Thursday, November 28, 2013

My Very Special Thanksgiving

I said I would get around to posting to update about my surgery sometime before Christmas, but I thought I'd add a little cheer to the subject. Most of you are spending this day stuffing yourselves with turkey, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and of course stuffing. Although I will be doing the same (except I prefer dressing to stuffing and if you're southern you know there's a difference!) I will also have a little something extra to celebrate besides the glorious time of year we remember the Pilgrims and the Indians by eating and planning a shopping extravaganza for the following day.

This Thanksgiving Day, I celebrate ONE YEAR CANCER FREE!!!!!! That's 365 days, people! A full 365 days without cancer cells in my body on a silent advance to take over. I'm a bit excited to tell the truth. Well, more than a bit, really. I'm stoked, I'm flabbergasted, I'm overjoyed, I'm ecstatic, and that's all without pulling out the thesaurus! So, I'm warning you now: If you see me on Thanksgiving Day, be prepared to see a goofy grin and sparkling eyes, and lots of peeps, heehees, and hahas out of me. This moment is the most monumental of 2013 for me. Try saying that 5 times fast!

If I'm posting about this moment, I guess you kinda figured out on your own that I'm doing well after my last surgery. You're smart that way, right? :) I knew you were. I went in for surgery on September 18th and after quite a few hours waiting because they called us in too early, I was taken back and had my right breast ripped out of my body had a skin saving mastectomy on my right side and my port removed, since I haven't had chemo in over a year and the port wasn't working correctly anyway. My memory of my first mastectomy in September of 2012 is kinda hazy, so I was pleasantly surprised to have this thing called "bear paws" to wear while I waited for surgery. It is a gown like thing with a hose attached. At the wall end of the hose, you can turn on air to hot or cold or anywhere inbetween. Of course I had it maxed out at hot for a while (why are hospitals so cold?!) but I kept having to turn it off so I could hear the people talking to me in the room, since I didn't even take my hearing aids for fear of losing them. I did get to enjoy my sister and niece's company along with my hubby's and I don't think I was grumpy from lack of food until right about the time they came to get me for surgery. Don't tell, but one of the nurses let me have ice once after I told her I was getting parched since I normally consumed about 64-70 oz. of water in a day. I liked her, a lot!

A couple of fun things happened that day, and by fun I mean not so fun. First, was the I.V. thing. Normally, I have no problem getting the I.V., just a problem with the I.V. getting in. I blame my mother. She had tiny, rolling veins; I have tiny, rolling veins. Anyway, I was supposed to get the I.V. in my right arm per my doctor's instructions, even though I was having surgery on the right, because I've had lymph nodes removed from my left. My right is a little easier to get needles in, but barely. The nurses were so nice and apologizing for what all they were having to do to me after my vein rolled on them the third time. I don't usually look at what they're doing if it hurts and this time I'm glad I didn't, because when I glanced over, blood was pouring down my hand and puddling onto the floor. I don't mean just a few drops, I mean like someone stuck a pig (oink!oink!) or squirted ketchup on the floor. It took both nurses to clean me, them, and the floor up. I have never bled like that before, but at least on the fourth or fifth stick they got the I.V. in.

When I woke up from the anesthesia, though, I was dismayed to find that the I.V. had been put in my left foot. Um, can you say OUCH! That was the most painful place I've ever had one. The reason for it being there was something to do with the risks of it being in either of my arms because of the whole lymph node thing, but I remember most the pain and discomfort of the thing being in the top of my foot. The nurses wanted me going to the bathroom on my own, which was fine and I was able to do, but walking on the foot with the I.V. was horrible. Especially when I was groggy, about to pop, and snagged the I.V. line on the corner of the bathroom door because the pole wouldn't roll into the bathroom. Yep. Lovely it was. And one of the pain meds they gave me had to go in the needle in my foot and it burned and was cold all at the same time, so bad I teared up.

The other not fun part was when I woke up from the surgery. When they wheeled me back, I was joking and laughing with the nurses and fine. However, when I woke up it was to "I'm going to throw up" being said by none other than me. I won't describe the part that followed, only to say that has never ever happened to me in all of the surgeries I've had. It was not pleasant. Apparently my usage of essential oils has become ingrained because the next thing to come out of my mouth is "I need ginger. My husband has it." The amused male nurse fetched it and let me put it on, while I answered his questions about Young Living essential oils. The Ginger certainly made me feel better and eased the hurling.

