So I had my surgery exactly one week ago (July 17th). As most of you know it was 3 procedures in one. I had my chemo port removed from my chest, my chest expanders replaced by implants, and my complete hysterectomy. The day before the surgery was Brenley's 4th birthday, so it was a special day. However, the night before was tough. I was so thankful for a sweet and healthy 4 yr old daughter but selfish at the same time. I was bitter because I did not want to have to make the decision to have a hysterectomy so early. I wanted another child of my own with my husband. I cried and Chris cried. It was a hard night. There was not much talking being done. We just held each other at times and cried it out. It just sucked frankly. I just knew I would be a basketcase the next morning at the hospital. It was weird though. The next morning I was calm and had a peace about it that can only come from one place - God. You know this week I've had extra time to think. My friends at work gave me a great wall art piece that spells "FAITH" when I finished my chemo. I've been thinking what this means to me. Faith means trusting God has a hand in every single moment in our lives and carries us in times (like just the other day) when we feel like we can't go on. Faith means knowing God isn't going to give us more than we can handle and that he is using terribly hard times to strengthen our faith and trust in him. Faith is believing that staying true to God through some of the worst days of your life is so worth it because some day we will be in a glorious place free from physical ailments. It is giving full control to him and saying "God my life is yours completely and whichever direction you want me to go is where I will". Faith is sometimes giving up what we want because we know deep down that God has something better for our lives. Faith is sharing your story with perfect strangers because you want them to know how great your God is and wanting to spread his word however you can. Faith is knowing that God is good in all circumstances and that he loves us even though we are broken and sinners. We don't deserve his love or his faithfulness to us, but Jesus took care of that on the cross. Praise God for that. What a sacrifice! Just about when I want to pout about my problems, God has a way of reminding me what all I should be thankful for. Thank you God for this. You are awesome and I love you so much.
God has worked through my cancer in so many ways. He has not only been using this to mold me into a better person (which is definitely still a work in progress), but he has used this to mend some relationships and start new ones. I had lost touch with some really precious people in my life (you know who you are), and I really didn't know how to reach out to them. God has opened new doors of communication with these people, and it has been such a blessing in my life. I really missed these people and spending time with them has brought happiness to my heart. A lot of great memories came rushing back into my mind. I love you girls! I also recently got the opportunity to meet a sweet young lady that I adore. I first heard of her story with breast cancer through her mother-in-law, who wrote on one of my first blogs. I was so motivated by her story and felt like I was looking in the mirror. Her name is Jenny Mills. It's crazy. She is only a few years older than me and went through practically the same cancer battle I did. Her husband is a firefighter like mine. Her daughters name is Brae and mine is Brenley (who we call Bren). Our daughters are only like 10 days or so apart in age. She is real athletic and laid back like me. We even take trips with our in-laws to Red River every year. We both have 3 dogs (2 big outside dogs and 1 smaller inside dog). I could go on and on with the similarities, but the bottom line is she is awesome. She contacted me because they were going to be in Amarillo a few days, and so we met up for lunch one day. Chris and Bren came with me and all of her crew was there. Brae, her daughter, was too cute and instantly bonded with Bren and myself. She was up in my lap like she had known me forever. Jenny and I talked a lot about all of our cancer journey details, and the boys were busy talking I'm sure about firefighting stuff. We had the best time getting to know them more. I'm so glad God opened doors for me to meet Jenny. I know our friendship is only going to grow from here. I told her I feel like we have been friends for years, and she said the same thing. It was awesome. Again God works through all things.
So I guess I underestimated how tough this surgery was going to be. It still doesn't compare fully to my mastectomies, but it has been a booger. The surgery itself ended up taking about 4 hours. I was so excited, however, because I woke up in recovery to pain but no nausea. I had requested Dr. Felder, anesthesiologist, because he had done a great job in my sister's surgery for her. He took some extra steps to try to combat my normal nausea and vomiting after surgery, and now he is my best friend officially. I will request him from now on. He is awesome. I remember a few things from recovery, which is a time when you are really vulnerable to doing some things that are less desireable and downright embarrassing. I remember for some odd reason that my right eye would open but my left for some reason would not. I kept trying to raise my head and look around with my left eye, but it was stubborn. I kept telling the nurse that for some reason my lower abdomen was cramping as if they hadn't just cut me open and ripped all my female parts out right before that! The nurse was awesome and gave me warm blankets to try to calm down my belly. I got up to my room and felt like a million bucks. About two hours later, I was up walking the halls. I felt kinda like a drunk woman, however, stumbling around and blabbering about anything and everything. I guess at the time I didn't think about "overdoing it". Well, I did. I got back to my room and was in and out of bed several times, and what happened next? I suddenly got nauseated and vomited to my dismay. I felt fine after this but maybe that was God's way of saying, "slow down Shayla". I don't remember all the details to that day except for the fact that I wanted that durn catheter out ASAP. There is nothing worse then thinking you need to pee and trying to tell yourself to just let it flow freely down a tube. Yuk! My awesome nurse graciously (and probably annoyed with my whining) called Dr. Appel to ask if we could remove it. She agreed and out it went. I didn't care if I had to peel myself out of bed every hour that night to pee on the toilet. It was well worth it to not have that thing. Anyway, that night after overdoing it earlier that day, I went to get out of bed and instantly the moaning began. Chris was so tired from the activities of the day that he was snoring all curled up on his tiny pull out chair beside me. I struggled to get to the edge of the bed, and that took me back to my mastectomy days mentally. Thank goodness for hospital beds that can help sit you up. I couldn't ask for better nurses while I was in the hospital. Thank goodness my doctors put me on the oncology floor with the nurses I have grown to love and respect. They took great care of me, and I got to go home the next day. I'm not going to lie. I struggled physically for the first 5-6 days after surgery. Now, I'm feeling a little better and trying to do more. I don't want to overdo it though. I feel like my body has been through a lot this year and it is kinda in shock at this point. It needs a break I think. The good part about it is that I have come out of this with very nice and perky boobies! I have an awesome plastic surgeon that worked his magic and that I trusted with every last detail. The girls are bigger than they used to be but not too big. He calls them "sporty". I guess that is what I need since I like to workout, so that will work. Well, I better hit the hay as my mother and father used to say to us. I want to thank God for a successful surgery and for my recovery so far. God has blessed me in taking away all my cancer (evidenced by a cancer free PET scan recently) and getting me to where I am at now in my journey. God bless.