Thursday, May 31, 2007

Round 1 Day 3 & Happy Birthday to ME

Same as yesterday! Eat as soon as you wake. I sound like I'm pregnant!!! I'M NOT!! And guess what?! Today is my 41st birthday!! Happy Birthday to me! :) Ate, took a long nap. The girls and Zach came in with a birthday card and a ton of balloons which I am sitting in the midst of at the moment! They made it a very special day! They also got a movie for me: Happy Feet! hmmm, how did they know!? I haven't seen it yet and they hadn't either, so will watch it sometime today. They also had Little Debbie's and ice cream sandwiches.

I am sooo ready for another nap and my head is hurting some, so I'll call it a wrap here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Round 1 Day 2

As long as I have something on my stomach I am OK. Graland makes sure I am plenty fed and church was so good to send over an evening meal! Am keeping up the anti-nausea meds.

In her 'cheat sheet' notes for all the meds, Dr. Green said week one was constipation and week two was diarrhea. Looking forward to a nice couple of weeks there!! lol Although, so far she is right! lol

I woke up around 7, ate some breakfast, checked the email and went back for an hour long nap. I guess eating breakfast takes a lot out of you!

Chemo Day 1 - the hospital

We left here about 8a, for our 10:15 bloodwork, then 10:30 appt. with Dr. Kronowitz. We saw Jennifer, the PA instead, who I just adore! She said everything looked great, snipped a few stitches that were still hanging in for the long ride, and wrote out a prescription for Physical Therapy for the left arm!! I will probably call Bea Ellis this morning, I hear she is tough, but I need to get this thing moving! :)

Then saw Dr. Green at 130. She had me sign consent forms to get ready for the chemo and prescriptions for about 5 or 6 meds to help me out. antinausea (which put us in the poor house :( we weren't expecting that one!), another type of nausea one, one for mouth ulcers/stomach/intestinal ulcers, a numbing cream for when they access my port for chemo-which I will say I didn't use yesterday-was kinda convinced to not use it, and wish I had cause it HURT!!!, one to help diarrhea, one for constipation! I'm glad that we are prepared, BUT at this point BCBS is really kicking in for us, not so much on presrciptions though. She told us our bill for it..over 700!!! And we had JUST been to the financial office to get another hospital bill over that size to be broken down over 6 months to make it more doable. It was not a happy moment. Almost at the point where I thought "I had just as soon just vomit than pay 550 for this antinausea medicine." The others were ok, all under 30 or so. AND here is the SHOCKER!!! BCBS had paid in HALF for that one prescription!!! I have to come to the point where I have to actually ask for help and this hurts. I am going to put a paypal button on the side of the screen. You can use your paypal account, or if you don't have one, you can use your VISA just like it. Any teeny tiny amount will awesome. I can only promise it will go straight to meds. (hangs head)

So when the lady accessed my port and asked if it hurt, I said Not as much as what my anti-nausea pills hurt!!!

I wasn't able to get my appt in the Mays building but over in the Main building at 600. It was very nice. They are all private rooms with a bed, and tv. They first start the IV with relaxation meds and anti-nausea meds to get you through it. Graland has been studying/practicing meditation. So as I practiced it in the waiting room I told him I had lots of it down, but what exactly was the positive comments I was to be giving myself. He said, that the chemo is your friend, you need it, you want it, it is good for you, and will get you better. So I practiced and while thinking about it came across the story of the wheat and the tares. The Lord says he will gather in the wheat and tares (the saved and the unsaved) in the end and separate them. My chemo will do the same thing, it will gather in all of what is there and separate my good wheat from my tares. Then I got to where I call the chemo "the girls". The girls are all here and they're taking care of me. The good girls will get to stay and bad ones will have to leave. The girls will go through my body and party all they can, bringing in new girls to help out the situation. OK, I know this is SO lame, but it popped into my head and seemed the most natural thing. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!! lol

So we watch HGTV while we wait. The waiter guy comes in to take my order (patients get their dinner "free".) So I get fruit and drinks. She starts my FAC - one at a time. You have to eat ice chips for the F, the A makes you urinate reddish/orange (yes, I did check to verify that one!), and the C is just a good closer.

