Sunday, July 31, 2011

make-up and contacts

Putting on a brave face for my kids as they return home today. I know they will be able to see the physical difference by just looking at me so I wanted to look as otherwise normal as possible. I'm so worried about them worrying. I think as each new person has visited that I haven't seen since the surgery I cry at least once, so I know my emotions can come out at anytime so I just want to seem as fine as I can when my kids get home. Obviously Mommy being in bed all day everyday isn't normal, and when I saw them last I hid all of my drains and chest. Today I put on some make up put my contacts in and did my hair to the best of my ability. I hope they can get past this I will do everything in my power to make this time for them as normal as possible.

I'm still so sleepy today. I haven't taken anything for pain yet today, but am having a little. Since this whole surgery in itself is new to me I didn't realize I'd still be so tired after so many days.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The days are running together...

Today I woke up hungry a new feeling that I haven't had for the last week or so. My sweet husband got me some watermelon and sprite for breakfast, the new breakfast of champion's in this house. It tasted good sweet and crisp. It was shower time so once again my sweet husband got me undressed and helped me into the shower, where he slowly washed my hair, and my skin. The smell of clean is refreshing and the sleepy feeling I have from the nausea meds made me unknowingly rest my head so far down as he massaged I ended up laying on his chest. Once clean and dry he carefully changed my bandages and dressed me. His step-dad was waiting to visit so we visited with him for a while, and then I chatted on the phone with my Mom. Now as I lay here, still sleepy my chest throbs with tightness, I can sometime feel a cold or wet sensation where my breast once were. I still have not had the courage to look at myself in front of a mirror without clothes. I keep thinking that I should have done that by now, and the longer I wait the harder it will be. I can already see the flatness of what was once full, and dread my first public appearance in which I anticipate a lot of emotion.
As we have started this journey it makes us so aware that the people we pass daily could be going through something. As I prepared for my surgery with a trip to walmart I keep seeing people walk by me doing their normal life things thinking... "don't they know, don't I look sick, can't they tell?" of course not, of course they have no idea, but I will. I will make myself more open to seeing the hurt and pain in peoples eyes to make myself more aware and ask how someones day is with meaning and real curiosity rather then just trying to make conversation.

Thank you again to those who have continued to be a support to our family as we walk this road. I can not thank you all personally there are so many, but please know I am reading every comment, email and facebook post daily and they really are keeping me going as I lay here recovering.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A day not soon forgotten

6:00am - go up got ready to go to the hospital
7:00am - left for Goshen
8:00am - arrived at the hospital and went to day surgery
8:15am - undressed, gowned and being prepped for surgery
8:45am - Family friend from ROCC came up to pray with us
9:15am - nuclear medicine injected into both left and right breast to light up suspicious lymph nodes.
9:30am - wheeled down for surgery
9:34am - anesthetic administered
9:56 am - surgery started
3:00 pm - surgery complete and taken to recovery
4:00pm -wheeled to my room for the 24 hours.

