Thursday, May 31, 2012

So far in Houston....

I'm sorry I haven't been able to post here yet since we arrived.  Our son woke up needing to go to the doctor the morning we were to leave so of course we got out of town much later than we thought.  This put us arriving in Houston at 11 pm and yet somehow our landlord was still readily available to "drive by" and get us situated.  (Yay, for blessing #1) After we followed someone in through the security gate of our new apartment and proceeded to park next to her on the 2nd level of the parking garage it donned on us that we were probably scaring her to death.  Billy wanted me to get out, go up to her car and tell her we weren't really following her and she was safe.  However, I saw she was pretending to be on the phone and wouldn't look at us and decided it was better than I get out and get my pillow showing her we belonged there.  Poor girl, I think we scared her to death because she never got out until we were down to the 1st level.  It was then we saw her back up and resituate her car in the parking spot..  I'm sorry, whomever you were.

Our new landlord, Ty, got us settled in our new home.  Here is a cozy little shot of our entryway.  We finally got to sleep around 1:00 am.

We had to be up to make a 7:00 am appointment the next morning so we began Day 1 with a very short night of sleep.  Words are hard to come by to explain the day, but here are a few glimpses for you.

Here I am putting on my "early morning" brave face before meeting with the anesthesiologist.  We learned a lot in this appointment as he took an full hour explaining the entire process from his perspective.  I found this all to be so helpful.  (Blessing #2) One of the main things he said is that they may keep me under anesthetic or at least sedation with a breathing tube for the first day or so after surgery. This will be for my own good to give my body more healing time before I have to wake up, and also to make sure I don't start messing with any of their handiwork without thinking about it (due to the pain meds and residual sedation in my body).

We left the anesthesiology appointment at 9:30, which meant we'd already missed 2 other appointments on our schedule. But we moved on to meet my gynecological oncologist (gyn-onc).  We'll call him Dr L to keep things simple.  Here I am in the waiting room before his appointment.
Our appointment with Dr L required a lot of up front reading about the procedure and the aftermath.  I joked with him when he walked in and found me laying back on the bed that I was just doing a little "light" reading.  He laughed and asked to see what I was reading.  I handed him the packet the nurse had given me earlier and he disagreed with the statement "light" as he brushed his fingers through his hair and sighed.  I smiled like everything was fine, but he knew better.  He said, I see you are smiling, but I know you don't feel like it.  I almost crumbled, but decided to smile bigger as I told him I always smile!  He said he's much the same way, and over the last 36 hours I have seen that he is.  Billy and I have felt very comfortable with him and his wonderful staff.  They have had to put us through some very difficult discussions and exams and yet they have been thoughtful and gentle.  (Blessing #3)

One thing to point out from this meeting is that I will most likely be in ICU for at least 24 hours after surgery so they can keep a very close eye on me.  I will be allowed visitors some, but noone can stay with me at night.  Once I am in a regular hospital room they encourage people to spend the night with me to watch for anything abnormal or concerning.  I will not be able to eat or drink for the first week.  All nourishment will be handling through the IV.  There will be a tube draining my stomach so that all the work they've done in the intestines will have time to heal.  Once I begin eating it will be very gentle foods like jello and broth. I will also have a drain tube for my reconstructive surgery 5-7 days.  My husband is so encouraging through all of these appointments and never leaves my side.  I just adore him.

After meeting with Dr L's team (including another gyn-onc that will help with the surgery, who we'll call Dr C) we moved down to get blood work, urine samples, an EKG and chest x-rays.  All this showed that I am healthy enough for the surgery.  While getting ready for the chest x-ray I looked at myself in the mirror and saw how ridiculous I looked with my shoes and hospital gown.  I thought I'd capture it for a laugh so here you go!

