The BEST update!

Sometimes I forget that people other than my very close family read this blog (because I make them ;) ) and I have a tendency to leave details out of my posts!

Then last week I had lots of messages from concerned friends regarding my surgery and just wanting to know if the cancer was back, if I had been having problems, exactly what type of surgery I had….and all that good stuff – sooooo, I am happy to report:

pathology hyst fin

That’s right, that says, “PATHOLOGY IS NEGATIVE FOR CANCER!”  Not that I expected anything differently!  Had a good feeling about all of that.  Praise the Lord!

On Oct. 24 I had a total (or maybe they call it complete?) hysterectomy….basically they took everything they could — ovaries, uterus, Fallopian tubes, etc…  They did the surgery laparoscopically. I had not been having any problems and did not suspect any cancer was back – this was totally a preventative measure.  My breast cancer was attributed to a BRCA gene mutation that I have, and it also increased my ovarian cancer risk up to 50% (or one in two … if two people have my gene mutation, one of us would get the cancer) — the problem is, doctors can not effectively screen for ovarian cancer.  By the time it is visible via screening, it usually means it is large and/or has spread to other nearby organs and is therefore, more difficult to treat.

It was a tough decision to decide to go on with the surgery.  I don’t think there is anything sweeter than a newborn baby and I still am not sure I can squash this baby fever forever, but it was what I needed to do to give myself the best chance to prevent the cancer from coming back.  No boobs, no uterus, no ovaries…no problem. :)

And I do have these sweet things…
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Aren’t they precious?

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And I already posted this one on Facebook, but I loved how sweet and giggly they were :)

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I haven’t felt a whole lot like taking pictures and I think I missed all the pretty leaves this year, but I did go out to try to get birthday pictures of Wade.  The girls were being camera hogs that day…Between the girls wanting their picture made and Wade being more interested in playing, I didn’t really get many of him. Minnie and Mickey didn’t want their picture made either…

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I have been selective about pictures I have posted of Wade because his eyes have been crossing so bad.  But he is just as sweet as he can be and he’ll be having surgery next week to hopefully correct the crossing!  Please say a prayer for him — the surgery itself is pretty low risk, but he will be under general anesthesia which is always a little bit scary and of course even though the risks are low, they pertain to his vision, so any complications could compromise that.

His eyes don’t cross every day, but most day we get to see this sweet little face.

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So anyway, that is what is going on with me.  Today marks two weeks post-surgery.  Brandon went back to work this week after being Mr. Mom and nurse last week for us!   I have been doing really well recovery-wise. I have just a twinge of pain remaining and mostly am just working to regain my energy at this point!

THANK YOU for everyone that has blessed us with a meal and/or visit! We appreciate that so much.  Mr. Mom is not a cook. ;)

And I just realized I totally just admitted to my pride a few sentences ago in not wanting to share pictures of Wade’s crooked eyes! Don’t we want our children to be perfect?  I know God desires that of us too!   Not in a physical sense, but spiritually.

Praying today that my life will be a reflection of God’s grace and mercy and “let others see Jesus in me!”   Praying for the fruits of the spirit to be evident in my life.   

While passing through this world of sin,
and others your life shall view,
Be clean and pure without, within;
Let others see Jesus in you.

Your life’s a book before their eyes,
They’re reading it through and through
Say, does it point them to the skies,
Do others see Jesus in you?


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Quick Update!

Hey everybody,

I made it through my surgery last week and am starting to feel back to normal!

It was a rough few days.  Surgery was scheduled for 1:45pm on Thursday — after quite a few delays I think I finally made it back to surgery around 5:45pm, into recovery by 10pm, and was out of the hospital by noon on Friday!

The surgeon said everything looked really  normal but of course we will get the official pathology report later on. FOr now though, just thankful they didn’t see anything unexpected!

