Day Twelve I Had Hoped

002-0011Why is it we set our self up, only to be disappointed. I wonder if it’s hearing, “Oh, it’s going to look great,” and you start to believing it? But aren’t we suppose to have faith or hope that it will?

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

I was going to write a little after I changed my bandage but I think I’m going to have to wait until tomorrow. It’s always so shocking to see each step for the first time. I have to mentally work through that step and process it before I even know what to say. It’s not very pretty but it’s not suppose to be……..

This time wasn’t any different. I think I had hoped it would look better. Perhaps a day to reflect on just how blessed I am will give me a better perspective. I want to inspire people and show them that there is HOPE. How can I do that when my heart hurts?

I guess i need a day to suck it up.

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Stitches Be Gone

Yesterday started pretty good. I was a little anxious to get the stitches out. Was eight days long enough for it to have healed? It is in a place where there’s a lot of tension. The memories when Gary ask me to cut some stitches out of his leg one time popped into my head. Why on earth did I let him talk me into doing that? That sucker busted right back open bigger than Dallas. Thank goodness boys like scars because he was definitely going to have one now. That was pretty scary…….lol

Okay, back to my stitches. Gary called and ask if I wanted him to go with me and I told him he was welcome to come if he wanted but I wanted him to take some pictures. He is not a person who likes pictures at all and sees no importance of me documenting my journey so he grumbled a little and agreed. I think he just wanted to be there to hear for himself that the cancer was gone.

I needed to coach him on the camera because when Dr. Lowe came in I didn’t want to have to be saying, “Get up here and TAKE MY PICTURE!!” (I’m feeling like I need to get up and take a Valium just telling you this story….lol.) Why are men so difficult? They make you think they understand but then they do a 180 and do what they want. Let’s just say, he’s fired from taking pictures.

Dr. Lowe came in smiling like I expected. I just really like him. I know his smile is probably partly determined on my smile and attitude so I must have been shining. I have been really pleased with the way things look so far. It’s not the scar. The scar is actually the easy part. It’s the symmetry of my face that was the big thing for me. I didn’t want one side looking way different than the other. I was very impressed that the awesome reconstruction he did (he and God) under the skin has been so noticeable on top.

He took out the pathology report and gave us a copy. He pointed out where it said, “Margins of resection, superior and inferior margins less than 1mm.” He said “that might be good enough for the government but its not good enough for us. We want to take a little more by resising the scar.” He showed me where he will be cutting and it’s actually on top of and below where the tumor was. He explained he thought that it wouldn’t make the scar any worse and hopefully make it look slightly better. He definitely said he wouldn’t be doing anything to the width if it. Thank goodness. I think a four inch diagonal slash is plenty long. Oh yes, and he reminded me that I will look my worst at two months. How can that be? I think he means the actual scar will look it’s worst. Of course, he’s not saying “I’m” going to look worse…. 🙂

He began to get his tools to start cutting the stitches out and there was a bunch of them. Guess what my husband did? He sat there. Of course I had to embarrass myself and say, “Will you please get up here and TAKE MY PICTURE!!!” He stood up and ask the Dr if he minded if he took some pictures, that I was a pictures taking fool and thought I needed pictures of everything. Dr. Jim is so laid back and so accommodating, he said, ” Absolutely, get up here and take all the pictures you want. It doesn’t bother me at all.” He actually even took his iPhone out and snapped a few himself. 🙂

So he starts to cutting them out and I felt everyone of them. Man, did that ever smart!! There was a bunch of them. He got them out, and began to redress it. When he applies the steri-strips, he glues them down..!! He likes to lock in that moisture that my body will make which contains the good stuff God gives us for healing. So he goes heavy on the gluing. He told me to leave it on for five days and then redress it myself. I am to come back in two weeks and we will pick the best day to do the revision.

Gary and I got in Tahoe to head home and I looked in the mirror. I defiantly looked a little worse. I saw instant bruising. Dang! How could that be? I looked so good before and now it looked like I had red brownish bruising like it was maybe bleeding just under the skin. I thought, great, I kick cancer to the curb and here I’m going to die of internal bleeding on my way home….. ha ha

We stopped and got milk and a few extra things on the way home. This Oklahoma weather is going to show it’s unpredictability Monday. More snow!!! I need sunshine.

So to make this long story a little shorter, when I got home and was able to look in the magnified mirror, I was able to see that the internal bleeding was reddish brownish glue. He gets a little crazy with the glue!! Thank you God, I’m going to live another day…… Ha ha

P.S. I almost forgot……when I looked at my camera, he had taken one freaking picture! He is so fired from the job. I didn’t even get a picture so I could see what it looked like with the stitches out!!!! Now I have to wait FIVE days!!! He said, “I sure thought I took more than one picture.” Yeah, he will not be the attending photographer when I get the next stitches out..!! 🙂

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Day Eight

I didn’t sleep very good last night. I got Gary off to work at 3:45am so that might be one of the reasons. I know God intends your body to rebuild and heal its self during your sleep. Maybe that’s why I have such a time. My sleep is so broke up into sections.

