Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The "what" doesn't matter when you know the "WHO!"

So let's just be honest here. This may be a longer post so kick off your shoes, sit back, get comfortable and relax and I share my feelings and what I have learned along the way over the past 6 weeks. We just completed a sermon series on Job and each small group did a six week study on the book of Job that was put together by one of our pastors. As first, I was thrilled for this series. Super excited. Came first week, Bible in hand, sitting in the 4th row as usual and worshipping during the music because I knew that this series was for me. Annnnnnnnnnnnnd that is where the excitement stopped. Ended. Gone. Dead. Instead, I left feeling anger, fury, discontent, unsettled, etc... I even emailed the pastor twice during the six week series asking him WHY was this series so hard for me to hear. That I couldn't even go to church one week because I was sick of it. I told him I felt like I was living Job for the past 2 years and certainly didn't need to hear about it. I was living proof. Modern day Job. I just couldn't sit through another Sunday of it.
In the beginning of my diagnosis, just like in the beggining when Job lost everything, he chose to praise the Lord above. So did I...hence the name of my blog. But as time passed as it did for Job and myself, we both began to question everything, and we both had some friends that said some pretty harsh things to us along the way. I actually called one of my friends (not to her face) Eliphaz...Job's friend! I mean how dare she say something to me like she said and have no clue the shoes I have walked in for 2 years. Geesh! I think it was meant out of love, but I am not so sure it wasn't more of an arrogance thing. Then I've had a friend take some of my pain pills when I wasn't looking. Yeah, great friendship there. You see, I relate a lot to Job and I know each of us do to some degree, but I'm really feeling him right now.
Well, this past Sunday, things changed. God finally spoke to Job. God finally spoke to Kelly. God finally said some pretty eye-opening things to the both of us.
Job 38: 1-7 : Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind. Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man because I have some questions for you and you must answer them. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me if you know so much? Who determined it's dimensions and stretched out it's surverying line? What supports its foundations and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
Job 38: 1:19-22: Where does light come from and where does darkness go? Can you take each to its home? Do you know how to get there? But of course you know all this. For you were born before all this was created and you are so very experienced. Have you visited the storehouses of snow or seen the storehouses of hail?
Job 38: 1:31-33: Can you direct the movement of the stars-binding Pleiades or loosening the cords of Orion? Can you diret the sequence of the seasons or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens? Do you know the lasws of the universe and can you use them to regulate the earth?

The Job replied to the Lord: I know that you can do anything and no one can stop you....I take back everything I said and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.
HUMBLED and HUMILIATED...that's how I felt last Sunday in church. I felt like Job did when God started asking him all of the questions and turned the tables. I have spent much of my time since July asking why...why is this reconstuction worse than anything by far? Worse than chemo, worse than radiation, worse than my 3 prior surgeries. Why all of the severe pain now. This was supposed to be the happy joyous part of breast cancer. But you know what? I've grown. I have grown to really know deep in my heart that if all God ever replies to me is "Trust Me" then I will trust Him. For He is who He says He is all throughout Job. The what doesn't matter...the breast cancer, pain, emotional turmoil, physical scars, worn down body...none of it matters since I KNOW THE WHO...The Great Physician

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Quickly

Because the kids are needing some attention and I am needing some pain medicine, this will be quick...promise!
Went back to my surgeon today. Drain is still draining right at 100 mls/day so I still have Darcy as my sidekick. It's okay. I knew she wouldn't be coming out today and honestly I am used to her now so...whatever.
I also got my final expansion in the left breast and will have one more expansion next Wednesday which will be the final one for the right side.
I am doing much better this week emotionally. I'm getting sleep now which I see is helping a lot. For weeks I was only getting 3-4 hours each night so my doctor prescribed some Ambien and that made for one great night sleep last night.
OK - that's all for now friends. See, this was short for me!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Yet Another Update