I was getting so tired at this point.  My head was spinning with everything I'd learned.  I really just wanted to go home and put my head under a pillow, but we still had more to do. I'd missed another appointment because Dr L kept us so long.  It was 2:15 and we were getting very tired emotionally and physically.
However, we rushed to the PET scan appointment for our 2:30 check in and they had a lobby full of at least 60 people.  We finally found a seat where we could put our feet up and I thought to myself this looks so much better.  Like things are right in the world even.  (Blessing #4 - I still had a small sense of humor)

They were so far behind that my I didn't get called back for over an hour after my appointment.  It gave us a little time to just sit and process all that we had learned and been through already.  It was a lot for me, but also for my sweet husband.  The Doctors have been very supportive of him as well asking if he's okay and if he has support coming for the surgery, etc.  I'm so thankful that his family and mine will be coming. 

By the time the PET was over I walked out to a mostly empty lobby at 6:00 PM. We had been at the clinic for 11 hours and due to the scan I had not been able to eat for 9 hours.  Honestly, I just felt miserable.  I'm not sure if I am just tense all day listening to these doctors, but I've ended both days with a horrible headache and I cannot take anything for it because of the upcoming surgery.    
Day 2 included lots of make up appointments we'd missed Day 1.  We met with a psychologist, with a research project specialist  (which enlisted me for a 10 year research program) a Wound Ostomy Nurse who marked where my ostomies will go, and Dr L to go over my surgery forms in details with all the risks and the one sole benifit.....Life!  I signed consent and Billy signed as the witness.  It was a heavy hearted day.

Thank you all for praying and encouraging.  I may not always get time to reply, but I am trying to keep up with the posts and texts and emails.  You all are amazing me with the amount of support you have shown.  Thank you so much for loving us through this next journey.  (Blessing #5)

And although I don't have the words for Day 2 yet there is one part I do want to share.  
My PET scan came back showing clear.  This seems confusing, but this is a very good thing because they see no reason to abort the surgery at this point.  They can proceed based on what they have felt, seen and biopsied.  (Blessing #6)


  1. Hey Kristi,
    This is Worley's sister, Trecia. I wanted you to know that you and your family continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. I was reading in Isaiah 43 this morning and especially thought of you. I had underlined verses 1-3a almost exactly 4 years ago to the day when a dear friend of ours son was severely injured in an accident. We have seen God's faithfulness and His miracles in this young man's life. I will add your name and todays date in my Bible and be praying it for you as well.

    Is. 43:1-3a But now, this is what the Lord says- he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
    We love you sweet sister!

  2. "I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith -- that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death." Phil 3:8-10

    Love, Brian

  3. Praying for a sweet time of refreshment - a brief respite - while you celebrate Taylor's graduation and enjoy your family. Love you!

  4. Oh sweet sister, I am singing praising that the scans came back clear!!!!! God is so amazing and perfect. Praying you have a blessed weekend with your family. Love ya! Danielle

  5. Praying you through! Keep journaling! HE is with you!

  6. We sang Before the Throne of God this morning in church. It is one of my favorite hymns and I couldn't stop thinking of you. Here are the lyrics:

    Before the throne of God above
    I have a strong and perfect plea.
    A great high Priest whose Name is Love
    Who ever lives and pleads for me.
    My name is graven on His hands,
    My name is written on His heart.
    I know that while in heaven He stands
    No tongue can bid me thence depart.

    When Satan tempts me to despair
    And tells me of the guilt within,
    Upward I look and see Him there
    Who made an end of all my sin.
    Because the sinless Savior died
    My sinful soul is counted free.
    For God the just is satisfied
    To look on Him and pardon me.

    Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
    My perfect spotless righteousness,
    The great unchangeable I AM,
    King of glory and of grace,
    One in Himself I cannot die.
    My soul is purchased by His blood,
    My life is hid with Christ on high,
    With Christ my Savior and my God!

    In HIm, Brian Hyde

  7. Praying for you! God is good and he will take care of you and your family. God loves you.

  8. You are always in my thoughts and prayers ~ strength ~ courage ~ healing ~ for you with love.