Saturday, May 28, 2011

I'm still here among the living :)

Things are going pretty well so far with my recovery from surgery. I was able to get up and around quite a bit today with less pain. My sweet friend brought me lunch and my family came over this evening for a Memorial Day BBQ. My cute niece Kenzie entertained me with her exotic dancing and my mom and sisters have been pampering me with all of my favorite meals and treats. I have mostly been sleeping in between taking pain pills since Friday. It has been a little back and forth with the level of intensity on the pain, but overall surprisingly good.  I expect to be running a marathon by the end of the week :) LOL!

When I woke up from surgery on Friday afternoon, the first thing they told me was that there was no cancer found in the lymph nodes! I started crying and they asked if I was ok. I said yes, that I was just happy :). Even though I was a bit out of it, as I laid there I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude come over me. I felt so grateful for everything – the medical staff who were guided through a successful surgery and who were working to keep my pain down and expedite my healing, my family who was there helping me with every small and simple thing that I couldn’t do for myself, for all of you who have been praying for me and have taken the time to send kind and supportive notes, and for the knowledge I have of the eternal plan for our lives and the importance of trials in order for us to reach our full potential.  A great quote from my favorite movie Shadowlands: “The pain now is part of the happiness then. That's the deal."

We never know how we are going to react to something until we are in the situation and I feel so blessed to have the peace and comfort that has attended me from the beginning of this journey.  If I had been told that this trial was in my future, I am sure that I would have felt incapable of rising to the challenge. Yet somehow as it appeared out of nowhere, I have been blessed through it all to receive strength "in the very hour, yea in the very moment" that I have needed it and I have truly felt the love that "surpasses all understanding ".

Tomorrow I go in to see the Dr. and on Wednesday they will know more details on the pathology from the surgery, which will dictate how we proceed with Chemo. I’m looking forward to getting started, so that I can see the end in sight for completion. There’s so many of you that I would love to see, perhaps when I’m healed up from surgery, I can have a “Chemo Kickoff” party and shave my head :). Love you guys, thanks again for your continued support!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Update on the surgery

Hi this is Mitzi, Amy's sister. She asked me to update her blog while she is in surgery.... here ya go: The surgeon came in about 30 minutes ago with GREAT news. No cancer in the lymph nodes. She said the surgery couldn't have gone better. She is very encouraged - even more than she could be prior. Ames is still in with the plastic surgeon and will be for another 90+ minutes. Most likely she'll be awake by 6 and home tomorrow after noon providing all goes well in the night. Thank you for your prayers and fasting - this is one of the miracles we've prayed for!

Here at the hospital

Here at the hospital waiting for my turn to be wheeled into surgery. I'm ready for them to put me out after all the poking and prodding.! Did I mention I'm not a fan of needles? I never would have lasted as a drug addict :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Surgery tomorrow

Sometimes in life we have to explore an alternative course to see if it is a better option. For me I have been exploring various courses of action over the past 3 weeks since my breast cancer diagnosis. It has kept me focused on finding the best treatment instead of being angry or sad about the situation. In this short time I have met many wonderful new friends and medical professionals who have treated me with so much kindness. I truly am blessed for the tender mercies I have been shown along the way.

Throughout this process I have found that there are differing opinions, which has left me with questions on how best to proceed – What kind of surgery should I choose? Which Drs. are best? Should I do surgery or Chemo first? This last question has been one of the most challenging for me. But after further contemplation and additional results from the Pet Scan I did, I have gone back to my original plan to do surgery. It will be tomorrow - Friday, May 27th, with a 2 week recovery period and an additional surgery in about a year. Chemo will start towards the end of June.

I feel good about this path and thank you for joining me on this roller coaster ride it has been to make this decision. My parents will be there at the hospital waiting for the results and praying that they will find that the cancer has not spread beyond the tumor we know about. I will be in surgery for most of the day but anticpate being coherent around 6:00 p.m. and I'm sure I'll want post an update on Facebook at that point :). My sister Mitzi Enger is on Facebook too and can share info with you if I don't :).

