March 13, 2019. Surgery day.
I know it has taken me a while to get this update out, so I feel like a lot of information has piled up. But I will try to keep this brief!
The morning of surgery, I had to have two wires inserted into my breast to guide my surgeon. I was given shots of lidocaine to numb the area, but I was awake for this and it was probably the worst part of my day. Being told "You have really dense breasts" while a surgeon is trying to wiggle a wire through your skin is pretty nauseating.
My anesthesiologist was wonderful and a total God send. He came in to discuss things with me and my family before surgery and when he left my sister asked "Did you notice his bracelet? It had a verse on it." We thought that was pretty cool but then my mom realized she also knew his brother! My Sittou (grandmother) had recently been to the hospital for health issues and she met a resident who she said was so sweet. The next day was a Sunday and he showed up at our church to share with everyone the impact she had on him. My parents ended up inviting him over for dinner after church and sharing a Middle Eastern feast with him, as he was Middle Eastern, too! Small world or little miracles? It was pretty incredible.
I woke up from surgery (again, I cannot say enough how AMAZING my surgeon is) and I was pretty groggy. Anesthesia makes some people silly ... it makes me weepy. I was in the big recovery room with tons of other patients when I woke up and my lip started to quiver. My nurse was so sweet and asked if I would feel better if I saw my husband. My mom and Ricky came back for a bit and then I was moved back to my room.
I was very nauseous and dizzy for a long time after surgery. I was feeling nervous about leaving the hospital. The nurses, my family and I kept going back and forth about what would be best ... stay overnight or head to my parents' house?
The nurse called my surgeon and Dr. P said she really felt I should go home. I was still feeling anxious. My mom realized I still had an anti-nausea patch on (it could be left on for up to three days) and remembered that the anesthesiologist told us it could make me dizzy. The nurse took it off and I was feeling better in less than 20 minutes.
Surgery was over, now it was a waiting game ... what would my pathology results show?
I had a follow up appointment with my radiation oncologist on Friday and an appointment with my surgeon the following Monday, so I didn't expect to hear until one of those appointments.
March 21st, I got a phone call from my surgeon. She told me what I shared with you in the video. She sounded so positive and said "no more surgery for you! Go celebrate!" I immediately called Ricky and told him the news as best I could, as I burst into tears of joy.
I realized something that kind of blew me away. I officially began this journey on my birthday, August 21st (mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy that revealed cancer). It was exactly SEVEN MONTHS LATER that Dr. P called me with my results. I didn't think that was a coincidence. Seven is often referred to as "the number of completion" and while I still have radiation and possibly more treatment after that, I felt God was saying this part of my journey was complete.
Some confusion entered in and that is why I held off on sharing my results until I was positive I knew what they were.
A small area of cancer was found and removed during surgery, my margins were negative and my lymph nodes were clear!
My oncologist and surgeon have decided to test the cancer that was removed and I will explain more about this once I hear the results. But I will probably be taking an oral chemotherapy for six months once radiation is complete. I was nervous about this since I knew some other TNBC women who had a rough time with this drug. I mentioned my specific concerns and my oncologist was able to say she published data on this exact drug and she knew the correct way to dose it. Another amazing moment.
So now I have a bit of time off to heal. I am so thankful for this and I am looking forward to spending time with people and enjoying the weather as it warms up!
Updates & Prayer Requests:
Recovery has been going really well! In fact, things look so good that my surgeon said she doesn't need to see me again for three months!
Pray for my restless leg and insomnia. The other night I tried everything under the sun, when finally at 2am I got so fed up I took a lavender bath. Thankfully, that worked and I was able to get some sleep. But this has become a miserable pattern and I really need to sleep.
Important upcoming dates: April 2nd, 1:00 pm -- radiation mapping with Dr. S, May 28th, 8:45 am -- meeting with Dr. T (oncologist), June 25th, 9:00 am -- meeting with Dr. P (surgeon).
I will start radiation approximately April 22nd. Radiation will be FIVE DAYS A WEEK, for FIVE WEEKS.
Pray for my emotions. I was having a great day yesterday, read an entire novel and sat in the sun ... But right before Ricky came home, I was on the phone with my mom and trying to unload the dishwasher. I accidentally stabbed myself under my thumb nail with a fork. My thumb nails are the nails that have been most damaged by chemo and I am worried I may lose them. I crumpled to the ground, sobbing "I don't want to lose my nails!" It was a tiny, unexpected thing that set me off ... But I told my sister, I think I need to be prepared for those random breakdowns. I need to give myself grace for those moments.
I am still anemic and feeling very weak. Please pray I start to regain strength and don't become too discouraged.
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for all of your prayers, love and support. I truly feel so blessed to have so many people taking this journey with me.
All my love,