Everyone always asks how did you find out you had cancer?... I don't blame anyone for asking and I often wonder myself, "how did I get here today?" I never felt sick, I never felt like my body was misbehaving or like something was majorly wrong.
As many of you may or may not know I have autoimmune diseases, I have a disease similar to Lupus and I have arthritis and a connective tissue disease in my lungs. They are all well managed with medicines and regular follow up with my doctors. I am thankful that I can live a normal live even with these things going on in my body. I really have no limitations besides no more running, it is too hard on the knees with the arthritis.
One night in January though I was at Target and all of a sudden I started bleeding and bleeding. I went to the bathroom and tried to get control of it but I couldn't and it felt out of control so I went right over to urgent care. The nurse was so kind and I remember her saying, "if I was bleeding like that I would have come right in to." I was so thankful for those words because the bleeding only lasted an hour or so but it was so intense. When I was there they did an ultrasound and found that my lining of my uterus was thick. They said it was most likely from my medicines from my autoimmune but that I would need to do a follow up with my doctor.
I went in to see my primary care doctor a few days later and she said that they could thin out the lining with some medicines but first they need to run a D&C just to be sure all was normal but again that the thickening was most likely from the medicines and my autoimmune disease. She tried to do the D&C but was unable to do a successful D&C so she referred me to a specialist, I am so thankful for this!
The specialist, Dr James, decide the best course of action was to put me under and do the D&C at the hospital. I was not thrilled about that but after the rough D&C with the regular doctor I agreed that this was most likely the best course of action so it was scheduled for March. I got sick in March and could not go under so we had to reschedule the procedure. Dr. James did the D&C at the hospital on June 12th and as I was waking up he came in and said, "I believe it is cancer but we will know more in a week when the results are back."
I thought it was a bad dream but I woke more and asked Todd and he said that Dr. James had explained the same to him and that it was most likely cancer. I was scared and upset that the doctor had said that it might be cancer but not being sure and having to wait a week seemed cruel. I was so mad that day but the more I prayed and seeked God in the situation the more at peace I was that when we went back to the doctor one week later. I was so thankful that I had the week with God to talk to Him and hear from Him and I was thankful Dr. James had given us as much information as he could at the time.
It was confirmed that I had endometrial cancer on June 19th and my doctor said he could not do the next steps as he was getting ready to retire so I would have to see a new specialist. He referred me to a doctor in Loveland, Dr Rubatt and Dr. James said "she was the best and if I could get in there quickly and my insurance would cover it don't go any where else because she is the best." I prayed that my insurance would cover it and I got an appointment for June 26.
(for more information on endometrial cancer you can read about it at https://www.cancer.org/cancer/endometrial-cancer.html)
Dr. Rubatt walked in and was concerned that I was young and would want more kids. I quickly explained that we had adopted and that if we wanted more kids than we would adopt again. She continued to tell us that she would like to take everything, the uterus, the fallopian tubes, the ovaries, and a few lymph nodes. She believes that I did get the cancer because of the connective tissue diseases. I was all for surgery with the goal of not having to do chemo therapy and having the surgery quickly. I was praying hard to not having to do chemo therapy.
They scheduled the surgery for July 5, 2017 and we were off to the races to get the cancer out before it spread. The doctor took some lymph nodes to test and everything came out during surgery. The surgery was a success and the lymph nodes came back negative! The cancer had not spread! There is no need for chemo or radiation! The cancer was stage 1A! A rare early catch!!!
I have seen God through so many of the steps of this process and I am thankful every day, even as I recover from this crazy surgery. I am thankful that in a total of less than a month, they found the cancer, removed it and found out that I am now cancer free.
I still am in recovery mode of life, I can't sit much, standing and laying is best. If I drop something it can stay down there or someone else has to get it. I am still tired more than normal. I get sore easily. I still have scars that need to heal and bruising from the surgery but all I have to do is recover and not do further treatment, I am so thankful!! I will have my next follow up on August 18 and then hopefully I will get back to being able to lift and move and get back to normal life then.
I am thankful to everyone who has prayed for me, those prayers carried me through this whole event. I am thankful for everyone who has brought food, it is a true blessing to me and my family. I can't bend which means I can't cook, get pans, put stuff in the dishwasher, nothing, so the food is a true gift. I am also so thankful for all the encouragement and cards. Laying in bed and recovering gets old but the cards/emails of encouragement truly lift my spirit. I am thankful for friends who took Payton for playdates while I was in surgery and recovering so she can remain a kid and have fun while I recover and deal with cancer.
