Drain Free!

Forbidden Gold

Photo credit: Steve-h

June 5, 2012No more JP drain!  So happy to be free of the annoying drain attached to my side. I was really surprised today in the Doctors office when they removed it and pulled out more than five inches of tube that was inside me! The wonder of medicine. But my Healer is so much more amazing.

Lord please allow the lymph nodes that I have left to properly drain the fluids. You have created amazing bodies that perform incredibly, You are a Master Builder and I am just a laborer in your vineyard. I ask that you allow my body to heal and function beautifully without the breast and lymph nodes that cancer took.

I have 48 hours for that drain hole to heal before filling my body with the toxic mixture that chemotherapy offers. It seems so strange to me that my best hope is infusions of toxic combinations, but science statistically prove it helps. Tomorrow, June 7th at 3:30 pm is my first treatment, so prayers storming heaven!

I will move forward with the chemotherapy, but I will place my ultimate trust in the Lord.

For He is my hope and salvation. He is my stronghold.

He is the Light in my darkness, in Him I find my refuge.

God indeed is my savior. I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the Lord and he has been my savior. Psalm 12

Grace embraced through the freedom I feel with more arm movement where I can use it to praise the Lord!

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Feeling good and praying for Yes’s

Tuesday May 23, 2012

Second post-op appointment and going with a positive feeling. I am strong and have been resting, so I am hopeful for three changes…

1. Removal of the final drain
2. Release to drive
3. Release to go to work

Dr. Jaskowiak did say the incisions are healing really well. The surgical strips are off for good and the beautiful scar that I never imagined would be across my chest stares back at me in the mirror. It is almost a perfect line of suntanned skin above of the scar and lighter unsunned skin below the scar, visually cutting the left side of my chest not only with a scar, but with the tone of my skin…it’s very odd to see…but’s its a Cancer-Free sight too and I am learning to love its look. Realistically I know there will be days that I cry in front of the mirror for what is gone, but those days are becoming infrequent. I also think the Vicodin I was taking added to a sadness, almost depressing attitude. So pain management with Advil or Tylenol as much as possible, so that I can think clearly and positively.

The output of the drain is still over 30 cc a day and that’s the magic number…below 30 cc a day for two days…so the hope of drain being removed is gone. The drain stays in for another week. Dr. J humorously stated that if I’m still draining that much next week, she’s putting my arm in a sling to restrict movement. Suddenly, I’m confused. She said after surgery, no lifting, but that I should move my left arm so it doesn’t get stiff. Even though, Kevin would disagree, I believe I have not been doing too much with my arm. So I need to find the balance between moving, stretching and gentle use of my arm while resting and not causing more fluid drain. New goal for the week…Get The Drain Out!

After being discouraged about the drain, I really, really nicely asked if I can drive. I made Dr. J laugh! Absolutely no way will she be responsible for me driving with a drain and limited arm movement. No matter how much I tried to explain how careful I’d be, she was just as adamant about not letting me drive. Two no’s right off the bat!

But I was still hopeful and holding on to the possibility of a positive affirmation for my last request.

Am I able to return to work? Dr. J kindly asked again what my job day entails. Mostly desk work, I answer. She feels that if there is something that really can’t wait and I have someone who can drive me, maybe for an hour or two, if necessary, but only if absolutely necessary and not more than two hours. More of a no than a yes. Since it’s a 40 minute drive to my office, I can’t ask someone to drive me for an hour and half so that I can work an hour or two. Guess it is remote working for another week.

Shot down on all three.

But I have to remember it has only been 18 days since surgery. I’m becoming restless in the house, yet I need to rest to get the drain out and begin to resume a normal life. Well normal for a while, until chemo begins.
Oh, the challenges of a mastectomy patient…or maybe just a challenge for me!

We talked about the discomfort in my underarm, it’s range of motion, goals for reaching above my head and finally getting approval to wash it with perfumed soap and apply deodorant! That is a great news! Because of where the incision under my arm is from the lymph node removal, they did not want anything but gentle soap and water there, being careful not to get the drains wet that are four inches below. Finally news I could embrace!

The underarm is slightly swollen and the scar tissue and muscle is very tender, but it’s getting a scrubbing with Bath & Body Works Sweet Pea body wash tonight!

Dr. J again reminded me to work on resting so that the drain can be removed after Memorial Day. Her nurse, Sheilah, came into the room to finish us some paperwork with my husband and I. She was surprised that the drain did not come out and we talked for a minute on how to accomplish that goal. Then…I can’t believe what happened…

Sheilah opened the exam room door as she said “Janet, listen to your husband”.
Kevin exclaimed “I love you” as the staff in the hallway began to laugh.
I said “You have no idea what you power you have given him” as I smiled and laughed knowing that Kevin now felt more control over my resting schedule.
Sheilah tried to add “only from 9:00 am to 10:00 am”, but it was too late, Kevin was glad for the assurance that he will be doing more for me and helping me rest more.

In a single comment, Sheilah opened up the power of an incredibly caring husband and reminded an impatient patient that healing takes rest and time.

It was a fantastic ending to an appointment that did not go the way I had hoped. Thanks Lord for the laugh, you knew I needed it!
I did go home and rest. Kevin is the perfect caregiver, maybe a little too cautious. (I can carry my own plate to the dinner table, honey) But I am grateful for his love and assistance, since I know many do go through challenges alone.

Grace embraced: Well, I’m feeling good, even though I received no’s for my three questions, I am graced with laughter and love.

Aspiration Results

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

5:45 pm

I got a call as I was leaving my mothers condo and saw it was the University of Chicago. Just figured it was my husband, who works in the Information Systems department at U of C and decided to call him back when I got in the car.

All calls from U of C show up on caller id as 773-702-1220, and I wasn’t expecting a call about the aspiration until tomorrow, so I listened to the voice message that I had missed from my husband.

Well, it was Dr. Jaskowiak. She said she got the preliminary test results and wanted me to call her. She left her number for the next hour and her cell after that. Well that is not a good sign, is it?

Thank the Lord I repeated her number, because my thumb did not hit the end button and I started dialing…1773- Yikes! The 7 deleted the message! Quick prayer that I remembered the right number and thanks to answered prayers, Dr. Jaskowiak answered. I pulled into the bank parking lot and put the car in park. As she began talking I grabbed a piece of paper and took a deep breath.

The preliminary tests shows what appears to be a lobular carcinoma. They usually do not present on mammograms and she wanted to  order an MRI for next week. Also she will set up appointment with the Cancer Risk Center in 6D, since there is a lot of history of cancer on my paternal side. She will have more information when the pathology results are complete tomorrow.

I finished my short drive home and pretty sure I collapsed in my son’s arms and waited for Kevin to get home. Although I was not surprised and I was much calmer than I ever thought I would, I was exhausted emotionally.  I can’t deny that I felt a peace also and somehow knew my faith would carry me through this

Grace embraced:  the hugs of my son as I realized the path that I now was on. He is so strong and faith filled, that I immediately felt  grace and love. Thanks Zach, I love you!