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So how ’bout them JUGS

8 weeks since my surgery. Wow. How does time fly by so rapidly yet seem like nothing has happened. I spent the first 2.5 weeks in San Antonio in varying stages of drug induced wakefulness and reality. My days seemed to roll one into another and I wasn’t even sure what was what from one day to the next. I know Barb flew out to help us the first couple days and then Lori and Cade came to spend a weekend. Crazy because I hadn’t seen them in probably 8-10 years. I was so sad that I didn’t get to see all the boys and meet Lori’s wonderful new husband and son.

My days were spent walking the halls of the Holiday Inn by the airport then we moved to another Holiday Inn by the Riverwalk and my days there spent walking downtown San Antonio. I even ventured all the way to the mall one day okay 1 mile (felt like 20) and took a break for a pedicure and a movie. I was totally stir crazy in the hotel and needed to breathe. Rich was working from the hotel room and honestly I think my brain was getting overwhelmed with technispeak while it was still in a diminished state of usefulness.

My return home was precious. There was a huge sign on the garage that my wonderful family had taken the time to sign. THANK YOU ALL. JD had it up for me and he had cleaned the house. In fact Auntie Trish said she kept asking him if he needed help and he wouldn’t let them help he wanted to do it for me. What a sweet thing from my 20 year old. Well he turned 20 the day after we got back. Now THAT doesn’t’ seem real. I still see him as that tiny preemie baby, who was then a sweet little boy, an active young daredevil, only to turn into someone else’s teenager (I am gonna say his teen years are his fathers fault – LOL… sorry John but you are not here to defend yourself), and now a young adult… where did the time go.

For weeks after my return I slept on the couch – going up and down stairs was tough and I had to remain in a semi seated position. My first week I had visitors at least every couple days but think I may have slept through some of the conversations even though my eyes were open and my lips were moving. (NO WISE REMARKS PLEASE). So appreciated those that took time to come over and shop for us, make us meals and do our laundry, you know who you are and I thank you. The last medical drain was frustrating to say the least. It remained in nearing the 5 week mark. CRAZY. It was annoying, painful, wearisome, exasperating…. Then I begged the Dr. to let it come out and they said instead of waiting for 30 cc or less for 48 hours straight I could default to 40 or less. The problem is the more active I was the more it drained but activity was required. For those of you concerned about the term ‘activity’ I am meaning the snails pace I walked around the neighborhood. About 4 weeks after surgery I drove for the first time. Not far only to Wal-Mart – It was hot and I walked around inside there. It got me out of the house and fulfilled my activity requirements.

SO here I sit 8 weeks later. I am now allowed to lift the equivalent of a gallon jug of milk… up from the ½ gallon jug the first 6 weeks – which in itself can be problematic when you send hubby to the store with the grocery list and he brings home the usual gallon jug. Hmmmmm. Still not allowed to do much in the way of aerobic activity. The Dr.’s post surgery notes say 8-12 weeks… so I am being obedient. (KINDOF) and planning to join my dance classes at Express Mie next Saturday (9.5 weeks). Ok for the mommies out there. I did send a note to the Dr.’s office and asked if this was okay and I promise I will listen to them. Just feeling so out of shape and FAT. Seems since the end of December I have been trying to lose weight – better eating, lots of exercise (until surgery) and still the only thing I lost was the weight of the implants (roughly 1.5 lbs each) truthfully that is what they weigh… UGGG. To make matters worse I am pretty sure God got sidetracked when he was piecing me together because there is NO WAY that the upper half of my body should be attached to the lower half. They truly look to belong to totally different people and I am pretty sure no amount of diet and exercise is gonna change that. HATE this.

So back to the topic of JUGS.

I am so much happier now with the DIEP surgery as opposed to the Implants.

• I no longer feel constant pressure and pain on my rib cage radiating to my back. My hope now is over time the damage (dent) to my ribs into my lung will work itself out so breathing will be easier and easier. I had a really hard time for about 5-6 weeks after surgery where taking a deep breath would inevitably induce coughing and an inability to catch my breath.

• They are warm and alive. I used to hate the fact that my breasts felt cold. Hard to explain but imagine a water balloon in evening air for a week covered only by a sheet. That’s kind of the feeling I got when I would touch the breasts before. So unnatural to me.