This one will be short and to the point...incisions are healing perfectly. Drain is STILL in. I am 3 weeks post-op and am shocked that the drain is still draining over 100mls/day. This is craziness. However, Darcy (yes, I've named her as she has been stuck in my side for 22 days now) and I are doing just fine. I don't have pain or irritation from her anymore. I'm able to be a pretzel with my arms and change my own drain dressing now, and I have learned how to take a tub bath, wash my armpit and not get the drain wet. Trust me when I say that that in and of itself is quite a feat.
My mood has been elevated to the top of this world. I am enjoying my precious time with my children and husband. Chloe and Brody crack me up every single day and I have been able to tell Satan to take a hike more than once and be victorious over him. WOO-HOO! Speaking of my sweet babes, Brody asked me this question yesterday in the most serious voice ever while pointing to my drain..."mommy, is dat ur iPod?" OMgoodness! I about fell off the couch laughing at him. I've had Darcy for 22 days and it's like he has just now noticed it...and he thought it was an iPod. HA!!!! Chloe quickly corrected him and told him that it was in fact called a drain to which he replied "oh, a dwain." So stinking cute. If you are not laughing by this point, I guess you just had to be here.
Other than that, the plan is as follows...
1. I will go back next Wednesday, the 17th to hopefully say goodbye to Darcy and get my final expansion. Trust me when I tell you that I feel like I have Mt Ranier sitting on my chest. I've not had a left boob in 2 years so for me to look down and see a freaking mountain made from a mole-hill (hahaha) it's slightly funny, shocking, exciting, weird, etc... All I can say is Dolly is not the only girl in Tennessee now with a good set of girls.
2. Then, I wait. I will wait and live in the tissue expanders until the end of January when I will then have the exchange surgery which is the FINAL step! They will remove the expanders, have enough stretched skin and muscle to place the implants in, and off I go with a set of forever perky girls...all paid for by insurance! While I am sure David would like me to keep the mountains I have for now, I will NOT be doing that. I just don't think I can handle all of that in my face all the time.
3. Two weeks after that surgery, I will have my 6 month MRI to check for recurrence of the cancer which I am confident will come back just fine.
3. And finally, the week after my MRI, David and I head off to our annual Chick-fil-A seminar for a 3 day seminar and an extra 4 days of luxury time alone in San Antonio, TX. This is very symbolic as I will be celebrating my 2 year cancer free mark at seminar again this year. I love that I am surrounded by my Chick-fil-A family when this anniversary comes around each year.

Oh, and in the midst of all that, I will be flying out to Seattle to visit my brother, SIL, and my new baby niece Adalynn. I'm going by myself so I can be selfish with my time with them. I cannot wait to get that sweet baby girl in my arms and see her mommy and daddy. I missed Brody's infancy period due to the cancer treatments, and Adalynn will be the age he was when I was diagnosed so I can foresee lots of cuddling, rocking, snuggling, and loving on her while I am there.

Well, maybe this wasn't as short as I had intended it to be, but now you have my whole itenerary from next week through the end of February :)
Thanks for all of your prayers for me since my last few blog posts. Love to each of you!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Psalm 103...

Today I texted my friend Erin and asked: Hey friend, what do you do when you don't feel God and feel so far away? I feel like he doesn't even care about me anymore...like He is tired of my problems. I know there are times he chooses to be quiet like in the beginning of Job, but I need to hear him. Like now!

Her response: I'm right there with ya girl!1 All I know is these are the times to trust wholly in His Word which are promises and His character which is good. That takes faith! Check out Psalm 103 :)

So I did that when I put Brody down for his nap. I opened my Bible to Psalm 103. I read it. Read it again, and then read it a third time. Finally, I got out my highlighter and went to town highlighting these verses specifically:
Psalm 103: 2-5: Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things.
Psalm 103:13-14 : The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionsate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.

It does help to know that God knows how weak I am and that He is tender and compassionate to that. It also helps me to remember and even list off all of the good things he has done for me in these past two years especially.

A big thanks to my friend Erin who directed me to that Psalm for today's time with God. And a huge praise to God for ALL of the good things he has done for me.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Where Have I Gone?

I sit here with tears streaming so hard that I can hardly even type. I have been stretched further this week than I ever wanted to be. I am an emotional basket-case, a physical mess, and I am beginning to really just want to run away and never come back. I want to run away from the mess that my life has become over the past 2 years.
I don't want to be only known as the "young girl who got breast cancer," "the Chick-fil-A owner's wife," "the mom with the drain hanging out of her side for 2 solid weeks now and hasn't been able to shower yet," "the wife who can't keep her cool when her house is a disastrous mess because no one can clean it but me," "the young mom who has had 5 surgeries in 2 years but everyone looks up to," etc... There is NOTHING to look up to. There is nothing to admire. There is nothing that I have done that I am proud of. There is nothing I would choose to do again.
I am angry. I just want to be Kelly. I don't want anything that has been attached to my name over the past few years. When am I going to ever get to be just Kelly again? The answer: NEVER! I can never go back and re-do things. Alcoholics CHOOSE to drink, Addicts CHOOSE to use drugs, People who shake their babies CHOOSE to do so...well, I didn't CHOOSE breast cancer and I did NOTHING to deserve the consequences of it. I am tired of putting on the happy face and telling people that everything is okay, that we are managing just fine, that we don't need anything, that all is well, etc... It's all a lie people. It's all a lie. I need help. I can't lift the lemonade pitcher to pour my kids some juice. I can't get the laundry out of the hamper because it sends me into severe pain from the surgery. I can't reach up into the cabinet to grab a plate because of the pain that goes shooting through my arm and chest. I can't sleep in my own bed because of the way I need to prop to just get comfortable. I can't pick up my house without paying for it later. I can't stand in the kitchen and cook a nice meal because by the time I've done that and cleaned up the mess, I am hurting and extremely exhausted. Little things exhaust me. Having lost so much blood does nothing for my energy level and it just sucks.
What I wouldn't give to be able to just go on walks with my kids, sit on the floor and play with them, fix meals for my family, take the kids to do fun activities, pick them up and hold them tight, hug my husband without flinching in fear that he is going to touch my incision, sleep in my own bed, take a shower, and just live a normal life.