We got out of the Main Building about 10:00pm and home around 11:30 or so. It was a very long day, and I brushed/hit the recliner the moment I got home.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Chemo-day 1-morning

I start chemo today. Yeah, hurry up so we can get this 6 months behind us! It is supposed to take about 2 hours to get, though we are to allow for 3 hours as they do not mix the treatment until you get there as each one is apparently thousands of dollars! Speaking of...BCBS has been awesome!! We thought they had kicked in fully, but obviously not completely as we have been getting several bills that we'll have to talk to MD about.

I'm as prepared as I can get, I think! I have 'new hair' on its way. If one person says I like that wig, I think I will scream!! What good is a GOOD wig is people KNOW it's a wig, kwim? Of course, people who know me will know it, but it will much easier if I hear that they like my new 'do' or the color or something that just refers to HAIR not a wig. OF course, I'll rub in the fact that I don't have to shave my legs to my sisters...since they know I'm the worst of us about shaving!! lol

Speaking of my sisters, we had a great time on Sunday for Zach and Chris' graduation party! Chris had a very nice graduation at the Montagne Center in Beaumont. All of the family was there and it always nice when we're all together. Saw Val's empty lot that will soon be her home.

Will get blood work, see Kronowitz for a follow up appt (plastic surgery), then Green (chemo doc), then sometimes afterwards will get the chemo. It will today, then wait 28 days, get a new round. They call that once every 3 weeks, but it appears to be on the 4th week to me. I guess we're saying the same thing, but it just sounds like there is a week off there somehow.

ps...happy birthday to Granny! My best friend in the world. ok stop thinking about Granny, you'll mess up your makeup. :(

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Did someone say CUM LAUDE??

It is graduation day. Oh gosh, did I just say that?! It snuck up on me. Only took it 18 years, but here it is. Zach looks very handsome in his khaki slack and dress white shirt. I get a few pictures before graduation as it looks like it will pour at any minute! The graduation is a 7pm and he needs to be at the high school at 4pm as all the seniors take a bus to Lufkin for the ceremony.

We leave at that time and go to Lufkin as Mrs. Butler tells us to get there very early to get a seat (a pew!). So, we are there VERY early and get a pew that is very near the front. A perfect spot for pictures. As we sit there and sit there and sit there, I finally take the bulletin from Graland and start flipping through. Imagine my surprise when I notice that Zach has a little plus sign next to his name. I read the key for this and it says Graduating Cum Laude!!! AAACCCKKKKK I had NO IDEA!!!! And neither did he!! I tell Graland, I think this means he gets to wear the ropes/cords/whatever they are called!! I am SOOOO PROUD OF HIM!!! I could bust!

Zach says when they were in the back getting ready, that a lady was calling out names for those to come get a cord. One of the students went to Zach and said, Hey, you need to get a cord. Zach says, "Cool!"

We are seated in such a position that when they enter in from the back of the auditorium, Zach will pass right by where I sit. I can see him searching the room for us, but he comes down the aisle and of course, there we are! He has such a big smile on his we do! I yell, You have cords!! And he is just beaming.

Cynthia, Diana and all her family, and Val make it to the graduation. Daddy and Sue I know can't drive at night!! And since it was also raining, I'm glad they stayed in. But thankfully we'll see them on Sunday! Thank y'all all our family sooo much for being here for Zach!! It means so much to us!

We end the graduation day by picking up some pizza's (Graland says I'm too pooped to end with dinner at a restaurant, and yes, he is sooo right about that!) and bringing them back to the house with Val and Cynthia. Diana's family is still school-ing for another week and go back home! But is was so good to see them!! They stay until 11 or so and we have a fabulous visit. Val shows us her floor plans and she is going to have a beautiful home by Christmas!!

But, back to Zach since this is his post!! I love you Zach. You are going to do awesome at college. God has just blessed you and the things you do. Keep Him in your heart and you'll never go wrong. We love you! xxxooo

Ice cream social.

Following the half day on the last day of school, we have lunch then come back for our final time together. It's a teary time as we say goodbye to many teachers who are either retiring or moving to another town/campus. Too many of them were surprises for me. And I can't imagine our campus without them. I had just found out about Hannah going which just tears me up as she is such an incredible woman. I'm not sure if I wrote this before but she was there for me on that very first day of school. Actually, before that!! It was Meet the Teacher night. I got a call that Aunt Glenda was sick and dying, and 'poof' there was Hannah running in to meet my kids for me. She sent me cards and always checked up on me. Then when I got sick, she was there again helping again with cards and finances. She started and ended my year. Besides that I just love her. But I am also so proud of her for leaving us for professional reasons. One day I'm sure she'll be our Superintendent.

