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Friday, December 31, 2010

Back to Work in 2011

So after taking time off and enjoying our Hudson side of the family for Christmas, it's time for me to get my head back in to the breast cancer fight. Actually, I clocked a few hours yesterday, visiting my surgeon (in the midst of this horrible head cold) so she could aspirate about 60 mls of lymph fluid at my surgical site. Sounds worse than it was since that part of my body's still pretty numb. Three weeks after my axillary lymph node dissection, the drain for that fluid was removed but they figured I'd need to be aspirated after a few days. Anyway, my body should be acclimated now and hopefully I'm done with all that fluid business! My left arm is beginning to move more normally now but I wonder how long it will be before it's 100%.
In a few days, I'll have my "Power Port" installed. I'm trying to learn what I can beforehand since I only like surprises when they're in the form of a gift or a party. But you have to admit that it's got a nice ring to it...Power Port. Too bad the thought of the actual device grosses me out. If it didn't have to be one more scar on my beat-up bod, that would be nice too. At least this body is a temporary one.
Today I added to a list of questions that have come up as my research continues. Believe it or not, the docs don't guide you a whole lot once you find you have cancer. They just want you to do what they tell you and you have to know what questions to ask. I understand why that is, but there is SO much information and my family's had some "interesting" medical errors made in the past by well-meaning physicians, so...there's a lot of homework involved with something like this. But guess what? There's an app for that! Good thing my sweetheart husband gave me an iPhone 4 for Christmas! has this "Breast Cancer Guide" app that really helped me understand my pathology report and know what questions to ask about it.
I also spent hours today reading forums on that site and gleened some good information, not the least of which is a pre-chemo shopping list (pretty long list!) and tips for putting together a chemo bag to bring to treatments. Now there's a niche market! These tasks are going to be time consuming and if I could just order them, pre-packaged, how nice would that be? Hmmmm...
I also joined one of the forums because we're all starting chemo around the same time. I've never been one to participate in discussion threads online but this one will obviously be a good thing I think. Then I managed to send in for a free silk headwrap from this great non-profit (Good Wishes, an L. Erickson USA program). Nice huh? Next I have to be sure and get my teeth cleaned and a mani/pedi before the 11th since those aren't advisable during treatment (because they can introduce bacteria that can lead to infections.)
Today, however, no one was open for business. Not my doc to tell me if I need an antibiotic for this congestion, not my oncologist to advise me about my congestions and what it will/will not mean for Tues. port procedure, not the dentist to clean my teeth... Thankfully my laptop is on the job and I could get a headstart on 2011's agenda. Is it okay to admit I'm already looking forward to looking back on this next Christmas?
Okay, 2011 may not be my happiest year yet, but I'm determined to welcome it nonetheless. A wise counselor recently reminded me that Joseph probably didn't see Jesus' birth as the happiest moment of his life either. Yeah...think about that! He probably saw all his dreams for Mary and himself crumble. But he accepted and walked head on into God's purpose for his life, and with that, was instrumental in a very good thing (understatement, I know.) Maybe my unpleasant work this coming year will result in some unforeseen blessings. Sometimes I'm actually pretty hopeful it will. Other times, I'm just annoyed and discouraged. I'm assuming the blessings along the way will counteract that? Then again, considering Joseph, it will require unflinching obedience. And "obedience is better than sacrifice" (I Sam 15:22). Of course, an angel of the Lord appearing to me in dreams would be quite helpful! On the other hand, maybe it's God's mercy that prevents this. And, yes, I already know what He requires of me...Micah 6:8 "what does the Lord require of you, But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God", no excuses.
For now, 2011 fast approaches. I pray it's a good new year for us all, and may it bring unforeseen blessing surprises in abundance!

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