I’m going to see Dr. Jim my surgeon today. I just know he’s going to be pleased. It’s so evident that something super natural is going on in me. Of course we know it’s God doing the good work. He will get all my praise.

I’m really excited that I get to see little Henry tonight for some tender loving kisses. He is totally a believer that ALL booboo’s are healed through kisses. I tend to agree with him I think. He even took my face in his hands and kissed where the biopsy was last week. I’m also hoping to maybe go see my little girls too. Grand babies just have a way of making you forget all your problems.

Thank you God for another day that the sun finally shined. I don’t think I could have taken another gloomy cloudy day.

I’m going to take some pictures today while he takes my stitches out. I’ll post them later. Gary thinks I’m crazy but Dr Jim was actually surprised I wasn’t snapping pictures last time…lol. He said most women are snapping pictures as he cuts the gauze off.

I hear its cold outside. I better go get ready.

Molding Us Through Life’s Trials

I have always loved this analogy of refining silver. I borrowed it to share it here. It doesn’t surprise me that this bible verse can be used to describe our very own “self” being refined and purified so that Christ’s image can be seen in us. I pray that will be me some day. I pray that my face will reflect His image. I pray that you can always see Christ in me……

Refining Silver

There was a group of women in a Bible study on the book of Malachi. As they were studying chapter three, they came across verse three which says: “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” (Malachi 3:3) This verse puzzled the women and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study. That week this woman called up a silver smith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for her interest in silver beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silver smith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot–then she thought again about the verse, that he sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.

She asked the silver smith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silver smith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?”

He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s easy–when I see my image in it.”

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you.

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The Day Started Good

I’m quite proud of myself today. Every time I passed the mirror and had to look at myself, I realized that there was no way that scar was going to determine how beautiful I was. No way! Even I was able to look at my face in whole and not zero right into the slash and it’s only been a week today. I know it’s still so early so it can do nothing but improve, right? We will see what he says tomorrow. I see Dr. Lowe in the afternoon so I’m hoping he’s still happy with his handy work. He seemed to be on day two. So hopefully on day eight, he will even be happier.

You shouldn’t have to fight personal battles when you’re fighting a physical battle.

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We Need Three Millimeters of Clean Margins

Dr. Lowe called last night and we talked a good long time. I think I would have understood more had I been in his office because he likes to draw pictures and make marks and I guess I’m a visual learner too.

It wasn’t complicated what he said but I got a little confused on width verses the height. I might be wrong but the way he talked, he was conservative in the width that he took. I’d hate to think that he could have taken more than four inches in width. Wow! I thought that was plenty big.

He said the pathology reports came back showing one millimeter clean margins but that they like to go by MD Anderson guidelines and have three millimeters clean margins. So in other words, if he hadn’t have been so conservative he may have got three millimeters. He said considering what kind of tumor it was, he wasn’t willing to take a chance even if he knew it was 99.9% gone. He said especially since it can skip around.

But you know what he said? Before I even had the first surgery that I stood a 45% chance that the margins would come back unfavorable and I’d have to keep going back to get more until they were clean. I believe the Glory should go where it’s due. I believe it was all the prayers and that God has begun to turn this around for something good. Thank you Dear Jesus.

So the plan is wait about three months and go get a tiny bit more. He said he would like for it to be almost but not quite all the way healed. That way my body would still be making the human growth hormone in the wound itself I guess. The part he cuts out will then again be tested but he said he didn’t expect there to be any cancer in it. He acted like he would be cutting out a part of the actual scar and not taking more of my skin. He said I could decide if I wanted to do it at Baptist or their surgery center. I have a little time to decide so I think I’ll not worry too much about logistics right now.

I see him Friday to get the stitches out so I’ll probably be able to understand it all better after that appointment. I’ll continue to see him every three weeks for a while and hopefully soon be able to start on the scar revision. It’s in the absolute worst place on my face that it can be. There’s no hiding it in a wrinkle and since it’s where there is big muscle tension it has to be strong sutures. Blah blah blah……just my luck.

He said I won’t be turned back over to Dr. Julie’s care until he is totally finished with me. She will screen me often for more cancer so I should never find myself in the same situation again. We will get it early if any more decides to show its ugly face. I’m going to be aware of what to look for now because this was so harmless looking that I could have overlooked it even longer. Melanoma is NOT always dark and ugly-looking.

Jane Christian said the incision is my badge of courage. And you know what? I’d rather people be honest and say something like that instead of saying it doesn’t look so bad or it could look worse. I KNOW it looks bad….lol. So just be honest.

Some time I don’t feel very courageous at all. Most times I actually feel pretty fragile. I know I’m going to make it and I have no doubt that I’ll be wiser for the wear. I hope that it also teaches me how to be a better friend and how to minister to people when they are hurting or when they are just plain scared.

Hopefully I can give someone hope when I get brave enough to make this public. It has happened so fast that I have hardly had time to even accept it (like I have a choice)….lol

I’ll never stop saying thank you for all of you that stormed heaven’s gates and came running when I needed you. It has proven to me who loves me and which friendships I have that are genuine. Cancer is a very scary thing…….

