February 24, 2012
[I know this blog is longer than usual, so if you want to skip all the details than you can just scroll down to “IN A NUTSHELL”]
I’m not gonna lie, yesterday was really rough. We got to the hospital at 11:30am for my surgery at 1:30, only to find out that they moved my surgery to a later time. A much later time: 6:30pm! But we couldn’t leave and come back because there was a chance they could get me in sooner, and we couldn’t take the risk of not being when they called for me and getting my biopsy canceled.
I was upset we had to wait around all day because I hadn’t brought my laptop or anything to do for 6 hours of waiting, but mostly because I was instructed not to eat or drink past midnight the night before and so it was going to be that much longer before I could eat. Despite my hunger and disappointment, I knew that I was fortunate to get to have the surgery done that day, because the doctor originally wanted to wait until mid-March but we had asked if he could squeeze me into his schedule this week. I didn’t have a lot of energy anyway since I hadn’t eaten, so ended up sleeping away most of the hours we were waiting. Earlier than we had expected, they took me back at 3:30.
I got my IV in my hand, which stung and didn’t seem to get any more comfortable the whole time, probably because I was dehydrated. Hungry, uncomfortable, impatient, and somehow tired (despite all the sleep I had gotten), I was just ready to get it all over with. Nonetheless, we still had to wait a few hours. But I was glad to at least be out of the waiting room, in a bed, and closer to getting the surgery.
At 7:30, they finally knocked me out for my biopsy, and what felt like seconds later (9:00), I could hear people talking over me. I remember immediately pointing to my arm because it hurt, and when I pried my eyes open a little I could see IV’s in both of my arms in addition to the one in my hand. And I also remember pointing to my mouth over and over because it was so dry making it hard to swallow, and then felt someone put a wet sponge to my mouth.
When I finally decided to wake up a little bit, it was almost 11:00. My neck and back was sore, I guess from whatever position they had me in to be able to get to my chest, and I had bandages all over my arms from the 8 places they stuck me for IV’s. (I later found that all the IVs had something to do with the surgery being so close to many main veins and arteries in my chest, so that the doctors could access certain ones.)
We didn’t end up getting home until 12:30. I officially hadn’t eaten in 24 hours, so after I ate some pizza and took some medicine, I went straight to bed. I was dreading waking up today because I thought the pain would be a lot worse, but it is actually better. It hurts my chest when I get up and move around a lot, and it hurts when I swallow, but beside that I feel ok.
I’m just glad yesterday is over. Now we will just be praying and waiting for the results next week. Even though yesterday seemed awful to me and I probably come off as being a little overly dramatic, I know that things could’ve been a lot worse and that I am so blessed that the surgery was successful. They ended up removing almost all of the lymph node, so it should definitely be a sufficient sample to find out what it is!
I plan to drive back to Boone on Sunday, so I’m praying that I will feel good enough to drive so I won’t have to miss anymore school. This week in Tennessee was so unexpected. On the bright side, I was thankful to get to spend some time with my family. Just as I had no idea that I would be here this week, I have no idea where things are going to go from here. Writing my blog today, I am reminded of the only thing I can do during this time: pray. believe. conquer.
IN A NUTSHELL
- Though an excruciating long day, my surgery was successful in that they removed most of the inflamed lymph node
- My chest is sore today, but besides that my appetite is good and I’m feeling better than last night
- I would really appreciate prayers that I will be well enough to drive back on Sunday to return to school on Monday and of course for excellent results next week
February 20, 2012
I met with the surgeon today to schedule my biopsy. I will be having a mediastinoscopy on Thursday at 1:30. I know you’re nodding along right now because you know exactly what a mediastinoscopy is.
Well, I’m not exactly sure what it means either, but all I know is that the doctor will be making a small incision right were my collar bones meet in the middle of my upper chest, and go in to remove as big of a chunk that they can safely remove of the quarter-sized inflamed lymph node. (side note: I had originally thought is was penny-sized, but found out it’s actually closer to a quarter.)
