So this week has gone by pretty fast. Monday I got my drains pulled at Dr. Proffer's office, and I was so excited to be free of my chains and be able to shower for the first time in a month. Yes, I took lots of long baths in the mean time. You forget how wonderful some things in life are until you can't do them for awhile. So I enjoyed one shower Monday night after using tegaderm to cover the holes in my sides from the drains. This was just in time for my showering privileges to be ripped away from me after the port surgery on Tuesday with Dr. Arredondo. Luckily, that only lasted one day, however. The port surgery went well initially. I actually woke up at the end of the surgery with a blue sheet over me. I thought two things - either I died in my day surgery or I am in a nightmare situation where I woke up in my surgery and can hear the surgeon and nurses even though they don't know I'm awake. I could feel Dr. Arredondo doing some stitches or something but luckily it just felt like tugging. Then, Dr. A said to me, "Shayla the surgery went really smooth. I wish they would all go this smooth". I soon realized that they knew I was awake thank goodness and then they took that sheet off my face. I felt really good until we were on our way home and then the meds started wearing off and my whole right shoulder began aching really bad. Then, because of the Taco Villa finatic that I am and with how hungry I was with not eating for almost 24 hrs I braved a meal. I should have known better because about 30 mins after eating I lost it to the toilet. So sad for that. Yesterday was my first chemo at Northwest. Chris went with me. It was suppose to last 2-3 hours, but we had a little miscommunication with the doctor's office on the orders for the meds, so this put us behind getting them from the pharmacy. We didn't get started until around 3:45 pm and didn't get done until around 6 pm. It went real smooth and I felt good enough to have Chris take me on a date to Chili's afterwards. I ate something light so my stomach didn't get hit too hard, but it still didn't stop the nausea last night. I went to bed early at 8:30 pm and was up by midnight entertaining the toilet just in case it was bored and I was going to upchuck. I never did upchuck but had a hard time getting back to sleep because of that horrible feeling, so I broke down and took a pill that my doctor had prescribed for this. I slept better but woke up with a little uneasy stomach that has lasted most the day. They tell me the best thing is do drink a lot of fluids and eat good but it is hard when your stomach doesn't feel like it. I've tried today to be good. I went home from work around 1 pm to rest and take a nap. It does a body good for sure. I feel okay tonight and hope that I can sleep better tonight. I also pray that the nausea thing is only for today and only for the 1st chemo because my body is probably in shock at this point.
You know I head something the other day. It was really good. You know as Christians we get asked sometimes why we believe in God. Here is a good answer. "I would rather believe in God and find out some day that there wasn't then to not believe and find out that there really was". What does is hurt to have hope for a day when we don't hurt physically, emotionally, or spiritually? I then decided that I'm going to live by my new moto - Live today like your are going to heaven tomorrow. What would you say or do differently today if you knew you would report to your heavenly Father tomorrow. That should be our goal. Love y'all and hope that you are nausea-free. Shay
Today is a good day probably because it is Sunday. I heard an amazing sermon today about how God desires nothing less of us than perfection in a world where our society's morals and values have plummeted. We sometimes think as Christians that we just need to be a little better than our neighbors, so we fail to remember that God's goals for our lives stay the same - PERFECT like Jesus. Yes, we make mistakes and fall short of this as humans, but that is also why God sent his son, Jesus, to die for us. We are saved not by what we have done but by his love and mercy that allowed Jesus to make that ultimate sacrifice on the cross. Then, the most miraculous event was the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb. You know we all have our struggles and sins that we have a hard time turning away from, but we have to remember to repent from these sins and truly commit to doing what is good. Otherwise, how can we truly be examples to others of how a Christian should be, and show the world how a life centered around God can be so amazing. We have something so much greater than other religions. We are heirs to the hope of eternal life (from Titus in the Bible). I think of this life as a competition like a basketball game. When we are young we are practicing to earn a spot on the team. Once, we accept God and are babtized, we join his TEAM. He puts us in the game as a starter. We may have bad games and get taken out of the game (like how I feel with this cancer stuff), but when we are on the bench it gives time to refocus on how to get back in the game. We encourage our teammates on and off the floor to become better and play harder. Then, when we finally decide to get back in there and play how we have been taught to play, we truly make a difference and leave the game not having any regrets. We are then victorious through Jesus Christ. Thanks Steve for that message today. I'm always striving to do better and live better, but it is good to be reminded of where exaclty we should set our goals.
