Saturday, February 14, 2009
Thankfully my mother is here to help out for the week. I'm done for the day. Back to bed. Tomorrow has to be better.
Happy Valentine's Day! Blah.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Greetings from the land of drains and pains! As the night wore on and then turned the corner on Friday morning, Sheri has been slowly coming to. Her first trip to the rest room looked more like the last quarter mile of a marathon run. All uphill. While wearing a ruck sack. With ankle weights. And for good measure, maybe toss in a fat guy trying to tackle her. It wasn't me! Ten hour earlier, she came in this hospital full of energy and terror. Two breasts and lots of tears later, Sheri can hardly get out of bed! Her first steps to the restroom were like a newborn fold's first wobbly steps. But Sheri's return trip to bed was better. Then her next trip to and fro' the restroom was much stronger! She's already coming back! (Thank you, Lord.)
I look at Sheri for any signs. She's smiling and cute and everything that makes Sheri Sheri. Then she winces and we call for pain meds. But either way, she's a keeper!
It's early morning and sleep is fitfull. We were told a short while ago that Sheri's discharge papers are ready to go. Lord willing, we are out of this joint at first light!
Lord willing, this is my last transmission from the front lines of breast cancer. If all goes well, you all will begin receiving emails from Sheri later today and maybe a post by this evening. Until then, thanks once more for all of your prayers and more.
You are all wonderful and this all is to God's glory.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I am logged into Sheri's blog from a computer kiosk just outside her room at Saint Lukes South in Overland Park, Kansas. Surreal, huh!
It is surgery day! It doesn't seem real that it's been almost two months since they first discovered the lump in Sheri's left breast. Two months from that first alarming finding to this, a day that would bid farewell to her breasts.
Our day started with us hastily getting ready for our early morning trip to the hospital. We arrived around 9:30 AM, with Sheri in a full-blown tizzy. Our Pastor was there to meet us. Sheri was falling to pieces, with tears streaming down her cheeks, that ashen look on her face, and nervous shudders rippling through her body. This is what utter helplessness feels like!
We had just enough time for the Pastor to say a quick prayer and then off to Sheri's room for preparations for the procedure that has become known as the dreaded sentinel node test. Sheri's research on the 'net and her talks with doctors and nurses had built this test up in her mind as the ... MOST PAINFUL TEST ON THE PLANET! To hear Sheri talk, you would think that Dr. Mengela himself invented this test! Sheri has stressed repeatedly that she was more worried about this test than the double mastectomy. Okay....
They weren't going to give her anything other than a little lidocaine creme to "ease the pain," but Sheri's tears and obvious nerves forced their hand and they finally gave her a little something to "take the edge off." Then the test....
A really sweet seeming lady injected four radioactive isotopes around each areola, which means that Sheri had to endure four needles poked into each breast with precious little pain killer. Our first blessing of the day was that it didn't hurt NEARLY as badly as Sheri's extremely active imagination had her believing it would. Mind you, it hurt, but even if it was a 10 on the pain scale, that's far below the 1,000 that Sheri expected it to be. Suffice it to say, she made it through, giving the lady a minimal scowl on her way out of the room.
An hour later they took Sheri to radiology for the test itself. They came back with the word, we found her sentinel nodes. In the distance I imagined faintly hearing the Marine Corps band playing that crowd favorite, "We Found the Nodes!"
Now, for those of you following this silliness, finding the nodes was merely a step in the process, but not THE step. Come surgery time, still hours off, the surgeon would remove the sentinel nodes and do a quick handoff to the path guy, who will do a quick looksee for cancer. Depending on how many, if any, nodes have cancer, they take one or two more (as a precaution). Given Sheri's MRI results, the oncologist said it "was 80 percent" that Sheri has cancer in at least one lymph node. But I'm getting ahead of myself. It was only 11:00 AM and surgery would not be for at least 2 more hours.