The ride to the hospital was long and pretty quite. Once we arrived to the hospital the questions began to roll in... name, birth date, allergies, do you have to use the restroom, I was waiting on which door are you parked closest to so you can run out of here the fastest? Once they were able to get my IV started things began to move pretty rapidly. I think I saw every second on the clock tick by as people trickled in doing their thing. Shortly after our friend from our church in goshen came up and prayed with us two nurses came and one at a time injected a dose of nuclear medicine under each areola first the left and then the right and massaged each. The pain was extremely intense. About 15 minutes after that I kissed Nate goodbye and cried as they rolled me down the long hallway. The operating room was intense. I've seen them on TV but never actually been in one. They wheeled me in asked me to transfer beds, the anesthesiologist injected some medicine I looked at the clock and that's the last thing I remember. The next thing I knew I was semi awake, and surrounded by nurses who were asking me more questions. The first thing I remembered was I forgot to add my Grandpa to the list of people Nate was suppose to call. One of the nurses (a lady who knew us from our Goshen church) was there throughout the whole process updating Nate and my family and I asked her if she could please tell Nate to call my Grandpa, she said he was already in the waiting room, and that my best friend Carrie was there, as long as she could be, but had to leave to catch a flight. Ironically later I found out that the Dr.'s assistant had missed the surgery because she had just found out her best friend had breast cancer, and had jumped in her car to go be with her as she begins her battle. After a couple short conversations with the recovery nurses I was taken to my room which I don't remember and had several visitors as I was in and out of consciousness. The night was long, filled with nausea and vomiting, pain and trying to get comfortable. My roommate with up crying or snoring all night and I just couldn't handle listening to her so I had the TV on all night. I was up about every hour going to the bathroom. The nurses were helpful even as busy as they seemed.
The ride home yesterday was long and painful, but the journey ahead is going to be longer. Before leaving the hospital I was scheduled 6 or 7 appts. for the next 2 weeks. I'm still overwhelmed with emotions of not knowing exactly how bad this is, and also with all the love and support of everyone around us. My family is being taken care of and I'm so grateful for that, but I'm still in a fog and of course a lot of pain.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Today I'm scared. I couldn't sleep, and all I can think about everything and nothing at the same time. Here goes everything....

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

From one Wednesday to the next

After speaking with the Dr. this morning we decided to go ahead with surgery tomorrow morning. He has me scheduled to go in at 9:30am for a bilateral mastectomy. Last Wednesday at that time in the morning I was preparing myself to leave for my biopsy which also was my very first semi-surgical procedure. So not only will this be the first time I've been admitted to the hospital for something other then giving natural birth to my children, but it will be the first time EVER that I have had surgery. I have cried so much over the last 5 days, that I don't know where the tears can possibly come from and yet they still flow hot and heavy.

The reality of this is tomorrow afternoon I will no longer have breast, and yet I can not even imagine what that will be like. I don't know how I will feel either emotional or physically. I don't know what it will look like, and lately all I can say is "I don't know".

I am so grateful for the support, and yet feel so unworthy. My family, friends, and churches have all rallied around me, offered prayer and support, encouraging and comforting words and Bible verses. A person couldn't possibly feel more loved, and alone at the same time.

The details of tomorrow are as follows I will be admitted to day surgery at Goshen Hospital at 8 am, and be prepped for surgery around 8:30. The doctor said the surgery will be around 3 to 4 hours long, and I may leave that evening, but I may be staying one night depending on how I do.

Thank you all again for your support it is much needed and appreciated now and in the weeks and months to come.

What If....

Just some emotions for now...

What if its more than just the breast?
What if it hurts too bad?
What if I don't make it through surgery?
What if I do?
What if it comes back?
What if I am not strong enough?
What if I can't stop crying?
What if he looks at me differently?
What if I don't feel beautiful?
What if they are afraid of their Mommy?
What if they have nightmares and I caused them?
What if she dreads her birthday due to the memories?
What if it never goes away?

Monday, July 25, 2011


Had my MRI today, this will likely tell us what stage the cancer is, and it will tell us how big the tumor is, and also if there is any areas of concern in my left breast. I am about 85% sure we are going to choose to do a bi-lateral masectomy so that I don't spend my days worrying about having to go through this again regardless of what the MRI results say, and my booby buddy Dr. Henry said that would be completely my choice. Unfortunately he called this evening with my results, but we were not home yet, and when we tried calling him right back he had already left the office for the evening. We should know by tomorrow morning when surgery will be scheduled.

The MRI wasn't too bad I wasn't really concerned that it would be, and I only cried once while at the hospital today.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Its been a couple of days, and there are so many emotions going on inside. I'm not sure I can even put them into words so I will just go with the details of Friday.