This week is going to be pretty busy for me. Tomorrow, I finally get my drains pulled. No, they have not reached their goal of being under 30 mL in a 24 hour period, but I cannot move forward with my port surgery until they get pulled. Dr. Proffer's office decided to put a end date on them and thank goodness that is tomorrow. I will not miss having to deal with those drains while trying to bathe or wearing those wonderful drain bags (which I was very grateful for because they were given to me from a church here in town where the women make them) on my sides. Yes, I was asked numerous times if my pant pockets were sticking out or if that was a catheter bag because people did not know what they were. Once I get those out tomorrow, I will preregister for surgery on Tuesday. Dr. Arredondo will do the port placement surgery at Northwest Texas Hospital on Tuesday around 2:30 pm. Then, unfortunately I will do my first chemo session at Northwest on Wednesday at 3 pm. You know I guess I was upset this past Monday talking about chemo because it is suddenly becoming reality that I'm a cancer patient. Initially in the first month and a half, we talked about cancer stuff a lot and the treatment for it, but I still carried on with my "normal" life. Then, the big surgery came and took me back for a loop because it has taken me a lot longer than I had expected to feel better. Now, starting Wednesday, I will truly feel like I'm a cancer patient with the chemo starting. I guess I have really just dreaded the toxic drugs that will rid my body of the cancer that has crept into my life. I guess it is all for a good cause, so I will just grin and bear it. It still stinks though. I am currently enjoying each and every day that I still have my long brunette hair. You know you always wonder what you will look like without hair. Is my head smooth or do I have some big potholes in it? How white will it be since it hasn't really ever seen the sun fully? Will I look as good as Demi Moore in G.I. Jane? I guess we will see soon. I asked Brenley the other day if she is going to be okay with Mommy not having hair because of her medicine that might cause it to fall out. Bless her heart, she said, "Mommy, it's ok. God will give you some more. We can buy you some and glue it on". I just had to laugh at that point because she was right in many aspects. I can probably get a wig that closely resembles what i have now minus the glue. She says that because she had a doll that her hair would not stay on, so Mommy graciously super glued it to her head. Also, it is just a temporary side effect, so I will eventually grow more hair. Who knows I may be a blonde or even curly headed when it comes back in. I hope not on the blonde thing. No offense to those pretty ladies that are blonde, but I love being a brunette. They say your hair sometimes changes color and texture when it comes back. That could be fun. I will probably have a going away party soon for my hair, but thank goodness my looks don't define who I am as a person. I'm beautiful because I'm God's child and he loves me. I will let ya'll know how it goes from here on out. I pray for little side effects from the chemo and for a good attitude to endure it. Thank you for the continued prayers and thoughts. May God bless each of you and may your hair stay intact! Love always - Shayla
I don't know if it was the rainy weather, returning to work finally, or going to see my oncologist, Dr. Pruitt, but it was just another manic Monday. And yes, I wish it were Sunday cause that's my fun day. I'm going to go ahead and admit it. I was a big cry baby today. I'm not usually very emotional about things, but for some odd reason everything seemed to set me off. I got to work early today to clean off some of the patient charts that were awaiting my arrival and then had to head to occupational health to get them to sign off on my return to work. Dr. Proffer released me to work, but I'm on a 10 pound lifting restriction and can only work 4 hours each day for one week. As most of you know, I'm an outpatient physical therapist at Northwest Texas Hospital here in Amarillo. Lifting and using my arms are a big part of treating patients, so I'm really just helping out around the clinic as needed in different areas. I had been prescribed some muscle relaxers for the continuing pectoral muscle spasms, and I thought it was helping until today. I got back to work and didn't even do much with my arms and began having spasms on the left side. This subsided somewhat and then the right side began and hasn't let up even with the muscle relaxers. Then, I began having blood in my right drain, which hasn't happened since right after surgery. It is now back to more clear or yellow drainage, so I think it is ok. If it continues, I guess I'll call Dr. Proffer's office. You know I had been thinking about my cancer lately. I had a chest CT scan at the end of January this year when I had bad bronchitis. Everything looked fine according to that scan, so I guess the cancer had not happened yet. Then, bam 7 months later I have Stage II breast cancer with 3 masses in the left breast, mets in 2 lymph nodes, and cancer that had actually gotten behind my breast into the fascia of the muscle. My cancer is grade 3 so it was highly malignant. Now you see why I'm now a big fan of women doing self breast exams and of the government moving the age down for starting mammograms. I saw on t.v. today that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will get cancer in their lifetime. I don't like those odds for anyone. Crazy huh?
