Tuesday, September 15, 2009

An Anniversary, A Remembrance, A Request

It was one year ago, on Monday, September 15th, 2008, at about 2:00 pm that I spoke with a woman from Huntsman Cancer Institute on the phone who answered to my cheery request, "So, do you have good news for me?" "No, I am very sorry, but I don't. Your tests came back positive, you have breast cancer. Two types...." So began the year of amazement for me.

My hours and days and months which followed have hosted a conglomeration of tears, well wishes, prayers, lifting activities, laughs, kindnesses, sacrifices; so many emotions and experiences! I hope someday to be able to chronicle in a meaninful way the love, support, strength, faith, humor, and goodness you have all shared with me throughout this last year; so that others, when wondering what to do for someone they know who is faced with a similar diagnosis, or who faces challenging times of any kind, can look to the example of my people for direction...for indeed, it is you, dear ones, who have set a standard higher than any I could have ever imagined. I honor you.

In order to celebrate my anniversary, I would like to invite you all to join with me in an activity which will infuse your goodness in new directions--you have kindly focused on me for the last 12 months, now I would invite you to extend those endeavors to another who is either a survivor, a care-giver, or a relative of someone who did not win against cancer. The request is this: send a note, place a call, or pay a visit to these folks today, let them know why you are thrilled that they are around, or what influence for good that they have had in your lives. You have overwhelmed me with your expressions of love throughout the last year; it would please me to no end for you to continue to extend this same remarkable love to someone else. I hope that you will celebrate every September 15th, a day which has become in someways my new birthday, with me by doing what you do so AMAZINGLY well...loving others.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Excavation Zone

Yesterday I went in for my "chest excavation" project, as I was calling it...removal of the dreadful expanders and port-a-cath... wooooooohhooooooo!!! You have heard of weights being lifted off your shoulders, well, mine was a weight lifted too, just down a little from my shoulders. Instead of carrying around the heavy bricks, I now have light-weight silicone. While I am in some pain, I can already tell that life without the bricks will be blissful. The surgery lasted just over an hour, we started around 8:30 and I was home around 4ish. He didn't put any drains in, so I don't even have those to worry about.

All in all, I think this was a great success! I am at my mom and Alan's home, in the recovery suite, and will be here through the weekend. I plan to be at work on Monday. My main restriction is to not lift anything heavier than 2lbs....hmmm...I think I may have already violated that just a little in getting my laptop on the table.

Slowly but surely I am coming to the end of my surgically eventful year. As an update on my lower extremities, my left foot neuroma surgery I had done at the end of July is healing nicely, though it is still tender, and it will probably be a second or two before my foot adjusts to the numbness, but at least I don't have the feeling that a nail is stuck in my foot there any longer...a very good thing.

The right ankle/foot is doing alright at this point. I am relegated to wearing shoes with a slight heel so as to relieve the pressure that walking in flats puts on the joint. A heel opens the joint, whereas the flat shoes really pinch and close it down on the front part of the ankle. I am still hoping for a miracle cure for it. I have an apt. with the Dr. on the 24th of this month, and we will make the decision then. If I do go for the surgery, then I will schedule it immediately following a work-related conference ending on the 21st of October. So, the joint has until then to shape up :)

With all that, it makes only two more possible surgeries to complete by the end of the year: the right ankle fusion/foot osteotomy, which would be in late October, and which would make me non-weight bearing for 8-12 weeks; a big and life-changing event. The last,a little follow-up cosmetic surgery to put the finishing touches on the excavated chest area.

I am thrilled to be on this side of the 5 surgeries I had looming ahead of me in June. This certainly won't be a year easily forgotten, nor should it be. I have learned much from so many of you, and experienced so many wonderful and meaningful things with you. Thank you, as always, for your uplifting prayers, thoughts and good wishes...they have made all the difference.