July 27, 2015
Today was the last of the chemo treatments that include the taxotere which is the harsh chemo that I had to get for 4 weeks. I have to continue getting 2 other things for a total of a year and have them every 21 days but they probably won't cause much in the way of side effects. So I did a bit of a happy dance today at not having to have that terrible stuff anymore.
Like I said before, surgery is scheduled for August 20th and I'll be spending some extra time closer to the hospital while I recover. We won't know if I need radiation to the axillary (armpit area) lymph nodes until after the surgery and the pathology comes back. So I am asking for prayer that those lymph nodes are completely healed and will not need radiation. That would mean that I would recover from the surgery and start radiation and from what I gather, it would be a trip to Iron Mountain 5 days a week for about a 15-20 min appointment and then drive back and that would last for about a month or so depending on what the doctors would suggest and we decide to do.
I have been having swelling in my right foot and we are having a bit of a hard time determining what is the cause. Right around the time of starting the chemo treatments, I stumbled, trying not to step on a toy, I think a lego, and I did something to my foot. It started hurting across the top soon after that. And then the night before treatment #3, so about 3 weeks ago, it swelled up. I iced and elevated it for the night, even sleeping on the couch to be sure to take good care of it and the swelling went down. It swelled a few times after that but not much and the swelling always came down. The pain went away and I thought it was all good. Then the nurse that was doing the education class for the surgery asked me about the swelling of that foot and asked if I had sprained it. I told her possibly and shared the story. She said they'd be concerned if it was a blood clot and my doctor had said we'd watch it. I was to alert him if the swelling went up my leg or I got any pain up my leg. Same thing today with the swelling. I think I aggravated it by walking too much on Wed. I over did it by testing to see how much I could walk and now the top of my foot hurts again and I have been icing it and praying that it isn't a blood clot. A blood clot is pretty serious, would require blood thinners and could affect the surgery date as well as possibly cause me to have to get another chemo treatment with the strong stuff. I am not in fear of this happening but I know it is not part of God's plan for me and I want to rebuke it. The devil thinks that he can stir up more stuff by trying to throw these curve-balls at me and create fear. Well God has not given me a spirit of fear. There is no where in the Bible where it says that is a fruit of the spirit so I don't accept it. But he has sure given me a spirit of love, a spirit of power, and a spirit of a sound mind. Those I accept!
And lastly I'm gonna share some personal stuff about this journey. I may have shared this first one but wanted to say that after talking with a lot of people, I must say that the mouth sores were bad and the digestion issues I've had are not a picnic but the worst of all of the stuff with the diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer was when I started chemo and had to lock Sadie out of the bathroom while taking a shower. It is advised that for 48 hours after receiving treatment that I am extra careful with any kind of body fluid because it would contain the nasty chemo. I mean, the nurses gown up when they come into the room to administer it through the iv. So since I was going to shower, and I didn't know if I would get sick and throw up without any warning, I chose to lock Sadie out of the bathroom. She was used to sneaking into the bathroom and getting her jammies off faster and quieter than I could ever imagine and she'd be opening the shower door and coming in without barely a warning. She desperately wanted to continue this usual morning routine but I could not jeopardize her safety the day after treatment. She knocked on the door, begged for me to open the door, stuck her adorable and sweet little fingers and hands under the door and cried while asking if I was done yet every 30 seconds. It was really hard. I went into super speedy mom mode so I could get out and scoop up my precious little girl that just simply didn't understand why she was being banned from the bathroom.
This wasn't the first thing like this that was hard for me to watch happen to my children since this dx (diagnosis), you may recall that I had to stop nursing her cold turkey and even though I was physically hurting from having to do that, my heart ached more. This little girl didn't deserve this, not one little bit, and there wasn't a whole lot I could do about it except pray and ask God to fill her with comfort and peace and that she wouldn't be negatively affected by these things. Fast forward to a few days ago when I had to explain to my children what will be happening when I have the mastectomy surgery next month. Our oldest grasped onto it quite quickly and cried and cried. She also has a very vivid imagination so I knew I needed to discuss it with her in more detail to fill in the gaps that her imagination was possibly filling in for her. She stated that she didn't want me to be different physically because of the radical modified mastectomy. When the tumor had grown to a very large size while they were trying to get the hormones under control in the beginning, every time I hugged my children, especially my oldest, she noticed the difference in size and I think it scared her. She also noticed the difference as it shrunk and she'd comment about it. It's finally gotten to a point where it is pretty much non-existent (Praise God!) but now she doesn't want that normalcy to change. Who could blame her right? I had to show her some sketches of the drains that they will be putting in and that I'll have to have cleaned several times a day and drained. I showed her a sketch of what the area will look like once it is sewed back up and healing. They gave me a book with some information about the surgery and I shared a few of the sketches so she wouldn't imagine on her own. I thought hand drawn sketches would be better than real life internet photos that could really appear kinda scary. And then it was #3's turn to have to learn what this meant because she didn't quite get it either. She was upset about the changes in my body but I reminded her and our oldest that my grandma had a double mastectomy and never had reconstruction at her age because they didn't have the plastic surgeon available the day she had the surgery and that they hugged her and never really knew a difference until we had talked about it recently and that helped them to understand that it may be a little different, especially at first but this is supposed to help. So they are working through this. I'm not quite sure how our boy is handling it. He didn't say much so I'll have to talk to him again. I've mostly talked to them individually when I quickly realized that they were at different stages of what they understood was going to happen and really they are at different stages of acceptance. I am thankful for God's wisdom in this situation and would like prayers for my husband and my children and of course myself in working our way through this with God's grace. We really appreciate your prayers.
Our prayer list looks like this:
1. Praising God for last nasty chemo treatment being done today!
2. Lymph nodes healed so no radiation needed
3. Surgery and recovery to go smoothly and quickly with no complications so I can get drains out quickly and return home sooner rather than later. Also No lymphodema infection either.
4. Stand in agreement that my right foot would be completely healed. That there would be no more swelling and that there isn't a blood clot.
5. That God would bring comfort and peace and grace for my family to walk through this part of the journey with all our trust in Him. That all fear would be removed with God's perfect love and that His truth would shine in our hearts, minds, and in our walk with Him and as examples to others.
I shared this very personal family information about what we're dealing with our children in this situation for a few reasons, I really think it needs to be bathed in prayer to help us have the strength to get through it and also because I am sure someone is going to read this and either have gone through something similar and be able to be helped, to help us or maybe someone reads this and in the near or even distant future, they may have a similar thing happen to them. I want them to know that they can trust God to carry them through any difficult situation because He is faithful and is always with us. We don't have to wait on God to show up, He is waiting on us to look to Him, to turn to Him, to call on Him. I truly believe this and my mission is to share His love with others, especially as we walk this journey. I want you to know that I am not more special to God than you are. He loves each of us the same and He wants us to know Him in a personal way and to be filled with faith and to walk our faith out, even when we are teased, when it is challenging, when it doesn't seem like anything is fair. That's when it speaks the loudest to our testament of trust in the One TRUE GOD! Thank you for walking this journey with is and encouraging us, and lifting us up in prayer. God uses people that are willing to minister to others so needs are met and He is a God of never ending miracles!