Saturday, January 31, 2009

Post-Op Recovery is Hard

Psalm 34:18 - The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

I was able to take off my bandages for the first time today and get in the shower. I was so not prepared for how I would look or feel. Of course when you are told that the surgeon took out something the size of a baseball you expect to have a rather large scar, but I wasn't prepared for the emotional aspect of it all.
The incision is beautiful...of course only a nurse could appreciate the beauty of a great sewing job so I'm sure that sounded demented. However, what was left is not at all what I expected. I feel very deformed and upset which is embarassing as I have never been a vain person...at all...in my whole life. I truly am ashamed at how I feel about my body. I was scared to death to look at myself and quite frankly I am scared to let David look. I wouldn't let him see today even though he had to help me with the bandages. I know that he loves me more than anything on earth, but I can't help but feel like if I am disgusted that he will be too. And of course that's not fair to him as he is not shallow and he has told me many times over the past 3 weeks that he would rather me have nothing left up top than to have me dead. And of course, I say AMEN to that! This is the first step that I had to take in order to save my life and I did it. I know that in the days and weeks to come that I will adjust to everything and will be just fine. I have the faith and confidence in my Lord that he will restore my health and happiness and will probably not only restore it, but give me more of it. So, until then, I will do as Psalm 62:5-8 says...Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation my fortress where I cannot be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge and my rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your hearts to him for God is our refuge.

Some happy moments have occurred over the past few days though. Since I have been home from the hospital, Chloe has been my little snuggle-bug. She has been up in "mama's bed" for most of the day each day watching her "letters" video over and over again. Anyways this is how our conversation has gone everyday when she first sees me in the mornings:
Chloe: mama sick
Me: yep, mama's a little sick.
Chloe: Chloe sick too
Me: Oh no, Chloe's sick too?
Chloe: yeah, Chloe sick. Mama's arm hurts. Chloe's arm hurts too.

And then she lays beside me, gets under my blanket and we snuggle until she gets wild and wants to play or until I really need to rest. I love these moments and the innocence of it all. And little ol'Brody is just all smiles like always. He's just so happy all of the time.

A big huge thank you to everyone for the cards, flowers, meals, emails, and phone calls that we have received over the past few days. Please know that they have all blessed my days and I am very thankful for all of you. The Lord knew what he was doing when he moved my family here and gave us such a wonderful "family away from family."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

So scared

It is an hour before I am supposed to be at the hospital and I am so emotional and scared this morning. This is the first time since learning of the diagnosis that I have felt anything other than peace and happiness. Maybe that's the problem, I have sort of viewed any other emotion as not being grateful so I haven't allowed myself to feel anything else. But, I also know that Jesus himself had fear and every other emotion that I have and it's not the feeling that's the sin, but how we deal with it that could be. I choose today to pray through these feelings and trust that God will calm me. My mom has a quote on her refrigerator that says "Sometimes God calms the storm, but other times he lets the storm rage and focuses on calming His child." Today is a storm for me, but I know that God will give me His promised peace.

If you read this blog, please pray me through the surgery and recovery. I won't be able to pick up my babies for a while and from what I've been told will be in a good amount of pain since they are having to remove quite a bit of tissue. I think the hardest thing though will be not loving on and snuggling with Chloe and Brody for a while. Especially that little Chloe...she LOVES being in bed with her mama.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Humbled

That is the way I feel right now. I am completely humbled by the amount of people who have sent David and I emails telling us that they are praying for us and are enlisting others to do the same. I cannot believe the outpouring of love and support that we have been shown.
I was speaking with my mom and dad the other day and they told me that at church last Sunday (the church that I grew up in) they had requested prayer for me and that after church, a girl that I grew up with and was very close to came up and was distraught at the news. That she was crying and just really upset. Now I have not really been in touch with Addie since we went to seperate colleges, but we had been friends before then since our pre-school days. When I heard this, I just felt overwhelmed. I just couldn't believe that someone that I had not been in touch with for so long would care so much about my well-being. Humbling...
Also, God has provided a new friend for me through this. I met the most amazing lady at the hospital who works in the women's center which is where the mammograms are done. I actually met her on the first day that I was there and since then, she and I have just really bonded. She called to check on me a day or two after the biopsy and through our conversation I was able to tell her about my faith and trust in God. Now the really cool thing about that is that my friend Erin Blair had emailed me a week or so ago telling me that while she was praying for me that God laid on her heart the verses in 2nd Timothy 1:8-9 but she didn't know why. So I had read and pondered them a million times also wondering how they were for me. As soon as my new friend called and told me how much she had just taken to me and my case and how concerned she was about me I knew exactly why Erin had those verses in mind for me. They say "Do not be ashamed to tell people about our Lord Jesus, and do not be ashamed of me (Paul), in prison for the Lord. But suffer with me for the Good News. God who gives us the strength to do that, saved us and made us His holy people." So there you go...I was able to just tell my new friend about Jesus and my faith, and if through my present suffering I can show even just one person how faithful God is, then it is so worth every bit of suffering. I am just so excited that God has chosen me to go through this for possibly the benefit of so many others.
Also, I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who is praying for me. Again, I am humbled to know that people here in my home-state of Tennessee, and then people in NC, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Iraq, and who knows elsewhere are lifting me up to God in their prayers. I am thankful to all of you!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fear, Anxiety, Peace, and Love