Chris and I went to my first follow up with Dr. Pruitt today since my surgery. I thought I was emotionally prepared for talking about chemo, but again I broke down. I don't know if it was about the hair loss thing or just the fact that I don't feel like I should be having to talk about this at my age. The bottom line is all this just stinks! I had been handling everything fine, but like my sweet friend, Darcie Milsow, says sometimes you need to just cry it out and get it over with. I'm over it now. We found out that I will probably get my chemo port placed next Tuesday at 2:30 pm with Dr. Arredondo in day surgery. That will only happen if my drains get pulled before that date however. Then I will start chemo the next day (11-16-11) at Northwest Texas Hospital where I work. I will receive 2 chemo drugs (adriamycin and cytoxan) that will take about 2-3 hours to administer along with some of the side effect meds. This will take place every other week for 4 treatments. These are the more potent chemo drugs, and yes hair loss is one of the more common side effects unfortunately. Dr. Pruitt says I can keep exercising and working during this time to combat the fatigue side effect. He said the nausea problem has really been minimal with most patients because they give you meds before your chemo and oral meds after chemo to take. There are some other bad side effects but they only happen in very few patients. After 2 months of this, I will then do chemo with a drug called taxol. This is less potent, but will be once a week for 1 hour each. This will last for 12 weeks. So total chemo time will be about 5 months. Then, like I said before, I will do radiation for 5-6 weeks to the left chest wall. Then, I can still look forward to 2 more plastic surgeries and having a complete hysterectomy. Man, I'm ready for 2011 to be over cause it has not been real nice to me. I'm hoping that 2012 will be better. Wednesday, Chris and I have to attend a chemo class from 9-11:30 am at Harrington Cancer Center to learn more about it. Dr. Pruitt said if I get a high fever or my blood counts are too low, he may have to put me in the hospital to protect me from infection. I hope we don't ever have to worry about that. I'm just glad that today is almost over because I'm expecting tomorrow to be a good day.
I guess I don't have any good advice for everyone today except that God never gives us more than we can handle. I know at times it seems like Chris and I have a big mountain to climb, but we decided that we are going to just look for our next handhold and foot placement for each cliff. Then, before we know it we will look down at what we have accomplished (only with God's help) and celebrate the victory (maybe with a cruise or returning to our honeymoon island of St. Lucia which will be well deserved by that time!!!). Thanks again for the encouragement through your cards, calls, e-mails, and texts. I need them to help me through this, but most of all I need God. Please continue the prayers for me, Darcie Milsow, who is bravely fighting colon cancer, and for Jenny Mills, another strong woman fighting breast cancer. Darci and I have met up two times recently for coffee and lunch, and I admire her so much. She is so strong, and I love being able to vent to someone who really understands, firsthand, how I feel and what I'm going through. She is my strength going into this storm ahead. I know God can heal both of us, and Darcie and I have hope and faith for this. Take care and God bless. Love - Shayla
If anyone wants to read posts from past months, just scroll up and look at the archives on the right hand side of the . It will list September and October. If you click on one of these, you can find the old posts.
You know I never asked to get cancer. I never asked to have a double mastectomy. I never asked to have 3-4 more surgeries in the future. I never wanted chemotherapy or radiation. I never wanted any of this, but then I have stop and think. First of all, I'm not the first or the last person that will ever go through cancer or any of the other yucky diseases out there. Second, you can always find something good to come out of something really bad. Lastly and most important, Jesus never asked to live a life of constant insecurities and hard times and then die a cruel death on that cross for us. Sometimes life doesn't go our way and we have to carry some heavy burdens just like Jesus did along his path, but we have to remind ourselves that it could always be worse and it is all for a great cause - GOD! He never leaves us or forsakes us through anything in life that we have to endure. Yesterday was kinda a crazy day that really was unexpected. On Thursday I decided, after consulting with my work friends during a visit to them, to call Dr. Arredondo to report some significant swelling on the left side of my upper chest and axilla (armpit). It has been swollen all along but it seemed to be expanding like a balloon more and more each day. His nurse called me back and told me to come in first thing Friday morning to let him look at it. Chris and I went at 8 am, and Dr. A told us that I had a seroma under my arm. This is just any cavity that the body decides to fill with fluid after something like trauma or surgery. I was always wondering why the cancer side (left) had way less drainage out of the drain than the right side. Dr. Arredondo said that Dr. Proffer would want to see me to aspirate that fluid out since he did the plastic surgery on it. Before we were sent to meet Dr. Proffer at Quail Creek Hospital to do so, Dr. A gave us the summary of the path report from surgery. From all we had known everything went as expected except that they had taken 11 lymph nodes to check them for cancer instead of just 2-3. Dr. Arredondo actually took 12 lymph nodes (3 sentinel nodes and 9 axillary nodes) and 2 of the 3 sentinel nodes had micromets or cancer in them. Then, we were told some surprising news after that. When they peel back the whole breast area off the muscles deep to them to take it out, they get some of the fascia (I tell my patient's it's like saran wrap) off the muscle. My cancer was not in the deep muscles but a small area had been found on the fascia that they removed. This means that just like in the lymph nodes, the cancer was trying to take its yucky self out of that area and into other areas. Praise God that is as far as it got before they removed it (again a positive thing to focus on). Dr. Arredondo said that because of this I would need radiation after chemo to make sure this doesn't come back.