Please know that although I may not be able to talk to you or even respond at times to your messages, I truly appreciate your prayers and support. I do believe that it is because of your prayers that I am in such good spirits. Other trials I have been through before have felt more difficult than this one because I have born them alone. I am so thankful that this one is appropriate to share and that I have such an amazing support group. Thank you, thank you and may you be blessed for your faith and kindness you have shown to me and my family during this time.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A new twist in the plan

We have decided to hold off on surgery and do Chemo first. This will give us a shot at reducing the size of the tumor and possibly avoiding complicated reconstructive surgery and just doing a smaller surgery down the road. I spent 4 hours at Huntsman today meeting with my Oncologist and his staff. I saw the place where I will start Chemo on June 14th (8 treatments – every 2 weeks). Between now and then I will be doing some other treatments that will help mitigate some of the long term effects I have been concerned about. It was an emotional day and the realization of the journey that I have only just begun has started to sink in. I am feeling optimistic about this new direction and as I was driving tonight, the song: “I Need Thee Every Hour” came on the radio – it was nice of them to play that song for me in the midst of all the other top 40 that usually plays on that station :). I feel blessed to know that there is a God who loves me and is aware of my inner most struggles and I am humbled to know that it is through the prayers and faith of so many that I am being blessed. Thank you!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The latest

I am feeling very hopeful and blessed. My surgery is scheduled for May 27th – still working out details on how extensive the reconstruction will be. A few more Drs appointments will help figure that out. It will probably be about 4 weeks of recovery and then I will start chemo after that. Your prayers are welcome – that the surgery will have positive findings, that the cancer has not spread and that chemo won’t kill me :).

I feel so blessed to have amazing friends and family who care for and love me and for wonderful doctors who have taken so much time with me to make sure I am making the best possible decisions at this time. I have been shown many tender mercies from the Lord through this process and I look forward to coming out on the other side of this journey. A favorite scripture comes to mind: “let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.” Doctrine & Covenants 123:17

Love you guys! Thank you, thank you for the kindness you have shown me, it truly means the world!


Friday, May 6, 2011

How I got the news . . .

On Friday, May 6, 2011, I received the news that I have breast cancer. I had found a lump about a week earlier and my Dr. thought it was likely a cyst but sent me in for a mammogram and ultra sound just to be sure. After the mammogram, as I sat there waiting for the ultra sound, I noticed the pink ribbons decorating the room. It creeped me out a little - I felt that I didn't belong there, the Dr. said things would be fine, right?

After what seemed like forever waiting there, they finally called me in and introduced me to the "Nurse Navigator". She was very nice but I thought, why do I need a Nurse Navigator for a cyst? The Radiologist then proceeded to tell me they were seeing something suspicious and that they would like to do a biopsy. As I sat waiting for the procedure, I called my boss at work to let her know and the realization that something could be wrong hit me as we spoke. I called my mom and she didn't sound worried - that made me think I shouldn't worry either. As I waited, they also scheduled me for an appointment the next day to go over the results. I was trying very hard to schedule around all the meetings I had that day and decided that 12:30 should work - then I could stop in and get back to my busy life.

So the next day, I finished up a few conference calls at work and ran off to my appointment, planning to be downtown an hour after that for another meeting. The Nurse Navigator greeted me and brought me in to a room where the Radiologist was waiting. He told me they found cancer.

They both waited, expecting some kind of reaction but I didn't have one. I just kept listening, waiting for it to sink in. My aunt had been diagnosed with breast cancer a few months earlier and she was able to have surgery and felt better in about 7 days and didn't have to go through Chemo. I thought, ok - I can do this, let's get the surgery scheduled and I'll be back to work in a week, right? They proceeded to tell me that the tumor was quite aggressive and that hoped I didn't have to do Chemo but that it was likely. They scheduled an appointment for an MRI on Monday as well as a surgeon and gave me a bunch of information to read.

After the appointment I calmly walked to my car and called my boss, and told her I might need to take some time off :). I drove to my parents' house - my dad was gone, so I called him and ended up telling him over the phone. My mom was there and so I sat her down and told her - pretty matter of factly. I called my sisters and told them too. They all kept asking me why I didn't seem upset. I think it was because I already had the reaction the day before that something wasn't right and then when I really got the news, it was all so surreal. I also often have delayed emotional reaction to things . . . stay tuned to find out more on that :).