Sunday, July 15, 2012

Real Life and Ice Cream

Today is National Ice Cream Day - wow!  I am happy to be alive and wish that I could have made it to church today - all in good time right?  If anyone wants to share some spiritual thoughts with me, that would be great!

Almost everyone who has seen me since the surgery has commented on the new tattoo I have on my  left arm - it’s fading fast, so enjoy it while it lasts :).  In case you can’t quite read it: “DO NOT USE”.  I guess the surgical center I went to was sort of low budget, since the other one gave me a fancy arm band to remind the medical staff not to put IV’s in that arm (lol). 

How am I feeling?  Well, I am doing ok - I have no appetite (which is really rare for me :)).  I think wearing a body cincher around my stomach 24/7 kind of kills it.  I saw an online ad today for a “sexy waist cincher sale” - wow, I can’t think of too many things that sound worse than wearing one of those voluntarily.
My soreness has improved but overall I am not feeling that good.  I feel nauseous and tired and I’m actually starting to feel more pain in certain areas (weird).  But I am lucky because I know why I feel the way I do, that it will improve and I have the support of family and friends.  These components are not always present in other trials.
I feel bad when people share something with me about their lives and then say  "I know it’s nothing compared to what you have been through".  Everyone has their own challenges and to be honest, a big trial like cancer seems to generate a lot more support and kindness from people than some of the day to day issues that are really difficult.  I found that before my diagnosis, there were things that were comparatively smaller challenges that got me more upset than the cancer did.  Funny how that works.  
On Friday night I was laying awake at about 3 a.m., unable to get to sleep after sleeping so late in the day.  I started watching inspiring videos on Youtube and it helped pass the time quite well.  One that I shared on my FB wall but want to highlight again is from the movie “Life is Beautiful”.  I am so touched by the sacrifice that this father made to help his son get through such a horrible experience by hiding his own fear and making it into a game.
Life truly is beautiful - as C.S. Lewis said wisely:
“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's 'own,' or 'real' life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life -- the life God is sending one day by day.” 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 4 - Post Surgery

It’s been a pretty good day - reached some post surgery milestones (that I’m not going to share) . . . even though my stomach feels like it’s going to explode, I still feel better than yesterday! I know I'm on the mend cuz I'm bruising and hurting more :) - I had a nice visit from a great friend - thanks Kimberly, you’re the best!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

On the Mend

They say Day 3 after a surgery or procedure is always the hardest - I suppose that is true for me today . . . still, this recovery is nothing compared to the others I’ve been through!

I showered today for the first time since Monday and it was great peeling off the skin tight body suit I have to wear 24/7 to keep everything in tact for the next couple of weeks.  Getting it back on after the shower was the tricky part and required some assistance - quite humorous actually.  
To just lay in bed isn’t too bad at all, it’s moving that creates pain and the constant pressure of the girdle like body suit I am wearing hurts my stomach.  I tried not taking the pain pills today since Tuesday they made me so loopy that I ended up sleeping all day and then staying up half the night.  Tonight I am off to bed soon so that I can start getting my nights and days back on track :).
I’m sad that I missed “free slurpee day” at 7-11 but I guess there are worse things to miss out on :) - something cold sounds really good right now, since my throat is actually still quite sore from whatever contraption they shoved down it during the surgery to help me breath.  I think it hurts almost as much as the incisions - lol.  Really though, I am doing quite well and glad to be on the mend and to have the time off work to just recover.
I enjoyed getting some nice emails and texts from some wonderful friends and even a visit from a beautiful woman who recently befriended me - I am so blessed to meet amazing people on a regular basis.  Thank you Nikki for blessing my life - you made my day!
I know we all have things that we wish would go away or go by faster, so I thought this small and simple quote was fitting.  Loves to you all!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I Believe in Miracles!

So my surgery went very well and I hardly had any pain when I woke up like I did with my other surgeries! After sleeping all day, I can't get to sleep tonight and I am starting to feel it but I'm trying not to take the pain pills cuz I hate being loopy :).

Today my faith has been increased through the healing power of the priesthood and prayer. I thank you immensely for your faith and prayers on my behalf - it worked! I was healed from the issues that almost stopped my ability to get this done and move forward!!

I know the Lord has been with me all the way and I feel so blessed. These feelings come after a challenging week and I'm thankful for the strength to continue on during the tough times. As I reflect upon the past 14+ months, I recognize how He has answered every prayer I have offered in this journey through cancer . . . now some circumstances and answers I did not enjoy as much as others but in those cases, I still felt His peace and knew that He was guiding me and helping me feel comfortable with each situation that I was placed in. This is even more significant for a girl who struggles with anxiety in many other random areas of life. ;)

I could recount so many points along the way that show forth how loving and kind the Lord has been to me - but what I really want is to acknowledge how much what I am talking about applies to each one of you in your journey through life!! 

