Saturday, March 1, 2014

Might not be a lot but I'm making the most

Well blog, seeing as I'm updating you less than a month since my last post, then you must know I come bearing news.

So I met with that plastic surgeon that my nurse navigator had heard of. That was one of the hardest days I had had in a long while on this journey. He took one brief glance at my chest and told me -- 

1.) I wouldn't be able to get tattooed there because the skin was far too thin.

and 2.) Simply having a smaller implant put in to replace my current one on the right side, was not going to be successful; therefore, it was not an option for me.

He went on to further deflate me by explaining my only option available would be either TRAM or latissimus dorsi flap surgery. Then, he explained that generally only plastic surgeons who do TRAM/lat flap surgeries on a regular basis are comfortable doing them. 

In other words, he was done dealing with me. I was too much of a hassle. If not, that's definitely the vibe I got off the experience. It was a $40 co-pay to be dismissed immediately. Frustrating as it was, it was eye opening.

I need a cosmetic surgeon who is going to be patient, kind and willing to help "fix" me. 

So begins another challenge. We are quite limited on the number of plastic surgeons covered by our insurance. There is one in particular, I have had recommended to me by multiple reliable sources that I'd really like to be able to see. So now Jason and I are working towards anything we can to try and make that happen. 

This doc I want, specializes in breast reconstruction. He's done a lot of the surgeries for women in the breast cancer support group I had been to before. I just feel God is pointing me towards seeing him. If that's true, I think this will all pan out the way we're hoping. Time shall tell. 

Even my general surgeon, Dr. Kushner, recommended this cosmetic surgeon to me. Speaking of Dr. Kushner! I saw him earlier this week about having my port removed FINALLY. He was concerned about the issue with my heart racing which I'll get back to, but I was able to schedule an appointment to have my port yanked.

I was given the choice to have it scheduled and done at the surgical center, or just done in the back room where his office is. Only difference is twilight sleep. I decided I'm okay not being put under for this. I still get local anesthetic, so it's not like I'll feel anything. I'll just look away when he's slicing and stuff. ;)

As for my heart, well, I did eventually get a phone call from my cardiologist's office. They said my blood work looked fine. No hyperthyroidism then or anemia. After being prompted by Dr. Kushner, I called and scheduled to get my echocardiogram. My cardiologist had another test he wanted me to get, so I scheduled that and a follow up as well. 

The other one is to monitor my natural heart rate for 3 days. So I have to wear a monitor and check in each day for that I guess? The fun never ends, you guys! Haha

Ah, I also finally made it in to see my gynecologist. I literally hadn't seen him since maybe a couple months after my original diagnosis. He was very relieved to see me alive and doing fine. I thanked him up and down for helping me move things along so quickly, since he was the one who confirmed further testing about the breast lump I had.

I should have seen him more recently, seeing as I'm more at risk for cervical/ovarian cancer as someone who has breast cancer. So I'm nervous about getting my pap results. Hopefully all is normal and well. I'm going back next week, to have a hormone-free IUD placed and he's going to do an ultrasound on my pelvic area.

As I said, the fun never ends! I still have more docs to visit after these ones too, but I don't want to think about that right now. Lol! But you know, I would take preventative maintenance appointments any day over a lot of other things.

Other than filling my weeks with as many doctor visits as I can manage, I've been working and napping and squeezing fun in here and there. 

Disneyland has been my life long happy-place/refuge, plus the hubby and I have a ton of sentimental  history as a couple attached to it as well. So we've had a chance to get back there a bit more recently. Not much more in life makes me happier than being there, nonetheless being there with him. :)

We can't afford to take a real vacation, so it's our next best thing. And I am blessed and grateful for it. <3

With the mention of expenses, I must bring up something I debated with myself whether or not to post about here.

Now, I try not to speak of our financial issues. Not for pride's sake, but because I never wanted to worry anyone. 

Before I go on, it should be said that we have received generosity and kindness from family, more than I ever feel we ever could have deserved, earlier on during this ordeal. That help was what kept us afloat. 

We are just about 2 years out since my DX. Treatment didn't end for me until May 2013, and my last surgery was in August 2013. We are still trying to pay off my radiation therapy. On top of that, my so-called routine testing, has a much heftier co-pay. Our specialists co-pay went up last year as well. 

You think if you're blessed enough to beat cancer, it's all sunshine and cupcakes afterwards. And in many ways, it is! But the upkeep to make sure you remain cancer free... the lasting side effects... the medical bills that never cease... 

It takes its toll. At the suggestion of one my dear friends, Stacey (she was a fellow Disney bride too!), Jason made an account for us on a medical fundraising website called Give Forward. The money donated, which I am shocked and humbled we've received as much as we have so far, is going to help us pay off our medical bills.

Please, by no means feel obligated... prayers are deeply appreciated, but if you're interested in donating to help us out, click HERE

I feel so strange asking for donations. I don't see how or why little ol' me would be any worthier than anyone else out there, but I do feel so immensely touched by the outpouring of loved ones sharing and donating. Not to forget those beautiful strangers who have as well! <3 I see Christ is alive and well in each of these kind souls.

I hope we'll be able to return the favor one day. By our Lord's grace and mercy, I know we will. 

Even with all our stressful money dealings, I can't complain. It could be so much worse. I am ever grateful for each day. I, very heartbreakingly, was slapped with this reminder when my friend and personal cancer-warrior-hero, Stan, lost his battle a few weeks ago.

His optimism and love is resounding. He was and shall ever be an inspiration to myself and many others. I never saw him whining about anything, ever. The guy had plenty cause, out of nearly everyone I've known, to complain too. He never did. He fought nearly without end for 3 years.

I aspire to be that way... although I'm sorry, Stan. I don't think I'm as saintly as you were. :) 

Stan with his lovely wife, Fatima
Rest peacefully Stan. May God bless you, my friend, and may He bless your courageous wife, my friend Fatima as well. Let us all be appreciative for our blessings, great and small.

That covers everything new in my little world.  I hope to have more to share, and hopefully all positive news at that, in the coming weeks. 

Wishing you all a marvelous March! God bless!

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful."  Colossians 3:15