Thank You God for seeing me through this.

Art lightens the heavy heart

I feel myself withdrawing into a shell and I’m trying to fight it. I’ve felt that all day long. I still need to blog the phone call I got from the surgeon last night. I want to be able to be honest and share what’s going on in my heart. Maybe it’s the weather that has got me down. Plus having to look in the mirror…..ugh!

I was able to get some office work done and finally decided to just close it up.

I think maybe what I need to do is create something pretty. Sometime you just have to escape reality and make something pretty. I wish I could remember where I put the sea glass I bought. I’d like to maybe start a small mosaic project. I’m not positive I have the right kind of glue to even start.

See there………. just talking about art has made me feel better. Funny how that works 🙂 I should be a shrink…….

Snow, Go Away!!

Why is it that when you need the sun to shine in Oklahoma, it starts snowing? I know, I have many blessings to count and my plans were to get a early start on counting this morning.

Gloom and doom is trying to creep in. But I know all I have to do is tell satan to get behind me and maybe start singing a song.

Yesterday was a little bit shaky for me but today is another day to be grateful that I’m here alive and well.

I have my face covered so its not so shocking. I only left them off long enough to take a picture. Actually if I put two layers on you can’t see it at all. I wonder if I can wear them the rest of my life 🙂

Always look around at the people who are suffering. You are always reminded how blessed you are. I have a friend who just discovered she has breast cancer. I love you Sarah. I’m here for you. God is going to see you through this.

Snow snow go away. And stay away. I need to see the golden sun and feel its warmth.

Sometimes showing support is saying nothing at all

I hope I don’t ever seem ungrateful for all the encouragement I have got. I am and will be forever indebted to everyone who has shown me that they care. Trust me, it has shown me where I lacked in my own ability to be a friend to people who are hurting.

People usually don’t know what to say when something bad happens to someone they care about but you know what? Sometimes you don’t have to say anything.

Sometime people just need to know that it’s okay to cry, or it’s perfectly understandable to be scared and fearful of the unknown.

Sometimes people might just need a hug or just sit next to them and be quiet.

Sometimes people just need to hear you say, “No matter what, I’ll walk this walk with you.”

Sometimes showing support is saying nothing at all. Just sit and listen to what they are saying…….Just quietly listen.

Just knowing there are friends and love ones walking beside you is all you need.

I am so blessed to have so many who care.

I hope I don’t ever seem ungrateful.

Just Let Me Weep

I got up this morning bound and determined to get clean bandages on my incision. Dr. Lowe had glued them down but they were kind of icky and part’s with dried blood and frankly, besides the fact they were pulling some tender skin underneath my eye, I wanted to see what the incision looked like. I had no idea except that it was going to be pretty wide and I could tell it slanted down diagonally down the right side of my face. Gary had seen it when Dr. Lowe had changed the bandage but when I ask him later what it looked like he wouldn’t give me a definitive answer.

When he left for work I told him I had pulled about four of the strips off and he told me I had better leave them alone and keep it covered up. It still didn’t dawn on me why he was being so persistent about me not putting on clean steri-strips but later that morning when I got them all off, I realized why. It was his way of protecting me. I couldn’t have left them on forever but I think he dreaded me having to see what I looked like.

Now remember, I had made the choice days earlier to save my life over what my face would look like. Who wouldn’t? No one would choose to leave cancer growing on their face just because they didn’t want to be disfigured. I didn’t think I would be disfigured but I think there’s always a fear of what your going to turn out to look like. I was more worried about not looking like “Vickie” than I was worried about looking ugly. And throughout this whole journey I just kept reminding myself that there are so many people suffering way bigger battles than I and that no matter what I could handle this.

As I began to pull the brown strips off that had covered the wound very well, it began to reveal a shocking slash across my face. I don’t know any other way to describe it other than it looked like I had been in a horror movie, except this wasn’t a movie. It was real life and it was my life.

Of course my first thoughts are, Oh my gosh, what are the kids going to think? What about the grand babies? Would I scare them to death when they saw me for the first time? I took a picture and sent it to the kids. I played it down so they didn’t know how disappointed I was that it looked so horrible. Mom’s do things like that so as not to worry her children. Hopefully I can keep it covered when the grandbabies come over. That would destroy me if I thought I scared them.

It definitely was NOT one of those beautiful incisions that you come to expect from a plastic surgeon. There wasn’t anything about it that identified to me that a plastic surgeon had made those stitches. I mean I was sort of prepared for that because he told us it had to be a strong incision because of the pressure where it was located but I thought for-sure it would be strait and not jagged looking. No, not a chance, we were going for the full slasher movie affect :-/ But hey, I’m alive, right?

You don’t have to keep reminding me that I’m alive and to be thankful that the cancer is gone. Surely you don’t think I would wish it to come back.

Just let me mourn for just a little bit. Let me cry when I pass the mirror and see the ugly face. I have to go through that process and you have to let me.

Don’t try to diminish the fact by telling me how good it will look in no time. “No time” isn’t right now…!

