Thursday, September 15, 2011

Deliveries, Doctors & Drains

As I write this post tonight, I am feeling blessed...blessed beyond measure.  (Ok, so maybe I did take a pain pill since I over-exerted myself today...but my blessings greatly exceed prescription narcotics!)  Today has been an eventful day, one full of special deliveries, appointment with the surgeon, drain tube removal, and even a Pre-K event.  It is so hard to believe that just four short weeks ago from today, I was told that there was an 80% chance my tumor was malignant.

 Four weeks later,  I have one breast, eighteen less lymph nodes and two armpits (or so it seems, from where they removed tissue and lymph nodes from under my arm!) as a result from surgery.  I know that I am supported by family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers.  Over the past few weeks, you have prayed with me, cried with me, laughed with me, and rejoiced with me.  For that, I will be eternally thankful!

This morning, I received a special delivery...all the way from New Hope Baptist Church, in Jennings, Florida.  New Hope is my "home" church, over 200 miles away from Gray.  This is the church where I was baptized, and the church I was married in.  Karen Goolsby delivered two gift baskets from the wonderful "New Hope Ladies" this morning.  These are the ladies who have been there for me throughout my life...from VBS to baptism, my wedding, to the birth of all three of my children, their love and support has been as solid as the oak trees that grow in Hamilton County.  These women have shown me how to host memorable bridal showers, make the best punch in the world (can I get an "Amen" about that New Hope Punch), and have demonstrated how to be women of faith.  Now, they are specifically  praying for me and my family as I battle cancer.

The gift baskets are full of items that are very thoughtful and have such meaning to me.  Ranging from plastic flatware and tissues to relaxation candles and therapeutic pillows, the baskets were just amazing.  As I looked at each item, I wondered what sweet friend knew I would need that item.  Candy, candles, mints, journals, inspirational books, notepads, jewelry, and gift cards are just a few items included.  More importantly, I know that the baskets are full of prayers and love...which can't be purchased at any store.  To my New Hope Ladies - Thank you will never suffice.  I love you!

Arleigh enjoying a treat, while wearing her fake glasses.
The children enjoyed the sprinkle marshmallow pops that accompanied the gift basket... which I must share with all of my crafty friends.  They were the large marshmallows, dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with "sprinkles".  Rather than using a sucker or popsicle stick, they used a "crazy straw" for the stick.  These were great treats, and one that I will certainly have to copy in the future!  (Won't those make great classroom and birthday party favors?)

My mailbox has also "runneth over" with well wishes and greetings from friends, family and co-workers.  It is so nice to have brightly colored envelopes and messages...makes me feel like I'm back at summer camp and it's "mail call" time!  Greeting cards and letters are so much better than getting the electric bill or insurance explanation of benefits in the  mail!

This afternoon was my one week follow-up appointment with Dr. Martin.  He was very pleased with the surgical incision, and removed my drainage tube.  Thank God!  I found that the drainage tube was the most horrid thing about surgery, even worse than the incision itself.  If you look at the picture at the left, you will see the black sutures still attached to the tube.  Everything to the left of the black thread was outside of my body, and everything to the right was inside.  He even laughed about me wanting to take a picture of it...but then we've shared everything else, haven't we.  (Speaking of that, I'll post a picture of my incision this weekend.)

Dr. Martin referred me to an oncologist, Dr. Cheryl Jones. He was adamant that I be seen as soon as possible, and between God and Dr. Martin working together, my appointment is Friday at 10 a.m.  After the appointment with the oncologist, I will have a better understanding of when chemotherapy will begin, and can plan accordingly.  I will return to Dr. Martin in one week for a check, and possibly even schedule the out-patient surgery for my chemo power port next Thursday.

I am now clear to begin exercising to regain my strength and range of motion on my right side.  My nurse navigator, Kim (who I can not say enough wonderful things about), spent a great deal of time talking with Mom, Jeff and I after the appointment.  She demonstrated exercises, went over pathology report details, and answered many questions we had about upcoming chemotherapy treatments.  I realize that everyone is different, but I can not imagine going through a battle with cancer, and not being as prepared as possible.  I want to know what I'm up against, and how to face it head on for the defeat.  How someone can choose not to be an "informed" cancer patient is beyond my comprehension.

The pathology report from my mastectomy is 26 pages long,  I'll post more details about the report at a later date, but 5 sentinel lymph nodes were removed, with only 2 testing positive.  An additional 13 lymph nodes were tested, but were all negative.  I also received the BRCA testing results today, and they are negative!  Another Praise, in that my cancer is not genetic and will not affect my Mother, sister, or children!

Since I was still dressed from "going to town", I mustered up enough energy to attend a Pre-K workshop at Arleigh's school.  The workshop was about their "Animated Literacy" program, which is used for instruction.  Visit the Animated Literacy web site here for more information.  Even though I was exhausted by the time I returned home (to a wonderful home-cooked meal, prepared by my hubbby), it was nice to get out and see people!

My pain is a bit higher this evening than it has been.  I'm not sure if that is due to taking fewer pain pills, healing, exercising, or a combination of everything.  Tomorrow I'm switching over to Alleve for pain, and pray that it will be minimal as I continue to heal.

From deliveries to drain removal, today was a great day.  I know that all days won't be as great, but I will continue to celebrate!



Dana said...

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off GOD....Shelby we continue to pray for you and your family. I just know that God has BIG things in-mind for you!!!!! Love you!!!♥

tracy said...

i am so thankful for the good news and i am saying this with love...BE STILL! HEAL UP, AND TAKE IT EASY!!! (Don't make me come down there)!!!
I hope the alleve helps, but rest will help more.
love ya<3