I don't think I had mentioned on the last post that Peggy Smith, nurse navigator from Harrington Cancer Center, had called and told me that I have an appt with Dr. Pruitt, my oncologist, on Nov. 7th. We talked about things and again with my young age, BRCA 2 gene, and the fact that it had moved into 2 lymph nodes they had decided that I for sure needed chemo (without the ONCO testing being done). We all agreed that we want the best odds of kicking this thing's butt and never letting it come back. We will discuss at that visit which chemo drugs we will be using, how long it will last, and when we will start. We have to coordinate with Dr. Arredondo again to get a day surgery date to put my chemo port in the right side of my chest. Right now I can't fathom another surgery to make me even more sore than I am already. Got to do what you got to do, right?
Back to yesterday's story. Chris and I headed straight over to the hospital after Dr. A's office to meet Dr. Proffer. We were whisked away to a room in the back and Dr. Proffer looked at the swelling. I told him when I woke up that morning that drain was completely empty which was weird. He began pushing pretty hard on that area and then asked me to lay down on this hospital bed. He apologized for the amount of pressure that he had to put on my chest and armpit, but I told him that it was pretty numb still. Then, the weirdest thing ever happened. When he gave the first hard push, all that fluid that was stuck in that area suddenly and loudly rushed towards my breast area and sternum. It felt so crazy and all I heard from Chris was "Whoa, oh my goodness!!!". Chris described it as looking like an alien had suddenly appeared in my chest. I sat up after that and he kept pushing on all these areas. Suddenly I felt drainage dripping down my left side near my drain exit and the drain started going crazy. Finally, all that was coming out! Dr. Proffer said that I must have had a little blood clot that was blocking it from getting to the drain. That solved that problem and it looks so much better. Simple solutions to simple problems (one of my favorite phrases to Chris' dismay!). We left there laughing, but I left there really sore from all the pushing.
We had a great rest of the day hanging out together and then picking up Bren from daycare to build a snowman. Then, we met up with Brandon, Karen, Taylor, and Addison Mason (Karen Tallant for those from Canyon) to go eat at Chili's on Coulter and walked next door to the Lowe's parking lot to see the hot air balloons. They have something called Pirates of the Canyon each year with hot air balloon activities. It was suppose to be at the park across the street but because of the recent snow and it melting, it got moved to the Lowe's parking lot. I didn't stay out there long because I quickly figured out that me and the cold do not get along these days. You know when you get cold and start shivering and your muscles tighten up. This is amplified in me right now, so when I get cold my pectoral muscles, that are already so tight, go into spasms. This is not fun, so I did not take a short lift off ride on the hot air balloons with the guys and the kids (minus Brenley because she was so scared of them - she thought they would fall on her and hated the loud noise they made when they glow-funny!). We had a great time at dinner except for the disappointment of the Rangers losing the World Series again this year. Oh well, they did good this year and we're proud of them still. We have to get excited about something considering the Dallas Cowboys are so up and down and haven't done good in several years. So I guess in the next few weeks, we will talk about port placement, chemo starting, and when they will finally release me back to work (although I am thoroughly enjoying my extra time with my precious husband and daughter). Dr. Proffer had told us that we can continue to put more fluid in the expanders as planned but then we will have to stop the surgery plans until after chemo and radiation are finished. This is because of the possible side effects of the radiation on the skin area and reconstruction. Chemo will probably be 2-5 months depending on how many meds they need to do, and radiation will be Mon-Fri for 5-6 weeks (only 15 mins sessions). This extends my timeline quite a bit for everything, but I'm not letting that get me down. That just makes me fight harder. Look on the bright side, if I get chemo and radiation (and probabaly take tamoxifen for 5 yrs) then my odds are that much less that it will come back. My body may be a wreck, but I'll have more time with all of you. Praise God for that and always. My advise this time is to always look for the the bright spot in a day when it only seems dark and dreary because that bright spot will give you the hope and faith you need that tomorrow will be a beautiful and sunny day. Love y'all. Shay