Just give me some time to get use to this face I have now. I know by the end of the year I’ll look back and see improvements but that’s along time away.

It’s my face. I can’t have it removed and hide that fact under clothing.

Just let me weep right now and give me time……..

Just be there and let me cry…….

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Free Love and Mercy

The weekend wen’t good. I didn’t feel like I got very much work done and that bothers me more than anything. I know people say, “Just rest!” but resting for me is no idle hands. I should be crocheting or something. Painting on rock, gluing tiles, writing in my blog (ha), get the point, I’m not capable of just sitting!!

I got the news that one of my dear friends has breast cancer. What in the world is going on? The devil is really on the attack on christian’s, isn’t he? He’s working overtime. I hate to even give his slimy name a mention here but it’s true. He’s out to destroy us. I know she will be okay and will pull through it victoriously because we have prayer warriors. I am evidence that prayer works. Someone said the other day, I think it was Ms. Dawson that we would just flood heaven with so many prayers for me that God would say, “Okay, Okay, enough already, I hear you!!” Sarah, my sweet precious friend, we are already flooding heavens gates with prayers for you. Like Billy Christian said to me the other day, “When the word of the Almighty God is spoken, swords are drawn.”

I know that cancer knows no age limit but my generation should just now be getting old enough to start having to worry about high cholesterol and clogged arteries, not cancer for pete’s sake. It feels like we just got our drivers license and now we have to go strait to jail with no fun in between. Like in the game of monopoly, we haven’t even had the chance to buy property and get to charge rent.

There has been so many things happen to me and around me the last ten days that could be nothing short of miracles. I know that God is orchestrating every aspect of this journey, every teeny tiny second of my day is commanded by Him. And like someone said, none of this was a surprise to God, He knew I was going to have cancer before I was even born. He knew the outcome before it even started.

You know the best part of having Christ in control of it all is that His love and grace and mercy are free. There is not a chance in the world that I could have ever deserved Him looking out over me or seeing me through the surgery or feeling His ever so tender loving care. Actually I know I wasn’t worthy of His compassion He has showed me. I have screwed up so many times that I didn’t deserve God’s mercy. The good thing is that it’s not determined by how good we are or how many times we go to church or how many times we pray. It’s free. This love that I’m talking about is absolutely free to us. The price has already been paid when Jesus gave his life and died on the cross. Thank you dear Jesus for doing that for me.

We are suppose to hear back from Dr. Lowe today or tomorrow on how the margins looked and whether we have to go back for more surgery. I have a peace in my heart either way. If we have to go back and get a little more, then that’s that. I’d rather him take a little at a time and not take half my face at once. He had told me that was the only way he could guarantee me that he got it all and if I had of been 80, he would have done that.  I’m so glad he is trying his best to preserve me 🙂

I must get busy. I’ll have to fire myself from my job if I don’t start showing up in the office. I have so much more to say and hopefully many more pictures. I’m going to take some pics while the bandages are off this time. That’s if I can get them off. This morning I tried and pulled one little strip 1/100 of a millimeter down, it hurt like a son of a gun so I pushed that little buger right back where it came from……lol

I hope you are blessed today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day Two Post Op

I slept pretty good but I had expected to since I hadn’t slept the night before. I wasn’t in any mood to change clothes so I told him to tell me when we had thirty minutes, I’d brush my teeth and then we’d go.

We had to get up early and be to the surgeon’s office by 8:30 I think. He wanted to be able to check me out because he was going out of town for two days. I was anxious to talk to him too because my family were the only ones who got to talk to him after the surgery. I had a couple of questions.

When I got up to go brush my teeth I expected my head to be as big as a basketball and my face to be black and blue. I was shocked when I looked in the mirror. There was hardly any!!! Praise God. That is the only thing it could have been because usually my body responds to things like this in a very angry way. Prayers had been answered no doubt in my mind.

You know, just like on TV, they have a back door for you to come in so all the regular patients can’t see all your swelling and bruising. So you park in back and ring this doorbell and they let you in. 

Thank goodness I was going to get that Q-tip thing off my head. That was driving me insane. I couldn’t hear a thing, it looked ridicules and I was sort of whiny.  When the nurses saw me still with the Q-tip thing on they could still tell that I looked pretty darn good and they both told me so.

Dr. Jim walked in and seemed to be surprised too. He began to cut the gauze off and pull the bandages off and thankfully I was still pretty numb. Actually I only felt just a little as he was cleaning the incision and pulling the drain out. He was surprised and said that most people have a blood clot there at the bottom of the incision and he was amazed that I didn’t even have one of those. 

This picture below is right after he redressed the wound so the strips are still stuck really well and of course there is just a little bleeding in this picture. I’m telling you this because I chose the absolutely best one to show you. 🙂

Can you believe this is just 24 hours after my surgery? Praise God from whom all blessings flow.  He was looking out for me and attending the surgery. I have no doubt that prayers were answered.

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Battle wounds.

