Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Next Steps - Pathology Results

In my last update I mentioned that Dr. L sent off some skin/tissue samples to pathology and they did come back as he expected.  I have some skin not healing correctly and I believe he referred to it as granulation tissue. My plastic surgeon described this as skin that is trying to heal, but instead produces little clusters of blood vessels.  These blood vessels are very tender and bleed easily, plus they have a lot of nerves going to them causing pain and discomfort. He believes one of his incisions didn't heal well because of excessive swelling in the month following surgery.  He and Dr L. will discuss timing and procedures and then will want me to come back down for an outpatient surgery.  Obviously, going back to the operating table under anesthetic is the last thing I want to do right now, but they believe they can relieve some ongoing pain I'm having if I allow them to remove this granulation tissue and any scar tissue they find during the procedure.

Billy & I are praying and discussing our options while we wait to hear back from my doctors this week.  On one hand, we feel anxiety to have to face any additional procedure, but we also feel hope that they can eliminate some pain and symptoms I'm still having.  The doctors were clear that I should not be feeling pain at this stage of recovery.

In the mean time I'm loving being home with my kids for the summer and feeling good enough to "do life" with them!  I may be a bit different physically than before, and I may get tired much easier, but I'm alive and making more memories.  In light of the several lives lost to cancer just since my surgery in January, I feel incredibly blessed and genuinely humbled to be where I am.  My heart has cried for Martina, Georgia, Toni and Kathy over the last several months as they left this world to go be with our Savior.  It is hard not to ask why they are gone and I am not....survivors guilt, I guess.  They believed in miracles and fought just as hard as I did.  They asked God to leave them here with their families and yet they are gone. Toni was one of the ladies we had been asking you to pray for specifically and she lost her battle with Ewing's Sarcoma the last week of June with a funeral on July 3rd. My heart ached terribly for her husband, children, family and friends who walked so closely with her. Please continue to pray over those left behind.

These ladies lives reminds me of my favorite song, Blessed be the Name of the Lord, based on Job 1:21.  "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."  All of these women were praising God publicly, even to the end of their days.  The least I can do is praise God for giving me an option to be cancer free and live on.  In all honesty, this perspective hasn't always been easy in the last few months, but it is a choice I am making over and over.  I hope those who have lost their battle with cancer will be honored by the way the rest of us live on with our gift called LIFE!

"Blessed be your name on the road marked with suffering. Though there's pain in the offering, blessed be your name.  Every blessing you pour out, I'll turn back to praise. When the darkness closes in Lord, still I will say...Blessed be your name!"  (full song below)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Post Operative Checkup - July 2013

"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 Some versions say not to be terrified of them, one says not to panic before them; a third says not be afraid or tremble. This verse has been coming to mind for a couple weeks as I knew my follow-up trip to Houston was approaching. Dread is the perfect word to describe my emotions leading up to this visit, but when my sister, Amy, sent me the same verse from her bible study this morning her version used the word terror.  I felt a tinge of terror when I walked back into the Mays building and for a minute fought back the urge to throw up. It felt as if I was walking back into my own battlefield of bad memories.

My appointment was at 9:30 and by the time I saw my doctor at 12:00 I had relaxed some again. I had missed two more appointments by the time he came to my room, but this has been normal and I tell myself it is because he is helping another woman in her own battle against cancer.  No need to be frustrated with him, he helped cure me....and will cure many more with his God given talents/knowledge.

The doctor said he found none of my symptomatic issues to be serious and gave me a few answers.  I do have a section of skin that is not healing properly post surgery and he removed the skin to allow for it to regrow and heal properly.  He will send this to pathology to confirm that his diagnosis is correct, but he feels certain that this was done to aide in healing and not because of concern for any cancer.

I  have been having a lot of nerve-type pain in my feet, but a change in my long term antibiotic is greatly helping this. The Infectious Disease doctor overseas this, and was still willing to see us very late. Our prayer is that this 2nd tier antibiotic will still kill all of this slow dyeing bacteria infection.

I took the time to visit my hospital nurses and physical therapist between appointments (see pic) and it was so fun to see everyone.  I remembered a nurse saying that patients leave their floor and they never know what happens to them, so I wanted to encourage them that their hard work is worth it.

All doctors and nurses thought I was doing really well for not quite 6 months post surgery and said I don't have to come back for 3 more months!

Tomorrow I get to see a woman who had my same surgery 2 years ago and ask her all my nitty gritty questions.  I'm excited for this divine appointment! 

One more appointment on Friday morning with the plastic surgeon and then we head back home.  Tomorrow mom and I get to be tourists in Houston and we don't have to have any tears or DREAD while we do it!

Thanks everyone for your many many prayers, your financial gifts, your well wishes.  We have been beyond blessed by all of you through this time.  Today someone texted me they were in awe of me. I didn't have to think at all about who she should be in awe of.....all of you.  The ones that have entered into this journey with me, prayed me through the most difficult 6 months of my life, volunteered time, money, advice and gifts well beyond anything I would have dreamed.  God has blessed me, and my entire family, with such wonderful friends and church family. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I'll have to post more about the outpouring of blessings and how it has encouraged me soon, but know that without all of you and our Savior I couldn't have gotten through this time (my personal battlefield) like I did.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Enjoying LIFE!

I just wanted to share a recent picture of Kristi! This was after she went into Table Rock Caverns in Branson, MO. She had to walk 110 feet down into the cave and then 110 feet back out! That is a huge Praise! We are so proud of her and how far she has come since her surgery on January 31st! Five Months later and we are seeing some amazing progress! We had a great time in Branson where she did a lot of fun things with her kids for about 5 days but then it took about that many days to recuperate! She get's worn out easily but is enjoying LIFE! She's doing well but we all still appreciate all your prayers! She has to return to Houston on July 9th for a checkup with her doctors. She has appointments on the 10th and 12th. She will be traveling with our Mom. They will be flying so please pray over these appointments and their flight! Thank you! ~Katy