did not know what to say or do. For the first time in my life, I knew what true heartache was. Loss. Anger. Relentless anxiety. Fear. Depression- Real depression. Even thoughts of suicide.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Great News! We will have a podcast coming soon!

To hear our setup podcast you can "click" Play below. PLAY All you have to do is press play when you receive the email and instead of reading you will receive an audio update from Aly or I. We will continue to blog normally but this provides a new way for you to participate.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The upside of surgeries

So, I am at home recovering from surgery. Outiside of the the soreness and dizziness, I really feel pretty good. I wasn't nauseous when I woke up from surgery, and they got the IV in on the first try. How awesome is that?!  I just took all of my bandages off Sunday, and I think everything looks good. It's hard to tell when the skin is bruised and the incisions are not healed, but Dr. Villa was very pleased with how everything went. I have 4 new scars on my rib cage where my drain scars were and a new scar under my right arm pit where some skin was removed. Now, I am just trying to rest, which is hard for me. I know the Lord loves when I rest my body, and even more importantly rest in His presence.

Exodus 33:14 "And He said, "My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.""

Here is how I have spent most of my time the last few days.
 On the couch with my attractive "surgical vest"

We had a long day on Thursday (the day before my surgery), as we waited a while for my pre-op appointment, a research study appointment, and my anesthesia appointment. We had a fun day though with lunch at Ruggles green, homegoods, high fashion home, and IKEA. We didn't have enough time with the Stanfill's, but they once again opened up their amazing home to us. Their generosity to us continues to be the biggest blessing...

My surgery check-in was at 5:30 on Friday morning and they got my IV in on the first try and it really didn't hurt. Josh and I rigged up our little "vein exposer" before I got my IV, so maybe that helped :) Either way, I was so very thankful. I remember so much about being taken to the surgery room, where as with my other surgeries I hadn't remembered much. I remember moving to another bed and talking with the surgery team. Then, the next thing I remember was the sweetest nurse (Yvette) talking to me and telling me to open my eyes. My eyes felt like hundreds of pounds. Josh was there videoing me, asking me funny questions, which we will post later:) But I just remember the nurse kept telling me to take deep breaths and to open my eyes. It was so hard! They finally discharged me and I napped the entire afternoon. It was so great to have Josh, my mom, and Josh's parents with us at my surgery. Even though this was the most minor of the surgeries I've had, it was still scary and good to have family with me. Houston has truly become our second home, with people we love and places we like a whole lot!!! I was so thankful to feel well enough to go eat with my family that night. When they have come in for surgeries, I feel like I really haven't to spend much time with them because I am always knocked out, so I was thankful we were able to at least spend some time together that night. I never felt nauseous, which has never happened before. God was making himself known down to the little details. We then headed home on Saturday and I am trying to get my sleeping schedule back, as my nights and days have been a little confused:) It was a very easy surgery, compared to my others.

Here is a pic before I got my IV. Josh and I rigged up a way to help a vein expose. Didn't work, but they were able to get through my hand!

This was my 6th surgery in Houston in the past 2 years. At this point, we know the routine and what to expect which it comes to breast surgeries. After all of the surgeries I've had, I've experienced anesthesia, pain, nausea, lack of movement, lack of appetite, soreness, etc... I still experience pains and discomfort daily from surgeries that I had over a year ago. For several weeks and even months after surgey, pains and worries can be chalked up to as side effects from the surgery. Someone might think that is terrible, but for me, I can pay attention to "symptoms" so much that it can overtake my life if I'm not careful. So what have surgeries done for me? They have in a backwards way helped me mentally and emotionally. Surgeries have helped my "symptoms" be made sense of. God has helped me make huge strides in trusting Him when a symptom comes up, but I have learned that there is a definite upside of surgeries. I truly believe God picked the date of this last surgery, so that my anxiety would lessen and get me to August 18th (when I have all of my scans.) Anxiety can really rise up when it has been a while since a surgery and I am having scary symptoms. So, needless to say, the timing of this surgery couldn't have been better. I was really wishing it would have been sooner. I am learning to trust in His perfect timing, not timing that I perceive to be perfect.

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."

We always hear "trust in God's timing," but I really think few of us really do, myself included. We hear that, then try to get a date moved, or a vacation planned, or have a baby at a perfect time... I don't think any of these things are wrong necessarily, but I do know that from my cancer/healing experience, I have been much less pushy with dates and planning. I am a planner by nature, so if there is a way I can move a date up or back, or organize something perfectly, I do; however, I think many times I could have changed everything so much that it may not have looked like the way God would have had it turn out. I remember in November of 2011, I was supposed to receive chemotherapy after Thanksgiving. We got to MDA and my white count was too low for 2 days in a row. I was devastated. A basketcase. Inconsolable. Our doctor was out of town and no one could order my chemo. I pushed and pushed to get a shot to raise my white count, and I did.  I was at the hospital at the break of dawn the next day to get someone to take my blood. I was one determined girl! The end of the story is that with all my trying and determination, my white count was still too low. I remember Josh and I having a conversation that basically ended with us agreeing that we have to trust God and not force situations to happen. I'm not saying I just sit back and not use the brain God blessed me with, but I am saying that I often times get in the way of God. The anxiety, worry, and fear that rose up in me as I was trying to do it all myself was not from God, but from the enemy. He had all the fuel he needed to pull me off course. Here is the blog post from that day in November of 2011. I often times get complimented on my determined nature, and yes I am very determined. But, it is not until and unless I pair my determination with God's sovereignty that my determination is worth anything.

Proverbs 16:9 "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."

I go back to Houston next week and have my post op appointment on the 11th. The 11th will be exactly one year from my last radiation treatment- my last cancer treatment- ever!!! So, we will be celebrating...thank you for your prayers as I am still recovering! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

God is sovereign,