Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Drama

It's not as if there isn't already enough drama in my life this summer, but what would we do without a good television medical drama and a riveting cop show for our viewing pleasure.  Tuesday nights on TNT these two shows are back-to-back, but my best friend DVR keeps them around until I can find the time to watch.

HawthoRNe with Jada Pinkett Smith presents some decent medical stories, personal relationship issues (of course) with humor thrown in.  Provides a nice, mindless hour of entertainment.  You'll recognize several cast members from other series like ER.  And, there's Michael Vartan from Alias.  (Now, that was a SHOW!)




Hang around after HawthoRNe and see Memphis Beat.  My Name is Earl star Jason Lee has lost the mustache, but he kept the corn-fed accent.  Critics have bashed it because it is actually filmed around New Orleans rather than in Memphis, but it's worth a look just to hear the music.




  
That all happens Tuesday.  But, today is Thursday -- MRI day.  Then, on Friday I will meet with my medical oncologist and discuss the results of both the MRI and CT scan and what comes next.  Somebody's going to want to make a plan for moving forward.

My brother told me this week that sometimes God doesn't make it real clear what choices we should make; we just have to step out.  When I do that, I will be armed with as much information as I can gather about what's going on with melanoma all over the world.  But, we did both agree that if God chooses to write your course of action across the sky in giant letters, He can do that, too.  Now, that's the kind of drama I'm looking for this summer!

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  John 14:27

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice . . .

. . . That's what little girls are made of.  And, that's what this little girl's room will feel like when we are finished.  This pink and taupe room will belong to Peyton Emerson, and I'll give you just a little peek today of the magic we're working in her room.

This wallpaper was our inspiration.  When we found it, we knew that cherry blossoms would rain down in this room.  We were lucky that the walls were already painted the taupe/gray background color.
What goes with cherry blossoms?  Umbrellas, of course!  And, where else but Etsy would we be able to design this custom umbrella to add that special touch to the room.



Then, we called the creative and talented Cindy Housholder to make our blossom dreams come alive on the walls. 



A few more previews:




And... because her Daddy is an Emerson fan:



I'll share more of this magical room as we add bedding, window treatments, and all the other things that little girls need in their special room.

I am praying for a healthy and happy Peyton to be born in September and for God's blessings on this special family.

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Psalm 127:3 (NASB)




Monday, Monday

I have never liked Mondays; well, that is until I became self-employed and could plan my Mondays as I choose. I loved this Monday. I was a little tired after a very full Sunday. But, it was so refreshing to be able to go back to church yesterday. Being with the folks who are so faithfully praying for me charged me for the week ahead.

Even though it was dreadfully hot today, I enjoyed getting out and picking up accessories from Arteriors, bedding from Peacock Alley, and drapery hardware from one of my suppliers. It's always nice to be around pretty things, like the timeless beauty of these matelasses from Peacock Alley:



Then, it was off to an afternoon of hanging pictures and arranging shelves--two of my absolute favorite things to do. My client and I did a gallery wall of family pictures up a staircase. It was fun to hear her talk about different family members and periods of her life with her husband and two little girls.  We filled the wall with the stories of her life and interspersed three of these awesome mirrors from Arteriors to add a little light:

I feel like I know her so much better, now. She's been married seventeen years; Hudson and I will celebrate #30 in August. "How do you do it?" she asked.  "How do you stay so happy for so long?"  We discussed this in Sunday School yesterday. Who is resposible for bringing happiness to a marriage? Here's what I told my daughter about that same topic before she was married:

Your happiness in life must come from the Lord. It's the relationship you have with Christ that will satisfy your every need. Your husband, your friends, your teachers, even your pastor will disappoint you at some time--just as you will disappoint them. It cannot be helped; we are only human. But, Jesus will NEVER disappoint you. Through His love, which satisfies your every need, you can love others...even when they disappoint you. You can forgive them, even when you don't want to. And, you can give up an argument, even when you KNOW you are right.

Yes, it was a good Monday.  Look who else has a little trouble with Mondays.