The surprise leave was Cindy Glover. I had no idea! I hate surprises!! Her face was just crumpled, I know her heart was heavy with this decision. I will sooo miss her daily in the PE/Music hall. Her smile makes your day and she is so fun to talk and listen to.

OK...back to the ice cream social. When it was coming to an end, Dr. Sewell called us all the form a circle. She ends with "Let's put our arms around each others shoulders for a giant hug." Well, I can do the right arm with no problem, but the left is a no-go!! lol Amy Banks, poor thing, is beside me. When my arm is back and extended it doesn't go very high. I did my best, but I just had to tell her as it happened..."Sorry, my arm only goes up as far as your butt!" She says "Don't touch my butt!" Then again, "Sorry, it only goes as high as your butt!" lol Finally, I took pity on her and kept my arm in front of me and she just hugged me without me hugging/groping!! her!!!!! lol It was a hoot!! And YES!! I LOVE to tell that story!! lol God is good! There's a reason for this arm to not be fully functional yet, and it for that story! Don't tell me He doesn't have a good sense of humor!

Finished out the school year!

I worked hard at getting to this point, felt I was ready to do it, and guess what?! I was able to teach the last week of school!! Of course the last week is probably the most hectic, yet most rewarding week of the school year!

The kids were just so happy to see me again (hoping I'm not sounding pompous here...don't mean to, but they were just as happy as I was!). I love my babies and I missed each one of them.

Getting ready. The weekend before coming back, Graland and the girls helped me out a LOT at school. Graland tore out green paper that would become grass skirts. Kaci outlined some Hawaiian kids and some Aloha posters for our Luau decorations (that the kids would color). Graland went through each cubby and gathered all the text books. We did an inventory and put all the books in the shelves. Took up dry erase boards and offices. Did several pages of copying for the week ahead. Awards day was coming up, so I got awards together to take home to complete. Also submitted grades as Mrs. Evans had gotten those all put in. When it finally looked like a 'go' we went home. It felt great knowing I could step back in.

When the kids saw me they yelled and jumped around. :) I made sure they each got a big hug and kiss and a Gosh, I missed you!! Everything seemed to go back to what Dr. Sewell says about building relationships. I just couldn't end the year without those relationships being reconfirmed.

I had morning work on their tables and a Scholastic News for them to do as they came in. I quickly refocused their attention to it and let them know we had an art project for when they finished. So they worked quietly until well after announcements. We checked worked, then started in on our grass skirts.

Awards day came and went very smoothly. It was an hour and a half. The kids got a little antsy after a while, but for the most part it was good. It was very hard to sit through it though. My back ached and screamed. But it was worth it when my parents would come over and welcome me back. This night especially, I slept like a rock. In fact, I came home and went straight to the recliner to sleep.

By the final day all the tables were all put back together...they had all been separated because of talking. But those who were at lone desks were thrilled to be part of a group again and worked well with the other students.

By Friday we had our grass skirts completed, Luau decorations hung, posters colored, and furniture labeled with "Do Not Move" or with my name/room number on them. I sat and put tape on the strips of paper and the kids went to EVERY piece of furniture in the room and labeled it. They LOVE to help and knew I was doing well to sit and direct the happenings in the room! I can't say how proud I am of them and how they did to make this last week so enjoyable!

Our final day was bittersweet. They all wanted to make sure I'd be here next year, which I assured them I would be. By the time the day was over we had all the decorations packed away, room cleaned, and we were all ready for the summer break.

I goes without saying, but I would be completely remiss if I didn't say how much I loved being with the second grade team again. They were awesome and made sure I knew I could call on them if I needed too. I love you second grade team!!! xxxooo

Saturday, May 19, 2007

lung results

Dr. Green's nurse called Friday afternoon and said everything looked good and she didn't see anything suspicious from the CAT and x-ray!!! Praise God!!!!!

My arm is back to normal now as well. Kept the heating pad on there a lot on Thursday and Friday and it looks really nice now.

