I had surgery at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America-Chicago campus on Friday, July 6. The procedure was to widen the margins from my original lumpectomy, to take four ancillary lymph nodes from under my arm, and to get an IORT Boost. (That is inter-operative radiation therapy). Yes, I had radiation treatment while I was on the surgical table. During the surgery, they attached two surgical drains to get rid of excess fluid. It's a common practice. After the surgery, I was fitted for a compression sleeve for my right arm. Removal of lymph nodes on the right side causes a risk of lymphedema, an inflammatory condition. I will wear the sleeve each day for two months, and while lifting and flying for the rest of my life.
These surgical details give you some idea of the way I have been feeling...bruised, sore, swollen and physically unappealing. I also felt grateful to have all my surgeries out of the way. But wait! Not so fast! My surgeon called this morning to give me the pathology results of my most recent surgery. And it wasn't good.
The cancer has spread. It remains in my right breast, and two of the ancillary lymph nodes that were removed have malignancies. I hoped that this latest surgery would be my last, but it was not to be. I hoped that the cancer was gone, but it's not. So...now what?
I will stick with what I know to be true. God loves me and wants the best for me. God has blessed me in the past, and continues to do so. God is a real, true and faithful Presence in my life. I don't know what I would do without Him. On days like these, I know that He stands beside me, holding me up, giving me His strength.
Yes, I am angry, frustrated, numb. I'm tired. I don't want to continue the fight. Some days, I just don't feel courageous. So, I will behave that way until I feel it again. My prayer will be: God grant me the strength and courage to face each new day, each new challenge. I put my trust in You.
Female in Motion Exercise Update: I had to stop all regular exercise after surgery, but last weekend, I started post-surgical physical therapy to improve mobility in my right arm and keep away the dreaded lymphedema. So far, PT is kicking my butt. I will prevail, however. I'm not giving up. I'll keep doing them until they get easier. By the way, I've continued to lose weight, even without exercise. I'm down 10 pounds.
"All over this nation, all over this world there are people going to church today and they say they are believers, but until you can take what you've been taught and bring it to the place you gave up--you will never be the radical believer that you need to be for the times in which we live."--T.D. Jakes