Here I am! Did you think I forgot about you?
A little sneak peek of our adventure in Maui....
A new addition to our family! Meet Gracie!
On Tuesday I had my radiation simulation, including another awesome tattoo...
Well, nothing can hold me down for too long. :)
My surgery was last Tuesday with Dr. M and everything went as well as expected. We headed to the hospital around 7:15am, I was in pre-op around 8 or so...goofing around with the hubby to pass the time.
Surgery didn't begin until closer to 10am and the next thing I knew, I was groggy and attempting to wake up in the recovery room. Dr. M told the fam that everything went as well as it could have. He was surprised to discover an unusual amount of scar tissue that had developed on the left side. He said the mesh implant was well incorporated into my tissue, which is what is supposed to happen, but for some reason my body was still rejecting it. He cleaned out the scar tissue, removed the mesh piece, and replaced the implant with a new one.
Unfortunately, I did wake up with one of the lovely surgical drains that I came to despise after my mastectomies, but Dr. M assured me that it could come out in a few days. Dr. M is not only a talented surgeon, but an all around great guy and met me in his office on Saturday morning, even though it was closed, to take out my drain so that I didn't have to wait until Monday morning at my scheduled appointment. It means so much to me to have doctors that not only give me their personal cell numbers but are willing to see me on their day off just to make me more comfortable. I definitely felt so much better after that drain was taken out! Oh, and I should mention that he did a really great job aesthetically as well. I do have some minor post-surgical swelling but nothing compared to what was there before. My chest finally looks symmetrical again and back to the way it looked before this crazy swelling issue began in August.
Since the surgery on Tuesday, I have been taking it a little easy but overall I have been feeling really good. I really dread taking medicine of any kind and feel bad that my poor body has had way more than it's fair share of meds already. So, I took some Motrin the first day or so, but haven't taken any pain meds since. I have felt a little sore (mostly on my side where the drain tube was coming out of my chest), and definitely a little tired - but that's about it. I made sure to have a good chat with the anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist prior to surgery about how awful my last experience was with nausea. They were really great and tried some different drugs with me and it really paid off because I didn't experience any nausea or vomiting after surgery at all. Woohoo! That's what I was most nervous about this time around.
I did get out of the house for Thanksgiving and spent the day at Momma Jan's with the fam. I was pretty worn out afterwards but it was nice to be with the family. Friday night I escaped the house again to see a movie with some girlfriends, and last night Mike and I went to see The Who! It was his bday gift this year and we had a great time. We were definitely the youngsters in the crowd but Mike loves his classic rock. :)
I am planning on getting back in the swing of things with my photography business this week and heading back to work in the clinic on Tuesday. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and well wishes. They truly do help ease my mind when I am heading into something like this.
As for what happens next, I will get my usual lovely injections this week and then the next big thing is SCANS! Ugh. The dreaded scans. Dr. F only ordered a bone scan and full body CT this time, so at least I get to escape the awful MRI machine. My scans are scheduled for December 19th - Merry Christmas to me. ;) The good and bad news (depending on how you look at it), is that I won't get my scan results until January 3. Good news - If the scans are great, it won't ruin my Christmas. Bad news - I have to wait a full two weeks to hear the news which could drive me crazy. Since I see my oncologist at a satellite clinic, he is only there once each week, and he is off on December 27, which is why we have to wait until the 3rd. This is obviously the most stressful and anxiety ridden time for us so I will definitely be asking for your prayers again.
Guess that covers it all for now. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It was wonderful seeing so many people comment on facebook about what they were thankful for. I hope that it carries over to the other 364 days of the year because there is truly so much to be thankful for - each and every single day.
A little peek at what I am most thankful for...
Just a quick little note to let you all know that surgery is tomorrow morning. I truly do appreciate all of your well wishes, prayers and good vibes. I need it and crave it and it calms my heart when I hear from you. Mike, Mom, Doug and I will head to the hospital around 7:15am and surgery will take place a couple hours later. I am not sure how long the surgery will last but I think a couple hours at the most. I am hoping that I will be back home and resting in my comfy bed with clean and yummy smelling sheets by late afternoon. :)
Thank you in advance for all of the support and prayers. Truly. I will update everyone when I am feeling up to it. If I don't get back to the blog before Thursday, I wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving with the ones you love.
ps - Speaking of the one's I love....my best girl friends surprised me with a ladies night out last weekend and it couldn't have been more amazing. I truly have the best friends anyone could ever ask for.
