Archive | September, 2015

I’m way past crazy

30 Sep

So many people are new to the blog because they were following my health updates. If you are one of those people, then you may not know that I started this thing a couple of years ago to chronicle the absolute hilarity that my life sometimes is with my kids. Basically any time I take the children in public, there is a funny story to be told from it. They aren’t bad kids… they are just really funny and awkward and precious, and they basically every day make me feel close to being crazy.

Tonight, I proved that even alone, I am well past crazy.

At 9 pm, I left Matt and 5 sleeping children at home, and I headed to Walmart for a blissful meandering of the aisles. (I love grocery shopping as long as I can do it alone!) At 10 pm, I strolled out the doors with my groceries and out to the van. I unloaded the bags into the passenger side of my van, put up my buggy, and went to the driver’s side to open my door. My door was locked. Hmm. I went to the passenger side. That door was locked. Hmm. I dug through my purse which I still had on my shoulder. I checked every door on the van. I dug back through my purse in desperation. I peered through the window, and there on the console were my daggum keys.  I didn’t remember putting them there, and I didn’t remember locking the door.  But clearly, I did.

So, after I called Matt and lamented about my serious lapse in sanity, I called my friend Lane who lives down the street from me.  I had to explain my situation and ask her to do one of two things: A) go sit at my house with my sleeping kids while Matt brought me a spare key or B) go to my house to get the spare key and then bring it to me.  At 10 o’clock. PM. On a Tuesday night.  Thankfully, she is one of the most gracious people I know, and while she laughed a good bit at my predicament, she volunteered to bring me the spare key.  She was nice enough to insist that she really needed to go to the store anyway because she was out of paper towels and coffee.

I feel like Lane has had to help me a lot recently because I am so nuts.  If she ever needs a kidney, I’m pretty sure I’m indebted enough that I should be first in the donor line.

Surgical Biopsy update (9/17/15)

17 Sep

Yesterday was my surgical biopsy.  It was a very long day and I just wasn’t able to update last night for a variety of reasons.  I had to be at the Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center at 11:15 for the radiologist to place guide wires for my surgeon to know what to biopsy.  Basically, after numbing me with a shot of local anesthetic, long wires were put into my breast tissue.  There were lots of x-rays taken to ensure that they were placed correctly, and while it wasn’t super painful, it was pretty uncomfortable.  After it was over, I had to be taped up to make sure the wires didn’t move, and I was unable to wear a bra so I stuck it down in my purse.  (Sorry if that is TMI… that is a relevant detail in a bit, though.)

We still had well over an hour before I had to be at the hospital, so Mother and I went to McKay’s Used Bookstore.  I had several bags of books and DVD’s to sell, and Mother wanted to run get herself lunch while I waited in the store.  Once my items had been sorted through, I went to the desk to get paid.  In order to receive payment, you have to show them ID, so I reached into my purse to grab my wallet.  As I pulled it out, the corner of the wallet got hung on my bra and I ended up flopping it out onto the counter.  I was mortified, but thankfully the employee who witnessed it was kind enough to ignore it.

Mother and I got to the hospital and sat in the surgery waiting room for a while until they were ready to take me back.  My surgeon came out and went to a family waiting there, and we overheard the following:

Doctor: “She did great and we got the entire mass with no trouble. You can see her in just a little bit.”
Family member: “Thank you so much. When can we expect the autopsy report?” (There was a stunned silence.) “Pathology! I meant the pathology report!”

We laughed so much about that and have joked several times since about when I will get my “autopsy report” back!

I went back and got prepped for my surgery.  I had an IV put in, and thankfully the nurse was able to give me a little something for pain because the numbing from my wire insertion had worn off.  There was a blur of nurses, the anesthesiologist, and my surgeon, plus a visit from the pastor of the church where I work.  Matt and Daddy arrived at some point, and once they administered some “knock out” drugs in my IV, I was out.  Thankfully, the surgery went really well.  The doctor told Matt and my parents that he took out a golf ball sized piece of the mass and did some reconstruction of that area as well.  He said there was very little bleeding and expected my recovery to go well.  The pathology report should hopefully be back on Monday.

