Thursday, October 28, 2010

Up and Around

The Lord liveth; and blessed [be] my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.  Psalm 18:46

It seems to take me just about as long to find some time for the computer as it does my mom to recover  from her surgery!  So here's the latest;

Her surgery on Monday went well, the Doctor removed as many lymph nodes ans he could and also put in her Power Port.  She was in quite a bit of pain after this surgery and it took a while to get that all under control, but we were able to come home Monday evening.

My Aunt and Uncle decided to stay until Mom was through her surgery and they left early Tuesday morning.  I have been spending the night, here, at Mom's since Monday night.  Can I just say how wonderful and loving our church bodies are?!  My Church Family has not only lifted my Mom in prayer, faithfully, over the last few weeks, they have also been providing meals for my family while I am with Mom so that Jeff and the Girls don't have to worry about fixing dinner.  My Mom's Church Family has also been faithful to pray for her and have been such a source of encouragement for all of us.  They have also pitched in and brought meals here for my Mom.  Thank you, Lord, for a Church that is active in serving and acting as Your hands!  What a blessing to us they have been.

Mom did struggle with itching that we think was caused by her pain meds, but Benadryl allowed her to take them for the first few days to keep the pain under control.  I am glad to say that she is now able to control the pain just using Motrin and the itching is starting to decrease. 

For the most part, we have spent these last few days just resting and enjoying each others company.  Today we decided to break out of the house for a bit and go have some lunch.  Mom was able to shower and get her dressing changed today--you know how much better that always make you feel!  She still has a drain under her arm that has to emptied and can now do that by herself, but she still has a bit of trouble getting her shirts on and off without help.  I will be staying with her for at least one or two more nights and after that I will still bring her meals and help her with her cleaning until she has more strength.

We go back to see her Surgeon late Monday afternoon.  He isn't sure if he will remove the drain at that time or not, but we should have the pathology report back from the lymph nodes he removed on Monday.  We are praying that there is no cancer found there.  At that appointment, we also think we will be making an appointment to see an Oncologist.  Regardless of the pathology report, we do know that Mom will be doing both Chemo and Radiation, it's just a matter of how long and how much.

Mom wanted to send you all a little update as well--

Hi friends,

Thank you for all the prayers you prayed for me!  I certainly felt them all!

Jesus gave me such peace as they wheeled me into the O.R., it was incredible.  He was near me throughout the whole thing and in the worst of the pain.  I had a great surgeon and knew he knew what he was doing and that helped a lot.

Everyone on the staff that was caring for me and talking with my family, was caring and knew their jobs--they were very good at it.

It's nearly Thanksgiving and I am starting to think about that Christmas will not be far behind and I hope I'm ready for them.  I am doing pretty good and do tire easily and am ready for bed soon after 10 p.m.

Dori is taking good care of me.  Shannon was here for nearly two weeks and Scott drops by on his way home from work as often as he can.   I talk to Steve on the phone and know that he and his family are praying for me everyday.  God has blessed me in so many different ways and I am so grateful to Him.

Thank you,

I will update the blog on Tuesday after we see the Dr on Monday.  Hopefully we will have more information.  I keep saying it, and I will keep saying it--Thank you, thank you, for lifting my family in your prayers.  They have buoyed our spirits and helped us to keep our eyes on Jesus.  You have made a difference!

Standing on the promises of God,

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Surgery Time

I apologize!  I just realized that I haven't posted the time for Mom's surgery.  She is scheduled for 8:30 in the morning.  They will be removing the level 1 and level 2 lymph nodes from under her left arm and installing a Power Port on her right side.  The Dr. said this surgery would last a little longer than her last surgery because of the extra time to do the Port.  The last surgery took right about 2 hours, so I GUESSING this surgery may take 3 hours.  Then last time she spent about 3 hours in recovery, so if things follow suit, we hope to be home by 3:00, or so, tomorrow afternoon.

Here are some things we are praying about:

There is a chance that while doing the lymph nodes, that Dr will need to slice through a bundle of nerves running along part of her left arm which will cause some permanent numbness.  Also, after her surgery, there is a chance that she will have some trouble with swelling.  Please pray that it is not necessary for the Dr to cut through those nerves and that she will not have any problems with any swelling later.

