Wednesday I went to St. Vincent's for my pre-admission testing and a pre-surgical consult with my surgeon. Everything went really well. I feel much more comfortable knowing exactly what my surgeon has planned and hearing his instructions for post-op recovery, etc. We decided that it would be best to go ahead and remove my port during surgery. I am having a bi-lateral mastectomy. I can't say enough good things about my surgeon. His name is Dr. William Tapscott and he saved my life. I've been very critical of medical professionals because of past experiences. Going through this challenge has introduced me to so many wonderful, kind, caring medical professionals that my heart has softened and I don't necessarily immediate distrust every doctor I see any more. When I first saw Dr. Tapscott, he took my condition very seriously, sought opinions from other doctors and researched all the possibilities of what could be causing my trouble. He was patient, caring and compassionate. His bedside manner is impeccable! He and my Oncologist, Dr. Cantrell, are probably two of my favorite people in the whole entire world! Dr. Cantrell has answered every question I've ever had and addressed every concern with the utmost respect and patience. I have so much faith in his expertise and I am so happy that Dr. Tapscott referred me to him! He gets a little credit for saving my life too! ;o) Every nurse I've had has been an angel! I swear to you, I call the Cancer Center at least twice a week with a question and they always call me back quickly and never make me feel like a burden. They are encouraging and supportive, not to mention, they are great at their job! The staff at both offices bend over backwards to help you in any way they can! They are always smiling and sweet! I know I probably sound like a commercial, but anyone who knew me before I got sick knows I don't just throw around compliments about medical professionals! I thank God that He provided these people to care for me!!!
My muscles (especially my legs) are still sore, but I feel better every day! I'm still retaining a little fluid, but not nearly as bad as before! Hot flashes still suck!!! Other than that and, of course, still being a little more tired than I used to be, I'm pretty much recovered from chemo. We've noticed a little more fuzz on my head, so my hair IS growing back! My fingernails will eventually grow out. Eyebrows and eyelashes take a little more time to grow back, but they will eventually. I lost 20 lbs on the first 4 treatments, but during the last 4 I gained back 30 thanks to Steroids, inactivity and ice cream (along with a few more choice yummy foods that aren't that great for the waistline). I told my step-sister, I feel like an The Ugly Duckling right now. I know that when this is over the weight will come off, my hair will grow back, heck....my reconstruction surgery includes a tummy tuck. Maybe I'll become a swan, but right now none of that has happened yet and when I look at myself in the mirror I just don't look like me. A friend and breast cancer survivor posted on my facebook that I had "come to the place where things begin to feel like a walk uphill". Boy did she hit that nail on the head! I look back and I'm proud of myself for making it through chemo, but I know I'm not done...I'm not especially anxious about the surgery. I'm not really especially anxious about living without boobs for almost a year anymore. I thought living without hair would be the end of the world, but you get used to it. I'll be glad when I don't have to be used to it anymore, but for the time being, it's really not the end of the world. I think getting used to my different body will be similar. I will mourn, but then joy will come in the morning. I think God is teaching me a lot of lessons about patience and beauty right now. I'm specifically praying for my surgeon, that he will successfully get all the cancer cells out of my body! I'm praying for no complications and an easy recovery. I'm also praying against any cause of Lymphedema (a swelling in the arm on the affected side caused by damage to or removal of the lymph nodes) which would be a condition that would be more and less severe at times, but would never go away. I know God is as much in control of this situation as He has been every other situation along the way. He sees the big picture (actually He created the big picture!) and He has good things planned for me and my family!