Blueeyedbride sent this picture of Hudson trying to get on with his Monday!










On to Tuesday!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Jesus in the Pet Scan

Did you ever see that drawing that went around several years ago that you were supposed to look at and see either a scary figure or Jesus? We had one on our refrigerator for a few weeks. We all saw Jesus, except for my daughter (blueeyedbride). We still tease her today that she "couldn't see Jesus." Can you?




I had an experience yesterday during my PET scan that bears sharing. After drinking the radioactive banana smoothie, getting the radioactive dye in my vein, and an 80 minute nap to let the dye travel through my body, I was placed on the moving table to begin the scan. Just as the table began to move into the tube, I closed my eyes to ask God for peace and to be able to be still for 30 minutes. And, there He was ... The Comforter. The Holy Spirit. I saw the face of Jesus. Tears began to roll down each cheek. I couldn't wipe them, but He did. He wiped them away as I sofly hummed:
Here! He is here!
He has blessed us with His presence in this place;
We will not be the same....
(Doxology: Words by Rick Vale;
Recorded by Sandi Patti)

This morning, most of my stitches were removed. He left a few at the T, because it is a critical spot, but it feels better. Then, on to the
Medical Oncologist, Dr. Amy Harker-Murray. It was a good meeting as she gave me the great news that nothing of concern showed up in the PET scan. And, she reiterated the options of doing more lymph removal and/or interfuron treatment as extra precaution. The clinical trials for both are not really encouraging, but I will pray earnestly about these options before I see her again next week. We will also have CT and MRI results by then.

I am boosting my immune system with
Juice Plus, Aloe Juice, Vitamin B and D. There are some interesting results out of M.D. Anderson concerning the use of turmeric (curry spice). So, I am hot on that trail, too. I certainly don't have the answers; so, I am relying on the Lord to direct my next steps.

"When we are at our wits' end for an answer, then the Holy Spirit can give us an answer. But how can He give us an answer when we are still well supplied with all sorts of answers of our own?"
-Karl Barth-
From: Forgotten God: Reversing our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit by Francis Chan

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Looking for Normal

I'm not even sure what my "normal" is now, but I'm trying to get some going. My good friends at the Michael Raymond Aveda Salon opened their arms (and the bottom drawer to rest my foot) yesterday when I finally felt like I could endure some color and a trim. Mario worked his magic, and we all laughed a lot -- part of my recovery prescription. (Sorry about the iPhone-quality picture.)


I stopped in at the World Trade Center for a little while yesterday. Market officially begins this weekend. and I normally avoid the place like the plague during a big market, but one of my clients is needing some rugs. My good friend Mary at Feizy came and picked me up from their corporate office across the street so I wouldn't have to hassle with parking. I discovered just how low my stamina is, and didn't stay long. But, did find some great rug choices. I am planning to go to Atlanta market in July. I may be on of those oft-detested market-goers in a motorized scooter. This is an open apology to all of the people in those scooters that I scowled at during my entire life. I am so sorry!


The heat doesn't contribute to my stamina, that's for sure. Whew, it's hot here. But, it was nice and cool in the choir rehearsal room at First Baptist Church last night. I HATE being fussed over... I prefer to do the fussing. But, those sweet Christian friends and prayer warriors created much fuss when I returned to rehearsal. And, I needed the infusion of the worship experience, prayer, and laughter that happens there. The alto section sounded especially good to my ears last night. Can't wait for Sunday. You can tune in live at www.firstdallas.org.

I guess another part of my new normal are the medical tests that are ongoing. I have a PET scan today at 1:00 p.m. Had to have my cup of coffee in a hurry this morning; nothing by mouth six hours before. Then, tomorrow, I have a CT scan and meet with my plastic surgeon (bye-bye stitches) and the new medical oncologist. Speaking of Dr. Saint-Cyr, my plastic surgeon, look at this link for an amazing story from the Dallas Morning News today.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/062410metnewthumb.1ad907d.html

Gotta run start this ?normal? day. Makes me wonder what other people are doing today and the agendas that make up your normal.

Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall if fear?
The LORD is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Psalm 139:14: I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

When our son was born almost twenty-five years ago, we used this Psalm on his birth announcement. I had chosen that verse before I knew that he would be born with a cystic teratoma the size of a man's fist on his neck and would undergo surgery when he was three days old to remove the non-malignant mass. Today, the tumor would have been detected via sonogram; in 1985, sonogram technology wasn't there, yet. It was a scary time for all of us. I think it must have been far worse for my precious husband. There we were with an almost-three-year-old at home, I was in one hospital, the baby in another for the surgery. Yikes; it makes me squirm, even now, to remember that stress. He says that was when his hair began to turn gray.

It still makes me sad to look back at the pictures of that baby boy with that mass on his little neck and tubes down his throat. I have often described that event as a time in our lives when God wanted us to hear him say, "Hey; I'm in charge here. I love you, and you still need me." There have been other times in my life when He has had to slap me up beside the head to get my attention. He'll do it, too! Not because He is a mean or angry Father, but because He loves me. I would worry if he was ignoring me.

Melanoma gets my attention. It's a nasty little cancer. During my first visit with Dr. Sharma, he was explaining how the lymph system in the body operates, and said, "The body is a magnificent creation." Yes, it is; and, we must still rely on the Creator to fix it when the smartest of humans cannot.

There's been a lot of interest in the process since detection: Here is the back of my leg after the dermatologist removed the mole by slicing. (I'm allergic to adhesive, and they put a band-aid on it; that explains the red rash-like dots.)



Based on the initial pathology evaluation, I knew that the removal site would be large and have a graft. My dermatologist niece warned me, repeatedly, that it would be large! Amazingly, Dr. Saint-Cyr, my plastic surgeon, was able to create a flap from skin below the excision, and rotate it up to cover the gaping hole. That meant that the graft didn't have to come from my abdomen--a welcomed result. So, the end result of five hours of surgery:



Amazing, isn't it? My stitches will come out on Friday, so my mobility will continue to improve. I am still sleeping with pillows behind my leg so that the flap doesn't rest on anything. After the stitches are removed, I will begin wearing an ace bandage around the flap so that the skin will begin to lay flat. When someone talks about the appearance of the scar and what it will look like later, I just have to tell you ... I don't really care! I am beyond vanity with this little battle scar. I am more concerned with what's going on inside my body.

And, once again, God, I get it.

1 Samuel 16:7 ... for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Take Up Thy Bed and Walk. . .

Other translations of John 5:8 include the words: pallet, couch, and mat. All that guy had to do was get up and grab his bed and walk. Bold Jesus knew that he had been lying there for a while and couldn't get to the healing waters. So, "out-of-the-box Jesus" just had him skip the whole water thing and be healed because Jesus said so. (Wasn't about the water, was it?) Of course, Jesus got in a lot of trouble with the establishment because he had the guy toting his bed around on the Sabbath. So sad: they got caught up in the minutiae, again, and missed the whole point and the blessing and the Saviour!

That story makes me wanna... SHOUT! Getting that splint off propelled me to move! All I had to do was get up; I didn't have to lug the couch with me. I took a shower (oh, the things we take for granted), did a little paper work, watched taped episodes of Glee and Friday Night Lights, and even talked with a new client. Then, I had to take a little rest. (Easy, girl!) Priceless friends continue to feed and nourish us--physically and spiritually. I'm officially calling a moratorium on food! The freezer is full, and so are we.

I've been thinking a lot about the
second coming of Christ. Cancer will do that to you, I guess. (and, my good friend Richard Trussell, who got me all excited thinking about it when he and Jan dropped off dinner). When I was a child, and even into my teens, I just assumed Jesus would come and our family would all leave this world together. I just couldn't imagine a life without my parents or brothers. That was MY plan. My father and mother left in 1990 and 1993, respectively. God's plan -- He trumps every time.

I still think my
exit strategy has merit...for believers, of course. I hope that if you are reading this that you would be leaving with me. Life here is pretty good--even with the scary and depressing events of our world today. But, I just know that the next stop is too awesome for me to comprehend. I am not being morbid or fatalistic, it's just what I have always known! There's not a nano-second of hopelessness about me. Any outcome for me is a win-win!