You see movie stars leave the hospital like this after a face lift….ha ha. I looked more like I had been in a gang fight and had my face slashed. Looks like I could have tried to smile. I just wasn’t feeling to cheerful at that moment. My life had profoundly changed in a couple of hours. That old Vickie that I left at the house was no longer here. This was the new me. Would my grand-babies be afraid of me? Would they still know me by my voice no matter what I looked like? So many things clutter up your mind. Mostly just the devil trying to discourage me. I refuse to let him do that. I’m going to beat this. I’m going to find the happy go lucky Vickie again. She will rise out of the ashes. It may take me some time but I’m headed that direction. Thank you God for guiding the surgeons hands as he cut the cancer away. Thank you God that I am alive to tell this story. All the glory goes to you.

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Best Sisters In The world.

I have had the sweetest support from every single one of these ladies. I wouldn’t expect nothing short of them crawling on that table with me to give comfort. I know it scared the be-jiggers out of them and it did me too. A families love never waivers, does it? I don’t know what I would have done without the support of these beautiful strong ladies. They are my rock. They have prayed for me, wept for me, laughed at me, smothered me with love…….I just couldn’t have done this without them. Thank you for loving me through this my precious sisters.

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Let’s get this started

As they wheeled me to the door that led into the OR, they stopped and let me kiss and hug and say goodbye to everyone. The nurse said she loved to see so many family members there for support because so many of her patients she takes back there have no one. I can’t even imagine how that would feel. I am so blessed to have my family. I don’t know what I would do without them.

Once we got in the OR and I crawled over on the table it didn’t take long at all. We talked a little. The nurses were so nice and seemed extra caring. I saw Dr. Lowe over at a computer doing something so I just closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths. Within a few seconds I was out and waking up. Two and a half hours only felt like a few seconds to me.

I remember waking up just broken hearted. Sobbing uncontrollably. I’m not sure what I was crying about. Maybe it was because it was all over. I’m thinking it was more because I thought I would look like a monster and scare my grandbabies. I was breathing so heavy that the nurse kept telling me I was going to pass out if I didn’t slow my breathing down. Eventually I heard them say that they needed to get my family in there to console me.

I was taken from the recovery room to another small room where my family could come in. I think it was Gary, David and Kathy. I remember them telling me that I looked great and that I didn’t look bad and that my babies wouldn’t be scared of me. Of course all the things they knew I was worried about. I think Gary left so two more could come in and David stayed there holding my hand putting chapstick on my lips…..I probably have the order of the people all wrong as they came in but I do remember still crying pretty hard that I looked like a monster.

Someone said, and I don’t remember who it was, that Dr, Lowe had told them that they needed to encourage me and tell me how good I looked and that I was beautiful and I went from a full blown bawl and squall and busted out laughing and said, “So you all are lying to me!!” That just totally cracked me up and I’m sure we woke the whole recovery room up laughing so hard. They were just telling me I looked good because they were told to tell me that…….ha ha

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Thank you everyone

Before I go any farther can I just stop and say how overwhelmed I have been at the outpouring of love and support and prayers given to me the last two weeks. I feel so unworthy of so many people caring. It’s a very humbling experience to say the least. I know I don’t deserve such love. People have come from everywhere to offer support and prayers.

It has made me want to be a better friend to you all now. It makes me feel bad that I haven’t already been a better friend in the past. I know I have failed so many times and made so many mistakes and wrong decisions in my life but the friends that were true hang in there with you through thick and thin. Thank God I have some of those friends.

I have friends that I have known since grade school and we have been through momentous times in our life together. Those friendships never waiver. No matter how long it’s been since you talked to that “forever friend” , no matter how many times you’ve disagreed with that “forever friend” you can always pick up where you left off and there is absolutely NOTHING that can separate that bond. You assume that when something tragic happens they will run to you when you cry out for help. Don’t let it crush your world if they don’t. You have to focus every ounce of your energy to healing.

I want to share some of the devotional’s and positive things that people have sent me. It is all those and every single encouraging word that has given me strength to fight this. people have been so encouraging and made me really feel like they care what happens to me. I know that most people think of skin cancer as just getting a little mole cut off but trust me, it’s more than that.

Forever friends, new friends, old friends, future friends, friends of friends, strangers. Thank you for your support and prayers. They REALLY do make a difference.

I’ll be indebted to you forever.

Valentines Day

I tried my best the day before to get some work done and be as prepared as I could for the pending “zero hour” I should know by now, in my life that you can’t plan anything. The harder I try the less I get done. By the end of the day, I did get my hair washed and my legs shaved……ha!

Gary was even able to get home and run me up to Baptist to get my pre-op test done Wednesday. I don’t think I slept but about a hour that night. I had my alarm set for 4:00 am. I had to be there by 6:00. I guess I thought I’d need two hours to brush my teeth…..lol.

We got in the Tahoe and shut the garage door and the reality hit me. I was going to be returning later that day profoundly changed. I put both my hands over my face and began to sob. I think at that moment I knew there was no turning back. I wanted the cancer gone, don’t get me wrong…..and I’m not so vain that I was scared about being disfigured. It was just so sobering to think the time had come. It was here……..My fast track ride was getting ready to turn into a full sprint.