Those would be all of the emotions that I experienced fully over the past 2 weeks while waiting for a final diagnosis. I had major fear that I would not live to see my babies grow up and actually wondered how fair it was that God would allow me to be a mom just to leave them so young. I had anxiety everytime the phone rang and at every appointment and of course almost every night as everything is always worse at night. But then I always had peace in the midst of it all. Sometimes my peace came directly from within as the Holy Spirit would calm me and other times He led me to other people for that comfort and encouragement. And through it all, I felt love. I felt God loving on me when I just knew I was ready to break. I felt God's arms wrapping tightly around me giving me hugs when I needed to feel Him and know He was still there. I felt God's love when I looked at my babies and Chloe would just come up and hug me for no reason, or when Brody would give me one of his dimpled grins.

No matter what the emotion was at the time, God always supplied me with the perfect scripture to guide me and remind me of Him and His strength. Here are just a few of the verses that have been my source of strength and comfort. Oh, and one really cool thing is that the morning of my biopsy I was praying and asking Jesus to just show me a verse that I could repeat over and over in my head throughout the procedure. Instead of a verse, He gave me a song. Casting Crowns "Praise You in this Storm" but specifically the part that says "and every tear I've cried, You hold in Your hands."

So, when I first found out that my tests had all come back abnormal but I was still waiting for final diagnosis, my first instinct was to call on my friends here in Clarksville for comfort and support, but I felt God telling me that He was going to be my first comfort and support. It was confirmed through Lamentations 3:28-30 (The Message Bible) - When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter into the silence. Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions. Wait for hope to appear. Don't run from trouble, but take it full-face. The "worst" is never the worst. Why? Because the Master won't ever walk out and fail to return.

When I had moments of despair and felt the devil attacking my most inner being: Psalm 6:6-9...I'm tired of this - so tired. My bed has been floating forty days and nights on the flood of my tears. My mattress is soaked with tears. Get out of here you devil's crew: at last God has heard my sobs. My requests have all been granted and my prayers are answered.

When I felt God reminding me that He is all that I need and that I don't have to do this alone. 2nd Corinthians 12:7-10...I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down, what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty. At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that and then he told me, My grace is enough for you. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Lots of people have also sent me verses as encouragement and forgive me if I don't list all of them, but a few were Jeremiah 30:17, Phillipians 4:19, John 16:33 and the story of Joshua getting ready to cross the Jordan and God telling him that he would be getting ready to experience something that he had never gone through before but that he could do it one step at a time.

I love that my God knows me so well and loves me as only a parent could.

Starting the Journal

This is just a repeat post from the other blog.

2 weeks ago I was doing a self-breast exam and found a rather big lump. I called Dr. Hamre, my OBGYN, and he saw me pretty much right away and referred me to a surgeon at Gateway. I saw him and he ordered some more tests...mammogram and ultrasound. Upon having those done, they determined that the lump was of serious concern and proceeded with a biopsy. Today I met with my surgeon and was in fact told that it is a very early breast cancer. The medical term is ductal carcinoma in situ. The plan is to have surgery this Thursday and start radiation soon after. As of now, I don't have to have chemotherapy which should remain that way unless when they take out the mass they determine that the cancer has invaded past the cell walls.

I feel like God has blessed me so much. Before 2 weeks ago I had never done a self exam but felt God leading me to do one. As I'm sure you can imagine the past 2 weeks have been ridiculously difficult emotionally and physically for not only myself, but my family also. However, now that I know what I am dealing with and the fact that it was caught early, I feel like I can breathe again. It's weird because I have been so thrilled that I feel like people are thinking I'm crazy for being diagnosed with cancer and being so happy about it. But I'm happy because God has just blessed me with an early diagnosis and has been so faithful to me through this entire ordeal. I have felt His arms around me when I felt like I was falling apart and have felt His love and peace when the devil was trying to tell me that I was done. I told the Lord when this first started that no matter what the diagnosis was that I would praise Him regardless so that's what I am choosing to do. He alone is bigger than ANY diagnosis ever could be.