If you're lying around moping about your hopeless circumstance, GET UP! And, walk. Or better, yet: run, jump, scream, raise your hands up and SHOUT! Follow Jesus; his plan trumps every time.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Milestones

This week, Baby Hudson and I both reached major milestones relating to our travel in vehicles. He became frontward facing in his car seat; and, I was able to move to the front seat and actually sit upright in the seat. Since my trip home from the hospital, Hudson had been shoving me in the back seat of the Suburban with my right leg as stiff as a board. We put a blanket underneath me, I reclined, and he pushed! Quite a sight. All of the valet parkers at the medical center (a Dallas thing!) were in awe of our unorthodox technique of entering and exiting the vehicle. Early on, I was concerned about exposing myself to the world. Soon, it was "who cares! Just get me out of here." But, today, the splint came off, so I now have some flexibility in my leg and can bend my knee. I still have stitches (for another week) and have to protect the flap from rubbing on anything, but I am thrilled with the extra mobility. The only little bit of pain I have is in my groin where the lymph nodes were removed. And, that is only when I take a step that's too big!

Blessings have come in many forms during the last few weeks. I am always amazed, and often amused, at how God provides. For example... Yesterday, I persuaded Hudson to take me to an appointment with a client to see her recently-flooded kitchen that will require some work. I had to go to the doctor anyway, so I figured we could just make an extra little stop (remember, how I had to get in and out of the vehicle!) to meet with the contractor and figure out what we need to do in the next few weeks. We brought along a wheel chair so he could push me around the house. During the visit, I commented about how glad I would be to be able to get my hair washed (it had been almost two weeks since it was shampooed). She proclaimed with glee, "I've been a hair dresser for thirty years and have a small salon in back. Let me do your hair." And, she did! So unexpected; so God. Then, she prayed for me.

I just marvel at the surprises provided by my creator. I am so glad he is out an "out-of-the-box" thinker/doer. How boring life would be if it always worked out just like we think it should. Where would the trust come from if we could always figure it out on our own? Fresh and new: that's what tomorrow will be.

"It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is they faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23.


What's The Plan?


? ? ?

"Now what?"
"So....?"
"What's the plan?"

Those comments pretty much sum up the text messages I received yesterday and this morning.

I do not want to write this post!

And, that pretty much sums up my feelings on the matter. By now, you've figured out that my report yesterday was not all positive. Interestingly, of the three lymph nodes removed during my surgery, the two identified with the radioactive dye as being the sentinel nodes were clear. "Hooray," we thought. BUT, the third node, which Dr. Sharma only took because it looked a little odd...larger than others, did have melanoma within it. Shucks!

Immediate thought: Thank you, God, that Dr. Sharma took that node. Otherwise, we get a false positive report and go along none the wiser until a recurrence of something.

Follow-up discussions: Pet scans, other scans, other lymph node removal, drug treatment, go to M.D. Anderson or Johns Hopkins, research trials, blah blah blah.

You see, I really want to write about designing a pink and taupe nursery for a precious baby girl on the way or sewing on drapery rings for an installation today or an amazing turquoise and red dining room design in San Antonio. And, I will write about those things, because I'm going to keep on doing those things, if God wants me to. But, I will also be "continuing the journey," as my amazing husband describes it, of this diagnosis.

Maybe it's the only node in my whole body that has melanoma and I will never have to worry about it, again. Maybe it's a sign of other/worse things within. It's an amazing comfort to me that I am not in control of this. God still is; and He ismore competent than I, more competent than even the doctors. Remember, He's in control of the good news and the news we don't like. I love Him and trust Him, regardless. And, today, I praise Him for letting me have these experiences and to be able to share them with you.

I know that at this very moment, there are family and friends lifting my name and my circumstances to the all-powerful, all-controlling (love than term, Joni and Sylvia!) God. I know that every night and every morning, my 88-year-old aunt in Baton Rouge kneels beside her bed to pray and that my name is in her petition. I know that many, many are reaching out to me in amazing ways, including the offer of a hammer and tea-cups to smash. Thank you, thank you.

