Monthly Archives: August 2009

Add spicket

Yes! Yes! Bring it by the truckloads! The more coffee the better!

The kids and I are traveling to Kentucky to visit family. I’m leaving them with grandparents while I head out to Oakdale, Kentucky for a college girlfriends gathering. Woohoo…rural KY! Lol! We decided hiking would be a nice change this year from shopping:)

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Progression of a Post-Surgical Wound

 I just can’t bring myself to show you the first picture I sent to my surgeon.  Seriously, it really has to be one of the grossest visuals I’ve ever seen.  I really can’t believe it was actually on me.  Imagine the bottom picture with a ton more of the yellowish snotty stuff in it. 

I’ve put them in reverse order, so you get the best to worst.  

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 August 21, 2009.  More than 4 months after surgery, digger is finally closed, leaving me with a small indentation.  It is truly amazing to see the way the body heals itself.  BTW, this scaring is a little worse than the rest but it’s basically what I have all the way around my breasts.  And the ripples are the lovely stretch marks that were on my belly from pregnancy. 

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 August 10, 2009.  An itty bitty hole.  Nothing like what it started out as!

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July 2, 2009.  What an amazingly healthy pink wound:)  I am now starting to believe it will heal!

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June 8, 2009.  Dr. D slices me open a bit more to let digger drain.  Lovely huh! 

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May 28, 2009.  Not at it’s worst, but as close as I can get and not feel bad I have damaged you in some way from seeing this…..lol!  I’m pretty sure this was after the first debridement.  You can see the yellow and white stuff.  It was full of yellow and white stuff prior to this pic.

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Sigh…..

Do I really need to know this?

Watch-out kids, post-cancer mama is now going to be even more anti-candy!

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There’s Something About Mary

Jesus was at Bethany, a guest of Simon the Leper. While he was eating dinner, a woman came up carrying a bottle of very expensive perfume. Opening the bottle, she poured it on his head. Some of the guests became furious among themselves. “That’s criminal! A sheer waste! This perfume could have been sold for well over a year’s wages and handed out to the poor.” They swelled up in anger, nearly bursting with indignation over her.

But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why are you giving her a hard time? She has just done something wonderfully significant for me. You will have the poor with you every day for the rest of your lives. Whenever you feel like it, you can do something for them. Not so with me. She did what she could when she could—she pre-anointed my body for burial. And you can be sure that wherever in the whole world the Message is preached, what she just did is going to be talked about admiringly.”

What is it about Mary?  We only get a few glimpses of Mary of Bethany in the gospels, but on two occasions she’s sitting at the feet of Jesus, just soaking in his presence. 

Mary seems to remember better than I do that “sitting at the feet of Jesus” is a source of comfort and renewal.  I try to find it in aimless places, but the bottom line is taking a moment to rest at his feet is where it’s at.

Because Mary took time with Jesus, she could freely give to others as well.  Perceptive Mary took a whole bottle of expensive Nard and broke it over Jesus’ head.  Here’s what’s fascinating about Nard.  It’s from a family of herbs called valerian.  Valerian has been used for centuries as a calming agent and also as a pain reliever.  These are just two of it’s medicinal uses.

Isn’t it interesting that Mary broke this bottle over Jesus’ head only hours before Jesus was nabbed for crucifixion.  Talk about some anxiety pressing in on Jesus.  He may have been fully God, but he was also fully human and He knew what lay ahead of him and he knew He would suffer greatly.

I’m not sure how it was that Mary knew Jesus’ time on earth was coming to a close, or if she even realized the significance of her act?  Maybe she had heard enough of His teachings and was perceptive enough to know the end was not going to be pretty.

What I do know is that Mary did a significant act of compassion and generosity to Jesus in his last hours.  During a time of great anxiety and fear I’m sure.  This was not dismissed lightly by Jesus.

Why do we miss opportunities for compassion?  Why aren’t we perceptive enough to realize someone needs Christ’s  anointing touch through our own hands? 

