Surgery day is almost here.

The day is almost here.  We’ve known about it for months and now it is here…Surgery is tomorrow. Keepin’ it real, I am fighting hard to keep a cool head and believe that I will be one of the “lucky” ones who gets through it all, without complications and difficulty.  A couple of days ago, I was pretty nervous.  But I have received the benefit of a LOT of prayer, reassuring visits with several loved ones, fun outings to distract me and a calming appointment with the in-house therapist who teams with my doctors.  This morning, I am happy to report that I am feeling much better.

Ok, I confess that I woke up at 4:00 am this morning, which is not my norm.  So there are definitely rumblings of what lies ahead.  I’ve never been very good at coping with the unknown. If I look back through my lifetime, the anticipation of things to come has always been much worse than the actual experience itself.  However, thankfully, God’s word always brings me back to a place of peace and calm.

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

“I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.  So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27

“The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.” Nahum 1:7

“Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you.” Genesis 26:24

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

“It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:8

“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

“I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

There are so many, many more scriptures that help in our times of need, but these are just a few to meditate upon to get through this.

I confess, I am a worrier.  Have been since I was a little girl…I used to carry the affectionate (?) nickname of “worry wart.”  Never much liked that title, but true is true. So, I fight hard against that tendency of expecting the worst.  That battle between my ears doesn’t help me one bit and causes a lot of stress, which can play havoc internally.

But with God caring for me, I have remained strong and optimistic through this whole ordeal.  It certainly doesn’t come naturally to me, but all the prayers expressed by all of you have helped me immensely. Thank you! I claim victory in the “peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philipians 4:7.

One of my hopes in writing these blog posts is that I might be able to offer very real encouragement to all of you.  If I can get through this trial, then YOU CAN GET THROUGH YOURS TOO.  Be of good cheer, we do not journey this life alone.

“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character and character produces hope and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

If you are a believer, then you already know the blessing of a relationship with Jesus Christ. If you have not yet met Him, I encourage you to give Him a chance.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Not knowing “why” this journey with cancer was allowed in my life, I can only imagine its purpose (or purposes.)  I am humbled and grateful to think that my road can somehow benefit others.  What greater calling is there, than to be a witness for Christ.  He is good.  Please don’t miss out on the greatest gift you could ever receive!

This post did not go the direction I thought it would when I sat down to write it…it’s better  than I imagined.  Thank you for sharing in my inner world.  May God bless you in ways that are beyond your imagination!

Now for a few details to keep you “in the know”:

My surgery tomorrow is at 1:00.  First my surgeon, Dr. Curcio, will perform the bilateral mastectomy (that means both girls are coming off). I’m sad to lose them, but my therapist helped me work through this reality.  She said that my breasts gave life to my children, and now the removal of them will give me life.

(Tears are streaming down my cheeks…time for a little humor to ease the pain!)

Can’t wait to post that one on FB someday, haha!! Not yet, though.  Too soon.  After my “big reveal” and some healing time has passed, I’ll dust this one off for a good laugh.

Back to the details…as part of the mastectomy, my doc will remove at least  3 lymph nodes that are closest to the location of the original tumors and send those off to the lab for biopsy.  In a week, we will receive the results of the biopsy.  We are VERY optimistic that the lymph nodes will be clear.  They were clear a few days before I began chemo, as per my pet scan, so we are very hopeful that there will be no metastasis. When my surgeon is done, after about 3 hours, then my plastic surgeon will commence his work of beginning reconstruction. He will place expanders to stretch my tissue in preparation for the implants, coming in a few months.  He will either place the expanders above the muscle (if my skin tissue is thick enough) or below the muscle (if the skin is too thin).  He will make that decision “on the fly.”  If the expanders are above the muscle, the recovery is much easier.  I am going to trust that either way, with God’s healing hand and a lot of pain killers, I’ll get through it with flying colors.

I should be back home on Saturday and the next step after surgery will be rest and recuperation in my “lazy boy.”  Have to sleep on my back for about a month, so thank you to my sister Marcia for lending me her recliner!

Then on December 9th, when I go in for my post-op and I learn the results of the biopsy, we will have a clearer picture of what’s next.  If I have to have radiation, because of any remaining concerning remnants (I pray that’s not the case), then my plastic surgeon will have to quickly fill my expanders, once a week until we arrive at the best size. Radiation makes skin brittle, so we would have to be done with “expanding” before radiation would commence. If I do not require radiation, then filling the expanders can take place more gradually, which will mean much less pain and distress. (You know what I’m voting for!!) Then, ultimately, after all these steps are completed, I will have another surgery in a few months when doc will remove the expanders and place the implants.  Watch out world, Sandy will be slender, have hair and a new set of girls. I’m so looking forward to this happy ending!

You can see that we don’t have a lot of final answers yet. We will know more soon enough and I will be sure to report what we know.  For now, if you would like to pray for us, we are hoping for a smooth surgery, without complication, and the best possible results.

“May the Lord bless you and keep you; may He make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.” Numbers 6:24-25

So long for now.  I love you with all my heart!  We’ll be in touch soon!