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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Freedom


As I sit back and think about how lucky we are to live in a free society some immediate topics come to mind.  It seems like the news is always covering negative or controversial subjects but why is that: Because it sells.  We as a free society have the right not to watch and therefore force the media to focus on positives.  I’m also glad that we have the ability to see controversial items though as in many societies these are banned.  However in America, we are FREE so we have the right to watch and say what might not be considered status quo.

I deeply appreciate the service men and women who put their lives on the line to give us our freedoms.  Those that have given the ultimate sacrifice: their lives and those that continue to fight for our freedoms.  We are truly blessed to live in the best nation in the world.  It takes us however to continue our legacy and not fall behind.

Pastor Keith spoke about Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for our eternal lives and asked if we are worriers or warriors? He said a warrior is one that takes positives actions to correct a negative situation.  I can tell you I’m a warrior and I strive to be more of one each day.  Over the years, I’ve had to choose to take this course as I too used to worry unnecessarily about things I could not control.  As I’ve encountered more of these uncontrollable situations, my faith has deepened and I’ve realized I have to give my worry up to God and accept his will for my life.  Did I always like or understand it; NO, but has it always worked out to help me be a better person and Christian; Yes.

Regarding my warrior status, I actually had a doctor tell me that I was too happy.  He goes on to tell me he doesn’t like treating triple negative breast cancer as it’s harder to treat, comes back more often, and is deadlier.  Well, thanks for that inspirational piece of information doc but what do you want me to do? Cry all the time and be miserable while I’m still here? NO way.  I’ve chosen to be happy.  I want to be remembered as making a positive difference in the world not as poor Miranda with Breast cancer.  If I’m only remembered for having breast cancer, I’ve drastically failed at becoming the person I want to be.  I’m a warrior; I’ve always been one who just wants to make the world a better place.  Now how I do that, I’ve never been really certain, but I know that my ultimate goal in life is to leave the world better then when I came into it.

I try and surround myself with other warriors; those that are fighting the good fight and making positive impacts.  Of course we all have our negative or down days, but overall those are few and far between.  That doctor I said was so surprised that I was too “happy’ for my situation was the plastic surgeon I was considering for my reconstruction, his name is Dr. Poggi in Wichita.  I really got mixed feelings about him, in some ways his honesty was refreshing but in another it was gruff.  I think I will work with him, at least on filling up the expanders, so I don’t have to travel to Houston every few weeks, but I’m not sure about having him do the final surgery or not with him.  But I have time to decide as that will be 3-6 months after the October 4th double mastectomy.

As most of you know, we also went to Houston last week.  We had such a great experience with corporate angels and the Conoco Phillips flight was wonderful.  It is direct and everyone is so nice.  They also offer complimentary food and drinks; add that to the fact that they have their own terminals, we couldn’t ask for me.  The one issue though is flights are only able to be confirmed 72 hrs. in advanced.  So instead of coming home Thursday we had to stay until Friday to get on the flights.  Dad thought it was probably due to the holiday weekend and another cancer passenger said he’s been flying with them since January and this was the first time he wasn’t able to get a flight.  So probably the holiday weekend did make the difference, nonetheless we were able to utilize it and it’s wonderful.  The only stressful part is not knowing if you can use it until 72 hours before you leave.  Worse case scenario we’d drive but flying was so much better.  I have to travel back to MDA the end of July to meet with the Gynecological Oncologist and I’m hoping we can take the Conoco flight again. 

We were met in Houston by a group called Ground Angels.  These are volunteers that drive you from the airport to the hotel. Our first angel was Ron and our second was Bill.  Both were extremely nice and it’s a great no cost offering for medical center patients as a taxi is $60 one way. Both Ground Angels and Corporate Angels not for profit who’s missions have helped so many. 

While in Houston, I also saw Dr. Green and got an ultrasound.  My tumor has shrank, probably by at least a third, but we didn’t have the finalized ultrasound report so don’t have the exact size.  Dr. Green said when she saw me before my tumor was protruding out of the breast but now she had to ‘dig’ for it to feel it so that is a very positive sign.  I also got my first treatment of the FAC chemo.  The chemo facility was great; private rooms with a bed and TV along with a chair for a visitor.  It was very nice but I don’t remember much as it knocked me out. It also knocked me out for the next few days and I’m still lagging from it. I also had immense bone pain in my legs.  I was speaking to another breast cancer survivor and she said she had that too.  It’s hard to describe what it feels like but it is almost like restless leg with pain if you can image that.  I even had to get up from dinner on Wednesday night and leave mom there because I couldn’t take the pain and had to get to the room.  We were so lucky the hotel had a restaurant on site as we ate there 3 out of 4 nights because I just was too tired to go elsewhere.

I also met with the reconstruction surgeon, Dr. Baumann.  He was nice and has agreed to work with Poggi if I decide to go that route.  Poggi told me that I didn’t need to go to MD Anderson as Wichita was just as good however I told him that’s interesting as the US News and world reports ranks MDA number one. He said they just have good marketing.  So needless to say, I was a little put off by and even that much more grateful for Dr. Truong as he’s willingly working with any doctor I choose.  Poggi said there was no difference between a gynecological oncologist and a regular gynecologist and he said any surgeon can do a mastectomy.  Well that is probably true, but can any surgeon do it well and get as much of the breast and gynecological tissue as possible because whatever is left there is a possibility for cancer from it.  I would love to have surgery in Wichita, and considered after talking with Poggi, but after a week of deliberation I know if my cancer came back and I had surgery in Wichita I would always wonder if I did it at MDA, the best cancer hospital in the World, would have I had a better outcome???

I don’t want to second guess myself so I‘ve decided MDA is the only place to have it done.  I’m very much going to miss the kids for three weeks, and we’ll have a lot of logistical planning to do, but we’ll make it work.  It’s my life right so what choice do we have really????

I appreciate the outpouring of support and have been told several people weren’t aware of the helping hands site.  Krista set this up and it’s great so if you’re interested in helping, please visit it.  At this point, I don’t have a lot of needs, but as I have some, I can post them and they will go out to all registered users. https://www.lotsahelpinghands.com/c/639924/login/ 

I know all the prayers and positive thoughts are working. I feel them in my soul.  I know I’m blessed to be so supported and live in a free society.  Many people in other countries are seeking this freedom.  I have the right to choose my surgeon and in many countries that is not the case.  We are so lucky to be in America the Greatest Country in the world.  Thank You God for my healing and allowing me to be an American.