So, today, here is what I know:
At 2:45 today.... this splint comes off in favor of some other, more mobile dressing.
Next week, I will see Dr. Amy Harker-Murray, a medical oncologist, do the scans, and do more talking, I'm sure.

More importantly, I know:
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear..." 1 John 4:18.

I am in the middle of an intense love affair with my Lord. He loves me perfectly; I'm trying to love Him in the same way. Think of the comfort you get from the unconditional love you receive from your spouse, your best friends, your parents, even your children at some point in their lives. That love, though they try, is flawed. They're human; it can't be helped. His love: measureless and strong! I'm hooked. I rest in it.



Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dripping Water on the Rock

"Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee," Exodus 20:12.

I saw it on their faces, especially his, my younger. I didn't have to read his thoughts; he spoke them as he guided my walker into the powder room. "This is weird," he said. "What? Your
taking care of me," I queried. "Yeah," he replied. The truth, one which we try to delay as long as possible, is that we will, eventually, parent our parent. Over the last few days, my children just got a little glimpse into that reality show.

Hudson and I always felt that it was an honor to be able to care for our parents, and we felt strongly about modeling that behavior to our children. All of our parents died rather suddenly, unlike some other family and friends who had years devoted to caring for their elderly parents. We wanted our children to appreciate the wisdom of the elderly and to understand our responsibility to care for them. I'm sure they just didn't expect it to be so soon!

But, there they both were, rallying to my side after surgery to remove my melanoma. They came to cook for me, help change my clothes, make my bed, fluff my pillows, bring my water, my medicine, my laptop. They were there, making me laugh, comforting me, strengthening me by their very presence. Erin flew from South Carolina with Hudson, her one-year-old. Walker drove four hours from Louisiana. We ate together, watched movies, hugged a lot, laughed at baby Hudson toddling around looking for his cell phone (his "bah")...cherishing the moments together. Eventually, they had to leave. They have lives of their own. Lives they would, no doubt, put on hold if it were required of them. They get it. As my dear mentor and surrogate mother Patsy Lewis always told me: "If you drip enough water on the rock, it will make an indention." I think that was her paraphrase of Proverbs 22:6: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

I pray that it is a very long time or never before they have to put their lives on hold. But, I am so proud of them and the Godly adults they have become. What else could a parent ever desire for their children?

Today at 1:15, I will visit my surgeon oncologist and get the results of my lymph node testing. If you are praying for me, I thank you, again!


Italic

Monday, June 14, 2010

Takin' Food to the Sick. . .

In other parts of the country (not the South) folks make an attempt at feeding the sick or providing post-funeral meals for the family. I've lived there, so I know. And, they do a decent job of providing a satisfying meal. They try, but it's just not the same. Cold-cut trays, for example, do not meet the Southern definition of comfort food.

I have a favorite casserole (Chicken Spectacular from the Cotton Country cookbook by the Junior League of Monroe, Louisiana) that feeds a houseful of folks. It's an old standby for illness or death in the family. Someone brought it to me when my first child (Erin aka Blue-Eyed Bride) was born over 27 years ago. It fed us for a week! I have passed on the recipe to friends from Indiana to South Carolina and now, Texas. Some sure-to-bring-comfort foods include: fried chicken, potato salad, fresh corn, fresh peas or beans, homemade rolls or cornbread (in a pinch, Sister Schubert rolls are an excellent substitute) macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, and for dessert...the traditional pound cake with some fresh peaches or strawberries for topping, banana pudding, or any number of homemade pies, including chocolate, coconut, lemon or pecan. A good casserole to put in the freezer until later is always appreciated, too. Drooling, yet? Or, wishing you were sick?

That being said, I am officially endorsing two new food items for the sick and bereaved:



These amazing little cakes are from nothing bundt cakes! I have eaten the full-size version of these and even sent them as gifts, but these little individual-size bundts are to die for. I actually discovered that my family was hiding them from me in my weakened condition.