I think we can find that answer it at His feet.

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Presentation and a Domestic Goddess

 

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I was feeling creative today with my kids.  Lunch was octopus in a sea of green beans.  I know….how can a cancer surviving mom feed her kids hot dogs?  I’m happy to report that these are nitrate-free from Trader Joe’s:)  We are huge fans.  They ate every last bit and wanted more.   I guess it’s all in presentation, eh.

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Decisions

Most women are pretty critical of their bodies.  We complain about our hips or our nose or our saggy breasts.  Then someone goes to take our breasts away and we cry and scream in our pillows for the flawed breasts we once had.  I wish I was the woman who said “good-riddance” and never looked back, but I’m not.  I still cry for my saggy, imperfect mammary glands that seemed so flawed at one time and now seem as majestic as the seven wonders of the world (minus the cancer that then overcame them).

But since I can’t have my God-made wonders back, I am going to settle for man-made.  I have to, what other option do I have other than nothing? 

The creator of my man-made wonders, my ever so kind plastic surgeon sat with me as I complained yesterday.  Which I feel a bit bad about now since these are his creations.  But he took it all well.  We revisited the fact that I had inflammatory breast cancer, which in the end caused him to tell me that he would not do fat transfer on me.  I’m still coming to terms with this since I really (really!) like the idea of moving fat from somewhere else to fill in the new breasts and their flaws and the indentation caused by digger.  But he won’t.  He was nice about it, and he gave a pretty good reason and that is, because I’ve had IBC, if I did have a reccurence it would probably effect my skin, and having extra fat in that area would cause necrosis.  Which would mean more “digger” type issues….and Lord knows I don’t want another digger!

So my option is small implants.  This would fill out the flaws and the indentations and make me just a tad bigger.  It would also help pancake resemble righty.  I really don’t want to be much bigger, but he said in perportion to my size, a little bit bigger would be good.  Plus I have lost some weight since the surgery and I think I lost some in my breasts as well.

You’all know I have not wanted implants.  This option is not all that exciting for me.  He looked me in the eye and vowed that saline implants were safe.  He answered the question we all have….”would you recommend this to any female in your family” and the answer was yes.

We agreed I would sit on this for a while.  I’m not in any hurry to make this decision and since digger only finally, completely closed about a week ago, I should wait.  So I think it could be several months before I make a final decision regarding the implant option. 

He showed me more pictures because I am a little sad about how the scars look.  I told him my fears about having the nipples put on and how I just am pretty sad with my lumpy, scar-y, breasts.  I wonder sometimes if I’ll ever adjust to the new ones and the new look.  I’ve tried sunless tanning and pretty bras, but nothing seems to make me feel better about them.  They’re just not my old ones and I still have a hard time with that.  Can anyone relate to this?

He was very nice to me once again.  Who knew plastic surgeons also had to be psychiatrists.  He seemed pretty confident that I would eventually adjust.  And I had no idea this fix-up deal would be such a long process.  I’m really glad he had me look at more pictures, and I took special note of how long it was from before to after.  Several of them were two years later and the scaring was significantly lighter.  He even showed me one that had a DIEP and then implants and I have to say she looked pretty good.

So I have some decisions to make.  There’s no hurry.  There’s no cancer.  There’s just me adjusting to something new once again and deciding how and when to proceed.

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Please Help Pancake!

I’m headed back to visit Dr. Plastic tomorrow at Northwestern.  I’m interested to hear what he has to say about tweeking these foobs a bit.  They really are looking much better.  The scars are healing well and lightening a bit I think.  Digger has healed completely.  It held on with an itty bitty hole for the longest time (I will post pictures soon!).  I have one side, actually the side with digger that looks really good.  I like to joke that Dr. D did the right side and the resident did the left, because the other one is my pancake foob.  It looks like the practice one and the right one looks really good.  You can’t even see the scar under the right foob because it’s just under the hang, so it looks like I only have one scar on that side…..which would be nice to have on the other side as well.  I’m really hoping he can do something with pancake foob because it needs a pick-me-up.  Hopefully he’ll be able to wave his magic wand….er….I mean his needle and thread and help’em out a bit.  He may also need a big suction needle (to borrow more fat from my lower half)…..we’ll see.  I’ll report back and let you know if he thinks there’s hope for pancake.