When I woke up after the surgery, it is pretty fuzzy.  I know I was given a coke to drink, and Matt said that when they came into the room with me, I stopped drinking and much like a Budweiser commercial said, “Whazzzzup!”  I was very chatty (which is no surprise to anyone), and Mother asked the nurses if my behavior was normal in comparison to what other patients do.  They said the people generally do talk a lot but weren’t usually as funny.  I’m not totally sure exactly what I said, but there is a rumor floating around that as I was wheeled out of the hospital to the van, I was giving the Miss America wave and saying, “Here I am!”

As of today, I am feeling good… sore, tired, but really feeling ok.  Maybe that is in part to the mental boost that Matt and I got yesterday when we put in an offer on a house and it was accepted!  I will try to type that story up later because it is another one of those examples of the Lord working things out so perfectly that there is no doubt who was in control!

As always, thanks for the prayers.  Love to you all!

Just a “Thought Update” (Friday, 9/11/15)

11 Sep

During the summer of 2003, my parents moved from Ellisville, MS, to Jefferson City, TN.  In an effort to help Matt and me (aka poor college student newly weds), they offered for us to live in their house rent free during our senior year of college and keep it up until it could be sold.  Because we were planning a move to TN after graduation, Matt and I had a trip planned during our Spring Break to look for a house.  We ended up not being able to go because we got a stomach virus that we still actually refer to as “The Virus” because it was so horrendous.  A month later, my parents got and accepted an offer on their house and the clock started ticking on having to leave the house.  Closing was set for the Tuesday before our college graduation which meant that we had to move all of our belongings to TN the weekend before.  Because we had not been able to come look for a house in March, we planned to move all of our things into my parents’ garage.  My parents had been looking for a house for us, and before we even got the Penske truck unloaded in Jefferson City, we went to see a house in Strawberry Plains that we loved and ended up buying.  The price of the house had been dropped not long before that and had we not made an offer that day, the owners were going to do a lease purchase with someone else.

Why do I tell that story?  Because when I look back at the provisions of God, that is the first time in my life when I really saw Him orchestrate such a major retrospective “tiny details, big picture” event for me.  Had we come to TN in March, we wouldn’t have looked at that house because it was more than we wanted to spend.  Had the closing not forced us to TN the weekend before graduation, we wouldn’t have seen that house before it was leased.  It was in no means the perfect house, but I do believe it was exactly where God wanted us to be, and we were incredibly happy there.  When sold that house in 2010, we actually made money from it which became a stepping stone towards the home that we are in the process of selling now.

God has proven faithful over and over in my life in little and big situations.  Unprompted by me but moved by the Holy Spirit, we have had people give us things when we were in need.  We have come across situations of physical protection when we could have faced injury.  And, in the most difficult and trying of times, Matt and I have felt the love of God above and beyond our circumstances.  At the end of every day, we have known without a shadow of a doubt that we haven’t been alone.

Right now, the situation with my health is at a bit of a pause.  I have had 2 biopsies and am awaiting the 3rd on September 16th.  Whether I have cancer or not is still an unknown as we wait.  And honestly, I’m thankful for that for the minute because Matt and I have been pretty consumed with the thoughts of where we are going to live once our house is sold.  The details of the story are not important, but the house that we were going to buy may not work out–but we still just don’t know.  So, we have been looking for another house with the knowledge that God really may have something else planned for us that we just cannot see.  (The people who are buying our house at the end of this month have been gracious enough to say that we can rent from them for a few weeks until we figure out where to go.)

We looked at a house weeks ago that we liked, but by the time we put in an offer in, someone else had signed a contract on it the day before.  We found another house a while back that we really love and have made a couple of different offers on, but the owners haven’t been willing to budge on their price.  We cannot afford to buy it as it is now because it would require some repairs up front that we have to factor into our finances.  I’m telling you that we have considered every house that is listed with a realtor or online as For Sale By Owner in both Hamblen and Jefferson Counties, and there is not even one home that will meet all of our current needs.  We are not willing to make a purchase as large as a house if it isn’t a place we can stay for many years.

That leaves us with a few options… we can rent or around the end of October, we can move in with my parents.  If we rent in Hamblen County, then our children can stay in their schools through the end of the school year.  However, we found out yesterday that if we live with my parents, our children would have to withdraw from their schools at the end of the grading period they are in at the time of the move.  Please be praying that it doesn’t come to that and that the Lord will give us clear direction about a house to buy.