So I didn’t really receive any new information today besides when we are going to take the next step (Thursday). The good news is, that I won’t have to stay overnight at the hospital like we had initially been told. Hopefully, I will only have to miss this week of school and return to Boone this weekend. I say this, afraid to really plan anything past tomorrow…
Though life can be so unpredictable, I can find peace in the fact that I have a God watching over me Whose faithfulness and love is predictably unfailing.
IN A NUTSHELL
- My biopsy will be on Thursday at 1:30 to remove a portion of the lymph node for testing
- I won’t find out any results until at least a week after the biopsy
- Please pray for a smooth procedure, a quick recovery, and great results
- Thank you so much to all of you who have continued to keep up with me through all of this and for all of your prayers and support
February 17, 2012
Today was another great day, well, until a couple of hours ago. My check-up started early this morning by having to get an IV for my scan, which took two tries, but I was brave, calm, and it wasn’t painful. Nervousness didn’t get to me the whole morning— through the IV, the scan, or the blood work–so I was feeling pretty good when it came time to hear what the doc had to say:
Dr. Morgan told us that the “spot” in my upper chest that they had discovered on my last scan was still there and that there was a significant enough change in its size that they want to explore it further. The original bronchoscopy biopsy of the spot had come back negative for lymphoma a couple months ago, but now they want to do another type biopsy so that they can retrieve more tissue to have a better chance of finding out exactly what it is. There is always the possibility that it is Hodgkin Lymphoma, but there is also a chance (which is what we are hoping for) that it could be an infection I picked up during chemo when my immune system was down.
My treatment for Hodgkin Lymphoma went exactly as the doctors had planned: after two months of chemo I was in remission and then finished out the the rest of the six months without any problems. Thus, my chances of it NEVER coming back should be in the high 90%s. So at this point the doctors aren’t really sure what to think. All they know is they don’t like it and want to get to the bottom of it.
Though it wasn’t something I was planning on hearing today, I wasn’t floored when I received the news. I think after hearing things like that a few times before, it doesn’t surprise me anymore. As for how I’m feeling, well it certainly does put a damper on things now doesn’t it? But believing God for who He says He is, I know that He has a plan to work everything out for my good.
I have a doctor’s appointment on Monday with a thoracic surgeon to figure out my next step in getting another biopsy. Please pray that my family and I will continue to find peace in knowing that everything is in the Lord’s hands.
IN A NUTSHELL
- The small spot on my last scan has grown to about the diameter of a penny
- The doctors are unsure of what it is. Their best guesses are lymphoma or an infection
- I have to meet with a doctor on Monday morning to schedule the biopsy for hopefully sometime next week
- Of course, I would appreciate any prayers you want to send His way 🙂
February 14, 2012
Life is so good. I can’t even tell you how good it has been since I’ve been back in Boone. Life is even more amazing than it was before that six-month interruption. Actually, life isn’t necessarily better, its pretty much the same. I just have a new appreciation for it that I didn’t before, and thoroughly enjoy simply being well.
I am back at Elevation Boone, designing and helping with the church. Wedding planning is kind of on the back burner because I have been so busy with Elevation, school, and work, but it’s coming along. I have so much joy in my life and am so thankful that God brought me back to this place and these amazing people.
My check-up scan is this Friday. I am excited to see my family. As for the scan, I’ve been so busy I haven’t really thought about it and don’t care to. I’m not nervous or worried at all. I might be when I’m actually at the hospital, but I’m going to try not to be. As always though, prayers would be appreciated.
It has been really awesome to see how God has used my blog to encourage and inspire others, and that He is still using my story to glorify Him. Since I have been back in North Carolina, I have gotten to share my story with people in Boone, among friends, at a women’s retreat and even at Elevation! I am starting to realize that God working through my sickness to change my life is only the half of it. He is using it to impact others’ lives too. When He gives you a story to tell, He wants you to share it with the world. “If the story stops here, His glory stops here.”
IN A NUTSHELL
- I feel great and I’m so happy to be back in Boone! Praise the Lord!
- Please pray for good results from my check-up scan on Friday morning and be on the lookout for an update this weekend
- God has given me a story worth sharing, a great tool to glorify Him, and am excited to continue using it to encourage others in their faith!