The Lord loves you and wants you to receive all that He has in store for you! When you get down on yourself, just remember that those feelings do not come from God but from the adversary, who knows your divine potential and wants to get you discouraged enough to miss the direction from the Lord. I hope and pray that we may each yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and submit our will unto the Savior.  He is real and closer than we know!!

This beautiful song by Hillary Weeks really sums up how I feel: 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Surgery Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the long awaited day of my final reconstructive surgery (the one where they make me look like a super model ;)).  For those of you wondering, “wait, what?  Another surgery - why?”  Well, apparently the reconstructive part of the post cancer removal process is done in stages - who knew?  Not me, until about a year ago - now you do too :).
I admit, I am starting to get a little nervous, since my life has been relatively normal and pain free for several months . . . but compared to my other surgeries, this one should be a breeze - outpatient, hopefully just a week off work and pretty non-invasive.  It is essentially redistributing my fat from places I don’t need (or want it) to places where I do ;).  So I’m actually kind of looking forward to it - it’s just the process to get there (specifically the needles) that scares me most.
Slight curve ball here . . . I was supposed to get a colonoscopy on Friday - just to stay on top of my screenings but instead I caught one of the worst episodes of the stomach flu that I have ever known and was unable to do the “prep”, so had to cancel the procedure. I felt worse than I did during most of chemo (wow) - I woke up with the room spinning, extreme nausea and other unpleasant things I won’t mention here.  I felt good for a couple of days and then today I am feeling nauseated again and so I am praying that I will in fact be able to have my surgery - your prayers are welcome as well. Together we can make this happen - I know it!
I know it’s been a good long while since I’ve written - over 2 months actually.  I wish I had more time to share thoughts and give updates but fortunately life is now back to the adventure it has always been for me. Ups and downs, happiness and disappointment.  There are days when I want to share something really great that has happened and I just don’t make the time and then there are moments that if I wrote what I was thinking, you might decide to start calling me Debbie Downer and never read my blog again :).
There is so much that is good and wonderful about my life and so I feel guilty to admit that I have been feeling my share of discouragement - mostly frustration with my many imperfections and insecurities lately.  Perhaps when I reflect too much on these things, it becomes all too apparent that I have so far to go in becoming the person I really want to be. I am not sure how I have managed to find such wonderful friends and family who are willing to put up with me but I count this as one of the huge benefits in the package I have been given to navigate this journey of life. 
A few highlights from the past few months:
  • I did Race for The Cure for the first time with my mom, sister and great friend.  We had a fun time and it was an accomplishment for each of us for different reasons.
  • Although I was petrified to get it done, I passed my one year anniversary mammogram with flying colors. Yes, still cancer free - yahoo!!! Sitting in that waiting room, waiting for the results was an eery reminder of getting my diagnosis a year earlier.   Whew - so glad it’s over!
  • I went wake boarding (one of my favorite things) for the first time in 2 years and LOVED every minute on the boat with awesome friends who made it a perfect day!  I can’t think of many things I enjoy more than being on the water, enjoying the majestic beauty that surrounds.
  • I turned 40 and my parents threw me a really fun surprise party - glamping theme (if you don’t know what that is, google it and you’ll probably appreciate how fitting it is for me ;)).
  • My younger sister had her 4th baby - so beautiful and miraculous after a difficult journey getting her here to earth.  Harper is a whopping 5 pounds and one of the cutest babies I have ever seen!  Mitzi is doing well now but it was a rough few weeks of hospital bed rest and a challenging labor.  I’m so thankful for modern medicine and miracles that come through the power of faith.
  • My Dad’s company won a cool award for “Entrepreneur of the Year” in the Health Care Services category - in an event sponsored by Ernst and Young.  Here’s a link to the acceptance speech: (so proud).
  • Utah’s Matchmaker is back in business and connecting great people all over the globe.  Yes, I have my father’s entrepreneurial spirit, just not quite the same brilliance in making it big (yet).  If you know someone who is wonderful and single, feel free to refer them to my website:

  • My hair is still growing fast if you ask others, slow if you ask me - and no, I’m not keeping it short - for those who are wondering ;).  At least my real color is starting to come back now - instead of that mousy grey/blonde color it was right after chemo (ick). 
  • Overall I’m feeling good but have been struggling with some nausea, fatigue and headaches the past few weeks (not necessarily related to cancer treatments) and some anxiety, especially when it comes to driving on the freeway (likely related to my episodes during chemo).  I really need to make it big soon so that I can afford that private chauffeur . . . but until then, I am so thankful for the patience my friends and family have shown in my lack of interest in driving ;).
I miss the frequent communication and visits I was able to have with so many of you while I was going through cancer treatment.  Memories of the many kindnesses I was shown will not be forgotten!  I still continue to meet amazing people who bless my life and I stand in awe at the tender mercies I am shown regularly for no apparent reason except that God is good.  I know there are always things to complain about and hard things we must face each day but really, we are so blessed in so many ways.  Sometimes the things we fear the most and feel are the hardest trials turn out to be the most tender mercies of a loving Father in Heaven.  I know this is true.
Love you more than words!