Sunday, March 18, 2012

God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good!

I just wanted to give you all a run down of what my past month-ish has been like. I don't want you to think this is a "woe is me" post. I am so over that, for the most part ;-)
As you know my daughter, Leslie, recieved her diagnosis back in February of breast cancer.
That's the day our world as we knew it fell apart. I thought.
The Dr told her it was "very aggressive" and that was all I needed to hear.
As I posted before, I cried and cried for many many days and nights. Did you know that you really can run out of tears? I did! Almost a relief to not have anymore!
Ok, Ok, I do still have some left and they surface occasionaly, hey I am a girl!
My heart felt as if it was broken into 72 pieces and each one of them was all ragged and lifeless.
~My heart broke as a Mother, you know we do not want our children to suffer and try to protect them from suffering, at any cost.
~ My heart broke for Leslie, I did not want her to have to endure the emotional and physical turmoil that any cancer can bring into ones life.
~ My heart broke for Danny, he must have felt the same way as I did because he's her father.
~ My heart broke for Robin, her sister, who lives 6 1/2 hours away and wants to be by Leslies side as much as we all do, 24/7.
~ My heart broke for Leslies husband and children. I can only imagine what they must be thinking. Oh how they love Leslie!
~ My heart broke for Leslies friends and extended family all over the globe, she is one of a kind and everyone loves her!
Now about that diagnosis......
To wrap it up in a nutshell....
She has Stage IIa Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Tumor was Grade 3 and it is tri-negative.
(Google that one, I dare ya!)
Found out she had 5 tumors in the left breast and one enlarged lymph node that showed up on the MRI. The surgeon wanted her to have genetic counseling and be tested to see if she was the carrier of the best cancer gene. It was negative. That was the only piece of good news that she recieved for a few weeks. Every test seemed to end in adding a new grey cloud to her already rainy forcast! We handpicked her surgeons and even her anesthsiologist (CRNA) was a close friend. (pays to know people in the medical field)
Dr S, general surgeon, wanted that lymph node biopsied prior to surgery and of course it followed suite and was positive for cancer. Why would we think it wouldn't be?
So last Monday she had a bilateral mastectomy with left axillary disection and breast reconstruction, plus a port-a-cath inserted. That's a huge mouthful that means she had both breasts removed and some new ones started, and 6 more lymph nodes, 7 total, removed from under her arm.
Surgery was only 6 1/2 hours! ONLY!
She was away from us in the operating room and PACU for 8 hours. We were all there for 12 hours the whole family and our new Pastor Jeff.
Funny how God works, huh?
I have known this man for about 23 years but never really knew him at all. He did not know me, I only knew him by him being in our local law enforcement, currently as Chief Investigator.
Robin had seeked his spiritual guidance during her loss of her still born infant a couple years ago and he was available to her thru emails and I think Facebook. (she lives 6 1/2 hours away)
So when Leslie was diagnosed, Robin sent Jeff an email asking for her to put Leslie on his prayer list. He said "She is already on there". From that minute forward Jeff has went above and beyond his calling to be there for Leslie, Travis and their children, Danny and I and all the rest of our family! He spent 12 hours in the waiting room with us, he has visited her everyday but one and we will excuse him because he had court that day ;-)
We have all started going to his church and it is, well, what can I say other than AWESOME!!!!
(That's a whole other story about our new church)
No one, who wasn't there at the hospital, will ever know how much his spiritual guidance has helped us ALL to get thru this.
He has brought our entire family closer to God than we have ever been. At least I think I am speaking for all of us......that seems to be the topic of many conversations anyway!
Leslie's 8 year old daughter said today,
"Jeff sure does know how to say a good prayer!"
The first Sunday we went to his church he preached on prayer....when to pray, how to pray, where to pray, what to pray about and so on....
I learned so much that day about prayer........and I have learned so much this week about the power of prayer. Leslie has had prayers going up for her from all over the world.
God answered those prayers this week.
The surgery went beautifully, she had a couple very painful days until they found out which pain medications she could use, but for the most part she has been a model patient. I haven't seen anyone in my career as a nurse undergo that same surgery and do so remarkably well so quickly!
She's a fighter!
God's handiwork was also evidenced in the pathology report from the surgery, the cancer was only in that one lymph node that we already knew was positive. The rest of them were clear!!!
To God be the glory!!
Leslie still has a long hard road in front of her, if you dared to google tri-negative breast cancer you already know that. She will start chemo in a couple weeks, she will have 6 rounds, one round every three weeks. Due to the type of aggressive cancer she will also have to have radiation. She met with the oncologist prior to her surgery and he told her she should be able to wrap this thing up around Christmas 2012!
With God, family and friends by her side she will get thru this!
There has been a tremendous outpouring of love and affection from way too many people to mention each by name, once again from all over the world!
Locally there has been a mealtrain set up for people to bring food in to Leslie and her family and there has been a name in the slot each and every day since her diagnosis! People are so awesome in times like this! Having a hot meal for her family is so appreciated by all of them.
This also hits close to home and makes me feel so ashamed for not helping out a lot of other people in need when I could have. I will do better about that from here on out!
Now lets talk a bit about Facebook.....
Leslie, Robin and I have been Facebookers for a few years now but never have I loved it more than I have since the diagnosis. The evening prior to her first visit with a Dr about the lump she found, I was about to explode. I sent leslie a text and asked if I could post it on Facebook, she said "Yes, but please tell everyone what's going on so they don't think I am having marital trouble." LOL No marital should see how Travis is doting over his bride, waiting on her hand and foot....he even shaved her legs for her yesterday!! LOL I am so proud of him!
Anyhoo, Facebook has brought out a sisterhood of supporters for Leslie that we could have never rounded up in 20 years without it! Family that we haven't seen in years have all been in touch with us in one way or the other, be it cards, visits, posts or comments. Facebook updates from us during the hospital stay kept everyone posted, many were sitting on the edges of their seats waiting on the next update.....very long day for them at home or work......not so bad for us at the hospital because Pastor Jeff was entertaining all of us! And he said we were crazy?
These Facebook friends and family have been the ones who are cooking meals in their home and bringing them to Leslies family, they are sending money (people that don't even know Leslie but are friends with us or someone else that knows her. She is on every churches prayer list for miles and miles around!
The internet, not Facebook but Flickr, was the connection for Leslie to recieve a handmade quilt from a total stranger from Los Angeles!
God is good, all the time!
All the time, God is good!