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Friday, February 13, 2015

Post Surgery Update

     I had my surgery this past Tuesday and thankfully, God heard all of your prayers and it ended up being laparoscopic, which means my recovery time is much shorter. The doctor said he didn't have to move very much of my kidney, which is another huge blessing.  All of the meds I take to keep my liver working are very hard on my kidneys, so I was worried about the hit my kidney would take. Originally, the doctor said I would have to stay a couple of nights, but I am pretty stubborn and insisted that I would only stay one night. I got out of bed on Tuesday evening and walked quite a bit around the unit, drank all of my clears, and proved I could go potty. Paul probably got sick of taking me to the bathroom so many times, but he was a trooper. I am always amazed by how many wonderful family members and friends I have surrounding me. It is humbling every single time. My coworkers are so protective of me and it is comforting to know that I work with people that love me and truly want to help me. Paul's parents came to our house at 5:15 am and took Thomas to school, they picked him up after school and brought him to the hospital to see me, which he is the best medicine in the entire world. I heard him coming down the hall saying, "where is my momma, I miss my momma!" These are the words I longed to hear as a mother, it still feels so good to be called a mother. Thomas is the reason I never want to stay very long in the hospital, I always want to be close to him and care for him.
    When I arrived at 6:00 am to report for surgery, there waiting on me was my friend Donna Higgs. I know she is a one of a kind friend and I also know she was there representing our friend Kelly Bircher, who passed away last May. Donna is my funny friend, so being able to spend time laughing before surgery is always a bonus. She even came back that evening with a little horse stuffed animal to cheer me up. My mom, dad, and sister were also there to give me support first thing in the morning. My mom is always emotional and nervous before I have surgery and I try to keep in mind that I would probably be the same way if Thomas was having surgery. A great friend from church, Amy Suffron came during my surgery as well and brought some great snacks and things to help pass the time. After my surgery, Paul's brother also came by to see me, not to mention all the calls, emails, texts, and FB messages I received.  As a nurse, I sometimes take care of patients with no visitors or family and this always breaks my heart, so I feel extremely lucky to be so loved. After being discharged home, I arrive and there is a package waiting on me from my sweet friend Heather, and she had sent me the cutest pajamas I have ever seen to wear in recovery. Both Donna and Heather are friends I met and made in nursing school. Taking a shower Thursday morning was the best thing I had done in a while, I put on my new pjs and walked as much as possible to help in getting all this extra air out of my abdomen. Later, I even made it to Thomas' Valentine's Day Party at his school. He kept telling the kids I had 5 booboos on my tummy and he kept wanting me to show all his friends my booboos. I did not show them, but I love how sweet he is. When I came home Wednesday evening, Thomas took off all of my band aids and taped-up gauze areas. He kept asking me if they were giving me anymore shots, he did not want me to have to get any shots while I was in the hospital. My sister, Tricia, took care of Thomas the night Paul and I spent in the hospital. She usually spoils him, which he loves. Any time we go to her house, Thomas will say, "Okay Mom, you can leave now, I want to stay at Tricia's house all by myself." I am glad he has a place that he feels so safe and special. He has his own snacks drawer in her kitchen and his own box of toys. My sister is so special to me, she is my go-to girl whenever I need help or just need to talk.
     I absolutely love my surgeon, Dr. Mark Sutton, he is very thorough with excellent bedside manner. I sometimes try to imagine if my job was that of a surgeon. How crazy is it that he wakes up, gets ready, and then cuts people open and fixes their insides. I mean, it really is hard to wrap my mind around his ability to find a little tumor in my abdominal cavity and remove it with these little robotic arms and he didn't nick any other important parts in there. Health care is so amazing and continues to improve daily! Trusting someone with your life is such a test of my faith each and every time.
     Thursday evening, my Sunday School class brought us a delicious dinner from my favorite place, Jimmy Changas. Before they came, my mom came over and cleaned my house, did some laundry, and let Thomas and I take a nap. Taking a nap is never over-rated, they always make me feel better. I had time to start reading a book Paul's Nana sent me about healing. She is such a Godly woman that always checks on me and shares Bible verses with me. Just when I might be getting a little discouraged, she calls or sends me a letter. I love learning from her daily and I hope to be a wife like her someday.
     My next goal is to get back to Crossfit. I honestly feel like Crossfit is the reason I am feeling so good after surgery. I am able to do things by relying on the strength in my legs and upper body. I will have to lay-off abdominal work for a bit, but I hope to get back to the gym in the next two weeks. I miss my gym peeps and I really miss the way Crossfit makes me feel about myself.
    As always, thanks for your prayers, love, concern, and encouragement. I am going to keep on going forward.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Yucky News

     Things have really been going pretty great here recently. I go to Crossfit 5-6 times a week and truly love each and every workout. I love working part-time and spending the majority of my time with Thomas. He is so sweet and it is easy to have fun with him. Work has been great too! I am looking forward to our holiday party at the end of this month and in February, I will be going to a "Camp for All," with some of our patients and a bunch of our staff.  Our holiday break was wonderful with lots of family, food, gifts, and good times. 
     In December, I had my routine MRI that I have every six months. They had been watching a spot on my kidney for the past two years that was small and had not grown or changed. Well, my December MRI showed some growth and they referred me to a urologist for further evaluation. I had an ultrasound that was inconclusive, so they sent me have a CT scan with contrast, drinking that stuff is seriously so disgusting, but I did it like a champ. This past Thursday, the doctor called and confirmed that it met all the requirements for being malignant and since 95% of all solid masses on the kidney that "light-up" on a scan are malignant. The good news is that they are going to remove it. I would prefer they remove it laproscopically, but of course I am always special and it is in a hard to reach place on the front of my kidney. So, currently, my doctor is consulting another doctor to try and come up with a plan of attack. I will find out soon the date to have a partial nephrectomy, which means they are going to remove part of my left kidney.
     There are lots of positives in this situation.  They found it very early, I trust and love the doctors taking care of me. Because of my Nana having to need a urologist, I met the doctor taking care of me, he is a class act, honest, and has excellent bedside manner. My only fear is the pain, which I know sounds wimpy, but I hate being in pain and not being able to do all the stuff I do everyday. My first question is about recovery time and how long until I can crossfit again. Kidney cancer is one of the best to get as far as low chances of spreading once it is removed.
    Besides this little bump in the road, all else is wonderful.  My niece Karina got engaged on New Year's Eve and we have been busy wedding planning and getting excited about the future. I love her fiance Daniel and he has already felt like family for a while now.
    On a side note, I saw the movie American Sniper and I recommend all adults see this film if they are able. It is rated R for war violence and it has some cursing in the movie, but it is so moving. It really made me think about my freedom and how expensive it truly is. I hope 2015 has been awesome for you already and that it will only improve each day. Thanks for reading.