I have repeated Romans 8:28 to myself so many times over the past several days, and I know and believe that it is true… God IS working ALL things to the good for Matt and me.  As followers of Christ, we love Him and are called to His purposes, not our own.  Psalm 138:8 is a favorite of my mother’s to reference… the Lord will accomplish what concerns our family.  I truly want to live a Matthew 6:25-34 life, free from worry and full of faith in God to provide our needs.  It does not mean that Matt and I will sit back idly and wait for things to be handed to us, but we will continue to pursue every avenue that we can in full trust that He will never leave or forsake us (Deut. 31:6).

Thanks for your continued prayers and support.  I would encourage each of you to find a way today to put your trust in He who is greater than this world!

Meeting with the Surgeon

9 Sep

We met this evening with my surgeon, Dr. Webber. My parents, Matt, and I all left really pleased; he has a lot of experience in breast surgery and made us feel much better about the coming weeks.

First, my surgical biopsy is scheduled for next Wednesday afternoon.  Because of anesthesia, I am going to have a long day without food, but I’m grateful that they could get me on the schedule.  This will be a guided wire biopsy, and the doctor will be taking a portion of the abnormal area from my first biopsy, the one that showed LCIS.  If there is cancer present, my doctors feel like the odds are that it will be in this area.

Second, the surgeon said that if the results are not cancerous, then he doesn’t think the entire area needs to removed right away.  I would be closely followed to make sure that there were no changes, but it would eliminate the need (at least for the time being) for a mastectomy.  I’m grateful that we have some breathing room in regards to that, because I wasn’t feeling ready to make that decision.  Again, there is still a chance that they will find cancer, and if that happens, then everything goes out the window and we start over from square one.

Please be praying for the next week of waiting we face plus another several days following the biopsy before the pathology results return.  Of course, my constant prayer is that there is no trace of cancer, but I also am praying for grace regardless.

A precious praying friend reminded me today of the story of Moses holding his hands up during battle in Exodus 17:11-12.  Dear family, friends, and blog followers, thank you being here with me and holding up my arms when I have been ready to let them fall.  The Lord is fighting this battle, and I am grateful to be used by Him in anyway He sees fit.  And you bless me immensely by loving me through these days.  It could never be enough to say, but thank you.  A million times, thank you.

Biopsy result

3 Sep

My radiologist from yesterday just called me. Dr. Brown took 7 or 8 biopsy samples yesterday and NONE of them were cancerous, and NONE of them showed LCIS which is not at all what she was expecting.  She said that the biopsy showed various levels of abnormalities like fibro-cystic changes, but there wasn’t anything alarming about that.

So what’s next?  We still go to the surgeon on Tuesday because he will need to surgically remove a part of the mass where the LCIS was found.  There is still a chance that there is cancer there, and we need to explore every avenue until we know for sure.

I know I have already alluded to this, but honestly, I am still so overwhelmed by you all.  I have been surrounded by more love, more affirmation, and more prayer over the past week than I can ever recount.  I serve a mighty God who loves and values each of His children, and I am so grateful to belong to Him.  He will sustain me today, tomorrow, and for the rest of my days.

Please continue to pray for more good news at each step as we continue to move forward.

Again, love to you all.

Oncology visit and rebiopsy

3 Sep

It was a long day in Knoxville, and our amazing friend Lauren for sure earned stars in her crown for spending 8+ hours with the 3 little boys AND cooking our supper!  And then neighbor extraordinaire Lane picked up the 2 older kids from school.

Mother, Daddy, and I (and Matt on speaker phone) met with my oncologist, Dr. Lee at 9 o’clock this morning.  He came in on his day off to see me.  Meeting with him first is somewhat backwards, but my surgeon is out of town this week so Dr. Lee had agreed to come in to get orders in for me to get some other things taken care of.  Once we left that office, we had to go to Tennova North to get all of my images from the past 2 weeks for the KCBC–Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center.  We may have also made a stop at Five Guys and eaten some delicious burgers and fries, too!

At KCBC, they wanted me to have another MRI. Because this facility only does breast imaging, their MRI machine is designed to produce a very different kind of imaging than a standard machine.  After some back and forth with our insurance company, I was approved for the MRI with the argument that I had 3 suspicious spots show up in my right breast through last weeks MRI and they needed to be checked out further.  Thankfully, it was a move that paid off because today there was nothing at all on the right side!  As for the left side, Dr. Brown, the radiologist, showed me the images and was able to explain so much to me about my mass.  (She felt like an accurate size measurement was around 4.1 cm.)  She likened it to a child’s drawing of the sun, a large blob with random rays drawn around it.  She then decided to do an ultrasound guided fine needle biopsy to take tissue samples from hopefully some different places as my biopsy from last week.  If I remember right, she took 7 samples from a variety of angles around the site in question and then placed a titanium marker in the injection site to let us know later where she had been.