Fellowship Awarded to Study Lethal Breast Cancer

Every once in a while I search around the Internet to see what’s happening on the IBC front.  Lots of the research web sites are run by volunteers and unfortunately often not up to date.  So I like to see who’s getting grant money and who’s doing the research.  Today I came across this article. 

I’m so curious about her research I may just have to write her.  We’ll see.  Regardless, I’m so glad to see young women concerned IBC and doing something to solve the puzzle.

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Lifting Weights Good for Breast Cancer Survivors

Check it out….carry that heavy bag, lift that toddler.  I do anyway.  I really forget about lymphedema for the most part. 

So tell me, do you or do you not believe this?  Some of you swell up at any sign of humidity and others of us don’t have any issues….yet. 

I feel like I’m helping keep away from lymphedema by exercising and lifting light weights.  I don’t go overboard but a few times a week I do some repetitions with my arms.

I’d be interested hear from anyone who has started exercising because they had lymphedema and it helped and I’d be interested to know if you feel like you aquired lymphedema from exercising and using your arms too much?

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Quest

Last night we had a little party to say good-bye to some friends who are moving.  There are so many reasons I am mourning this loss.  Change is much harder for me now that I’ve had cancer.  I don’t bounce back the way I used to.  I’m a little angry at Nick for thinking he needs a Doctorate in Philosophy because he’s taking my friend away from me.  I think if Jeremy and I work hard enough we could rise to the challenge of arguing….oh wait….I mean “reasoning” totally useless knowledge.  I think he should reconsider.

Nick and Penni have really only been here for two years.  We met when they came to our church shortly after they moved here for Nick to get his master’s degree.  We hit it off quickly and enjoyed discussing things like “global warming” and “creation care” with them.  And the one thing I have loved about them is that they like entertaining discussion and aren’t shocked by much of anything either.  We can just throw it out there and mull it around and not think we’re heretics for thinking about it or questioning the status quo in the church.

It was almost exactly three months after we met them that I received my diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer.  I remember the prayer service my church had for me the week after my diagnosis and they came up to talk to me after the service and I looked at them and thought “what a crappy friend I am.”  I’ve known them for three months and then I go and get cancer…..and to be honest, I really believed I was going to die, so I thought….”now they get to watch me die.”  I know this is morbid, but it’s my recolection of past thoughts in those initial days so it just is what it is.

So, during these two years, I have battled cancer (and won, praise Jesus), Penni had another baby…..and somehow I managed to talk them into letting me teach them how to do it naturally.  And craziness, Penni agreed!  And not only that but she did it! 

As they go I am reminded how important it is for us to nurture friendship.  I recently got an iphone.  I think it’s quite possible I could play with it most of the day.  More and more I find myself spending time on this computer or my new iphone and I have realized my relationships are suffering.  I don’t want to be interrupted when I’m writing important things on my blog, or when I’ve decided I need useless information from google.  Crazy how our quest for information has trumped our basic need for friendship and connected-ness with others.

I’m getting ready to preach this Sunday at church and I’ll be sharing from Luke 10, when Mary chooses to sit and learn at Jesus’ feet rather than help Martha in the kitchen.

We struggle in this media crazy world to temper our quest for entertainment and knowledge with simple personal interaction.

Loving God and loving people.

So today, as I prepare to say goodbye to my friends, I’m also pondering my habits and reflecting on what it means to sit at the feet of Jesus and choose intimacy over busy-ness.

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