Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Three weeks out

Three weeks out from my surgery today.  Somehow I'm not where I had hoped to be, but here I am.  The best news is that God is on His throne and reigning.  And that is closely followed by Tim and Nikki and Emma bring here for the weekend  They loved and served us, kept company and cried and laughed with us.  It was a healing visit! But now my house seems so quiet...

Today may be my first day without a pain killer other than ibuprofen... although it is not bedtime yet.  I still deal with pain and stiffness, swelling and fatigue.  And there is just something wrong when your "normal" bodily functions take so much time and attention.  But I guess the good news is that there are normal functions going on, and I am healing well.  I am just recovering slowly.  I still do not have the focus to read, so I'm thankful for Netflix Instantview. I walk and eat, and for the past several night have slept all night in bed, able to lean on both sides- a huge accomplishment after weeks of sleeping on my back or in a recliner. And I can now regularly walk for 30 minutes with little or no discomfort. Thank God for these steps of progress!

The instant-menopause thing has difficult days, and better days.  I know the hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings will mellow over time.  And I am just glad that I have a husband I can trust, and God's grace and my experience to tell me that when my emotions tell me the world is ending, it is likely not, and I don't have to find any reason for it.  I can just cry until I'm done crying, and move on.

So, Gentle Reader, healing is coming on slowly and steadily.  But there is much more ahead of me.  More than I thought there would be.  Or at least it seems so now.  I am looking forward to that day when I can say, "Hey, today seemed like a normal day!"

Monday, January 23, 2012

A snap shot of my day

Gentle Reader,
While this does not constitute a true return to blogging, I thought I would thank you all for your prayers- they lift me every day- and give you a snap shot of recovery, and some prayer requests.  So first, here is wat my week-day schedule has evolced into:
  • 6:45 AM: Dave wakes me for a hot breakfast, and i fight the pain from the night and the emotions from lack of hormones to have breakfast with him, and take a shower to start the day. (The first pain-pills since bedtime come with breakfast.) That accomplished, Dave reads me Spurgeon's Morning by Morning devotional as I settle into my comfy chair, and prays with me (sometimes twice) before he leaves for work. I doze off completing my morning scripture reading and prayer time.
  • 9 AM: sometime around here I wake up from my first morning nap, brush my teeth and my hair, and head out for my first walk in the brisk day.  I am currently walking very slowly for about 15 minutes 2-3 times a day, and have a shorter evening walk.  It's a start!
  • 10 AM: I have finished my walk, checked e-mail, and am ready for nap #2, or if not sleepy, watch something on my laptop.  If I need distraction, I watch Bones.  If i need easy, I watch All Creatures Great and Small, or Psych.  If I am a mess, I watch the old Cosby show.
  • 11:30 AM: Time for walk #2.  I am venturing beyond the block, but going slowly.
  • 12:00 PM: Lunch put together by Marilyn while I watch the news and sit on the couch. It is left-overs from the fabulous meals my friends have been delivering each night.  What a blessing!
  • 1:00 PM: My ride arrives to take me to Santa Fe.  These dear friends pick me up, take me to Santa Fe, run errands while I have HBO treatment for 2.5 hours, and then pick me up and bring me home.  They distract me, hold my hand when i cry, and encourage me.  What a blessing!
  • 5;30-6:00 PM: I arrive home exhuasted, and receive the blessing of a new meal from some lovely person.
  • 7:00 PM: final walk of the day.  Usually just around the block, because I am worn out completely.
  • 7:30 PM: couch time with Dave: I lean on my back against Dave while we watch something, or he reads.  I doze.  This is the closest to cuddling I can currently manage.
  • 10:30 PM: take my last meds, brush my teeth, and climb into bed.  I can last about 2-4 hours on my back there, then get up and move to my comfy chair for the rest of the night.
And now that I've written all that, I am too tired to give specific prayer requests.  That will have to come another day.  But do keep praying, Gentle Reader.  This will be a long recovery, but God is with me here.  Thank you!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Excellent News on Two Fronts

How good it our great and glorious God!  We have two great pieces of news to report:

Adeline Bell Finnegan was born last night, Thursday, January 12 at 7:06 pm. She weighed in at 8 lbs 12 oz. and is 21" long. Ben and Elsa and baby are all doing well.  Elsa labored successfully for 6 hours, and the baby was delivered naturally. After Ada nursed at 10pm, she slept until 4 am, giving Elsa a welcome rest. 

