Thursday, July 27, 2006

Portland bound!

Packed and ready to head out of town for the weekend and fun with friends in Portland.

…some we’ve known for almost 20 years
…some I’ve known for a few years
…one with whom I’ve been corresponding for 2 years, finally meeting face-to-face.

All of whom I am privileged to call friend.

...may there be mercy on our travel.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

mornings at the river

Every morning, I drive across the bridge to get to work. Several years ago, I noticed that the sunrise over the river was particularly glorious. Every single day since then, when I hit a certain mid-way point in the crossing, I look to the east to see what how beautiful the river is at sunrise.

Some mornings, it’s all misty grays and smoky fog. Others there is a fabulous blue sky and the pinks careen off the clouds as the sun comes up behind the hills.

No matter what, all of it is reflected in the water of the slow moving river.

I have a concept idea of taking my camera each day for a year. I’d take it to the exact same spot each day and take pictures. Just to show what glory there is in each day of creation.

It’s a concept for my own pleasure… something for me and God to reflect back on and enjoy together.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

little gripes

It's really nice right now to be able to just have a little gripe session about something stupidly normal... like the weather is too hot for our area and isn't it a bummer that we don't have air conditioning in the house.

Silly, but after the last couple months, something small and innocuous to gripe about feels so ridiculously normal.

So my sweet husband and I are griping about being hot right now, but what we are really saying is…

… isn’t is wonderful that we feel like we’re normal people with normal, small problems today?
… I love you
… aren’t we glad I’m healing well?
… I love you
… I’m so glad we are not facing chemo
… I love you

Little gripes, but oh what a wonderful feeling of normalcy… in spite of being hot!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

relief and gratitude

It is NOT cancer!!! Hallelujah! I’m still feeling a bit overwhelmed that the news is good. I told my sweet husband tonight that I was certain that this time, we would not dodge the cancer bullet. That it would finally be a reality for us.

I’ve been on the verge of tears ever since I left Dr. M’s office. Just pure relief and gratitude.

Funny story on today’s doctor visit…

Dr. M tells me the good news. Then wants to look at the incision site to make sure I’m healing well. Flips open the gown, grins, flips the gown shut and says...

“Somebody beat the crap outta you!”

He then grins again when my husband asked him if Dr M had had a fight with his wife last Friday!

I’m sitting there just cracking up at the two of them teasing each other and me about how bruised I am at this stage of healing.

He finally takes a real look and says I’m healing, keep doing what I’m doing, etc…. and to go enjoy my summer.

And... friends have told me that they knew it would be fine and not cancer all along. Well, they may have known this was not going to be cancer, but I sure didn't know it! Not after the way the docs all looked (and what they said) after they each first felt the lump.

I told my husband that even after Dr. M showed me the pathology report and explained it all, it still didn't sink in to me that it really was not cancer until he was walking out the door saying that we should go enjoy our summer.

Even then it didn't really hit until about an hour later when all I wanted to do was cry from relief, but had to hold it in because I was already back at work.

Let the healing continue… and we are so thankful for this mercy…

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

ready or not

Well, I've made it through 2 complete work days now. Exhausted beyond belief, and mercy, but I'm sore! But I've done it.

Tomorrow is the post-surgical doctor appointment with the complete pathology report.

I have to admit to being scared again and at the same time, peaceful. Back to that I'm not in charge of the universe thing.

Tomorrow is coming fast... ready or not... and what will be, will be.

...may there be mercy.

Monday, July 17, 2006

almost made it

I almost made it through the entire workday today. Around 3, I just started hurting too much, hit that exhaustion wall and came home to rest up.

Guess my body knows more than I do about what to do after surgery.

Tomorrow's another day, eh?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

no more hiding

Today’s bruises are even more impressive. Think Greg Kinnear in “As Good As It Gets” after he gets so horribly beaten and you see him in the hospital scene… purple, magenta, blue, red, wine, maroon, and burgundy and…

…yeah, that’s what it looks like now. UG-LEEEEEE!