We made it to Baptist about fifteen minutes early. Oh what a sweet face when I turned the corner and saw Annie’s sweet smile (and Bill of course too) in the surgery waiting room. The waiting room was empty besides us. Earlier the day before there were hundreds in there. There were no volunteers up that early so when I arrived I was suppose to use the phone to call them and tell them I was there. Gary quickly said, “You didn’t call them, you need to go call.” I  told him I wasn’t calling until 6:00 strait up. I wanted every last second before they rearranged my face…. 🙂 Wouldn’t you? I finally walked up there and sure enough after you call, it’s not sixty seconds before they take you away.

I went through the normal process. putting on the dreaded hospital gown. I do have to say that they have redesigned them to make them just a tad bit better. I wanted to keep my white socks on but NO! you have to wear the ugly socks with rubber on them. Why is it that nurses have to fight you on every single thing? They are so bossy!!  lol. I’m just kidding. She got my IV started which wasn’t bad at all. I have very good veins. Some as big as pencils and they pop right to the surface.

After she left the room, I told Gary I wished I had of tinkled before she hooked me up to a tether. I said, “Quick, go look if there’s a hook in that bathroom to hang this IV bag. I threw the blankets off of me and scooted myself down to the foot of the bed. I made it just fine and as I was hanging the IV back up she bust through the door and say’s. “What do you think you are doing?” I said, “well I needed to go potty, I’m not drugged, I’m 56 years old and I can go to the bathroom by myself and you didn’t tell me I couldn’t go pee. How in the world did you know?” She was half laughing and half frustrated and said, ” I’m sitting right outside your door and I heard the toilet flush, did you not read that sign? That’s why I put the railing up so you wouldn’t get out and now you see why I made you put those skid socks on and it could possibly be because you ARE 56!!”

Well now calm down, I didn’t see any sign. At least until she pointed it out to me. I can tell you that I’m Immediately thinking about discharge papers before they are even finished with admitting.

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Typing like crazy

I promise to go back and correct and add to the entries as I remember them. I have been gathering pictures and there are pictures on my camera that haven’t even been loaded on my computer. After I finally get it caught up to today, it will be easy to keep up and express my feelings without having to recall them. I mean, you know…….you never plan something like this happening in your life. 

I just want somehow to make something good to come out of it and to glorify God as we kick the devil to the curb. There have been so many things evident that have been miracles. 

God is in control of this for sure.

So give me a little time and I’ll get it polished up…… 🙂

Seeing the Surgeon

I had decided that I wanted to go see the plastic surgeon looking smashing so that he would know I cared about what I look like. I mean, If I had went with swollen eyes and no makeup I figured he wouldn’t be able to see the real me. Now remember, we are on fast track and this man has never seen me. His wife has only seen me once and I went in without makeup on. So I got all dolled up and waited for Gary to get home.

Bless his heart, He had been working since 11:30 the night before but I knew he wanted to be there so he busted his bottom to get home. He pulled in and ran in and changed his boots and ask me if he looked okay. Of course I said yes..! He grabbed a black leather jacket out of the coat closet and we were off. We pulled in and parked and went in to check in.

I noticed he had grabbed my black leather jacket instead of his so as he was sitting down I grinned and said, “You sure look nice in my jacket.” lol. I guess he was so nervous he grabbed the wrong one. We have been known to do that on several occasions.

Once we ordered new shoei motorcycle helmets and of course he wears a extra small and I wear a extra extra large. I always say it’s because my brain is bigger…..lol. When the guy sold them to us he told us they needed to be just on this side of pain as far as how tight they should feel. So anyways crazy me, Gary hands me a helmet and I barely got it shoved on my head. I mean it was TIGHT!!!!! I remember thinking, this feels like it’s a little tighter than just “this side of pain” Gary put the other one on and say’s, “Mine feels great, it’s not tight at all.” I said, “Oh my gosh I bet that is my helmet!!!” He looked and sure enough some how I had got that extra small shoved onto my head. I think my head started swelling because we could not get it off!! lol. I was screaming bloody murder, get it off, get it off of me. He was trying everything he could think of to get it off my head but it wasn’t budging. We couldn’t saw the dumb thing off, it cost too much money…..ha ha. (I didn’t think it was funny at the time) Finally he got his hands up in the and spread it apart far enough and I pulled as hard as I could pull screaming all the way. We got it off and he got a butt chewing……lol. There was one other time we ordered leather jackets from New York and to make the story short, he enjoyed wearing mine all the way to the HOG rally. Never a dull moment when you get old…..

So back to the story we go in the examining room and sat until Dr. Jim walked in. Of course he starts taking over my head ninety to nothing but I could instantly tell that I liked him. It wasn’t important that I know every single thing he was saying, just that I was confident that he knew what he was talking about right?