Also, I talked with Dr. Sewell about finishing out the year at Pine Ridge and she agreed. I am sooo looking forward to being my kids again and reading, listening to their stories, and just giving them all hugs again. I went in today (Saturday) to check on the room and did a lot of clean up and getting ready. Got my Memory Books made and brought home tests to grade and awards to make for Tuesday.

Tomorrow at church is Graduation Sunday for seniors. Hoping I make it through without bawling too loudly. I cried for two days when I came home from the hospital thinking about Zach moving away (in August). I am so proud of him and how well he's done. He did awesome at Honor's Night with scholarships. He got five..several for a thousand each and the one from SFA for 3000. His first semester should be a good one. I pray he keeps his grades up to keep the SFA scholarship.

Friday, May 18, 2007

spot on lung & fire at MD

Thursday was a VERY long day. Got home after 10:30pm.

We left out about 11:30 (lunchtime) Had lunch at MD as they always have a good meal there. At 2 I had a chemo class, learned what to do for side effects and preventative measures, etc. At 3 I had a blood test and 3:30 a chest x-ray. You have to hold a bar on either side of the screen (in front of you). That one was pretty easy. The second x-ray they take, she asked for me to hold the bar way above me. I laughed and said No way!! The right arm can, but not the left. But I did raise the left as far as I could and let it hold on to my right. She still got a good picture!

Then we waited for our next appointment which is at 6:50!! So we took the tram through the skywalk over to the Main Building. (All of my appointments are at the Mays Clinic -one of their newer buildings across the street from the main building). So we have a quick snack -chocolate pudding with whipped cream. I can't eat 3 hours prior to my 6:50 appointment so I was eating quickly!! We visit leisurely and begin walking back to the Skywalk to go back to Mays.

On the way, we hear a lady (doctor/intern??) talking about evacuation. I thought it was talk about from the hurricane a while back or something. But as we continued walking a guy stopped us and told us we wouldn't be able to make it back across. We're just looking at him like WHAT ARE you talking about?! He tells us there was an explosion in the NEW Faculty Building on its skybridge between it and the Rotary House. Interestingly, this is the SAME building that was my view from my surgery. The work just at this same spot! Apparently something mechanical exploded and there was dark smoke billowing from the building. So, no, the skywalk was closed anywhere you went. All the parking garages were closed, everything was closed!! Thankfully for us, we still had more than an hour before our next appointment.

The faculty building was not inhabited yet, so that was the good news!! I just kept thinking and even asked about people in there and how many had been hurt. But I think just a crane operator may have been injured?? I'm not sure?? There was a large collection of doctors/techs/etc at the window where we were just looking across the street at the faculty building.

I immediately said, GRALAND!! Give me the cell phone! If Donna sees this on the news, she'll freak! (lol... we'll she does watch the news and knew we were there!) Also called the kids in case someone had seen this on the news and called them, they'd know we weren't in the middle of it.

The fire department got the fire out, but it took some time before they opened the skywalk. Graland said No Way to making the walk by ground, at it is quite a trek from the main to the Mays and he didn't want me pooped out before my appointment.

After an hour or so, they opened the walk back up and we went back across. Signed in to the CAT scan place for my barium, UGH!!! The nurse took me back after about 45 minutes (we were very early) and guess what?! NO BARIUM!!! That's only if you get a CAT for the abdomen!!! So I go back and get the IV put in, which doesn't feel so good, but I didn't say anything. Got to talk with the ladies back there who were also waiting and had a good time.

Went in to the CAT room and they hooked me up to the iodine IV, which comes in the second part of the test. Did the first part with no problem, but when they started the iodine it was SOOO painful...throbs jerking through my upper arm (which was raised above my head. The last time it was at my side and I just figured it was the position I was in. The tech came in quickly, shut everything down and unhooked everything. Sadly, the IV was in the vein wall and not in the vein and all the iodine was shot into the arm. It was VERY painful. The tech was so calm and pleasant letting me know it was not harmful to me and that everything would be ok. I just laid there (which was an undertaking to begin with!) and prayed and held on tightly to the nurses hand. The tech put ice packs on my arm. When he left the room the nurse..the one who had stuck me to begin with..adjusted my IV and I could feel the liquid going through. It is supposed to heat your body and kinda make you feel like you just wet. So when the tech came back in she told him it was adjusted and to try again. By this time my legs are just shaking so hard they put a warm blanket on me.