So I rode with Chris this morning to his yearly physical at Amarillo Family Physicians' office for the Fire Department at 8:15 am. Then, I walked next door to Dr. Proffer's office for my first post-op visit with him at 9:15 am. I'll admit I decided to break down a few days ago and take off my bandages to readjust them and do some scratching of areas that were driving me crazy. I decided that it was better to look at the damage on my own time than to be surprised by it at the doctor's office. I guess it was about what I had pictured in my head to be with large incisions down the middle of the chest from the sternum area towards the axilla (armpit) on each side. They are covered in steri strips. Dr. Proffer said that they could only put 100 cc of fluid in the expanders because my skin was really tight with just this amount. He says it is because I'm not overweight or he could of put more. I told him it was probably because there wasn't much skin or anything there before I had the surgery. We had a little laugh about that. I guess there is one plus to being small chested before the surgery because then you don't see that much of a difference after surgery. I just keep having to tell myself that this area will look much different down the road. He thinks in the next few weeks we can add more fluid to the expanders and continue to do so until time to replace them with implants. They looked at the drain logs I have been keeping and decided that we could take out one from each side of my trunk. That leaves one on each side still. They want me to call on Thursday to report how these are doing. If they get down below 30 mL of drainage for 24 hours, they can remove those too. I will be glad to get rid of that baggage. I really don't have much more news than that for today, but it was sure good to get out of the house for the first time. Chris and I actually ran a couple of errands after the visits, and then I was pretty tired. We headed home and watched a movie together on the couch while trying not to fall asleep. So overall it was a good day. I'm down to only my antibiotics and the hydrocodone pills as needed. I'm trying not to take the pain meds too often, and I'm doing pretty good with this. I don't like taking meds if I don't have to. Other than spending hours on thank you cards, I continue to enjoy reading my Bible on my used Nook I bought from my friend with my birthday money. I had downloaded the Life Application Bible like the one I have at home, which has the commentaries at the bottom, and I love it. Sometimes the things I read I have a hard time understanding fully, so it's good to have an explanation of those. God has really been teaching me new things in scriptures that I have read before but now have different meaning to me in my current circumstances. I find myself trying to eliminate distractions around me like the t.v. or wondering thoughts to try to really focus on the words I'm reading. That's hard for me because my mind seems to always be thinking about the next thing I need to do, so I'm praying for God to help me focus on the task at hand and not to worry about things to come. I find myself enjoying each day rather than wasting my time worrying about tomorrow or the months or years to come. We have no control over that anyway, so why concern ourselves with it. Give it to God and let him do the worrying for us. My advice for you today is to take time for God. We would take time to spend with our earthly best friend if they asked, so why would we not want to devote time to our ultimate best friend - God our father. He cares about every small detail in each of our lives and he will never turn his back on us or stop loving us. The last thing I ask of each of you is to pray for my friend Darcie Milsow, who is bravely fighting colon cancer. She is a precious, Christian woman with a great husband and 3 sweet children. Some of you may know her because her family is from Canyon. God is working in her life as well to help her win her battle with her cancer, but like me she can use all the prayers she can get. I pray for complete healing for her and I know God can do this. Thank you for caring for me and my family and for lifting people in need up in prayer daily. God bless and love y'all. Shayla
We'll it's almost 7 am on Friday morning, and I've been up since 6 am. Chris and I have to wake up throughout the night to empty the 4 drains and to take a mix of different meds. I'm not going to lie, I had to break down and call Dr. Proffer's office to discuss pain management with them. They had given me hydrocodone that I was taking every 6 hours, but the problem was that I couldn't keep my pain down at that interval. Also, I'm taking valium for muscle spasms but I'm still getting those too. They aren't as bad as they were before however. I guess all that is just par for the course, but it still stinks. They called me in a new pain med that is stronger, and it seems to be helping more. I tried to start off in my bed last night and made it until about 2 a.m. before I moved to the couch. Then, I was off and on sleeping the rest of the night. You know I thought I was a tough cookie before I had this surgery, especially after having major back surgery, but this has been kicking my butt. I'm hoping that each day will get a little better.