He explained pretty much the same thing as Dr. Julie did and as usual it sounded like Dutch to me. He said it was very likely that it might take us three times to get it all. The fact that it didn’t hardly have any pigmentation didn’t help matters but that since it skipped from one place to the next, he wouldn’t know how much to take. He said even though he would have on those goggles that are magnified that he still actually wouldn’t even be able to see it. The part he takes out would have to be sent out and they would have to shoot dye in it to even be able to see the cancer. There has to be so much margin that is clean and free of cancer. So he said if we have to try three times, it’s not because we failed, it’s because we are taking off as little as possible so not to disfigure me. He said he could guarantee he got it all if he took the whole side of my face off but of course we didn’t want that and neither did he.

He was gracious enough to call Baptist and beg for a slot in the operating room. All that was open was Valentines day……Well how crazy is that? I took it……!!Image

Waiting for the dreaded call

Have you ever had something you wanted to know or answers you were waiting for but you really dreaded the to find out? So you really in fact didn’t want to know? Maybe I’m weird……

I was told that it would take two to seven days for the biopsy results to come back so naturally I went about my business just knowing that this was going to turn out good. If not good then I thought the worst it could be was basal cell carcinoma or even Squamous cell carcinoma.

I NEVER even entertained the thought it could be melanoma. I had looked at all the pictures of melanoma and this just did not fit what the pictures showed. Mr. Google doesn’t know everything…!!

Everyone ask me everyday if I had heard from the doctor and I’d tell them, not yet….. I really don’t think I wanted to know so as the days ticked by it wasn’t really bothering me. Finally because they (mainly my big sissy Debi) kept asking me if I had heard anything I promised them I would call this very day.

So I put in the call to Dr. Julie that morning. I think on the 4th of this month. Of course most Doctors wait until the end of the day to return calls and that is exactly what happened.

The phone rang at the end of the work day and it was her. At that point I was still optimistic because mine didn’t look like the bad dreaded melanoma. She begin to tell me the results of the biopsy. The blood ran out of my brain and down to my feet and felt like it left my body. She said the dreaded word I did NOT want to hear. Melanoma…..She said it was very rare that melanoma would be that pale pink color and only one in so many (i can’t remember the number) would turn out to be the bad kind. She said it was the kind that could skip around which made it hard to know how far you had to cut to find clean margins. Oh how I wish I had a photographic memory because I know that she could correct half of the things I’m telling you….lol. Maybe I should invite her to read my blog….ha ha

I had to sit down for the last half of our phone call. She begin to tell me I needed to see a surgeon and have it removed. When she told me it would probably have to be two to three inches long, I began to cry. About that time Gary walked in and could tell something was wrong. He stood there patiently waiting for me to get off the phone. She ask me if I had a plastic surgeon and I told her no. She said since it was my eyelid that she recommended that I see a plastic surgeon. I told her, “No, it’s on my cheek.” She said, “Yes, but most likely they would have to cut all the way up to the bottom of my eyelid and downward so I needed a plastic surgeon.” That’s when the tears begin to really flow. All I thought about was being so scary looking that my grand-babies would be scared of me. Isn’t that something that before thinking of my own life I thought about my grand-babies that God had given me.

I decided to see Dr. Jim Lowe who happens to be Dr. Julie’s husband. He’s a plastic surgeon and in the very same office. Things were moving so fast there wasn’t much time to do much research. I had to put my trust in the Lord that He was directing my path. After all  this wasn’t a surprise to God at all. He knew I was going to have cancer before I was born. The appointment was made and we were to see the surgeon in two days…..

I got off the phone and looked at Gary and fell apart. He really didn’t know what to say. He has never been good at outwardly showing emotion but in his own way, he just said, “We’ll get through this.

So we wait…………….

The Biopsy

Okay, so I needed a dermatologist to get my face looked at. I had no clue where to even start so I put a post on the old faithful Facebook where it seems everyone hangs out…..lol. There were a few good referrals and then one of my friends told me I should ask Dr. Rick, one of our classmates, I sent him a text and within two minutes he text back and said Dr. Julie Lowe. Fortunately when I called I got in to see her in just a few days. I don’t think it was a coincidence, I think God had already started orchestrating the journey I was getting ready to take.

Jan. 29, 2013 I got there a few minutes early to turn in my paperwork. It was pretty fun to look around at all the ladies who had face lifts as this was also the office of plastic surgeon Dr. Jim Lowe. I’m not making fun of them. I see nothing wrong with a little tweaking and tucking if you have the money and want to do it. More power to them.

They took me back to my room and instantly my mind went to the show, “Dr. 90210″……lol. I don’t know why I found it funny but the table/bed/chair thing you set in looks just like on the show.

I sat there and twiddled my thumbs and as usual let my mind wander off into another place and time. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with me. I just wanted my brown spots gone. I didn’t want to end up looking like my sweet precious Daddy.

In walked a tall slender beautiful blonde lady. I knew it was Dr. Julie because I had Googled her. I am the Google queen, you know. As she walked in she walked toward me and looked strait at my spot. She said, :”Vickie, I’m so glad you came to see me.” At first I thought she was just glad to have a new patient and then finally I realized she immediately recognized something was wrong. She sat down and began to ask me questions, the usual ones I would expect. She said, “I’m afraid you have a little cancer here. I’d like to do a biopsy.” As she was so tenderly numbing me up she was asking me about my kids and my grand kids and my family and my life. I really felt like she was interested and wanted to get to know me. When she was finished and I was grabbing my purse I said, “So if it’s cancer…..” She said, “Oh it’s cancer, the biopsy will tell us what kind.”