Brandon has been taking care of me and being Mr. Mom for the past few days.  He is doing way better at keeping up with laundry than I usually do.   ;)

He even made Wade’s third birthday party happen, complete with a Donald Duck cake he made and decorated himself!  Super daddy!  I love doing their birthday parties, but this weekend, I didn’t have it in me.  In fact, couldn’t even really stay out of bed for the party, but the kids had a blast.  Hard to believe that Wade is three years old!  I think somebody took some pictures, so will have to find them and post later!

For now, just a picture from the beach this summer. :)

Thank you for the calls and prayers and thank you to our Sunday School class for spoiling us with meals, although I don’t doubt Brandon would have cooked for us too!

And one quick prayer request before I bombard you with pictures (because you know I can’t only post ONE picture!): I can’t have any hormone therapy because of my cancer and blood clotting history.  I had just enough hot flashes during chemo to know that I do NOT want to have to deal with them.  SO far so good, and I am so thankful (thank you JESUS!).  You can pray that I have continued deliverance from those if you are so inclined! The doctor said I might just be overweight enough that my body will produce enough estrogen to protect me. Which sealed the deal for me…no dieting through the holidays. ;)

As promised:

 

 

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And one of my all time favorites from last year, girls with daddy at the pumpkin patch:

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Goodnight everybody!

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more surgery. get your PINK on. save second base. feel your boobs…

It is October!   So I feel like I need to post….

Especially since I have been at Duke three times in the past week and sat for HOURS watching people just like you and me go in and out for cancer treatments.

Especially because early diagnosis is your best defense against this disease.

Especially since I am having another surgery today because of this BRCA mutation (more on that in a sec).

YOU go ahead and schedule your mammogram and/or do your monthly self breast exam! I mean it!!  Do it!

1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer

That means more than one of you reading this blog will be develop breast cancer in your lifetime!!!!

Cancer does not discriminate.If you are reading this I am sure you all know that I was diagnosed in July 2011 at age 29.  Check out these projections for 2013:

breast cancer 1

If you are one of these 232,000 women, the earlier your diagnosis, the better your outcome!

Put it on your to-do list: SCHEDULE MAMMOGRAM.  If you are lucky and you hurry, maybe you can fit it in this calendar year and you have already met your deductibles!

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As I mentioned above, today I will undergo another surgery and the last part of my treatment, so to speak … one more surgery to ensure that I eliminate every potential risk from my body that I possibly can; one last little bit of myself.  I have held on to them for as long as I could…but the ovaries have to go. 

I want to say this is a bittersweet time, but I am having a hard time finding the sweetness about it.  Yes, I know it is the smartest thing to do for my health, and hopefully a hysterectomy means that I am reducing my cancer risk to a negligible level.  Hopefully it will also lift a little burden from my subconscious…my 40%+ ovarian cancer risk has been lingering somewhere in the back of my mind!

But mostly all I can think about is the finality of not having any more babies.  I KNOW I already have three of them, by the way.  But maybe I wanted more…maybe I could have convinced Brandon somewhere down the line! ;)   At any rate, since that is not going to happen we took the crib down this weekend and took the changing table out of the house.  Sad times for this mama!   All three kids used both so I am pretty sad to see them go!

Life moves on though, and in my mind, this surgery completes the checklist the doctors gave me over two years ago when this crazy journey began.

My surgery is scheduled for tomorrow at 1:45pm.  Pray for me!!!

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Two Year Update!

Breast cancer rates are hitting at about 1 in 12 women – that’s a lot.

My mom was 28 when she was diagnosed almost 27 years ago.  At the time, she wasn’t aware of any immediate family member that had breast cancer.  Somewhere along the line there were murmerings about one of her great-grandmothers that had died at a “young” age who may have had breast cancer.

Well my sister has been doing some geneology mapping and she likes to confirm everything with death certificates/birth certificates/a census or some other reliable data! I got home this evening and Lydia was on the phone telling me to check my email – she wanted to tell me about her finding – right there in plain writing:

My great-great grandma Sophie, CAUSE OF DEATH: Carcinoma of the Breast.   She died at age 44.  It was a little bit ironic that Lydia called to tell me this today.  Today, July 27.

July 27th - the day the doctor said he was sorry to inform me that the pathology reports DID indicate breast cancer.