On Thursday the nurse from Fairhaven called after office hours, and scheduled me with my Dr. who wasn't even in the office on Friday for 1:45. I figured something was up, but tried not to assume the worst. On Friday we met with Dr. Simon my GYN. He came in shook my hand and said, "You aren't worried are you?" For about a minute I felt a little better. We moved to a conference room where he began... "Well" he said, "we have a couple of options. We have you scheduled with 2 doctors who deal with breast cancer." WHAT? WAIT? What did you say??? Was all that was running through my mind. He proceeded to tell us that they scheduled us with a Dr. in Ft. Wayne and one in Goshen so we had the option of where we wanted to go. We left the office to discuss the options, the last thing I remember was Nate asking if I was ok, and then just feeling hot tears and lack of breath, and going weak in the knees.

We drove around Goshen for a bit, to try and comprehend, and make a wise decision about what doctor to see. We decided to stay in Goshen because 1. that doctor could see me at 3:30 and 2. our family and support system is mostly there.

3:30pm - We met with Dr. Henry at The Retreat. He first went over my medical history, and then took us to an exam room where he did a brief exam. For the next hour he talked about 5 basic steps of what we are facing, and answered some of our questions. He informed us that because there are 2 spots, and several other suspicious looking areas his recommendation is a complete mastectomy of the right side. He scheduled an MRI for this coming Monday afternoon at 2pm, and said surgery could take place as early as this week if we choose. The MRI will let us know how big the cancer is and if there is anything suspicious on the left said that would maybe prompt us to do a complete bi-lateral mastectomy (meaning taking off both breast), also if it has spread anywhere else beyond the breast such as the lungs or chest. He informed us of all the risks and statistics, and talked to us about also meeting with a plastic surgeon who would also be involved in the initial removal surgery if we choose to do reconstruction. In which case surgery would not take place until sometime after Aug. 8th. He also talked to us about Chemo and radiation, neither of which has been determined that I need, but he said most likely chemo will be in my future, and we will meet with an Oncologist to discuss that after surgery. One other thing we learned we will have to make a decision on is genetic testing to see if I am a gene carrier and if my children and siblings are at a higher risk because of that. He told us that one of the down falls of doing that is insurance companies will drop us or put us on really high rates, and it will follow us and our kids forever. There are many advantages to it, however, but I don't really remember what he said. We were not given a stage of the cancer nor was it even mentioned. I don't know if that is because the doctor doesn't know yet or if it just was not mentioned.
There were so many other things talked about in that room on Friday I was in and out of reality and tears and even woke up Saturday thinking about what a bad dream I had. In the days, weeks and months to come the nightmare is only going to get worse I can imagine. I've always said, "I can't imagine how people who have cancer deal with it" the fact of it is I still can't even wrap my brain around how people deal with this. I cry uncontrollably for a while, and then go on being ok for a minute. No one can prepare you or be prepared for something like this. I can't help but think about the worst outcome. I'm not yet ready to be optimistic.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Diagnosis

I haven't been able to put the events of yesterday into words without overwhelming emotion so this post will be short until I can take it all in and process the diagnosis of cancer.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Call...

My OB/GYN's office called tonight . They have my results and my Dr. would like to see me before the weekend to go over them....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Human Pin Cusion

Have you ever seen a movie where the Dr. comes in and says, "now this won't hurt a bit" as he pulls out the longest needle in the world and the camera comes in for a close up? Well today's experience was nothing like that! The long needle came in from behind and hurt like well....H.E. double hockey sticks! After a few moments of digging around in the side of my breast this loud sound similar to the sound of an electric sliding van door x10 came from my side and searing pain ensued. If you are about to get a biopsy please know this isn't normal. The doctor stopped and gave me some more anestetic, but the pain was pretty intense at that point. He quickly finished, and then the nurse prepared new sterile instruments for the next biopsy. That one started out much the same, but before the pain got too bad the doctor hit me with more direct anestitic. Shortly after that he began taking out the samples that he needed at this point it wasn't as bad, but suddenly I became severly nausous and light headed. Thankfully the doctor could see I wasn't doing too well and finished up and got me feeling a little better. After laying there for another 15 minutes I was taken in to get another mammogram. During the biopsy they put small clips in my breast at the spots they biopsied so they could note them on a mammogram. Let me tell you...that was not very exciting as well as also painful. So here it is 8 pm around 5 hours later. I'm still in some pain when I move and already slightly bruised. I hope to have some results by Friday...until then!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thursday July, 14th Appt.

