"As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
Joshua 24: 15

Recovery - August 8th, 2009

I've been remiss in keeping everyone updated...I'm so sorry! I've found Facebook a bit easier the past few weeks because I only have to type out a sentence instead of a whole blog post. But I know many of you have been asking about me and since I'm finally beginning to feel better I'll try and catch you all up.

After wrestling with my fears for hours I finally felt the Lord's peace take over after writing my last blog post, the evening before surgery. I went to bed and slept peacefully before having to wake up and be at the hospital very early on the 20th. My Dad, Mom, and Sister met Dorian and I there and sat with us as they prepped me for surgery. It's always good to have my family around...they understand my coping mechanisms; humor, and joke around with me. But all too soon in was time for me to leave. After a quick family prayer together the nurse walked me, yes 'WALKED' me to the operating room! I have never before in my life (and 12 prior surgeries) walked into an operating room. It was in some ways nice, because I felt somewhat in control of myself instead of lying helplessly on a stretcher, and in other ways very intimidating because I was all the more aware of the details in the operating room. Everyone was buzzing around the room preping things. Mulitple doctors barking orders, nursing drilling me with questions, others taking measurments all over my body and marking me everywhere while shouting the measurements back to someone else. I was overwhelmed by the commotion! Then one of my surgeons came around and grabbed my hand. She looked me straight in the eyes ignoring everything and everyone else buzzing around us and asked me how I was doing. I immediately broke down into tears and began sobbing. I feel so silly admitting it and can't help but think what a baby I must have seemed to everyone in the OR. But my surgeon just held onto my hand with all her might and began to pray over me. I'd like to say that the prayer did the trick and I was perfectly okay after that...but they also gave me some meds while she was praying and I began to feel very relaxed. It took a good 15-20 minutes for them to get everything in order and my epidural started before they finally knocked me out. It's the longest I've ever been awake in an OR.

It was a long procedure, I think my husband said 6 1/2 hours. But everything went well. My first thought when I woke up was...wow, this really doesn't hurt! I had been nervous about having an epidural, but to wake up and not be in excruciating pain was well worth it. But I was very very heavily sedated and slept most of the next two days.
I stayed in the hospital until Friday. It was difficult learning to get up out of bed without the use of either arm. And the epidural only lasted a couple of days so the pain did indeed come. I think the hardest thing for me was the nausea. I couldn't sit up without throwing up for 3 days. And throwing up when you're chest has been rebuilt and all the muscles have been wrenched around is not fun at all!
Recovery has been long and hard...to say the least. Physically and emotionally. I've had to rely on Dorian for EVERYTHING! From getting in and out of bed (actually a recliner), to getting dressed, opening doors, or even holding my glass of water. Anything that involved the use of my arms I found I just couldn't do. And then there was the disapointment of the procdure itself. I knew before hand that I wasn't going to wake up looking "perfect" but nothing could have prepared me for what I looked like. I've now begun to refer to myself as "Franken-boob" (remember I cope using humor)...but it's taken me a few weeks to get to the humor stage of coping. My chest is a patchwork ensemble of flaps of skins and stitches...I'm pieced together this way and that. Then to make matters worse I'm very lopsided. One breast is low (or should I say lower than the other...probably right where it should be) and round in shape...while the other is way up high (almost on top of my collar bone) and looks like it's missing the bottom half of it's rounded shape. The plastic surgeon assures me that it will all settle evenly in the end...but I've had a good number of break downs over the percieved failure of this procedure. It's been a roller coaster to be sure. I've had a harder time accepting my cancer diagnosis and everything that comes with it these past few weeks than I ever have. I've even shook my fist up to the heavens for the first time...well, figuritively because I can't actually lift my arm yet. God has seemed impossible to reach on some days, and then right there holding my hand the next. I've had many sleepless nights recently due to certain meds and I find the only way I can make it through some nights is to read psalms 73:23-28 over and over until I fell asleep.
23 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
27 Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.
Finally this past Monday I felt like I had a turn around. The pain began to become bareable and wasn't constant anymore. Every day I feel like I'm getting a little bit better. And now I'm celebrating each one of my little successes. Like Tuesday I dressed myself for the first time! Wednesday I was able to hold my baby (2 yrs old) on my lap with a pillow between him and my chest. Thursday I was able to open the front door myself! And would you believe by Friday I'd gained enough range of motion back in my arms to actaully wash my own hair! It's been a tough road to walk these last few weeks. And I've wanted to be anywhere but here most of the time. But when push comes to shove there is no place I'd rather be then running the race the Lord has marked out for me. I'm going to win this for His glory!!! And hopefully I'll have a nice (and even) rack to show for it someday!!! The next phase of this process begins next Thursday...expansion of the implants!