Yesterday Peggy Smith, nurse navigator with Harrington Cancer Center, called to tell me about pathology reports from surgery specimens. She said that the hard lump that I had found originally was still GRADE (not stage) 3 and was about 2.7 cm. Then, there were actually 2 non-invasive areas under this area that they removed. They were able to get clear margins around all of the masses. Dr. Arredondo was originally going to take 2-3 lymph nodes to test them but they decided to go ahead and take more (11 to be exact). Out of the 11, only 2 had some micro calcifications or whatever word she used in them. This means that it had begun to go into the lymph nodes slightly but not too far. She still doesn't think I will need radiation though. She hasn't sent off the cancer for that ONCO testing yet because Dr. Pruitt will be back in office on Monday. She wants to talk with him and also coordinate with Dr. Arredondo about everything and see if we are just going to do chemo. If that is the case, there is not need to send it off for ONCO testing because that was going to just tell us if we needed chemo or not. I think they want to probably do chemo since it had gotten into those 2 nodes. Anyway, I'm just glad to be cancer free at this time regardless of the brutal cost I had to go through to get there.
I took my first bath last night with very little water to wash my lower half. Chris helped me with the upper half, and then we went to guest bathroom for me to lean over so I could wash my hair. It felt so good to do that after not getting to for several days. My chest area has been draining pretty good through those drains but seems to be slowing down some. I have a lot of numb areas expecially on the left side of my chest, under my armpit (axilla for you medical people), and down the backside of my left arm to my elbow. Peggy said some of this should come back. I haven't been brave enough to take off the ace wraps and padding they have in place. It makes me feel safe like having a breast shield, and it is serving as compression to the area. I'm not going to lie about this either, but I'm not sure I want to see what is under there. I may wait until Monday when I go to Dr. Proffer's office to see it. I need to mentally prepare some for that still. Anyway, thanks to everyone that came up to the hospital on Tuesday while I was in surgery. I heard it was a very large crowd and I know that Chris and my family really appreciated it. People have already been bringing us meals, which is such a blessing since I barely get off the couch these days, Thank you for that. Please call, text, or come by if you want. I know many people said they wanted to do this but were hesitant to do so. I don't mind company or talking to friends or family. Hopefully today will be a better day. God is healing me each day and continues to be the center of my thoughts and prayers since he is my strength through this. I've enjoyed spending more time with him daily. God bless. Shay
There is another update below this one that I did on Wednesday if you haven't read it.
So I don't remember a lot about them taking me back for surgery yesterday. but I do remember waking up in recovery to a lot of pain and horrible muscles spasms in my pectoral muscles and in my back. They gave me some meds and then I woke up in my regular room. Oh course, as always, the anesthesia meds make me very nauseated. I got sick right when I got to my room and then felt like I was on the edge of vomiting all day. I was in and out of sleep or dozing off many times. I was in no shape for a lot of visitors. My parents said I looked pale and they could all tell that I was in serious pain. I couldn't even think about laying back or even moving, for that matter, without the serious spasms hitting me. I'm not going to lie, it almost brought tears to my eyes. I feel like I'm a pretty tough girl with all the surgeries I've had in the past, but this surgery ranks up there with the hardest ones. Needless to say, but I had a very bad day after surgery. Chris and I tried to sleep in our hospital room but couldn't except for short periods of time between someone coming in to empty the four tubes in my or to take vitals. At around 3 am, I got up with Chris and we walked the halls for about 10 mins so I could get out of my bed for a few minutes. I just can't hardly get comfortable when I try to lay down. I was glad for it to be morning time because I could finally eat something other than crackers. Although those saltine crackers were the best I had ever tasted after I got over the nausea. I took several more walks today around hospital to visit with friends. They gave me the option of staying at the hospital another night but I felt like I can do what they were doing with me at my comfortable house. Dr. Arredondo and Dr. Proffer both came by to see me this am. Dr. Proffer told me I would follow up with him next Monday and maybe get the four drains out depending on how much they are draining still. He also said today was a good day because the cancer cannot hurt me anymore. Dr. Arredondo came by next, and I asked him about cancer removal details. He said everything went good and that he didn't think the cancer had gone to my lymph nodes and that the margins appeared clear. They won't know for sure until they run tests on the 3 lymph nodes. Those results should be back in a few days. The cancer itself is being sent off for ONCO testing, which will take around 2-3 wks. I felt pretty good when I got home but my meds had definitely worn off. Chris went to get my prescriptions and believe me I took them ASAP when they got here. Now, I'm just winding down and very drowsy, so I think I will hit the hay. Thanks for everyone's throughts, prayers, and concerns lately. They help me to stay positive throughout this storm. Also, thank you so much God for guiding the doctors during the surgery and for the wonderful nurses I had while being in the hospital. God has continued to carry me through this process, and I know that each day will be better than the last. God bless. Shay
Hello to all, this is Chris, Shayla's husband. I am writing to let you guys know that Shayla had her surgery this morning, and at this time is in a recovery room recovering from her successful surgery. The doctor came out and let us all know that everything went very well. The cancer has been removed, and along with a couple of lymph nodes, will be sent off for testing to determine what type of and/or if chemo is needed. We thank you all so much for your prayers. We have felt them throughout this process. I know that we have a long road ahead of us, but I do feel like our prayers have been answered. He guided the surgeons' hands this morning and will continue to guide us through the remainder of this process. Please continue to pray for Shayla as she recovers and enters the next phase of this battle. We praise God for each of you and know that your prayers are being heard.