Sorry to those who have checked in to find no update. Its been an extreamly busy 24 hours. I left our house Thursday at 11am dropped the kids off to Grandma, headed to my appt., had a couple hours to hang out with my best friend, then headed to the evening visitation for Nate's cousin Amy. We stayed in Goshen Thursday night, Nate was up most of the night throwing up or trying to tolerate his pains with moans and groans. I got up this morning went to Amy's funeral, family dinner, got Nate situated with some help with the kids, went on a photo shoot, and then picked my sister up from her week at church camp. Headed to Syracuse got the kids, took everyone home, and started cleaning. Ok take a breath... I finally am!

So back to Thursday. I went to the Retreat in Goshen, for those of you who don't know its a Women's Health Care facility affiliated with IU Health Center of Goshen (formaly Goshen General Hospital), I met my best friend there who came along for emotional support and later comic relief. After being checked in we were escorted back to a changing room where I got to put on a purple wonder girl cape, and then moved into the Mammogram room. They took 2 normal pictures of each breast, and then 3 magnified pictures of the one with the lumps. The technician reviewed them on the spot and then escorted me to the ultra sound room, where the US tech did an ultra sound of both lumps. The doctor in the office then came in a did his own ultra sound of each lump. I was pretty surprised to learn the results of both test immediately, although not very explanitory. Dr. W explained to me that both lumps are undeterminable meaning they can not determine if they are fibrocystic or cancerous by either mammogram or ultra sound...his recomendation is an ultrasonic biopsy on both lumps. I was able to schedule that this morning for next Wednesday afternoon.
To my understanding they will cut a 1/4" opening into me where each lump is, then they will stick in a small straw of sorts, take out a piece of each lump, then place a clip the size of a pin head on each spot they biopsy, after which they will do another mammogram. The clip is placed so that when they do the mammogram they can clearly see each spot that was biopsied. In approximately 3 days after the biopsy they will know the results and then we ill go from there.

Thankfully we have had plently of help up to this point with kids, and everything, but I would ask that you continue to pray for the people that are rearranging their daily lives to help us. Nate is much closer to being a canidate for surgery he has struggled a lot this week with his Crohn's. After testing on Wednesday the GI Doc. wanted to see him right away, after recommending his meds be doubled, and added to he informed Nate that his Crohn's is very progressive. We both know the importance of taking care of ourselves, but a lot of times its out-weighed by the other 4 lives we are in charge of taking care of...we couldn't be more thankful to our family and friends for picking up the slack right now while we get both of our health situations under control.

Spell check isn't working tonight so forgive me for my sleepy errors. More news next week.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

One little thing...

Sometimes you're going along in your day and one little thing can ruin it. Today that was a phone message. I got a message from The Retreat reminding me of my appt. tomorrow, all the sudden I'm emotional, and just this morning I was thinking to myself, "Wow I'm handling this really well this week." Wrong again.

I guess keeping myself busy only delays the inevitable.

Its been a long week and to think its only Wednesday.

Nate had a follow-up appt. yesterday for his Crohn's. His medicine hasn't been helping so the doctor wants to try something new for a while, but if that doesn't help he ultimately suggested surgery which will put Nate out for at least 6 weeks if that happens. Today he had another barium test at the hospital to check for inflammation, and a blood test to check on a few other things.

