Tomorrow is surgery day. We go in early and surgery is scheduled for 10:30. Should take about 4 hours. Please pray for this to go well and for my healing afterwards. I’ll be having a bilateral mastectomy (without reconstruction at this time- that will happen next year after I’m healed from radiation.) Also, pray for Rob as he takes care of me over these next few weeks. And, of course, for Olivia and Liana as they have to make another adjustment in their lives because of my health. They are with friends tonight (thanks, Amber Pierce Norman) and will go to a birthday party tomorrow afternoon, so they should be well preoccupied. Thanks to everyone who called or texted today as well. I’ve been very nervous.
Rob posted some pictures on Facebook after our first day in Lake Tahoe. Well, my cousins who live a few hours away noticed the post and without hesitation said they were coming to meet us out there. They heard we were within driving distance so the only question was where we would meet them. I love that about my family… always there… always. We met them at South Tahoe and did a gondola ride that goes 2 miles high to see a perfect view of the lake. It was reminiscent of our customary Caldwell rides on the Pittsburgh incline during city excursions… but super-sized. I was so completely happy to see them and spend the afternoon catching up with them. We laughed and tried not to cry. These family ties are made strong by our tightly woven memories from childhood. We made more memories to add to that mosaic- creating quite a beautiful patchwork quilt in my soul. Grandma would love it!
Toya is the oldest “wise” one whose fear of heights is as sweet as it is funny. But she rode a gondola 2 miles high just to be with us for the afternoon. (She’s the one I’ve mentioned before who encourages me to write. I’m sure she also chuckled as she read that I called her “wise”). Tamica is just as free-spirited as ever, with a heart as beautiful as her smile. The two of them make an opinionated, stubborn (“Johnny Bull”) hysterical combination of love. I’m so proud to be related to them.
Toya’s words said it well: “We will always meet you on the mountain top! You made it cousin. Can’t wait to see what’s on the other side for you!!” I’m so thankful to be at the top of this mountain now. I’m not over it, but from up here I can see more clearly where I’m headed. And being at the top, surrounded by loved ones, is a pretty good place to be.
We have seen love from so many people in so many ways over these last few months and this week was no exception. Rob and I were blessed to be able to go to Lake Tahoe for a few days- just the two of us. The timing worked out so we could squeeze it in before my surgery. We had such a fun, peaceful time together. Tahoe is SO beautiful! I’ve been wanting to go there for years and I can’t believe it really happened! We went kayaking, hiking, on a dinner cruise, up a huge gondola, and to the beach. Rob got some beautiful pictures, of course. I’m so thankful that I felt well enough (most of the time) to do what we wanted to do. And forever grateful to Kim Geibig Amigh for opening her home to us during this time in our lives.
(This picture is from the gorgeous sunset we saw during our dinner cruise!! )
I couldn’t help but get these two necklaces when I saw them. Together, they represent so much of my heart right now. Read the small print… the sentiments are beautiful. When you see me wearing them, you’ll now know why.
– “Stars can’t shine without darkness”
– “Little Moments- discover the beauty in small things… it’s the small moments that make you feel alive.”
Sorry it’s taken a while to update everyone. I do have some medical updates and the next steps of my treatment plan in place. First (the best news)- I got results from my MRI and it looks clear!! They cannot see any part of the original tumor and the lymph nodes look normal. So all of that horrible poison did its job!!
Moving forward- the date for surgery will be on July 26th. I have very mixed feelings about it, but confident that this is the best thing for me. About 6 weeks after surgery will be radiation, which will last 6 weeks. And then I’ll have phase two of surgery in 6-12 months, depending on how I’m healing from everything. It’s a longer, more complicated plan than I was hoping for. But it’s what needs to be done. All 3 of the doctors working with me (surgeon, plastic surgeon, and radiation oncologist) agree that this is the best plan to prevent recurrence, and I have a lot of years ahead of me to keep this away.
Physically, I’m feeling better each day without chemo. The mouth sores are gone and I’m able to eat most things. I have more energy than I’ve had in a while. My only complaints now would be that my fingertips (and a small part of my toes) are still numb and my fingernails are falling off. I’m also pretty sore every morning and my legs feel very tight. It feels like I worked out hard the night before, even though I haven’t. I’m guessing it’s just my body getting used to doing regular, everyday things. So if you’re looking for specific things to pray about, those would be good ones. All in all, nothing even close to how I was feeling the last few months, and that’s a wonderful thing!
I hope you’re all enjoying the warmth of the sun and the sound of the birds as much as I am. If you haven’t yet, take a moment tomorrow to soak it in… it’s a beautiful world out there!
It’s the first Saturday in months that I’ve woken up without the expectation of chemo side effects… and what a wonderful feeling! I still have some lasting effects that will take some time to resolve. It’ll take a while to build up muscle and energy again, but I’m already noticing a difference. And, as many of you noticed, I updated the cover photo for this group. Of course, it was intentional, because the fog has lifted and I needed something more representative of this next phase of this experience. The photo is a beautiful sunrise taken at Dolly Sods when Rob went backpacking there. There’s still a whole day ahead and what unfolds is still yet to be known. But it sure is beautiful to see the sun and know that the warmth and light will surely be in the future.