September 23, 2008

( I took this picture while I was in the car going through Chicago at night. Different... that's for sure! )

My surgeon called yesterday just before 4:00 to see how I was feeling. Mike told him at the hospital after my surgery that I would be reluctant to tell them if I was in pain because I usually have a pretty high tolerance. This has been no exception, as my pain has been so much less than I would have expected. The pain device I had sutured in ran out and Mike was able to remove it along with one of my drains. My second drain will be able to come out tonight, and then I will be free from all the extra gadgets! The most pain I have is when I try to walk totally upright, as the muscles in my stomach are sore. My surgeon was happy to hear I have been doing so well, and asked me if I had any questions. Of course, I asked for my biopsy results. He let me know that the tumor had in fact been positive for cancer. He also said that they removed a total of 11 lymph nodes, including the one in my neck, 9 of which were also positive. He assured me that he had gotten it all, a clear margin of about a centimeter all the way around the breast and he also removed all lymph nodes that were even remotely suspicious. They are waiting for further detailed testing as to whether or not this is the same cancer as I had previously or if it has changed, which I know is possible. They have sent part of the tumor out to California to do the chemo resistance testing on it so they will know what will work to spare me unnecessary chemotherapy. I will be started on whatever chemo they decide when I return for my four week check up. (I have joked somewhat about this process.... to me it seems funny that my tumor is making the trip all the way to California, and I have never even been there! I wonder how they send it there? It's my own "Finding Chemo" movie!) 

I was not surprised by this news, as I think God was preparing me for anything. I did not even think about this call over the weekend; God has given me total peace. I have said a couple of times that I feel better now than I have in the last three years. Not long ago, I know that God told me that this September would be different. Some would question that now, saying "Here we go again!". I honestly believe that this recent news proves even more that God healed my bones. Over and over I would pray "... protect my bones that not one will be broken...". ( Psalm 34:20 He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.) The fact that I had a tumor the size of an apple in my breast, but nothing in the bones or anywhere else is a miracle.

Last night I was still praying as I began to fall asleep in bed. I simply said, "God, I don't know what the plan is, but I know You have one. That's all I need. I know that this September will be different..." . With that, several things popped into my mind. I got up out of bed to look at an old calendar. My mom reminded me of this awhile ago, but I seemed to have forgotten. When I felt God touch me after church that Sunday, and that pain I had in my sternum disappeared, doctors could not tell me why that would happen. I knew it was God. My scans later showed the bone was healing. The date I felt that touch was September 16, 2007. The date of my surgery to remove this mass was September 16, 2008. Isn't that neat?! It's almost like God is making it easy for me to remember by making it on the same day! I really feel like this surgery was the close of a chapter. The other thing that I felt last night was, although September has had some really sad and trying dates in it, there are also really great ones. God reminded me that He gave me life in September... my birthday is the 11th. That will never change, I will always have the reminder of my Life on that day. I believe that He has healed me twice now on September 16th... to me that is Hope. And my wedding anniversary is September 27th... this represents my Future. These are three of the most important days of my entire life. (Jeremiah 29:11 " For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.")

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