Also, last night Nate's cousin Amy passed away. She was 40 years young, and had several complications with liver and kidney failure.

And on Monday night.... I found another lump on the same side in a different area. Thankful that I go in tomorrow for my Mammogram and ultra sound, but at the same time its a hurry up and wait situation so I won't know anything for a while after that. I'm guessing not till August 1st when I meet with the surgeon.

I guess its a poor me kinda day... taking the kids to the pool to get out of the house for a while, and then DATE NIGHT!! I can't wait! More later on my appt. tomorrow...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A new test

WOW! Its been over two years since I've sat down to write here. I decided to start writing again to keep a journal of the next couple of months as a reminder that this too shall pass.

We've been doing the same old things since I wrote last kids are a little older, and mouthier, we're about 15 months from having all elementary school kids. In the coming fall Max will be at preschool 3 mornings a week, and the other 3 will be in school all day every day. I can't believe that my time of being a "stay-at-home-Mom with kids" is coming to an end. Obviously I know that they'll only be gone 6 hours a day once they're all in full day school, but it seems like just yesterday we moved to Columbia City and celebrated Max's 2nd birthday, and I had 3 kids still at home all day. The longing for another baby only continues to get stronger, and grow more tension between Nate and I.

In January, we experienced a new chapter in our lives as Nate was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. We are still learning to live with that and it continues to be a challenge, but we deal with it day by day. I am lovingly now being referred to as his "Food Nazi".

So going back to the title of this blog...other than the day to day challenges of life, I have a new challenge to endure at least for the next couple months. On Tuesday June 21st, as Nate and I were doing our usual "breathing relief" from the day, after the kids have gone to bed I began a random thought about the last time I had seen my OB/GYN since I typically go in the summer and having another baby is frequently on my mind. It had been a year and I knew I needed to get my appt. scheduled so I could get in before too long. In thinking that I thought again I really haven't done a self breast check in a while. The last thing I was thinking is that it would turn out as anything other than normal. It did I found a lump...about the size of a quarter..."how could I have missed this? Its HUGE!!" was my next thought. I immediately told Nate, and then did what any wife would... I made him feel it, duh!
Consumed with the thought for the next 15 hours, as soon as I got the courage, I called the doctor. Still playing it off calmly I tried to make a yearly physical appt., but when the receptionist couldn't get me in until mid August I thought I better tell her the real reason I was calling. She said, "we need to see you right away"...dreaded words, she booked me for 3:30pm that day an hour and half from the time I called. God provided...I was only 20 minutes from the office rather than being at home and an hour away, and my father-in-law graciously offered to watch all 4 kids without hesitation.
I made it to my appt. with plenty of time to spare. The doctor did his check, and confirmed what I had felt the previous evening. He said he'd like to see me in a couple weeks after my menstrual cycle had gone, and said, "its probably fibrocystic, and will go away after your cycle...". I felt the stupid lump for the next two weeks. Everyday!
So yesterday, July 6th was my 2 week re-check and yearly, lumps still there, same size, no pain. I've been referred to The Retreat in Goshen on July 14th for a age 32 and 4 months to the day! My doctor said they probably won't see anything on the mammogram even though we know the lump is there because my breast tissue is too young, and dense, which is why they do them normally on women over 40, and that most likely they'll also do an ultra sound also. Those results will then be passed along to a surgeon in Goshen who I have an appt. with Aug 1st, where she'll either perform a biopsy or schedule one for a later date.
So I probably won't write again until the next appt., but that's the latest. I'm not scared, however, worried and a little stressed due to all the appts., childcare arrangements, financial cost, and other factors that go along with any health issue. I have been thinking more about will prep, and seeing more pink ribbons then I've ever noticed. I trust God has a plan and that it will not be more than I can endure. I pray for all the people who this will affect, that they have the strength to stand with me if and when I cannot stand on my own.
Thanks for reading, I hope to have nothing more serious to report in the next couple months.