Thank you all and God Bless,
So I'm sitting here in my bed at 11:15 pm, and tomorrow morning is surgery day. Many people have asked me if I'm that scared about it being here, but the truth is that I'm really grateful that it is finally here. I had my biopsy over a month and a half ago without anyone doing anything about my cancer except doctors appointments and planning. I'm just really ready for it to be over and for the cancer to get out of me. I can't say that I'm that nervous yet because I've been really busy over the last week getting insurance stuff ready, pre-admitting, having lymph node mapping (today), and getting everything around my house in order. If you know me, you know I have a hard time sitting still. I can always find something that needs me to mess with it. LOL! I think maybe that is again why God put this in my path to slow me down. After the surgery, I think I finally will. I plan to rest as much as I can so I can heal properly. So the plan for in the morning is that Chris and I will arrive at the hospital at 7 am to get ready for surgery. It is planned to start around 9:30 am or as soon as Dr. Arredondo gets to Northwest. Dr. Proffer's office called today and said that he will be there at that time too, but his part will start around 10:30 am. The total surgery time will be 3-4 hours, all of which Chris will spend fighting his nerves. I ask that everyone pray for Chris and my family and friends that they will be strong and know that God has everything under control (AND I MEAN EVERYTHING). Also, please ask that God give me overwhelming peace about the whole procedure from start to finish and that he will take care of my every need including pain control. I KNOW that God is good at all times and that in times when we feel vulnerable and overwhelmed he picks us up and carries us through it. If he didn't do that, how in the world could we face these very hard circumstances? We couldn't. I guess I'm an old pro at this surgery thing because this will be my 11th surgery. I just hate anesthesia recovery because I tend to get nauseated, and everyone knows I would rather do anything but vomit. Not fun at all. Lastly, I ask prayers for Dr. Arredondo, Dr. Proffer, the nurses, and all the other medical staff that will take care of me. I pray that they will have the knowledge and positive attitudes to encourage me along the way. I should only be in the hospital one night if everything goes as planned, which I believe it will. One more thing that I want to mention tonight before hitting the pillow is that we can't say thank you enough for the amazing turnout Saturday for the benefit cookout at the part. Thank you so much to Lifestar (esp. Claudette and Becky) for all the time and efforts put into planning it and making it a hit. Thank you to the Amarillo Fire Department and especially Tracy and Kevin McLeland for selling the fundraiser bracelets and coming out to support Chris and I. We already feel that y'all are family to us. Also, thank you to all our friends and family that drove from out of town and around here to come support us. The food was amazing, and Chris and I enjoyed seeing and talking to as many of you guys as we could. Sorry if we didn't get around to you that day. We appreciate every dollar that was graciously donated to our family to help with the many medical costs that may come our way. We thank God that he is taking care of us through those donations and that you all were willing to come and donate your hard earned money. It is such a blessing to us and will continue to be in the future for our monetary needs in this. Please know that it will be spent wisely. Ok, so Chris will attempt to post a blog tomorrow after I get done with surgery to update you on how everything went and what the doctors say to him. I know everyting will be great and thank you for all your thoughts and prayers today, tomorrow, and every day to come. You all give me such strength and increase my faith through your faith in our wonderful God. See you on the flip side.
Today has been an amazing day. Appointments that I had planned for this week got switched to different times and days, so I did my bone scan yesterday and my CT scans this morning. All of our prayers were answered because they all came back negative for metastises. You can't imagine the weight that was lifting off my shoulders from this good news. Thanks again to everyone for your fervent prayers daily, but most of all thank you God, our heavenly father, for beginning the healing on me. I firmly believe in sudden miracles but I also believe that God works through ALL situations. He may plan to take this cancer out of me through this way, but he may also be taking me through a longer route to test my obedience to him throughout this trial in my life.