Also, Chris had an appointment with the surgeon today and got her pathology report. All of the results came back negative.  Praise God! The only cancer found was the original small tumor (that caused all of the surgery to happen). All of the lymph nodes and other tissue came back negative

We serve a great and glorious God

Thank you for rejoicing with us!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Post Surgery Update Update

Hello from the beautiful confines of the LAMC.  Chris had a pretty good day today. She had three good  meals and was able to get up and walk around several times today. The only difficulty was her first time getting up today. We had her standing and walking a little too long and she got light headed and had too stay in bed for a while. However, since then she has improved and was even able to take a shower just before supper (and walked to the bathroom and back.) The Dr.s are now saying that Chris should be able to go home tomorrow.

We thank you all for your prayers and praise God For His goodness endures forever.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Post Surgery Update

Just wanted to give you all an update on my dear wife.  Her surgery went very well today. It went a little longer than scheduled but no complications. The surgery took a little over 6 hours. The mastectomies both went well.  The hysterectomy took longer than expected due to some scar tissue from previous surgery, but praise God the surgeons were able to do it laproscopically and vaginally (no major abdominal incision was necessary).  She took a while to wake up from the anesthatic, but she has been improving this evening. Chris has been able to sit on the edge of the bed and has had a popsicle and some ginger-ale. She will spend the night in the ICU because of the length of the surgery.
Thank you all for your prayers.  God has been so good to us!
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Surgery details

Gentle Readers, thank you for your prayers!  We head to the hospital tomorrow at 6 AM for a 7:30 surgery, which should last approximately 4 hours (give or take a little.)  We have made the best decisions we could, and are confident in our team of surgeons. Now we trust God, the Great Physician. So please do continue to pray.  There are some specific requests below if you'd like to have them.  And the next post here, Lord willing, will be a post-surgery update from Dave, once he can find computer access. Thank you!
  • Please pray that I would rest in Christ, and be comforted by him.
  • Pray that the surgery would remove all cancer, and find clean lymph nodes.
  • Ask that the breast surgeon do an excellent job on the mastectomies.
  • Ask that the gynecologist be able to perform the hysterectomy laproscopically, without a major abdominal incision.
  • Ask for merciful pain management.
  • Ask for good waking and coming out from the anesthesia.
  • Ask for an infection-free recovery.
  • Ask for comfort for my family and friends.
  • Pray that we would all learn to trust God better through this, and rejoice in him.
  • Praise God for his many provisions to us in this time of our need.

Hope and trust

Dwell in the light of thy Lord, and let thy soul be always ravished with his love. get out the marrow and the fatness which this portion yeilds thee. live up to thy privileges, and rejoice with unspeakable joy.
~C. H. Spurgeon, Morning By Morning, Jan. 9
This morning I slept soundly until 4 AM.  Then I prayed quietly, trying not to wake Dave, until 4:30, at which point I had to get up.  Six sound hours of sound sleep was pretty good before a busy day! Today I have to head to Santa Fe in the icy fog to have an HBO treatment at 7:30, followed by acupuncture and massage therapy to help me avoid problems with lymphedema after surgery.  These are both healing activities intended to prepare me for tomorrow's surgery.  What a blessing! Then I head directly back to Los Alamos to meet with the breast surgeon for her pre-op visit, and then to the surgical floor for their pre-op.  By later today I should have times and details all sorted out, Lord willing.

And once again, in the words of Spurgeon, I find my marching orders for today: live up to your privileges in Christ!  And then I read Psalm 33:

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death, and keep them alive in famine. our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
~Psalm 33: 18-22
 So I am fortified by truth and the substantive promises of God for what lies ahead. And I head forward into this fresh, new day, with hope and trust.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Praises and plans

If God cares for you, why need you care too? Can you trust Him for your soul, and not for your body? He has never refused to bear your burdens, He has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul! have done with fretful care, and leave all thy concerns in the hand of a gracious God.
~C. H. Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, January 6
I began my day reading these lovely reminders.  (Click above to read the rest.)  God is, indeed, caring and providing for me, and I am trying to relax into His able arms!

