Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Psalm of the Day Gadget

When I first started this particular blog, I wanted to add a gadget called Psalm of the Day.  I love the book of Psalms in the Bible.  The songs are beautiful and the poetry is inspirational.  I grew up reading a Psalm or two at the breakfast table every morning with my parents and siblings.  It was a great way to start the day.

When I saw this particular gadget, I was so excited.  I couldn't wait to view the inspiring daily text.  I clicked on my layout page and shifted a few sections around.  Then, I placed the gadget in a prime location on the web page.  Quickly, I updated the page and then went to view it on the browser.  I scanned the page for the Psalm of the Day gadget and smiled with delight as soon as I found it.  Then, I began to read.  At first, I was confused.  I had hoped that one of my favorite verses would appear but the first verse to appear was about a battle.  I paused for a moment, raised an eyebrow, and then snickered in amusement.

"What kind of weirdo gadget is this??"  I thought.  "Seriously.  A random verse about a battle without any other context is absurd."

I immediately deleted the gadget from my blog and then I cracked up laughing.  I guess if I want inspiration, I'll have to crack open the Bible.

By the way, some of my favorite Psalms of hope and inspiration are Psalm 46 and Psalm 27.  Psalm 46 begins with "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." while Psalm 27 ends with the text "Wait on the Lord:  be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart:  wait, I say, on the Lord."

Energy Returns

A few months after completing my chemotherapy and radiation treatments, I felt my old energy return.  I'm not going to lie.  It felt really good to get my strength back.  For months, I dragged my tired behind all over town to work, appointments, kid productions, play dates, and more.  The only thing that kept me going was the grace of God.  Without Him, I would have fallen flat on my face from exhaustion. 

With my energy back, I took new pleasure in spending time with my family and friends.  Our little family spent more time exploring parks, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, art galleries, and local concerts.  It was really exciting to get out and play again.  The kids especially enjoyed the activity.  My two sons love to go to new places so they soaked in the fun.

My energy has returned to normal now but I make a point of not overdoing it anymore.  If I feel as though I'm going to become stressed about something, I pray for peace and study my Bible.  I also try to put things in the order of importance. 

My list looks like this:
First, the most important thing in my life is God.
Second, the next important and sexy thing in my life is my husband.
Third, the next important rascals in my life are my children.  (They have me wrapped around their little fingers.)
Fourth, the next important crazy and lovable people in my life are my Mamont, Brobont, Sisont, and many other relatives and family members.
Fifth, the next important people in my life are my many awesome and favorite friends. (Every last of one of you are my favorite people.)

When I regain perspective, I realize there is no need to stress over insignificant or even significant matters.  God will take care of it.  Period.

Shopping for New Boobs

In between the mastectomy and radiation, I met with a plastic surgeon about my upcoming reconstruction.  My plastic surgeon is very much a perfectionist and meticulous.  He is also very exacting and particular.  I am incredibly grateful that he has all these attributes.  It gives me great confidence in his vision for my reconstruction.

When my husband and I met with the plastic surgeon for the first time, we poured over pictures of various types of procedures.  I had no idea there were so many options for reconstruction.  I also had no idea that the reconstruction process was so personalized for each patient and their specific set of circumstances. 

I have to say that it was fun shopping for my new boobs.  Not everyone gets to pick out a new set of headlights when they're in their mid thirties.  After giving it a lot of thought, I decided to get an obscenely large rack.  To be more specific, I decided to get porn star jubblies.  No.  I'm just kidding.  However, I did decide to go back to my breast feeding days.  My tatas were very large and fantastic.  Now, I will have very large, fantastic and perky boobies until I die at 101 years of age.

Oh...won't my senior citizen pals be envious.  My boobs won't hang low.  They won't wobble to and fro.  I won't be able to tie them in a knot or tie them in a bow.  Sadly, I won't be able to throw them over my shoulder like a continental soldier. boobs won't hang low. 

Fuzzy Rabbit Hair

While in the midst of radiation treatments, I began to notice a change on my scalp.  If I peered at myself closely in the bathroom mirror, I could make out the beginnings of my hair.  Prior to cancer and chemotherapy, I used to have thick, long, dark brown/black ringlet curls that hung past my waist.  When I stood out in the sun, my curls would shimmer with red/brown highlights.  I really loved my hair.  My husband really loved my hair as well.

I could feel tingles of excitement and also tinges of worry as I examined my scalp in the mirror.  Cancer patients always talked about how their hair had changed after taking chemotherapy.  Some talked about bald spots while others reported curlier hair.  Since my hair was already curly, I worried that it would come back straight or thin or a different color.  Those attributes are not bad attributes.  I think I would probably look pretty cute with straighter or thinner hair.  My old hair could be quite bushy in humid weather, similar to Animal from the Muppet Show.  However, I wanted my old hair back so I could feel more like me again.

So there I sat on my bathroom counter examining the sprouts of hair on my head.  As the weeks passed, the sprouts eventually turned into fuzzy rabbit hair.  That fuzzy rabbit hair was black, thick, and very straight.  With the right kind of makeup and fun clothes, I rocked that fuzzy rabbit hair!

Radiation: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Once my scars had healed from the mastectomy and my surgeon had released me to everyday life, I made an appointment to visit with the radiation oncologist.  My radiation oncologist and his staff are wonderful and hilarious.  I really enjoyed my time with them.

My primary oncologist prescribed a chemotherapy pill (Xeloda) and my radiation oncologist recommended daily treatments for a good portion of the autumn season.  Every day, the staff and I would meet, discuss symptoms, talk about our personal lives, laugh, watch me glow with radiation, and then wish each other well.

During one of the sessions, they passed along this bit of Christmas holiday wisdom.  Radiation is the gift that keeps on giving long after your treatments are done.  Therefore, therapeutic lotion  and vitamin e gel will be your best friends.

I Look Like I'm Ten

Immediately after my mastectomy, I wore bandages for at least five days before I looked at my scars.  Drainage tubes hung from my sides.  I moved around the house gingerly so as not to disturb the bothersome tubes.  Draining the tubes and recording the volume of fluid collected  was an interesting task.  I have a warped mind and was strangely fascinated with my disgusting souvenirs from the surgery. 

Eventually, the home health nurse came by the house to change my bandages and look at the scars.  As she removed the bandages, she commented that the scars looked fantastic.  I was surprised.  Then, I looked down at my scars and realized I looked like a ten year old.  This was crazy!  It was almost as if I had traveled back to a time prior to puberty.   Yet, I was grateful that I looked like a ten year old.  Before going into surgery, I had tortured myself by searching for pictures of mastectomy scars online.  Here is a word of advise.  Never search out these pictures.  You will have nightmares.

I Have No Arms

After many weeks of chemotherapy, I had a double mastectomy.  My surgeon was amazing.  He removed my boobs and tumor like a plastic surgeon and stitched me back together like an artist.  My tumor was gone, off to the lab to be dissected and analyzed.

After the surgery, my chest was wrapped in bandages.  I had a drain hanging from each side and I had several bottles of narcotics to take away the pain.  After visiting with the surgeon briefly, I also discovered that I had restrictions on movement and lifting for several weeks.  In essence, I had to act like I had no arms. 

It was going to be a real trick dealing with my young children while on the restrictions.  My oldest was five and my youngest was one.  They both loved to be cuddled and held.  My oldest was very sensitive to the fact that I had cancer and worried about the outcome of my surgery.  My youngest needed me to provide comfort and security as he explored the world on his two feet.  My husband was a great help while I recovered from the surgery.  He helped me snuggle the kids when they needed it the most and I am forever grateful.