I told someone the other day that I had forgotten often to include God in the little things in my life. It's easy when times are tough to ask for God's help or guidance, but we forget that he wants to be involved in everything we do every day. If God only took us down the easy path all the time, we would feel like we didn't need his help and that we could do it on our own. Our pride (and control issues in my case) often times gets in the way of feeling like we need God's help, but then God throws us a curve ball to remind us that we will strike out every time without him. I'm pretty hard-headed. Ok, let's be frank, I'm really hard-headed (ask Chris). I, like most women and mothers, think that I have everything under control, and I seem to find some kind of joy and sense of accomplishment in multitasking everyday to get everything done. I work hard and often to try to make more money to pay things off or do the things that I would like to do. This sometimes comes at the expense of missing out on spending time with Chris, Bren, or family. But you do what you got to do, right? No, this is not the case at all. God knew that I needed to slow down and focus on the things in life that really matter and most importantly that is him. If we don't put him at the top, this life can really become overwhelming and mundane. I know that God does not like to see us suffer, but he also knows that it takes things like this sometimes to open a hard-headed person's eyes like mine and put them back on him. This has not only made me realize how much I need him every second of every day, but it has made me understand his unfailing love and devotion to caring for each of us personally. I have seen God is such a different light that I have never seen him in before not only from what he has been doing in my life but through all of you that have been praying and supporting me so much through your faith in him. I know God has been holding my hand and walking me through this from the day he brought me to my knees and broke me down physically, spiritually, and emotionally. The reason I know this is because I have felt his presence through the peace and strength he has given me in a time when I felt my weakest and most vulnerable. I pray for each of you that it doesn't take something like cancer to wake you up spiritually and to make you realize that God seeks you daily. He loves each of you and cares about you more than you'll ever know. Our God is good in all things, and I never again want to take this for granted. Thank you for letting me get that off my chest and for wanting to take this journey with me and my family.
OK back to medical updates. My surgery is scheduled for October 18th (Tues). It will start at 9 am and last around 3 to 4 hours. Dr. Arredondo, surgical oncologist, will start working on the cancer side (left) to do the mastectomy while Dr. Proffer, plastic surgeon, starts on the right side. When Arredondo gets done with the left, Dr. Proffer will then do the expander placement on that one too. Both sides will be taken as mastectomies. Again this is because I carry the BRCA2 gene and I'm young, so this makes my odds really high that the cancer will return if we don't do this. Dr. Proffer explained at my consultation with him yesterday that he will basically move part of my pectoralis muscle up and place something call acellular matrix along the bottom and outside of each breast. This matrix helps the body not only build a blood supply back to this area, but it also helps it regenerate it's own structural support for each breast. Then, he will place an expander in that pocket formed between the two. This will slowly stretch the skin to get it ready for implants. These expanders will be filled every few weeks with more fluid at his office. Three months after this major surgery, I will have a much easier surgery to replace the expanders with implants. Then, 3 months after this I will have some touch up work in another minor surgery. He says that breast reconstruction has come such a long way and that I should be really pleased with the outcome. Chris had gone with me to see Dr. Proffer and he asked before if I was nervous. I told him "no" because this was the good part that comes after the cancer is taken out. Also, after having many doctors visits where cancer was the key word and focus, it was a nice break to talk about something else like breast implants. LOL! Anyway, I feel really good about the upcoming surgeries and the physicians that I have in place. I feel that God opened doors to get me into these doctors for a reason. Please continue to be praying for the upcoming surgery and recovery, but also for the hands of the doctors and nurses that take care of me during this time. Another prayer request is for my sweet husband, Chris, who has been taking such good care of me since this began. He is a rookie firefighter here in Amarillo. He was scheduled to work the day of my surgery, and this was also the day of his seven month skills test and written exam. They take two tests in their rookie year that they have to pass to move on. He has been working so hard to study and to be successful at his job. He also loves being a firefighter, which makes me so happy. They are going to let him take his test on the 14th so he can be with me on surgery day (which is so nice of them). I ask that you pray for Chris to do well on his testing because he has had a lot on his plate lately to worry about. I know God will provide. Please know that your prayers are felt and so appreciated. Thanks to each of you that have sent cards and notes to encourage us, and a very special thank you to those that have been graciously donating through the bracelet sales, benefit fund, and in cards to support us financially. You don't know what a blessing that is when the medical bills keep coming. I want ya'll to know that this money is going towards doctors' bills, genetic testing, surgeries and other medical expenses and that it is so appreciated. God bless all of you! Love ya'll. Shay
P.S. Happy Birthday to my sweet Dad who I love so, so much. Your faith in God is amazing and has been such an influence in my walk with him. You're amazing.