I know that I have a lot to be thankful for too, but for today, I just want to get my feelings out and heard and be honest and authentic. I am closing the comment section of this particular post because I don't want any negative feedback. I just want to vent and I want people to let me do so without trying to fix the problems I have. God gave me these feelings and it's fine by Him for me to express them and have them so today, I am choosing to do that. Pray for me, my family, my pain, my energy level.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

In A Funk...Satan's A Punk.

In a total and complete funk and it's all Satan's fault...and mine too for allowing him access to my emotions. Today was a hard day. Let me back up to yesterday though so I can give a little back-story. Yesterday my sweet babies came home from their gramom's house after being there for 9 days. I was so excited to have them back and could not wait for David to pull into the driveway with them. I wasn't totally niave about the care I was going to have to give them, but I was feeling stronger yesterday than I had in a week. When they got home, my spirits immediately lifted and I could not get enough of them. They hugged, kissed, played, and hung out with us all afternoon and evening. Chloe fell asleep with me on the couch and it was just precious.

Then today happened. All was well. As a matter of fact, all was perfect until we all loaded up to go to St Thomas Hospital for my incision check and drain pull. On the way there fear, anxiety, and terror gripped my soul. We popped in some praise music but it just wasn't helping. I tried quoting in my mind that the Lord did not give me a spirit of fear. Didn't work well. The fear and anxiety was coming from the fact that last Monday night was the last time that we had driven to St Thomas since my emergency surgery. It was the time that I honestly thought I was going to die. I was so in and out of consciousness on the way back to the hospital due to the blood loss that I really thought it was the end for me. Well, all of those emotions came at me like a ton of bricks today and I stiffened up and didn't relax for several hours after we had gotten back home.

David knew something was wrong as soon as he looked over and saw me crying silent tears. He asked and I went ahead and told him what I was thinking about. He told me that the ride for him was symbolic not of fear and anxiety, but of a time when he was able to pray aloud for me and praise God through the storm. I thought about that for a minute and then just  thanked the Lord in my soul that David has grown in Christ over the past several months like nobody's business. Everyday I can see he is allowing the Lord to take over more and more control of his life and it's a beautiful thing to watch. Man, do I love that man of mine!!!

However, I am in such a place now that I can't feel God. I can't hear Him. I can't find Him. I can't see Him in anything. I feel like Job. Lord, where are you? I have been so faithful during the past 2 years of my breast cancer walk that for me to feel this during the reconstruction process is mind-boggling. Luckily, for a few minutes tonight, I was able to see and hear God speak through my friend Destiny. She happened to be at another friend's house when I called there and I was able to speak to her. She spoke truth after truth to me about God, where He is, and who the real perpetrator is right now. Satan knows he can't have me. He knows I will not ever be anything but God's child and I will never deny my faith and love for Jesus Christ. HOWEVER, he knows that if he can stop me by placing fear, anxiety, doubt, fear, anger, and depression in my life, then he can stop me from doing the work that God has set out for me to do. The work that God has specifically told me includes furthering His kingdom. Well, I cannot and will not allow Satan to do that. He will not compromise my job. He will not compromise my joy. He will not take hold of me in any way, shape or form. I am drawing the line in the sand and He WILL stand behind me and leave me alone. Enough of Satan...MORE OF CHRIST!

The next time something goes wrong...even just something as simple as a kid losing a shoe and us needing to leave the house right then, I will choose to ask Satan "is that all you've got?" and go on with my business because he will not be allowed to steal my joy anymore and ruin my days over little unimportant things. Every single one of you have the right to hold me accountable to that too. Satan has taken up waaaaay too much of my time and it infuriates me. So call me out on it, keep me accountable, and make sure that I am not like Peter walking on the water. Make sure I do not take my eyes off of Christ.

And just to update you all on my appointment. I did not get my drain out...it's still putting out waaaaay to much so it will be with me for another week. I go back next Wednesday to hopefully have it pulled. My incisions look fine. Actually, you can already barely see the one on my back. It's perfect. I'm having lots of back pain from just doing even the littlest of things for the kids and am having slight muscle spasms even though I really shouldn't be. All in all, I think things could be a lot worse so I'm just trying to rest and relax my back as much as possible and listen to my body when it screams at me to sit down and relax. Kids go to Moms Day Out tomorrow from 9-2 so I will have a good break there and then I will be on my on all day Friday with them. Maybe tomorrow's rest will be sufficient to get me through Friday. And if it's not, I'm not going to worry as God's grace will be sufficient and His strength will get me through.