I realized today that as much as I don’t want to tell my co-workers why I was out sick on Friday; I don’t really have a choice.

  • These bruises come out along my armpit, around my shoulder, down my arm and across my chest. Can’t really hide ‘em all.
  • I’ve got an additional bruise that covers the entire back of my left hand. It’s from where they missed with trying to put in the IV the first time.
  • Swelling… oh, yeah, still swollen and lopsided and looking like I’ve got two different people’s bodies attached to my chest. Sheesh!
  • And, I can’t lift my right arm too high, or anything heavier than a coffee cup in that right hand, without pain… or busting stitches. Guess the research books and stacks of files at work count as heavier and on the “don’t do” list.

So, I guess I’ll have to tell ‘em tomorrow. I really didn’t want to deal with 30+ people asking all those questions about cancer and surgery, etc. I really wanted a place where I had a great distraction from it all… work!

Guess I’ll have to tell ‘em and then tell them that I don’t really want to talk any more about it until I know final pathology reports on Thursday.

Will be interesting to see who listens and respects my wishes… and who doesn’t. I’m pretty sure I already know the answer to that… but it will be interesting nonetheless to see how accurate I am.

It will also be interesting to see if any of this swelling goes down before morning!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

post surgery

In some ways, yesterday was as bad as it usually is for a surgery day and in others, it was a lot better.

Firstly, Dr. M says the lump looks good for now. Yay! Will know more when the final pathology report comes in and I see him on Thursday for post-surgery check up.

I was some sick after we got home, but today the nausea is gone. That's an improvement.

Pain was unmanageable for a while, which sucked, but today is much better.

Swelling was horrible and is still pretty bad. Gives a whole new meaning to being lopsided. Can’t believe that one side is really me… it’s HUGE! Well, huge for me anyway.

Yep, left breast is a normal, wishing to be an A cup size. The right breast is probably around a smaller C cup size now. Yesterday afternoon, it had gotten to about a B and a half, which is pretty normal swelling after surgery. By midnight, I think it actually hit a D and was terribly painful. Thankfully this morning it was back on the way down.

The bruising is horrible and ugly… and will be even worse tomorrow. Bad enough that I’m not sure that I’ll be able to hide it on Monday when I return to work. Might have to tell my co-workers that I wasn’t sick and why I was really out of the office on Friday. We’ll see. Still hoping to find something in my closet that I can wear that will hide all the bruising.

And maybe all the green stuff will have come off my skin by then, too. They used some weird cleanser on me since I’m allergic to iodine and they can’t use betadine then. Betadine will turn the skin orange, but this other cleanser turned my skin a bright green. Oh yeah, from my chin to my belly button, I’m green. Much of it has washed off, but there is still an undertone of green to my skin that is just not an attractive color for me.

Oh, and then there is the place where Dr. M used a sharpie to make sure he operated on the correct/right breast! A sharpie! He wrote and “R” and his initials under it. Unfortunately, that can still be seen, looking like a tattoo, just about level with my armpit… which is horrifically still green.

Are we having fun yet?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

postitive attitude

Jitters be damned, I'm taking the attitude that tomorrow is not going to be terrible.

As the song says...

♫...that's my story and I'm stickin' to it... ♫

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Surgery is in less than 36 hours… and it’s suddenly hitting me (again) that this is REAL. I guess it’s because the pre-op nurse called me to go over all the standard medical questions they have. Somehow answering all those questions makes me reach the place that I dread.

Pre-surgery jitters.

I get ‘em every time I have surgery. Mostly now because I just know too much about what to expect. About how my body reacts to medications. React being the key word.

I don’t tolerate anesthesia well and I’m allergic to almost all painkillers. Not good for a body that has required 25 surgeries thus far.

Yep, I’m dreading the throwing up part and the pain part.

I told the nurse that I don’t respond well to anesthesia, and that usually I throw up for about 4 days afterward. She thought I was kidding. I wasn’t.

