Tuesday, July 21, 2015

On my journey at Dana Farber--Counting it all joy

So, I eat mostly veggies and fruits, don't drink or smoke.
But in May of 2015 I noticed a lump in my breast.  It felt like a small marble.  The doctor ordered a mammogram and biopsy right away.   Yes, it was cancer.    Something I never expected.
I remember hearing of a book years ago, written by a woman who got this news.  It was entitled "First You Cry".   I didn't cry.  It was shocking news to be sure....but it was OK.
Right away, I leaned on my strong faith in God for support.  Of course, my family and friends have been very supportive as well.
So, on May 21st I had the biopsy.
By June 16th I was in surgery at Dana Farber, which is a fantastic cancer hospital in the Boston area.
The next week, while taking out my sutures, the doctor explained that it was advisable to schedule another surgery.
She had taken the lump out, and also 5 lymph nodes nearby.  Only one of those showed cancer cells when examined, and years ago they would have taken lots and lots of those out.  Now, they take the closest to the lump and also go by the dye that is inserted prior to the surgery.  If the nodes light up, they are removed.
She said that the pathology dept. felt that the cancer cells were closer to the borders of the tissue removed than seemed safe.
So, here I am today, just returning from the second surgery.
The surgeon went in to the area where the lump had been removed, and removed more tissue---as a precaution, and I am praying that that will be sufficient.
I guess I'll find out next week.
However, I feel that I will willingly accept whatever comes my way during this life; and I can find joy in all situations.   Many people are praying for me, and I really appreciate that.
God is in charge, and He provides the comfort as we face difficult situations.
After this heals up, I will go for radiation treatments for maybe 7 weeks.  Every day, for just minutes.  The oncologist explained that if there are any stray cancer cells, the radiation will sterilize those cells.
I'll do what they suggest, and in the meantime, continue with a healthy lifestyle, including lots of fruits and veggies, no junk food, and some exercise, too.
The first surgery last month was done under general anesthesia.  When I woke up in the recovery room, I was aware that I had the most soothing, wonderful, peaceful dreams while I was under.
Having the lymph nodes under the arm removed was painful; but it got better each day.
Today, I elected to have local anesthesia.
I really was interested in what takes place in the OR.
Well, they started off with these small drapes, covering my whole face.   Hmmm....kind of like having cloth napkins completely cover your face for a few minutes.
When they were done with putting up the drape that is like a screen, separating my head from what they were doing, they moved the small drapes off my face.
The surgeon said the novocaine would be the worst part.  After that was injected, the operation began.  I'm pretty hardy about pain....but I could feel way too much for comfort.  Yes, it would be likened to when you are having some difficult dental treatment done, and you're trying your best to hold on and get through it.
I asked for more novocaine, and she gave me that right away.   Still, I felt that being injected, and felt pushing against my chest wall with fingers, some pulling, and the coldness of being cleaned up with their antiseptic wash.
Thankfully, I was in the operating room about only 45 minutes.  That counts getting prepared and being wheeled out.
They say the time in and time out and record that.
The bonus is going back to the room, getting your snack and leaving as soon as you want to.
When you have the general anesthesia, it's important to go to the recovery area first, then even upon leaving the hospital, they wheel you out in a wheelchair and some people feel a bit tired or wobbly from the anesthesia.
So, yes, it's a bit achy, but that's OK.  Everything is OK if the final result is a good one, I guess.
Truth be told, everyone at Dana  Farber is great and they make things easier on the patient.
Could I easily go through it again?  Sure.
I hope not to, though.  I am praying for no other cancer anywhere else in my body.
Still, my trust is in the Lord.
James 1: 2--8
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.