Whew, thank you Jesus that day is a distant memory and He has carried me through! :)

I have never walked alone, for sure…faith, family and friends…couldn’t have done it without all three.

These little cheerleaders sure did pull me through some rough days…and some days made me wish I could be back in the bed with nothing to do except shop online for cute clothes when I was too weak to do anything else. ;)

And this little guy – just as sweet as he was at nine months old when I got that phone call.  Just a sweet little baby.

 

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So time marches on.  Last year I was optimistic that I would be finished with everything I needed to be finished with by this time.  Not quite there yet.  Not sure when I will be, to be honest with you.  But all reports are good and clear from the doctors so just feeling thankful!

And am I the only one amazed that doctors could diagnose breast cancer back in 1923?  I think that is remarkable.  Early detection is key, ladies!  Feel your  boobs and note any changes!

Be back soon with a bunch of pictures. :)

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Just (Don’t) Say No

(Blog from last Friday night)

I am a very patient person…usually. After sitting and waiting around for doctors for almost two full days this week, my patience was wearing pretty thin about 5:00pm this afternoon, at which point my lab orders seemed to be lost in cyberspace somewhere…thankfully a late-working nurse saved the day. I survived another round of appointments!

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On Tuesday I met with my Gynecologist Oncologist for the second time. I had been dreading the appointment since last November when I scheduled it, and actually called and cancelled my originally scheduled screening in June. I didn’t feel like I could cancel again, so Tuesday we headed to Durham.

I am not sure that I ever blogged about that November appointment, but I was probably more upset then than I ever was when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Basically the doctor told me I should be thankful for the three kids I had and I needed to get my ovaries out ASAP…in other words, no more babies, and surgery right away.

My primary oncologist had told me I could wait until I was 40 or until I was done having kids, so I was surprised and upset when the doctor tried to sign me up for surgery that November day. I tried to argue with him about things I had read about why I might not need to have surgery immediately — to no avail. He insisted. I cried, he left the room, the nurse felt bad for me, I cried some more….bottom line, these doctors don’t sugar coat, and life goes on. I didn’t schedule the surgery though. Scare tactics don’t work on me. Or they didn’t that day. It is possible that the stubborn side of me only wanted to hear what I wanted to hear and was not open to any other idea or possibility, even at the urging of the chief of the gynecology department. :)

On Tuesday the doctor told me that he distinctly remembered that appointment 6+ months ago and he remembered thinking I would never come back to see him (he doesn’t know what a rule-follower I am!).  He also apologized for his bedside manner that day. As we talked through the topic once again on Tuesday, we determined that whether or not I actually want more children is neither here nor there…what I DO know is that I want it to be MY decision. Not his.

I know that may not be logical and it may be selfish, as I watch close friends struggle with infertility…with no say so at all in how many kids they can have. (Pray for big things to happen for them soon, btw)!!!  But that is how I felt.  So out of control over everything with my body for the past couple of years, that I just wanted to make SOME decision on my own!

At any rate, I told him that I didn’t like people telling me no, and, to appease me, he told me okay then, have as many children as you want…and he would still be there to treat me if things went downhill in the meantime.  Not sure Brandon wanted to hear that. ;) But it really did (illogically) make me feel better. I still didn’t schedule the surgery, but strangely enough I do feel more at peace with the idea of it now. You can continue to pray for me as I make that decision!

Evidently studies do not definitively link natural pregnancy to to developing ovarian cancer in women with the BRCA1 gene, but rather, having the ovaries in my body increases the risk.  So.

On one hand, I think the kids would love to have a baby around!

The girls with Luke and Whitney’s newest addition, Lily Brooke – born July 4!

On the other hand, Wade is pretty much potty trained and I do enjoy sleeping through the night. :)

I guess I will just have to rely on other people’s children for my baby fixes!

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Quick Update

Hi!  I know it has been ages since I posted.

Just wanted to update and ask for prayer requests this week.  Some of you have recently heard my name on various prayer lists regarding my arm – I would tell you what is going on with it except I don’t exactly know!