Last time they put the tube down  Mom's throat, she was very sore and had a lot of coughing and hoarseness for almost a full week after.  Please pray that this time there will be less pain and for a short duration.

Also, she had a bad reaction in every spot that they used adhesive.  They will still have to use the EKG Leads, but this time they will use an adhesive remover immediately after surgery and they will try a different type of tape in hopes of reducing the reaction this time.  I will also ask about giving her Benadryl right after surgery in addition to to her pain meds.  Please pray that we are able to minimize (if not eliminate) the crazy itching she had to endure for almost a week last time.

Thank you, all, for your prayers and helping hands.  My mom has said numerous times, that if it weren't for the prayers that are surrounding her, she would be an absolute wreck!  I feel the same way.  I'm not sure we will ever be able to adequately express what all of you mean to us!  God Bless you!

Standing on the promises of God,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New Information

We met Mom's surgeon today for her follow-up visit.  He took out the drain today and she was happy to have that gone.  It didn't hurt as much as she worried it might.  Her incisions all look good and are healing nicely.  She has been OK'd to take a shower tonight--that is VERY exciting news!

The pathology report is back and the tumor he removed had clear margins so that is a good thing.  When he came out of surgery he said that the lymph nodes were cancer free, however the pathology report shows that there was cancer in her sentinel node after all.  This changes the course of action that we thought we would be following.

She goes back into surgery on Monday (we won't have an exact time until Thursday) to have the rest of her lymph nodes removed on her left side.  At the same time they will put in a Power Port in her right side because now she will be doing a round of chemotherapy.  The port will allow them to administer her chemo without having to stick her with a needle each time.  It will also mean that when she has blood drawn they can use that as well.  There are some side affects to both the Power Port and having her lymph nodes removed.  For the lymph nodes, the major concern is the chance of some numbness and swelling in her left arm.  For the Power Port there is the chance of infection, clogging and lung collapse on her right side.

The surgery on Monday will be longer than the one she just had, but will also be done under general anesthetic and as an out patient procedure.  They will send the lymph nodes back to pathology to see how many more (if any) are cancerous.  We are concerned about the EKG leads they will use again because of the terrible itching they caused last time.  Dr. Schuss has a couple of things he will try to see if we can avoid such a reaction.

She will be seeing two oncologists after she heals from this surgery, a medical oncologist and a radiation oncologist.  They will then determine her chemotherapy/radiation plan.

Shannon flies home tomorrow and Uncle Jim and Aunt Connie will be driving home soon as well.  I am planning to spend most of next week at mom's while she recovers from this surgery.

While this was an unexpected turn of events, we are all still trusting in the sovereign plan of God and are doing our best to keep our thoughts captive.  We are all sure that it is the prayers of our dear family and friends that are helping to bear us up over these last few weeks and that those prayers will continue to bear us up in the weeks to come.

