I have plenty to say about the time that has passed since my surgery nine days ago. I’m already anticipating that this could be a rather long post, but I think it will be well worth the read! Let’s start with my physical progress. I was definitely a much more relaxed patient this time and allowed myself to rest. I was able to get off all my pain meds – prescription and over the counter in just a few days. I spent five nights sleeping on the couch, and then moved back to my bed. However, the joint pain in my shoulders from the hormone blocker (Letrozole) has become severe enough that I am unable to sleep on my side, so I’ve had to adjust to sleeping on my back. It’s not terrible during the day, but it sure fires up when I go to bed.
I had a 3-month follow-up appointment with my oncologist, Dr. Corum, yesterday. They took my labs as well, but we didn’t even discuss the results while I was there. They actually look pretty similar to the numbers I had three months ago. I’m still anemic, although slightly less than before. Of course I’ve had two surgeries in the past three months, so it may take my body a little bit longer to heal. We did discuss my desire to stop the Prolia injections. I told him I would like to continue to take my calcium and vitamin D and keep in eye on my bone scans. He was fine with that.
We also discussed the side effects from the Letrozole, particularly my shoulder pain. He said I could take a 6-8 week break from it, and then we could try a different hormone blocker (Exemestane) that will hopefully have better results. I was actually ecstatic to hear this news! The pain meds after surgery also took away my joint pain, and I realized just how much better my shoulders felt! I look forward to being free from that pain again! I asked him if he could give me a percentage on my risk of recurrence. My tumor was 30% estrogen positive and 20% progesterone positive, so the goal of taking the hormone blocker is to prevent recurrence, should any of the cancer cells have escaped the area and metastisized elsewhere. His rough estimate, if I am able to continue taking a hormone blocker for five plus years is just a 15% chance of recurrence. His words, “I really think you’re going to be able to put this behind you for good.”
This afternoon was my follow-up appointment with my plastic surgeon, Dr. Storm. I was pretty sure that my drain output was still too much to get it pulled today. Usually it needs to be under 10 cc’s in a 24-hour period, and I’ve been having no less than 30 cc’s the past three days. Dr. Storm was actually ok with taking it out today!! He said it’s fine to have some fluid build-up, as the drain’s main function was to provide a way out for infection if that were to occur, but my cultures all came back negative again. So no more oral antibiotics – hooray!! My next appointment is in two weeks to start adding more saline to the tissue expander and slowly get it back to its original size over the course of a month or more. Once it’s sufficiently filled, he wants it to heal for another 4 weeks before putting the implant back in. So we still don’t know when the final surgery will be, but he’s guessing 2-3 months from now. My activity is still limited for another week, and no weight-bearing repetitive exercise on my right arm for 4 weeks.
That’s the extent of my physical recovery! If you’d like to know how God blew my mind today, keep reading…
When I started this journey, you may recall that I spent a lot of time working through my emotions using Transformational Prayer. It’s a method of following your emotions to your history and to any lie-based beliefs so that you can take those beliefs before the Lord and ask for His truth. I continue to meet weekly with a group of ladies to practice this skill together. Last week I found myself working through why I sometimes get so anxious at night when I’m trying to sleep. The only thing I could come up with was that I felt very alone. The Lord told me, “even in the darkest night, I am with you. I never sleep. I will see you through to the end. Bring me into the dark places and you will see my perspective and truth.” This gave me a small portion of peace, but I still felt like there was something in particular about the night that still made me feel alone.
This morning I decided it was time to continue working through it. I started mulling over memories of times when I felt alone in the night as a child. I was seeking solace, and didn’t find it. Again, I felt alone. I also realized the lie-based belief that I held was that I wasn’t actually trying to find peace in the Lord, I was just trying to find peace on my own; therefore, it was my fault that I wasn’t being comforted by Him. Immediately, I heard Him say, “You weren’t ready.”
Me: Ready for what?? I don’t understand why you couldn’t calm a young girl’s heart in the night. What did I have to be ready for?
Jesus: Stop putting me in a box. I will work how I work, and it might not look how you expect it to. What did you have to fear as a child? (He went on to list all of the amazing things I experienced growing up.) Why so downcast? Did you think childhood would be perfect? What is your idea of perfect anyway? There’s no such thing in this world apart from me. Even so, you’ve tried your whole life to be perfect. (BOY, have I! This is a constant struggle for me!) You long for perfection and for good reason – I am perfection. I am the only one who can bring a sense of perfection to your life. The more you try to control and make sense of this life, the less perfection you will find.
At this point, I’m very confused. What does this have to do with me being alone in the night?? And then He blew my mind with this.
Jesus: What if the reason I didn’t calm you as a child was to set you up for this very moment when you would seek me and realize I am your perfection. You will not find it anywhere else. Now you see why you weren’t ready.
For forty years, He was preparing me for this moment!!! How do I even comprehend such a thing? I shared this story with my Transformation prayer group, and my friend Deb said, “Amy, the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years because they weren’t ready to enter the Promised Land.” Wow. Now my mind is blown again!!
The Lord is definitely healing me physically, but I never could have imagined how thoroughly He is healing me spiritually as well. He’s so kind, so loving, so PERFECT. While I definitely am NOT. I don’t deserve any of this. My greatest wish is for anyone reading this to be willing to listen to His voice and hear His truth. It is truly life changing!