He does the test again with the iodine in the correct place and then take me to a waiting area. Again he puts more ice packs on there and elevates my arm. I keep it there for about 15 minutes and then ask for Graland as the nurse writes us an oopsie report. They send us home with ice packs.

Before we leave I make a trip to the bathroom. It is late..after 9 and I'm the only one in there. I go, but have a hard time getting the pants back together. I finally get the zip but not the button and come out. Graland gets the button for me and I start crying. I've done so well and now can't even dress myself! We go home and get in about 10:30.

By morning the arm was looking so much better. It HAD looked like a big water balloon hanging from my arm and really gross looking!! :( Put a heating pad on it the rest of the day at Nurse Carla's suggestion and it is very close to back to normal.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Did you ever want to comment to something I've said? At the end of every post is a little 'comment' word. If you click on it, you can leave a comment! Cool, huh?! I'd love to hear from you!

grammar...don't fire me!

I can't stand poor grammar, but realize I am doing a cruddy job writing here! lol My commas are all over the place or not where they belong! I promise I don't teach my children to write like this!! Of course my big deal is that they start with a capital and end with some type of punctuation!

Realize this is just a big rambling of thoughts before I forget them! :)


We saw the oncologist May 10th when we saw Kronowitz. She is Dr. Green and from Beaumont! She went to Kelly (we went to BCP). The other doctor in the room with us just kept looking at us like What ARE y'all talking about?! We kinda hit it off as her first name is Marjorie too and that there weren't many of us around. Sadly, I told her I went by JoAn and not Marjorie. She said that was OK, she'd call me Marjorie anyway! lol

Anyway, Dr. Green explained the chemo and also said she was going to move up some tests that Dr. Ross had for me. She told me that they had seen the spot on my hip and lung. Graland said WHAT? We knew about the hip and already had that looked at, but not the lung! She said she wasn't concerned about it as ALL my testing has come back beautiful (her words) and that normally it isn't a spot, but just scarring from an illness way back. What WAS unsettling though was how she spoke about cure rate. If the cancer stays put, I am curable, but if it is metastisized to the lung, for instance, it is uncurable. I didn't like that at all. :( So, we will have that looked at this Friday, April 18th. PRAY!!!!!

Back to chemo. Zach is graduating on May 25th and school lets out that week. I AM getting stronger and able to use my arm more and more and getting better stamina. I exercise all the time. I told them I'd like to recover from the tummy surgery and breast surgery a bit before starting chemo and they agreed. So I will start on May 29th, just 3 days before my 41st birthday!

I will do FAC, which stands for f-something, a-something, c-something. It is there standard of care routine. Chemo will be for 6 months, then a pill for the next 5 years. The FAC will be 1 dose (about 3 hours to take) every 3 weeks. I take the dose, the first week will be OK, the second you kinda go downhill, and the third you recover and then the next you get to start all over again! I will have 4 courses of this, which will be 3 months worth. Then I'll be on something else (need to look it up), which I'll be able to take on Saturdays. She said it isn't bad at all. Will make me tire after a while of it, but it shouldn't be too bad. This will be for the 2nd 3 months. So looking at it, the first 3 months are mostly during summer!! YES!! Of course I may be wearing a wig when I come back to school, but that's ok! And I shouldn't miss much for chemo during the school year, only oncologist appointments which are every 2 or 3 weeks on a Tuesday, I think she said.

Speaking of wigs...the day before I went home, Graland took me downstairs to get my hair washed!! Mmmmmmmm I had BARELY, by seconds, been rolled in when another lady came in behind me complaining she'd been trying to get here all day. The salon lady said I was her last appointment for the day and she wasn't taking anyone else today. I just squeaked in...couldn't believe it!

Anyway, got my hair washed and as I talked with her I told her I'd never been in the shop and wanted to know more about it. One thing she said was things were free. The hair washing and getting your hair cut were free. Cutting down to bald when I need that, will be free. But more importantly, your first wig once you start balding will be free! Isn't that nice? I have one picked out and wished I had it with me, but of course, I'm not balding at the moment! But it is first come, first serve. So, I just hope it's still there when I come back! (Which I kinda assume will be 2 weeks after my first dose...)