Between 11:00 AM and 1:30 PM, I went back and forth between Sheri's room and the waiting room, where our wonderful children patiently (and at times IMPATIENTLY) sat waiting on this day to end. Finally at 1:30 PM they wheeled her to surgery and we hit the door running to Bob Evans (Jerry Owens, for you Dallas folk) and then we zipped home to let the evil rat dog out to pee.
We got back in plenty of time for more waiting. Tick, tock, tick, tock. A kind lady from our church joined us in the vigil. In fact, she had been there for a long while before we got back. (I felt bad for her having had to wait alone.) Finally at 5:45 PM Sheri's surgeon came out smiling. I quipped, "Well, you're smiling. Hopefully that means that you didn't lose her." She said, "No, we didn't lose her." (Let's count that as a big blessing.)
She then went on to say that Sheri was in recovery, talking, doing well, etc. She said that they didn't find any cancer in the lymph nodes on either side. Thank God! Of course, she reminded me that pathology will continue to look in the days to come, but that quick initial test during surgery showed no cancer. What more could we ask for?
Between pain and nausea, they've given Sheri lots and lots of drugs since she came out of the OR. She has not spoken 20 words to us since. It's three hours into her recovery and she just took her first sips of soda and ... right back to sleep.
Sheri wants me to tell you all how much we both appreciate your prayers, your love, your gifts, and your kind offers of help. You all have been so gracious! I want to say that we don't deserve any of this, but if Sheri were awake she would say, "Hey! Speak for yourself!" So, I will. I don't deserve this.
Lord willing, Sheri will get to go home tomorrow. Lord willing, Sheri doesn't have any more cancer than we first knew about. Lord willing, Sheri is on her way to a full recovery. Lord willing.
Thank you all for everything. Your kindness means more to Sheri than you will ever know. Lord bless.
Tom (for my beloved Sheri)
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
My actual surgery is at 1:00pm (they estimate it taking about 4 hours.)
I have to be at the hospital at 9:00am for a sentinel node test. From what I understand it is extremely painful. I'm under unbelievable stress tonight, because of what I've heard about this test.
Due to everything going on the next few days (kids are out of school until Tuesday, my mom coming into town on Saturday and that pesky little surgery) Tom will not be updating the blog right away. He said he'll get to it first chance he gets.
God Bless you all for all your prays.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
These are mine in no particular order...
Please don't use the word literally incorrectly. "That was so scary I literally died." No, you did not.
If you are now behind me 110%, that means you have only been behind me 90% up until this point. The best anyone can do is 100%. It just is! I didn't make the rules.
When you drink please don't gulp. I have no idea why, but that swallow sound makes me literally want to rip your head off. Ok, maybe not literally, but I will give you a disapproving look.
Sorry, I'm just very cranky today. I can't get rid of my migraine that I've had for two days now. Yesterday my beautiful cousin Valerie (my aunt Judy's daughter; not to be confused with my other beautiful cousin Valerie who is the daughter of my aunt Audrey) and I went wig shopping. I now have two very lovely wigs that I would love to model for y'all, but am unable because of this stupid headache.
I literally want to rip my own head off.
By the way, wig shopping? SUPER FUN! Especially when done with a super cool chick like my cousin Princess V.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
To reboob or not to reboob...
So, I'm watching the Grammy's tonight and it got me thinking about plastic surgery. I know what you're thinking, "Wow, Sheri, how could the Grammy's get you thinking about plastic surgery?" I have no idea, really. I think it's my narcissistic personality.
Plastic surgery, from what I understand, is extremely painful. Do I really want to put myself through the pain of reconstruction surgery? Is it just for vanity reasons? I know, once again, I'm putting the cart ahead of the mastectomy mule, but this time it's not my fault. Blame Paul Mccartney, Smokey Robinson, Barry Manilow and many many other singers that I thought were old, but turns out they look shockingly (and I mean that literally) young.Ughhh, I'm tired of thinking about all this. I'm glad I decided to take time off from all this cancer/surgery drama. I'm feeling very relaxed. Now if only I could get Sir Paul to lose the "oh no! Sheri's got cancer" look from his face.