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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Happy 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve posted so Happy New Year everyone. With the holidays and my ‘complication’ it’s been very busy; however Christmas was wonderful. It wasn’t a white Christmas, and actually pretty warm for December in Kansas, but it was fantastic. Delaney really got into opening presents, and when I wrapped them, she automatically thought she should unwrap them. It was very funny. She would get so excited when she had a gift and would tear into it them she’d go for the next, even if they weren’t her gifts. She also loved decorating the tree and thought it was a really neat game to hang the ornament, then take it down, and repeat. The older kids made out like bandits and I think everyone truly enjoyed spending time together.

Due to my skin graft my surgeries had to be postponed until I fully healed. As a result of this set back, I decided to reconsider having the hysterectomy in Houston. I asked Dr. Truong for a recommendation and he suggested I visit Dr. Morgan a gynecological oncologist in Wichita. So I had a visit right before Christmas and really liked her. She’s very open, honest, and easy to get along with. After our visit, I decided to go ahead and schedule the surgery sooner rather than later. Dr. Morgan thought there would be no issues having the hysterectomy before the reconstruction and agreed that getting out the potential items that were susceptible to cancer was better then leaving them in. So the surgery is scheduled for January 23rd at Wesley. I’ll be relieved to get this preformed and have the pathology back to reiterate that I’m completely cancer free.

The reconstruction should be able to take place sometime in March. I will more than likely need a follow up surgery after the implants are placed, to correct and make the final products look more uniform and real. During the reconstruction in March, I’m hoping Dr. Bauman can loosen the muscle under my arm where the lymph nodes and skin around the tumor were removed. He thinks he can help ease this discomfort, as it feels like a pulled muscle constantly.

Due to the skin graft I do now have a large oval shaped scar on the top of my right breast; so I’ve been considering having it covered with a tattoo after the healing is completely done of course. What I’m considering is a Pink Koi fish and pink butterfly around a cherry blossom branch. Inside the Koi and butterfly, would be pink ribbons. There is a lot of meaning behind the tattoo as the Koi represents perseverance in adversity and strength of purpose. Being a cancer survivor I have realized my purpose in life is to leave the world better then when I arrived. To help people know the truth of eternal life and to lead by example. The Kio also translates as "love" in English and is said to bring luck. Since Love has helped me fight the diagnosis, this is very powerful. God is love and through his love and the love of my family and friends, I’m in remission. Through God’s continued blessings, I will remain in remission.

The Butterfly represents endurance, change, hope, and life. It also is a sign of the life struggles that one has endured to emerge as a better person. As I’ve stated before, I truly feel like cancer has made me a better person. I really started living life as I realized how quickly it could be gone. I began appreciating the little things; I often overlooked the simple beauty of earth. The butterfly signifies rebirth and helps one to remember to take time and appreciate what we have and what really think about what we hope to be. Taking chemo, I had a chance to think a lot and hear stories of other survivors. The one thing I can say for certain, is I’m so grateful I’m a Christian because I know when I die, I will actually just be beginning to live my eternal life with the father. I often take for granted that others are Christians and know this truth; because I was raised with faith it’s second nature to me. However many people don’t know the peace God’s promises bring.

There was also a butterfly garden at MD Anderson and the meaning was very impactful. The plaque explained the project and said that butterflies and cancer patients were on the journey to hope and healing. I’ve included a link on this garden:

The Cherry blossom signifies overcoming an obstacle in life. It is also a sign of femininity and beauty. Of course the pink ribbon is for breast cancer awareness. Putting all of these together on my ‘ugly’ scar and transforming it into a beautiful constant reminder of what I’ve learned through this journey, the love I have for God, my family, and friends, and to never give up. It will be a visual cue to always keep fighting and to help provide others strength in times of adversity. I haven’t decided undoubtedly that I will get a tattoo, however it’s something I’m seriously considering even though it may seem out of character for me. Mom bought me a shirt that says “yes these are fake, the real ones tried to kill me”; I thought this was funny and pretty much tells my story.

This battle has been a journey to self-discovery and has enabled me to have a deeper understanding of my purpose. Although I’ve faced low periods, I know when I needed him most the Lord carried me through. 2012 is the year of living life to it's fullest and being cancer free. Thank You God for My Continued Healing.