Here is the part that was really neat to me… I then went for a mammogram to check the positioning of the marker, and I was able to see both today’s and Friday’s markers.  From the angle, I could see that Friday’s marker was at the edge of the mass and today’s looked to be right in the middle of the mass.  Dr. Brown was optimistic that today’s biopsy samples will be more likely to come back as cancerous if cancer really is present.  She said that it does appear to be a cancerous mass to her but also said that nothing could be said for sure without the pathology results.  As a human, it is totally possible to be wrong based only on sight, and I appreciated her humility in knowing her limitations.  She will call me tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon herself with the results but warned that it may be well after 5 depending on her schedule.

Matt and I (along with with my parents I think) will meet with my surgeon on Tuesday at 5 o’clock.  The results of my biopsy will very much determine my course, obviously.  If there is no trace of cancer, then I will have to have the mass removed anyway.  It is too large to leave in and risk it containing even the slightest trace of cancer that we didn’t find.  Depending on my surgeon’s opinion, I very well may need a mastectomy since the mass is rather large.  On one hand, the thought terrifies me, but I am trusting in God’s provisions either way.  If the results tomorrow are cancerous, then we will have to determine whether I want chemo to try to shrink the tumor before we remove it.  Or, if I would rather, I can just elect for the mastectomy.  Based on all of the statistics I have been given, I am leaning heavily towards one option more so than the other.

As before, thank you for the continued prayers.  The encouraging notes, texts, messages, and calls are priceless, and I am just sorry that I feel so slow at responding to some of you.  It is not because I don’t appreciate you!

Love to you all.

Biopsy Result Update

1 Sep

Picture this…

You are the star quarterback, and your team is about to play your biggest rival.  You are in the locker room, the coach is giving a spirited pep talk, and you are getting geared up to go play the game of your life in front of a packed stadium.  Your teammates are banging the lockers and their helmets, and everyone is fired up to go play in the game of their lives.  You run out of the locker room and tear through the big paper banner only to realize that the other team didn’t come.  You still get the win, but it is oddly disappointing because you were so ready to play this game.

That is the closest analogy I can think of to explain how I felt yesterday when my biopsy results came back.  Last Friday, without saying it right out, the radiologist let us know that from my MRI, this was going to be cancer.  My cousin who is an expert in breast radiology told me on Saturday night after reviewing my images that this was going to come back as cancer.  Both of them said that if the biopsy came back negative, they wouldn’t believe it.

Yesterday afternoon just before 5, I spoke with a nurse who said that my biopsy had come back showing Lobular Carcinoma In Situ which is not the aggressive cancer that we were expecting.  I was shocked, and apparently so was everyone who had been consulted on my case.  The pathologist who looked at my biopsy didn’t believe it.  The other radiologists who met yesterday to discuss it didn’t believe it.  Dr. Lee (my mother’s oncologist who I will be using) looked at my films and told my dad that everything he saw points to Invasive Lobular Carcinoma.  I had been gearing up for the fight of my life and had adrenaline pumping through my veins because we were going to jump into action and take this cancer down!  To hear better than expected news was great–but it left me with emotions that I still have a hard time putting into words.

So, what now?  Well, I am going to meet with my oncologist in the morning (Wednesday) because he would like for me to have a few additional tests done.  Lobular breast cancer is very rogue and unpredictable so we need to make sure it isn’t present anywhere else.  This will give me so much peace of mind that something isn’t being missed.  Dr. Lee will help me get set up with my surgeon as well.  Even if there isn’t a single speck of cancer in my body, this area in my left breast needs to be removed.  It is 9 cm by 6 cm which means that a mastectomy is going to be required.  That is something that I am just now starting to totally wrap my brain around as a 32 year old.

Please be praying that no cancer will appear in any further testing and that I can get appointments with the right people to have the right procedures in the right time.  Regardless of the outcome, God is in control, and my faith has been bolstered so greatly in part thanks to how many of you are loving me and my family through this.  I’m blessed beyond words by you and am eternally thankful for your encouragement.

“I thank my God every time I remember you.” Philippians 1:3