I did very well in physical therapy after my surgery to recover a full range of motion and all was well, but about 6 months ago I started having complications with my arm and axillary (armpit) region on the side where they removed all of my lymph nodes.  Most issues were addressed through additional physical therapy and lymphatic message, but I have had a lingering and continual cramping on my right side that is just enough to interfere with my daily routine and be a constant reminder that I am in a broken body.

Now, after a few months of physical therapy and after seeing several doctors, we still aren’t sure what is causing the cramps.  I really would love to get to the bottom of this because in addition to cramping during the day time hours, sometimes it cramps all night too.  I am already tired, so missing sleep because of this is bothersome!  I need all of my energy to keep up with these crazy kids!

Look how they have grown compared to my blog banner…it has been almost 2 years now since that picture.

Growing like weeds! Ella is 3, Wade is 2, and Cadence turned 5 in April…

 

So anyway, I have been waiting about 6 weeks now to be seen by someone in sports medicine.  Evidently if I need any xrays/MRIs they will be ordered from this set of doctors. Would you just pray for direction for them tomorrow (Tuesday)?

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Also, I have an appointment with my Gynecologist Oncologist on Thursday.  This is part of the precautionary screening for Ovarian Cancer that I am having because of my BRCA mutation.  I know this doctor is extra concerned because I have a known BRCA 1 mutation and an unknown BRCA2 mutation, and if my first appointment with him is any indication, he will be trying to schedule me for surgery at his first open date.  I will just say that I am not completley at peace with that option, but in the back of my mind feel like I should just play along and pretend I agree with the doctors’ recommendation. Play it safe.  I guess that is better than the alternative.

I heard just this past week about a well-known young lady (I think 39 years old) with a late stage Ovarian Cancer that totally and completely snuck up on her.  Pray for her, by the way, if you think of it.  It must be very sad and depressing to have no eternal hope.  I don’t think she has faith in Jesus Christ although she certainly covets our prayers right now.

And so do I!

Hope it is okay to pop in with this random little update for those of you who still tag along!  I will try to be back soon with an update!

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Happy Happy Day

And Happy Groundhog Day.  It is February 2 and I haven’t blogged in months.  Sorry about that!  But I bet all of you were as busy with Thanksgiving and Christmas as I was.  Oh, and if you didn’t get a Christmas card from us this year, I am truly sorry.   I had my computer worked on when I was sick and I think my master Christmas card list got deleted along the way.  All I had to work with was my basket of recent cards and a phone book/directory.

I just wanted to pop in and say hello to everybody!  I think it is fair to say that I am still getting better every day, but pretty much back to normal.  Every day gets a little farther away from that day 1.5 yrs ago.

I LOVE the old hymn chorus that the kids sing at Sunday School and come home singing too: “Every day with Jesus, is sweeter than the day before….” — and it truly is!

My only complaint is that time is going by too quickly.  Cadence’s birthday will be here before I know it and I just can not believe she will be 5 years old and big enough to go to  Kindergarten next year.

Ella and Wade are growing just as quickly.  Becoming less needy.  Growing up right before my very eyes.  (I think I’ve been watching too much Duck Dynasty – pretty sure I never used that phrase until watching that show!  “Right before my very eyes!”)

Anyway, some of you might remember that last year I made a commitment to Project 365, a photography goal of taking at least one picture every day.  I’m sure the objective was for me to learn how to use my camera better, and I feel like I did, but as an added bonus, I get to look back and see the year in pictures and see the growth of my kids (and my hair ;) ) in one convenient place!

I took a picture (almost) every day!  Sometimes with my regular camera.  Sometimes with the iPad or iPhone. I’ll include the album below – if you’re bored you can click through them.  I’ve shared some already on Facebook, and true to my indecisive nature, some days have more than 1 picture because I couldn’t decide. :)

Click on the flowers to view the album.  Don’t ask me why there are 500+ pictures in a Project 365 album.

Enjoy!

2012 Project 365

Thank you for your continued prayers!!!

Goodnight

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