Standing on the promises of God, Dori

Friday, October 15, 2010

Yesterday and Today

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.  ~Matthew 11:28-30

Yesterday’s surgery went very well.  I apologize for not getting the blog updated sooner, but we are all pretty exhausted! 
We needed to be at the hospital at 8:00 that morning and we made it there a few minutes early!  We had been there less than an hour before Shannon and I were “shushed” by a nurse.  They just don’t understand the fun the three of us carry around with us!  The first thing scheduled for Mom were the contrast injections so they could take pictures for her Sentinel Node Biopsy.  Since she is allergic to Lidocaine, they were unable to deaden the area before the injections.  She was pretty nervous about that, but the Dr. said she was very brave and did a great job.  She threatened to do some yelling, but was too much of a lady to actually do it.  In all, they had to do four injections and she handled them all with grace. The dye didn’t spread through her lymph nodes as well as they had hoped, it seemed to go to the tumor and stop, but they were able to see what they needed.
She spent a while in Pre –Op, getting all her vitals checked and getting all set up for surgery.  While the doctors and nurses were out of the room for a few minutes, Shannon and I quickly snuck in and applied a temporary tattoo to her right breast so the Doctor wouldn’t get confused.  We chose a skull and cross bones.  We couldn’t stop snickering!  They are never going to let the two of us back in that hospital!
Shannon and I were kept company throughout the day by my aunt and uncle, my mom’s pastor and my mother-in-law (who also had breast cancer and will be in her 20th year of remission this May).  My husband, Jeff stopped by for a little while between jobs.  When we went down to the cafeteria, we got to experience a fire drill.  How thrilling! 
My mom’s pastor was able to pray with her before they wheeled her off to surgery.  She was in surgery for a little over 2 hours and then her doctor came out to let us know how things had gone.  The mass he removed was about 6 cm plus another centimeter of good tissue.  He also removed one lymph node that he said looked cancer free.  Praise God!  Both the tumor and the lymph node were sent off to pathology and we should have those results in about 5 days.  He said there were no complications and things looked great for her.
Once Shannon and I were able to go back and see her in recovery she had been out of surgery for a little over an hour.  She didn’t have any nausea from the anesthetic and that was a big praise.  She was still pretty groggy and we weren’t able to take her home until almost 5:00 that evening.  She did have enough pain that she decided to take a few pain pills before we headed out.  She has a drain that needs to be emptied a few times a day and two incisions; one above the tumor and one under her arm where they removed the lymph node.
Scott’s wife Jennifer, made dinner for everyone and it was not only delicious, but a huge blessing!  Mom pretty much came home and went right to bed.  Shannon is sleeping at Mom’s, and was able to wake her up every 4 hours to take her medicine and help her to the bathroom.  
Today, they are both pretty tired.  When Mom woke up, Shannon told her “Happy Birthday!” and Mom quickly remembered that her friend had given her a present to open.  So she started out her day with a smile.
She is having a mild reaction to the places where the nurses attached the pads for the EKG.  Each spot is now a large itchy welt.  The incision is tender, but the pain is not out of control.  She is able to control it with one pain pill instead of two and she’s still pretty sleepy.  Her throat is pretty sore now and we are trying to control it with throat numbing spray.  We gave her a sponge bath and changed her clothes and she is feeling a little more like herself.
Christine, Mom, Marsha
Her dear friends, Christine and Marsha brought by a wonderful lasagna dinner tonight, complete with homemade rolls and buckeyes.  After we filled our bellies with that, we had a little birthday celebration.  She opened a few gifts and enjoyed a sliver of cake.  As I sit at her house typing this, she is resting on the couch while we are serenaded by Uncle Jim and Aunt Connie and their beautiful music.
She returns to the doctor on Tuesday to see how things are healing and possibly have her drain removed.  Her Radiation Therapy won't start for aother 4-5 weeks.  We are, as always, so very grateful for your continued prayers and encouragement.  We cannot begin to express the ways you all have touched us.
God is good, He is faithful and He has blessed us with so much more than we deserve.  Praise His holy name!

Standing on the promises of God, Dori

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Answers to Many Questions

The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You support my lot.  The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed my heritage is beautiful to me.  I will bless the Lord who has counseled me; Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.  I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely.  For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.  You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.  ~Psalm 16:5-11

We met with the surgeon again today, and he had some encouraging news for us.  Originally he was concerned about the change in the size of my mom's tumor from the mamogram to our first visit with him and also, about that red patch that was over the tumor.  He thought we were dealing with a much more aggressive type of cancer than what her reports revealed.  He was having us wait in hopes that the red spot would disappear and that, what he thought could be swelling around the tumor, would go down.  I mentioned in my last post that the red spot was fading and I am happy to say that it is almost completely gone.  The swelling does not seem to have gone down any, but the Dr. thinks that it is, indeed, just swelling.

The Tumor Board all recommended that she not undergo any chemo before the surgery becasue they too, think that the actual size of the tumor is only 2-3 cm.  Also, they believe that bcause it is hormone receptive and a low grade tumor that surgery will give us excellent results.

She is scheduled for surgery on the 14th, the day before her 75th birthday.  We won't have an exact time for the surgery until tomorrow some time, but regardless, she will need to be at the hospital at 8:30 a.m..

They will be doing a Sentinel Node Boipsy at the same time they do her lumpectomy, to look for cancer in her lymph nodes.  We will have some results from that the same day, but the diffinitive results will not be back for 4-5 days.  He expects the surgery to last about 1 1/2 hours.  I asked him what he thought the chances were that once he started the surgery that he would decide she needed a full mastectomy and he said he had no intention of doing a mastectomy at this time.  He anticipates this being an outpatient procedure, so she should be back home Thursday evening.