Yesterday we got the good news that all my genetic markers are negative, which is a huge source of praise. It has cleared the way for surgery next week. I also got news that Tim, Nikki and Emma are coming to visit in three weeks, and that Dave has made airline reservations for us to visit Ben, Elsa and Ada in six weeks (the soonest I am allowed to travel post-surgery!)  Additionally, there is a little movement on Ada's part to enter the world, and we are so excited.  Please rejoice with us in these praise-worthy items, and pray for Elsa and Ada as the time draws near for Ada's birth.

So the plan now is for surgery on Tuesday, Jan. 10.  The details are still being worked out as far as time, length of stay in the hospital, etc.  But my breast surgeon and gynecologist will work together under one anesthesia to do both surgeries (bi-lateral mastectomy and complete hysterectomy.) Then, let the healing begin.  I will be continuing HBO treatments at some point, and doing physical therapy for lymphedema prevention at some point as well.  On Jan. 24, I'll see the oncologist, and hopefully all my final pathology will be back then, and we can set our course for the future. We'll make our final decision about chemotherapy then (though it doesn't look like I will need it or radiation this time around-- another praise!) and we'll discuss a daily med for a few years to help prevent recurrence.  It is a blessing to have a plan.

So, please keep praying for me, Gentle Reader:
~Pray that I would rest in His capable arms, trusting Him for my care, and finding my image of myself in Him.
~Pray for surgery to be successful, recovery to be smooth, and pathology to be negative.
~Praise God for His amazing provision in all these things, and the peace that passes understanding that is keeping my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, January 05, 2012


This sweet corner is all ready for Miss Ada to make her entrance.  Her parents are ready.  Her Grandparents are ready.  And yet we wait on God's perfect timing. We are very excited to meet this little girl!

So much of our lives seems to be made up of waiting.  I guess that reminds us that we live in the "not yet" part of our existence.  The waiting and longing reminds us that this is not really our home.  Our home is in eternity with the Lord, and this life is a mere reflection through a flawed glass of what will be.  So we long for the perfect to come.

I long and wait for decisions to be made, for healing to begin, for grandchildren to arrive... May God meet your longing today, Gentle Reader, and may He meet mine!

Monday, January 02, 2012

HBO- and NOT about movies

On Friday I began HBO treatments- HyperBaric Oxygen.  This is requested by my breast surgeon.  She has lots of experience and has frequently worked on women who have had previous radiation therapy.  The radiation damages the tissues and the blood flow to the area, and often these women have a difficult time healing, HBO creates angiogenesis (new blood pathways) and super-saturates your body with oxygen to aid healing.  I trust my surgeon, and got approval from my insurance, so I began that adventure, and will continue up until my surgery, and then after my surgery for a total of 15-20 treatments.  The down side is that each tratment is quite expensive, and take 2.5 hours in addition to the commute to Santa Fe (45 minutes each way), and I need to have them 5 days a week when possible.  So it is a sink of time and resources.  But i am hopeful that it will be good for me.

One amazing and promising sign is that my painful dermatitis on my thumb (several huge and sore cracks that are usually with me all through the winter) have healed right up after one treatment.  Imagine!  I am taking that as a little comforting sign ffrom the Lord that He is provinding through this for me healing.

And while my HBO is not really related to the movie-showing cable channel, I do get to watch movies.  There is a little video screen on the top of the chamber that I can watch.  ~90 minutes of Pride and Prejudice are behind me, with ~210 more ahead!  ;-)

I appreciate your continued prayers, Gentle Readers.  Here are a few specifics for you to join me in taking before the throne of grace:

  • Last week and this I have had a cluster of migraine headaches after not having any for almost a year.  Please pray that this cycle would stop.
  • I have also developed a mild cold.  Please pray I could effectively treat it and be cleared to go ahead with my HBO treatments tomorrow.
  • Please continue to pray that we would get back the final genetic testing information.  That is the final piece we need before making our final plan.  
  • Pray that the caner would not spread, and would not be found in my lymph nodes, and that my post-surgery pathology would be clear.
  • That surgery would go well and that recovery wuld be uncomplicated.
  • That God would bring healing through all these processes, and that i would rest in Him.
  • That this would be my last breast cancer battle.