I gave her my lengthy list of medicines to which I’m allergic. She needed to turn over her paper and write on the back. She finally asked me what painkillers I’m NOT allergic to… and what did I do for pain after other surgeries.

There are only a couple things I can take for serious pain, and the doctors don’t really like to have me take those because they are so harsh on the body… and highly addictive. I hate taking them and usually only do so on the very first day.

If I can make myself step back and watch my emotions, it’s interesting. On one hand, I’ve got the pre-surgery jitters and normal fear and dread of all the known stuff that happens. On the other hand, I can’t wait for it to get here because I want this lump OUT.

It’s a bit of a roller coaster ride.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Today I realized something new about this lump. Something that is not making me happy. Something it is taking away from me, however temporarily.

I won’t be able to quilt for about 2 -3 weeks.

To quote Charlie Brown: “Aaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh!”

Quilting is my stress buster. It’s a creative way for me to escape the stresses and strife and sadness and troubles and difficulties in life.

And it is not something I can turn to while my body is in recovery mode.

You see, I’m extremely right handed. Extremely right handed. To the point that when I try to do things left handed, they come out backwards. It’s hilarious to see me write my name. Comes out so that you need a mirror to read the writing.

I cut fabric with my right hand.
I pin fabric with my right hand.
I use my right hand to guide fabric through the sewing machine.
I iron with my right hand.
I cut thread and use scissors with my right hand.

The lump is in my right breast... which means, all of those things can't be done until the doc gives the okay to use that right arm and hand more freely.

After surgery, I’m not going to be able to use that right arm with any kind of pressure or lifting any kind of weight.

No cutting… involves pressure for the rotary cutter.
No ironing… involves lifting too much weight of the iron and too much pressure on the fabric.

Both tasks are a part of quilting that can’t be skipped. And both parts come as steps in the quilting process… multiple times… between each of the sewing steps.

So I’ve got to find other things to do while I’m in recovery mode after surgery. I’ve got a trip to the library planned. I’m picking out movies.

But what I really want to do is quilt.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

surgeons and schedules

Timing is an interesting thing, as is letting go of control.

I wanted to control this timing thing on seeing the surgeon and getting this lump out of my breast. I very politely pushed all the medical offices to get the earliest appointments. I had my family doctor push a bit more to get my surgical consultation appointment a little earlier. Once they moved my appointment up as far as they could, even though it was only 4 days earlier than the original date, I finally let go of trying to control scheduling.

  • 10 a.m. this morning was that surgical consult.

Hmmmm... if I'd had my way, it would have been earlier. And, if it had been earlier, I would have had to reschedule since my sweet mother-in-law passed away. Would not have been able to deal with surgery planning and funeral planning at the same time.

  • My doctor scheduled surgery for next Friday, the 14th.
Hmmmm... if I'd had my way and gotten an earlier appointment, I would have had to wait until late August for my surgery since Doc doesn't normally do surgery on Fridays. At 9 a.m. today, he met with his nurse and told her that the surgical scheduling time was getting too far out for patients... and to open up Friday the 14th for surgery.

Another reminder that God is still actually in control of the entire universe... and that all of my issues and problems really do fall into that entire universe thing.

Timing and letting go of control... interesting lessons that I hope I'm learning.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

saying goodbye

Today is the funeral for my sweet mother-in-law.

As we commit her body to the earth, we take comfort in knowing that her soul has gone on to rest in that joyful place and to wait for the time to welcome us to our eternal home.

...may we find mercy and comfort in our sorrow.

Monday, July 03, 2006

grief takes a toll

Planning a funeral, no matter how simple the service may be, is exhausting work. There are myriad details to be managed when someone dies.

...may there be continued mercy and comfort for us.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

she's at peace

It was mercifully swift when my sweet mother-in-law passed away today.

As my friend so eloquently put it, "her body has finally caught up with her soul."

I still hate Alzheimer's...

...may there be mercy and comfort for us as we grieve her loss.