11 Days until Surgery
These past couple of weeks have been stacked full! Mostly with making preparations for life to be on standby for a month as I recover. We are now a week and a half away from surgery and as many of you have asked me, how I am handling everything? My simple answer is pretty well but I’m also very busy. In the moments that I have to slow down and process what is coming, I find myself saddened by the thoughts that run through my mind. But there has been peace in making the decision to have a double mastectomy.
I have been reading the book called “The Next Right Thing” A simple , Soulful Practice For Making Life Decisions by Emily Freeman. I have been so encouraged by Emily’s words “Regardless of your own degree of personal choice, you have a God who walks and talks with you, who moves in and through you. How he moves in you may be different from how he moves in me, but one thing is certain. He remains unchanged. As my friend and teacher James Bryan Smith so kindly reminds us, you are one in whom Christ delights and dwells, and you live in the strong and unshakable kingdom of God. The decision is rarely the point. The point is you becoming more fully yourself in the presence of God.”
I know we are just at the start of this journey but even through the decision making process the Lord has been so near. Most mornings I sit in His presence and thank him for the gift of walking through this with him, I really cannot imagine how hard this would be without him. He calms my anxious heart and reminds me that He is fully in control of every part of this. Last Sunday at church he reminded me of how temporary this shell of a body is, that this body is not my own. My soul finds rest in the thought of how temporary life is. There will come a day when there will be no more pain, no more disease, no more tears.
Right now as I walk in this life-giving relationship with my savior, I receive a small glimpse into eternity where I will forever walk in perfect relationship with my Lord. Not by anything that I have done, because I have not earned my salvation and I never could. I couldn’t be a good enough person to out-weigh all the imperfections in me. It was only by recognizing that Christ has lived the perfect life that I can’t live, and died for me the death that I deserve. I have rebelled against Him and regularly demand that my life be all about me and what I want instead of living for Him. Then he rose from the grave conquering death and declaring death, shame and guilt have no power over anyone who trust and believe in him. In coming to the end of myself I found what true life really is. True life is not about me and seeking my own way. Living life for me always left me empty, seeking the next best thing to hold my excitement. True abundant life is in the living relationship I have with Jesus, as I read his word, as I pray, as the Holy Spirit leads me through hundreds of daily decisions. Even as many other believers have surrounded us throughout this trial, I see him in each of you!
Since I wrote to you all last, I have had a 3d mammogram and a diagnostic ultrasound, just to make sure that they have all the information necessary before surgery. The only new news from those procedures, is that they are suspicious of one of the spots found in the MRI possibly being invasive cancer. Either way they will find out more from the pathology reports after the surgery. We also met with my plastic surgeon to talk more through reconstruction. She explained the different kinds of reconstruction and the decisions necessary to make before surgery.
Simplified version is, they will scoop everything out and fill the skin with a temporary tissue expander. My surgeon will cut the underside of my breast and remove all of the tissue, leaving only my skin. My plastic surgeon will place cadaver skin underneath my current skin that will act as a support for the implant later on. She will then place the tissue expander and fill it with air at the time of surgery. The tissue expander will be filled once a week with saline to stretch the skin. Initially I will have 2 drainage tubes with 4 bags attached sowed under my skin at the incision. The body naturally fills voids with fluid, like a blister, so as my body heals, the drainage tubes are allowing that fluid to drain so that the cadaver skin will turn into a thicker layer of my own skin.
During the first three weeks my plastic surgeon wants me to move as little as possible to prevent more drainage than necessary. If everything goes well then I will get the drainage tubes removed at 3 weeks but it can take up to 6. After everything heals my plastic surgeon will schedule a second surgery to remove the expanders and place the implants. The recovery time for that surgery is 2 weeks. All in all, if there are no infections and the cancer has not spread to my lymph nodes then the process should take at minimum 6 weeks and a maximum of 8 weeks.
They will remove several of my lymph nodes during surgery and test them to see if the cancer has spread, if it has (which it is not expected to) then reconstruction will be paused for 6 months, I would go through radiation and treat anything remaining before we could start reconstruction.
Caleb and I have decided to make the most of the time I have before surgery. This weekend we are getting together with both of our immediate families to have a cookout and next weekend we are going on a small getaway just the two of us. We are going up to the mountains where we can see waterfalls and go swimming. I love getting away with him, where we can talk for hours in the car, explore new places and likely get in a couple fights over how bad my driving is! But what can I say, I even like fighting with him! This is not what we expected for our first year of marriage but we both can say we wouldn’t trade it. This journey, with all of its bumps and bruises, is drawing us closer to the Lord and to each other and for that we are nothing but thankful!
This will probably be my last blog post before surgery, and I am not sure of when I will be up to writing after surgery. I’ll have Caleb update everyone along the way. But I know many of you have asked if you can help with food during this time, so I am posting a meal train, if you would like to bring something by it would be deeply deeply appreciated. Also I am not a homebody, I need people and I can already tell you, I am going to go a little stir crazy, so if you do bring food feel free to hang out for a while. I’m leaving Caleb and my Mom in charge of letting people know if I am up for visitors!
Thank you all for your continuous prayers and for walking with us in this! So much love 💕