• The deep indentation from removal of 27 lymph nodes under my right arm is gone. They filled it with tissue. I can actually shave again. I know CAREFULLY. Unfortunately the entire trauma has over time worked its way to my right arm and it is about 1¼ inches larger than my left so I really do try to be careful.

• They are more natural in the way the drop. Before the pocket was opened up (that’s what the call the area where the put the implants in) so much on the left side that I could literally feel the left implant resting on my stomach when I would sit. The entire thing would shift unlike natural breasts where they have a crease then drop. (You know that crease were as we age we can hold pencils, pens, drumsticks, broom handles… you get the idea.

• My tummy is smaller but it’s not really a tummy tuck as they do not mess with the muscle and do as much drastic work as most tummy tucks do. I also have a scar hip to hip from this. No more bikini’s for me. Like I was ever gonna get in one anyway – so no issues here.

• There is considerably more scarring than most people imagine. Especially on the right side and there is skin color variation. These things will lessen over time I feel pretty lucky that thus far I have healed pretty well and when I saw my surgical oncologist – (Dr. Hottie) for my regular 6 month check up the other day he was impressed and said everything looked great for being just 8 weeks out. Praise the Lord.

• Now for the funniest part of the new JUGS. They have Hair on them. REALLY… gotta find out if laser hair removal can be in my future. It is baby fine hair not sure anyone else cold see it but I can when I look down so just like my hubby – I now have a HAIRY CHEST. All I can do is laugh. See breast cancer can take the hair off your head but end up causing you to get it on your chest. WHAT AN EVIL TRICK!

Stage 2 surgery is scheduled for Friday June 17th. So for Father’s Day my husband gets New Boobs. Because that’s the kind of gal I am. GIVE GIVE GIVE. They will work on symmetry issues, size, shape… Remove a couple spots that have hardened (which is normal). Depending on how much work it takes to fix symmetry and scars – they may complete the extra procedure called an ADANIPTOMY. Yes, they will create new nipples which later will be tattooed. If they can not do it this time I will need to make an extra trip to San Antonio. It really all depends on the amount of work to perfect (as much as can be perfected) my new breasts. Would hate to do the nipples too soon and have them not in the right position after next stage healing. SO patience is the order of the day/week/month… pretty sure I didn’t ask God for patience – again thinking he was side tracked during the knitting me in my mothers womb phase.

When this is all over I will change from the Mad White Cancer Patient to the Glad White Cancer Patient.

Please keep me in prayer as I go see my Oncologist in 2.5 weeks and as I have said and or those of you who have been through a cancer diagnosis in any way know. Anxiety sets in before blood tests and results each time. I have a tendency to be fearful of recurrence. To make matters worse, in a group of about 40 gals that fall into the ‘young’ survivors’ category – 3 younger than me have had recurrence recently. Won’t someone please find the CURE for this disease? All cancers… PLEASE!

I know I have been placed on this path and there is reason and I have been blessed to meet amazing people, impact lives of others who have followed me, been impacted by others, and learned about God, me, my faith, friendship, family… I am excited to say that this month marks the 1 year anniversary of the cancer support group I started and co-facilitate at Mission Community Church. What a treasure each life that has walked in that room has been to me. I have seen healing, miracles, laughter, tears, death and life in a whole new way.

Thank you to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for lessons bigger than I could ever learn in a classroom.

Here I am – Downhere

Sometimes Your calling, comes in dream
Sometimes in comes in the Spirit’s breeze
You reach for the deepest hope in me
And call out for the things of eternity

But I’m a man, of dust and stains,
You move in me, so I can say

Here I am, Lord send me
All of my life, I make an offering,
Here I am, Lord send me
Somehow my story is a part of Your plan,
Here I am

When setbacks and failures, and upset plans
Test my faith and leave me with empty hands
Are You not the closest when it’s hardest to stand
I know that You will finish what You began

And these broken parts You will redeem
Become the song that I can sing

Here I am, Lord send me
All of my life, I make an offering,
Here I am, Lord send me
Somehow my story is a part of Your plan,
Here I am

Overwhelmed by the thought of my weakness
And the fear that I’ll fail You in the end
In this mess, I’m just one of the pieces,
I can’t put this together but You can

Here I am, Lord send me
All of my life, I make an offering,
Here I am, Lord send me
Somehow my story is a part of Your plan,
Here I am

Here I Am, all my life an offering to You, to You
Somehow my story is a part of Your plan
Here I am

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