I didn't get sick after that, didn't have to have morphine, and relied on percocet and my essential oils to help with the pain and discomfort. And like last time, I couldn't get enough to eat. The kitchen didn't like me much...

I had hardly any drainage from the surgery this time, even though they put in two drains. I ended up having the drains taken out early because there was no drainage to drain, and the lines were pushing on a nerve in my upper chest causing a low grade fever and lots of pain in that area. Oddly enough, I had hardly any pain at the incision site, especially when compared to the pain the drain lines were causing. I was able to go home the day after surgery, once again like last time. However my foot hurt like, well, you get the idea.

This time I knew what might help, so I was using Frankincense and Sacred Frankincense for my cells and tissue, plus ice packs, pillows, etc. Getting the plumbing working again wasn't fun, but a little bit better than last go around. The not so fun part was getting a stomach bug when I went for my post-op appointments with my doctors. I didn't wash my hands as much as I should've while I was there, and a day later "boom" and I lost eight pounds over the next two weeks.

It took me more time to heal up from the stomach bug than from the surgery. Keeping my energy up and the mental fog at bay was and is hard. But, each day I do get a little bit stronger. Just not as fast as I wish, because I had to work hard to get to where I was. I also will only have six months before the next round of surgeries, so part of me struggled with even trying to get back to where I was only to go through it again. There were some dark days mentally, I'll be honest with you. Thankfully, I had some great prayer warriors interceding for me and the dark days passed and praise music was the light shining the darkness dim.

Now, you see why I'm back to the whole giddy, celebratory attitude that a major milestone is under my belt and that I get to celebrate it with family and eating till I burst! Happy Thanksgiving everyone and remember we all have something in our lives to be thankful for, even if it is just the lives we are living. God bless you and yours.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Judge Not, but I did

First and foremost let me say in advance that I apologize to all of my husband's family members. I'm saying up front I was wrong. Everyone take the opportunity to write this moment down for the history books. You may never see those words again (Lord, please do not use that statement to make me eat my words!)!

When Tim and I first met, everyone, including myself, called him "Timmy". We were young, we were in love, I didn't care. They could've called him "Bob" for all I cared. I was just coming to terms with God's humor in putting someone in my life with the same name as my dad. We already had two of every other name in our family it seemed, so this was just God adding an extra haha to my life.

Then at some point, Tim began going by Tim. He was in his 20's, so it was just a natural progression, I guess. Anyway, once I started calling him Tim, I cringed every time anyone in his family called him "Timmy". I don't know why it irked me so. I guess I was trying to be offended on his behalf or something. Maybe I wanted them to recognize he was a responsible, grown adult by calling him "Tim". Who knows. I even at one point got so bent out of shape about it, I had the thought a family member was doing it on purpose to be annoying. Really? Yes, really. I could blame pregnancy hormones for that particular moment since I was pregnant with our first child, but that would only be an excuse. I may use that one later, though.

Over the years, as more important things have come along, the irksome use of "Timmy" has faded into something no longer irksome, just there. It's become a fact of life. Tim's hair is brown. Tim's eyes are brown. Tim's family calls him "Timmy". No big deal.

Then just yesterday, I was at a function where a cousin of Tim's and some mutual friends were at. Suddenly, I realized I was the only one calling her "Susie" instead of "Susan" like our mutual friends. Um. oops!

At that moment I was starkly aware that I had thought all that time ago people were being intentional and snide in their use, when really I had judged and judged harshly. Too harshly. Because, like what had happened in my use of "Susie" instead of "Susan", it was accidental and unintentional. Only habit.

Though the use of "Timmy" has ceased to be an issue for me, (Honestly, I have better things to do) I had never been aware how wrong and judgmental it was of me to be irked, even by something so silly. So once again, I apologize to anyone I ever got miffed at about calling my other half "Timmy". Just whatever you do, please do not ever, ever call me "Rachie"!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friends of Mine