He is recommending a course of radiation after the surgery to make sure that all the cancer cells are destroyed and to give her a better chance of the cancer not returning.  The radiation won't start for 4-5 weeks after her surgery and will last for about 6 weeks.  Her Oncologist will be Dr. Charles Smith, here in Twin.

She has a Pre-Op appointment tomorrow at 9:30 and they will do blood work, an EKG and a chest x-ray.

After her surgery, she won't have any major restrictions, although she will find it painful to lift her arm above her head for a while.  She will return for a  follow up visit to Dr. Schuss (the surgeon) in a week and then again in a month.

God has been faithful, as He promises.  Mom says she is not nervous and neither am I.  I know the Lord holds not only her, but this family in His hands.  My Aunt and Uncle are here and staying with my mom and giving her comfort and encouragement in the Lord.  They will be coming to stay with me on Wednesday when my sister arrives from Washington.  She will be staying with my mom until the 20th.  I was concerned about having to help my mom all by myself and still take care of my family, but the Lord provided for my needs even before I could ask Him.  How silly of me to have worried over such a small thing--I know the Lord will be faithful to take care of His own.

Thank you all, so much for lifting my family up in your prayers.  I do have another request, while you are praying for my mom's surgery on Thursday, please pray for a family that is very dear to me.  Their 12 year old daughter will be going into surgery on Friday to repair some holes in her heart.  I can only begin to imagine what they are feeling at this time.  I pray for peace and comfort for the entire family and that their sweet girl will not be afraid.  I pray for the Dr that will be working on her, that God will use his hands to heal this little one. 

Standing on the promises of God, Dori

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Quick Update

It's been a pretty uneventful few days.  Waiting, I  think, is the hardest part.  We have lots of questions for the Dr. on Monday and I really hope he takes the time to listen and answer them all so that we can fully understand.

For everyone who has been praying about the red spot over the tumor...I stopped by her house last night and took a quick look at it.  It has FADED significantly!  Praise God for His healing hands.  You can still see the mark, but it is a light silvery pink and the swelling around it seems to have gone down as well.  What a glorious answer to prayer.  I can't wait to see what the Dr. has to say about it on Monday.

My Aunt and Uncle are driving from California and will be arriving around the 9th and will stay until after the surgery and my sister will fly in on the 13th and stay until the 20th.  I am grateful that I will have a lot of help during my mom's recovery.

Thank you all, for your continued prayers and encouraging words.

Standing on the promises of God,

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Thank You and A Date

 (A note from Anita)
Dear Friends,

Thanks to all of you who are praying for me .  Some of you I don't know personally, only through Dori, so thank you very much for remembering me in your prayers.

God is a very big and awesome God and does wonderful and awesome things, so I am resting in Him and in His will.  That's what I've done for over 60 years and never once has He failed me.  He will not fail me now.  He promises to "work all things for my good" and I know that every promise in the Word of God is true-so I am secure in His love; and in His will there is no safer place to be.

Your prayers mean more to me than I can express and saying "thank you" seems inadequate, but I know God will bless you with a special blessing because you do.

Trusting in Him who is Faithful,

~ In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the Saints according to the will of God.  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, those who are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:26-28 

Shannon flew home yesterday, but before she left she was able to strong-arm a bit more information from the Dr.'s Assistant, Robyn.  (I told her on Wednesday that SHE should be the one to call the Dr., but no, she made me do it.)  My mom will still meet with the Dr. on the 11th, but they have scheduled her surgery for the 14th.  Shannon asked if it would be a mastectomy, and the assistant said that Dr. Schuss is planning a lumpectomy.  He is still waiting on the red spot (which my mom and sister both think is a bit lighter) to fade.  If it doesn't fade, I'm not sure what changes will be made.

Shannon plans to fly back to be here for mom's surgery and it sounds like my mom's brother Jim and his wife (a nurse) Connie will also be coming to help out.

It's not just my mom that is thankful for your prayers.  Shannon and I are very blessed by the wonderful friends and family God has placed in our lives.  I know that if it weren't for all the people praying, I would be a nervous wreck.  As it is, I am able to wait, not patiently, really, but I am waiting in peace--God's peace.  So, we may not say it every time, but we love you all and are deeply touched by your concerns and faithful prayers.

To God be ALL glory!

Standing on the promises of God, Dori