Speaking of..I told the lady giving me chemo info not to tell me anything bad because I'll believe it (Dr. Seigal there). She was really nice and told me everything would be just mild and shouldn't be bad. Don't know if she was lying or not and I will not be reading the material. She did tell me side effects but said they'd all be mild and most women have no side effects at all. I take this to mean the hair too, so we'll see how we do! :) Positive in!!!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

80's TV and I Love Lucy

The one thing I hated about the hospital is that I didn't have radio. No KSBJ (Christian radio). So to keep me occupied and my mind off of ME, I watched TV. I can tell you anything about home interior now from HGTV. I really liked that channel. Auctioning stuff from your attic, color, decorating....

Then there was the oldies channel. My last day, there was Audrey Hepburn movie day. was so nice. My Fair Lady, Roman Holiday....then I had to go. I love her!! I want her hair. She is THE most beautiful woman I think I've ever seen! Another day was Bing Crosby. Bells of St. Mary You know, I've never seen the whole movie. What a classic!

The other thing was 80s shows...Family Ties and oldie shows like Leave it to Beaver and I Love Lucy.'s the thing of this whole post: ANYTIME a good scene came on I had to turn the channel. When Lucy was too silly, the channel got changed, when the Keatons were too much (Family Ties), off the show went. WHY??? Because any time I chuckled it HURT!! lol I missed Family Ties, but you just can't always suppress a giggle. I'd keep em back as long as I could before I HAD to change the channel!! Oh, this tummy tuck is keeping from some good laughs. And lets not even talk about sneezing! UGH

room with a view

Let me tell you about one other nurse. I think her name was like Florida or something. She was a large woman who always wore white. (the other nurses always had on something colorful on their uniforms) One day after my first surgery I was walking the hall around the nurses pod and she said You know that corner room is need to ask for it before someone moves in. Then she took it upon herself to get me moved. She wasn't even my nurse!! lol Graland had gone for lunch downstairs and Florida had all my things moved and kept telling me, No don't move anything...I got it! Then she walked me down to the new room. It was twice a big as the one I was in. A corner room with a remarkable view. Anyone who came in mentioned that it was the good one! Graland could move the chairs and his "bed" around so I could sit in it with the foot rest during the day and then move it back during the night for him to sleep.

Once my day began, I was out of bed and didn't go back in the bed til nighttime. The nurses always said I'd be tired by the end of the day and were impressed that I got up and walked and sat as much as I did.


Remember in part one, I said I hated the nurse who made the snide remark. Well, her name is Tomiko. She also made me get out of bed the day after surgery. I don't think I've ever met a more awesome nurse!!! We ended up great friends and it was a joy like you couldn't imagine when she was on my shift. She brightened my day, made me feel special, encouraged, motivated, and uplifted. She went above and beyond. The day before we were to leave..another nurse told her to come see us, that I had made such good progress. So she came and when I saw her I had a big smile on my face to see her! I had already told her at an earlier time that I had not liked her to begin with and that I was scared of her!! lol She laughed. But today I told her, You know there are so many nurses here that take care of you. There are only a VERY FEW handful that are healing nurses. You are a healing nurse. Then of course I started crying as I was saying this! She meant so much to us!!! She also told me that I was looking at the Morphine backwards. It was really hurting me. When I figured out that NOT using it made me feel better, I dropped it! I was pumping it on as often as I could to get relief, but it was making me hurt!

Another nurse was Sharai (Sherry)...she was a vitals/bath nurse. She was the one who got Tomiko to come back over! Sharai was young and calm, always a pleasant voice. She took her time when she did my drains and was always ready to get whatever I needed.

The other was Tamara. A little bit older than the first two, but OH what a nurse!!! She would put her hands on the soles of my feet for me to press against to make my spine feel better. Or she's make sure I had a new gown. She showed me how to get in and out of bed with ease and how to use the bottom rail as a footstool to get in. She put pillows in the back of my bed and arranged them perfectly for a perfect night's rest. But THE BEST thing about Tamara, is that she was about to go off shift, but she could tell I was miserable with my hair. She assured me she'd figured a way to get my hair done without having to go downstairs to the salon. She and Graland got me in the bathroom on a chair and gave me the most luxurious hair washing!! I oooo'ed and awwww'ed the whole time they scrubbed. A girl just cannot go 8 days without getting her hair washed!!! After that, everyone who came in saw a completely different person! I was renewed and refreshed and ready to face the world without the mop hair! She was my other healing nurse. She just knew how to speak to you.