What? How could that be? It looked harmless. Cancer is dark and ugly, this was pale and pink. Why do these bad things keep happening to me? I called Gary and the boys on the way home and put on a big brave attitude. Truthfully I thought if anything, it would turn out to be the lesser of cancer, Basal Cell Carcinoma or even that maybe she could be wrong..I was trying to give myself hope.

Now what do I have to do? Wait two to seven days for the results to come back.

Here is the picture after the biopsy. Again it was taken with my phone. I’m sorry for the quality. You can get the idea.

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Boy was I wrong

Dr. Julie ask me how long it had been on my face and I honestly didn’t know what to tell her. I told her I thought about six months. I said that I would go home and look at pictures and see if I could tell. I’m not in very many pictures because I’m the picture taker so my chances were slim.

When I went home and started digging through pictures on my computer, my heart skipped a beat. It was present way before I thought. My stomach did flip flops. November 3rd 2011 when our precious Addalyn Elizabeth was born, there it was. I didn’t have makeup on so it’s easier to see.

Was I ever wrong. It was definitely smaller but obviously there.

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You better get that looked at

A pale pink area had appeared on my cheek but it honestly didn’t look like anything serious so guess what? I didn’t take it serious. Now I have to pay the piper.
I would scrub my face and it would get a little raw and sort of take off the top layer off of it. It would dry up more like a thin scab and then we would go through the process again. I would scrub my face and it would have to scab back over.
Time got away from me and I honestly couldn’t have even told you how long it had been there. It felt like maybe three month, six at the most.
You google skin cancer and you see it’s obvious that all the bad cancer is dark in color and scary looking. My area in question was pale pink, it just looked like a small patch of dry skin most of the time. It just never seemed to heal or go away.
Now I know that a tall tale sign. When a sore won’t heal, you better take it serious. There’s a reason it’s doing that.
Gary told me every time he looked at me that I needed to go get it checked out. Now look where I’m at……..I’m paying the price
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Just last month, Believe it or not I was getting my makeup touched up. I have had permanent makeup since the year 2000 and Tracy Ward from http://www.rizzato.org/, my fabulous tattoo artist encouraged me to get it looked at. Okay really she told me she wouldn’t help me get the brown spot close to it until I got it looked at so my motive wasn’t necessarily admirable (ha).
This picture isn’t of really good quality because I took it with my phone and I was really trying to take the picture of my new eyeliner and eyebrows I had just had tattooed just a few hours prior.
In the picture you can see the pink area on my cheek. Looks harmless, doesn’t it?  Image

70’s Peace, Love and sunbathing

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Growing up in the 70’s was totally the best of the best of eras. We were too young to be real hippies but still got to enjoy pretending like we were. Bell bottoms, peace signs, hip huggers, leather fringe coats. Must I say more? I can say that there were no concerns with uv rays and sun damage, or at least none that we were aware about, so when we laid out on the back patio, we slathered up with baby oil. It was the in thing to do. No one told us it wasn’t good.

We didn’t have a abundance of money so the few vacations we had were a week at a lake cabin that belonged to our neighbors Don and Barbara. It was fun fun fun at Lake Eufaula. I know there are pictures some where. If I only had time to go look :-/

There was a point in my young teens that I even owned a sun lamp. Lord have mercy, what was I thinking. I got nothing but burnt from that thing. Several of my friends did too. My bedroom should have had a disclaimer to sign…..ha ha

I never remember being a bronze tanned beauty. I do remember after the first sunburn of the summer I would tan real pretty.

In the 80’s we had a house at the lake and would spend the entire day in the boat out on the lake. I’m still looking for all those pictures. I just need to scan them.

I’m sure there are many other reasons I have drawn this lot but if I don’t get started telling you about this last 10 days I’m liable to forget them.

I honestly don’t know how I have been spared of cancer for this long. It’s all coming back now. I had way too much son in my life.

Light hair, blue/green eyes, quite a few freckles or reckles as my sweet g-baby McKinlee calls them. I had most of the precursors that would scream, “Stay out of sun.”

Let’s go

Something has compelled me to share this journey that I’m getting ready to take with those who want to walk along with me. I don’t know what I’m getting myself into but I felt strongly that there needs to be more positive things to read when life throws a detour in your path like melanoma cancer.

My desire is to somehow glorify God through this cancer. I refuse to let satan win this one. Not a chance. I have been called stubborn so I suppose this time it might just come in handy.

I have never blogged in my life but I journal to myself all the time so I figured, hey, same thing, right? I’m not a writer and I didn’t pay a lot of attention in school but words and thoughts have always flooded my brain. I just never knew how to put them all together. My writing tends to be exactly the same as if you were sitting across the table from me. I write how I talk.

So please excuse the grammar or the informal way I see this happening and if you want, just walk with me on this candid journey as I win this battle of melanoma. I’ll even be sharing pictures. Let’s get started….