Another week has flown by in the blink of an eye, and I can't believe Thanksgiving is upon us. This past week was busy with more doctors appointments, 2 1/2 days with no heat, and daily 2 mile walks which are making me feel stronger every day. But the most special part of the past week was being able to speak at the school Mike teaches at during their Breast Cancer Awareness Week. Mike's friend and co-worker, Jesse put together an entire week of festivities to help educate the young students all about breast cancer and she asked me to come speak on Friday, along with her mom and grandmother who are both breast cancer survivors.
Although you all know that I am not a shy person, public speaking is definitely outside of my comfort zone...especially when we are talking about 200 high schoolers! Mike gave such a sweet and touching introduction that almost made me lose it right then and there. Thankfully, I held it together and shared my story and the lessons I have learned with all of the students. I stressed the importance of trusting your intuition if you feel that something is wrong, knowing your own body, and becoming your best advocate when it comes to your health. It went really well and the students were completely respectful and attentive while I shared such personal experiences with them.
After the assembly was over, a few students came up to me and said they really appreciated my talk and gave me huge hugs. It was so sweet and I appreciated it so much! When Mike came home from school that day, he gave me this note from a tenth grade student of his...
Dear Mrs. Malley,
I'm writing you this note because I loved your speech at our school about your story on breast cancer. You were very strong for being someone who doesn't really speak in front of groups of people. I was devastated to hear that you have stage IV cancer. I will pray for you as I did for my grandma and mother. You story was very touching and I'm glad to see how strong you are. I have faith in my heart that you'll fight off this battle. Mr. Malley as my teacher is amazing, so I'm sure to you he's an amazing husband. I just wish you'll feel better soon.
That note totally touched my heart and made me so grateful that I did this. I left Kettering High School feeling empowered and uplifted from turning such a sad and tragic situation into a positive one by hopefully helping others through education.
Well, Thanksgiving couldn't come at a better time for me this year. I was in a little emotional funk after feeling so bad for a few weeks and feeling that way makes it hard to see all the blessings that surround us. Thanksgiving is so much more than a day off from work, an excuse to stuff ourselves with yummy food, and watch more football. It is a day that should truly be spent giving thanks for all of the many, many blessings in our lives. I have loved spending time with my family every Thanksgiving - but have I really taken the time to think about how grateful I am for them? How blessed I am to have them in my life? How lucky we are to have endless amount of food, laughter and love surrounding us every holiday? Although this has been the single most difficult year of my life, I know now more than ever, how blessed I am. This Thanksgiving, I will be taking a moment to step back and watch my loving family that surrounds me and I will be thanking God for every single one of them.
There are so many things I am thankful for this year...so many blessings...more than I could ever count, and for that I am grateful. But, I do want to truly thank God for continuing to bless me with another day filled with love and laughter. I want to thank my doctors and medical team for helping me rid my body of this disease and regain my health. I want to thank all of my fellow cancer survivors, especially those that live with this disease each day as I do -thank you for giving me hope and endless amounts of inspiration. Thank you to my friends for your amazing and loyal friendship, for always being there for me, and reminding me of how much I am loved. Thank you to my family, especially Mom, Jeff and Doug - there are just too many things to thank you for...thank you for being the most loving and supportive family I could ever hope for. And to my best friend and husband....where would I even start? Thank you for making me the happiest woman on the planet almost four years ago when I became your wife. Every day since then, whether good or bad, has been an absolute blessing because it was shared with you. Thank you for always telling me I am beautiful - even without hair, without breasts, and with tears streaming down my face. Thank you for making me laugh - every single day. Without fail, you always find a way to crack me up and make me smile, even on the toughest days. Thank you for being my rock, my calm within the storm. Being alone with you is when I feel the safest, the most at peace, and the happiest deep down in my soul. Being your wife is the greatest blessing I could ever have in this life and I thank God for you every single day.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and spend time giving thanks for what matters most in this world. Thank you for all the love and support you have given me each and every day. I truly feel blessed and thankful!
One of the times I feel most thankful is on my morning walks with Mike and the pup. Feeling healthy, breathing in fresh air, and spending time with my boys - can't beat it!
My blog to keep you all