I got this done about 6:30 in the morning. I remember because I called Donna on her cell and told her that I usually have a prayer request for her, but today I wanted to give a praise report: I got my hair washed!!!! Hey, I KNOW the angels were dancing!!

I won't go into the other nurses. :( Ones who didn't know how to strip a drain or do wound care...which Graland took over from about the second day. Some I was afraid of because I thought they might do something that would harm my health. I know many were graduate students, but they didn't have the "presence" of my healing nurses.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

hospital/relay for life part 2

Now, keep in mind this is a FIVE day stay for this surgery. Kronowitz is concerned about swelling in the breast..could be blood buildup which would need surgery to relieve. I call Donna at school and ask for all of them to being praying for that specifically. Donna, Sherry, and Tomika visit me that Sunday..I look a wreck!! It's been at least 5 days since I've been able to wash my hair!!! I am sooo gross!! But they are so sweet and tell me how good I look sitting in the chair. I tell them just don't tell me anything funny cause it hurts to laugh BAD!!! So here goes Tomika with her milk spurting from the nose jokes!! lol We have such a nice visit and it was soooo good to see them again.

One special thing they brought was PICTURES!!! They had just done the Kids Relay for Life from school and the community Relay for Life. The Kids one from school (haven't seen pictures yet) Abbie is one of the kids holding the banner and my class gets to lead it! (hugs) They still don't know WHY! It surely doesn't even occur to them that they are first! lol OR WHY Abbie is there with them! But I understand it was a beautiful Kids walk! I LOVE MY SCHOOL!!!!!

Then Friday night was the community's Relay. My kids (not school) made a banner for me that said "We are walking for Mama." They took my place where I should have been walking for the survivors lap.

Pine Ridge also walked for me!!! I can't believe it!! They had a banner that said "Walking for One of Our Own" That is so precious! I did see pictures from this walk and they are so touching. When I visited with my kids at school this week, Allison said she saw my kids at the Relay with a banner that they were walking for me. I'm not sure if she figured out why or not. She's a doll.

Unfortunately, the swelling didn't go down and Kronowitz ordered an ultrasound Monday morning. Then off to surgery to take out a hematoma (collection of blood). The arteries from the surgery were mismatched which doesn't happen often. My artery in my tummy and the artery it was hooking up to in the breast were different sizes so they had to do ultra-micro-surgery on it to begin with. Whether the blood was from those arteries or from other capillaries in the breast, I don't know. But we did a second surgery to get it fixed.

So this added another five days to my hospital stay. Again, they checked the "flap" every hour. Now the "flap" isn't a flap per se. It is just a round piece of skin that was taken from the tummy. They also took tissue from the tummy to fill the breast. So in this original surgery I got a tummy tuck. Imagine drawing a line around Antarctica but on Barbie's breast...well, that's about what it looks like! The stitches will eventually fade and the skin is remarkably the same color so it will all be as one breast without the line.

Thankfully, I didn't have any complications following this surgery, just recuperation.

the rollercoaster part 1

Well, able to sit for a while, so will finally update! :) Sorry, this one post may take you several days to read. It is very very long!!!

We went in April 25th early..I was first in line HURRAH!! Don't think I could have handled waiting until midday! It was a peaceful drive and though I figured Graland would have to wheelchair through the hospital (because of nerves) I did fine on my own. We got to the surgery pre-op place and got the info taken care of and in just a few minutes the nurse called a good size group of us to another floor where we went to the holding room. Got in a gown, restroomed several times, then waited for the anesthesiologist. It is strange to be excited to see people you know, but the girl we had from April 9 was there to check in on me and it put us both at rest. She is so delightful with a sweet spirit about her. She said "weren't you just here a few days ago!!"