I am truly thankful for my family, I was only in the hospital for one day and came home. When I came home I could do nothing myself, not get in or out of bed, not shower, not go to the bathroom, nothing. My family helped me do everything and was an amazing help. I still can't lift anything over 10 pounds, bend, help with chores around the house, or do much of anything and my family continues to be my main support while I recover and I am so thankful!!!
Life can throw us different curves along the way but when you trust and believe in a God that cares and loves you, you can have true PEACE through it all! God has protected, guided and loved me through this all and I am thankful every day for His grace and peace!
Monday, July 10, 2017
|The view from my bed|
Surgery was on July 5th and it was an emotional day. I was able to control my emotions and everything until that day and I felt that I just needed to get it over with and be ready to move on. The night before I wrote a prayer, as a friend who had the same situation as me before had encouraged me to do, and I slept great but when I woke I was emotional.
To have to have a full hysterectomy at age 34 and not sure what else they would find when they were in there was overwhelming. I knew God was with me but fear and the unknown were strong. I continued to cling to the verse, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6 There was much to be thankful for, good doctors, quick action, a great praying church, friends to care for my family, amazing family support and a God that no matter what was with me. I leaned hard into the ten finger prayer any time I would feel worried, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
|Laying in bed recovering|
The morning of the surgery we dropped Payton at a friends house and off to the hospital Todd and I went leaving Mom and Dad to do Week of Hope at Soaring Wings Ministries. Our pastor friend, Ms Diane stopped by and prayed and it was such a blessing as I needed to be reminded that we were not in this alone. The doctor was running an hour late and so we just continued to wait. They wheeled me back and that is all I remember until well after the surgery.
|Thankful for all the love and support.|
Todd, Mom and Dad met with the doctor after the surgery. She said it went fine and they were able to remove the uterus, ovaries and tubes. They took some lymph nodes and would have them tested to see what the next course of action would be. The cancer was well in the lining and had just started to enter the uterus muscle so it was good that we acted quickly and got it out before it spread. The doctor said we would hear about the lymph nodes on Monday.
I went up to my room for the night and they said one person could spend the night. I asked Todd what he thought and he thought he should go home and be with Payton so I asked mom to spend the night. Mom was great and agreed and I couldn't be more thankful. She was such a huge help and encouragement. They worked through the night to get me out of bed, oh my word the pain and struggle was real. I was able to meet with the doctor and get the stitches out and be discharged to go home the next day.
|Family Movie Night in Bed|
It was a slow ride home as every bump reminded me that I had just had a major surgery, the dirt road was a good challenge of patience driving. We got home and into bed I went with lots of help. The doctor called and said the test results came in quicker than she ever thought and there was no cancer in the lymph nodes! This is a huge answer to prayer as I didn't want to do more surgery or chemo!!
I am not able to do more than walk to get a glass of water and go to the bathroom. I do see improvement, the wounds are starting to heal, I can get out of bed on my own, I can stand in a shower by myself and I can almost get back into bed with no help. I can not sit in a chair yet as my surgery has made me sore and weak and they said laying in bed and resting for the first week is about all I should do.
I will return to the doctor on Thursday for a follow up and to make sure we are all on the same page of what is next. I hope just follow up appointments and be done with this crazy phase of life. I still have 7 more weeks of recovery and we shall see what that means but I am so thankful for all the prayers and all the meals and support.
|Surely goodness and love will follow |
me all the days of my life.
I know God protected me, provided for me and guided me through this crazy cancer adventure! Maybe my next blog will be how we came to find out I had cancer as everyone asks how did you know you had cancer since you won't sick but that is for next time! :)
The verse that I am leaning into this week:
"Be still and that I am God." Psalm 46:10 and
Please pray for:
|Payton took a picture of my garden for me! <3|
Doctors Appointment on Thursday: that the doctor say we can just do normal follow ups and be done with the cancer world
Patience: As I recover and let my body heal
Family: Everyone here is tired and my family has had to take on a lot with helping me and caring for Payton while still doing full time ministry to the homeless.
|Snuggling before bedtime.|
Give Thanks for:
God: what a great and mighty God we serve!
Family: their willingness to help me in/out of bed, take care of Payton, bring me meals, encourage me, change sheets, and help however they can.
Friends: Praying, encouraging, having Payton for playdates, providing meals
Modern Medicine: good doctors, nurses, modern medical test and wisdom in tough situations