The fellow comes in and asks what will happen, which side...they are very thorough and they have YOU explain everything to them....they make sure you know ahead of time what to expect. It is actually kind of neat the way they do it! Last time I had a list of maybe four things and had to remember them all in my sedated state! But this time, 1. remove the expander, 2. get a DIEP tram flap from tummy, 3. put tissue from tummy in breast, 4. may have to use mesh on tummy muscle, 5. remove artery from tummy to use in breast

I didn't ask to have my picture taken AND didn't need to call anyone this time!! lol Kissed Graland goodbye as we rolled down the hallway to surgery. And that was it!

I wake up with the breathing tube being taken out of me. It was so scarey...I just kept telling them "I can't breathe! I can't breathe!" I was so frightened. Then it was dark again and I woke up in recovery. (I asked about that later and they said they always start waking you up at that point, but usually you don't remember it, but they have to make sure you ARE waking up at that point and are able to come out of anesthesia.)

Couldn't wait to see Graland, but they had me by myself for a while before calling him. Guess they got tired of me asking for him, so finally got him there with me!

The holding room is mostly for pain management. They gave me morphine, but I hurt. So they gave me something on top of that and finally I was able to rest some. Kept me there for quite some time, though I couldn't say now how long. I DO know that I was going back and forth with 'should I ask for some more' then it was time to go to my room upstairs. Dang!!! I SHOULD have asked but didn't. I hurt every roll of the way. Every carpet bump, every transition, going into the elevator, you name it. It was miserable.

I got to the room and in comes my beautiful nurse, May, who I had my first go round. She was the sweetest person! I was horrible. I didn't use any bad words or anything, nothing like that, but I was in such terrible pain all I could say was I am a ten (scale of 1 to 10 that they use, ten being unbearable). I'm a 10, I'm a 10!! They are giving me straight morphine and I can get an extra boost every 8 minutes with the little push button. May is calling downstairs trying to find out what they did down there. I kept saying they gave me something more than morphine that WORKED for me...I can't do just morphine. Of course, they're looking at me like I'm a junky or something!! lol I've never taken anything more than a Tylenol in my life!! (except when they gave me vicoden a few weeks back) They wouldn't let her give me anything else as "morphine should work!" UGH All night..poor things had to come in and do blood pressure, check the flap on my breast--the arteries they transferred from the tummy to the breast were checked hourly to make sure there weren't any clots and to make sure it functioned perfectly or I would be taken straight to surgery) Each time I just pleaded and told them the amount of pain I was in. But nothing. I did not rest or sleep the entire night. I got there at 9 that evening. By the end of the night...into morning I hurt and it was all I could do to actually push the pain button. It wracked my whole body to press the little button. It was a conscious effort. Finally, Dr. Knonowitz (the plastic surgeon who did my breast surgery) came in at 9 or so?? I told him the whole nights worth and he said he'd call in the pain management people and get this under control. He said everything looked good.

We waited for the pain guy and this nurse comes in makes some awful remark about I wouldn't have to do this whatever?? if I got out of bed like I'm supposed to. I just looked at Graland..did you hear what she said? We tried putting together what she had just said and were floored! How dare she! I hated her instantly. And, frankly was scared to death of her.

Pain guy came and got me taken care of. Ahhhh, it was heaven. He said I could still do a morphine boost if I needed. But, oh, it was so much better and I could actually be alive again. Took some time for it to set in, but it did eventually.

Well, now I've got a bad reputation!! :( I'm back on my feet so to speak and feeling much better except I've been horrible to my awesome nurse May and that just breaks my heart. I wait and wait for her to come back on shift. She never does. I wait days and days, nothing. I tell other nurses how awful I was and just cry. They said, Yeah, we heard about that, but don't happens, we understand..." But one evening a new nurse comes in and checks on me (I'm ahead of myself here..) and I look at her, then her name tag...MAY!!! I said May?? And she just smiles. I've already told other nurses that if they see her to beg her forgiveness. But now I have my own chance. I apologize profusely and cry again. I tell her that just wasn't me. It was at that time that she told me that downstairs people wouldn't let her change my meds and that she was so frustrated as well. Happy ending PRAISE GOD!! I don't think I ever had her again during my 10 day stay.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Back home.

Can't really update at the moment, but will say I'm home now! Got in about 5pm. VERY tired and ready for bed and a full nights sleep. Thanks so much for your prayers and for those walking for me at Relay. The pictures were touching and I can only say how terribly awesome you all are.