Rivaling the bundt cakes are Sprinkles cupcakes. There will certainly be a flavor that's your favorite. I have great friends, don't I?


Now for the daily medical update:
I did go to my plastic surgeon's office today hoping to have my splint removed; but, to no avail.
He tightened the splint and redressed it so that with all my hopping around, there is still
support. He did remove the drainage tube, and said that I will get a walking splint on Thursday.
I will be patient and rest. But, I have work to do. Shhh! Are there anymore cupcakes?

Psalm 40:1
I waited patiently for the LORD, and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

How I See It


This is my view for the next few days. Notice the splint from my ankle to my knee. There is a hole in the back for the wound to breathe. I have spared you that picture.

Nice sock, huh? And, it has those little grip lines on the bottom so I get good traction with my WALKER. Now, there's an experience....but, for me, it is more of a HOPPER than a WALKER. Since I can't put any weight on my right leg because of the skin flap/graft, the movement is slide...hop. My son Walker (no relation to my metal device) affectionately reminded me of the walker scene in Regarding Henry.

I have had plenty of suggestions, instructions, critiques, and warnings about walker operation. It is my best friend right now and didn't arrive until 10 p.m. last night. I was home by 6:00 p.m., so until home health delivered it, I was sofa-bound, willing myself not to have to go to the bathroom. But, once it arrived - watch out! Mustering all the upper body strength I lack, I made it to the powder room to brush my teeth, take my "sponge bath" (didn't use a sponge, but that's what I've always heard it called), and potty. Then, I willed myself not to have to get up again until morning. My friend Joni brought me my very own velcro-attatching pouch to haul things, and my friend Jeanette has offered to bedazzle it! What friends I have.

Slept well home from the hospital without interruptions every hour and waked up to my whole little family (except for son-in-law Todd, who I really wish were here because of his always keen humor!) With baby Hudson here, there's never a dull moment. He's so busy--a hunter/gatherer, sorting, arranging, putting back. He's learning new things everyday, and I love watching him grow. He loves his KK, and is a little perplexed that I don't jump to pick him up. He has to come to me, which he does when my cell phone rings or I pick up the remote or have something else that catches his eye. He also likes to just amble over to put his head next to me. Ah... dagger in my heart!

The Acts 2:42 class brought amazing food yesterday and today. And, I know they continue to pray for my healing and biopsy results, as do the choir members, Oasis group and hosts of other friends at First Baptist Dallas. Food, visits, flowers I cannot number, cards, e-mails, facebook posts, and prayers from all of those precious Christian friends.

I hear daily from my yah-yahs, friends all over the United States who care about me, and my extended family. I will publish some of their uplifting and often humorous encouragements in the days to come

I am humbled and reminded:

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
--1 John 3:18






Friday, June 11, 2010

Thankful for Melanoma

So, I get the phone call from my dermatologist telling me I have melanoma while I was having my hair blown out. Believing as I do that there are no accidents or coincidences, I see clearly why I received the news at that particular time. All those around were able to hear me say to my doctor, "It's alright; God is in control.". The door opened for me to share my faith with the five people around me. I've been back to my salon since that day, and know that at least one of those present that day is a believer. She asked to know the exact time of my surgery so she could pray.

I immediately called my husband to tell him the news. Now, I just have to tell you that the worst part of this melanoma thing has been telling the people I love the most. It is a mother's instinct, I think, to shelter and protect those she loves. The man I love, the amazing father of our children, is a rock! As I received my news, he was under a diagnosis of possible prostate cancer, with 12 needle biopsies scheduled for the next week.

So, on the day of his biopsies, I dropped him off then went down the street to meet with my surgeon oncologist, Dr. Rohit Sharma. Now, the second worse thing about cancer diagnoses is the waiting. Just tell me the news and I can deal with it. But, we waited a week for biopsy results for him. That week I prayed Job 13:15 a lot: "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him...." His tests were clear; no cancer!

Now we wait, again, for testing of the lymph nodes that were removed from my groin. Dr. Sharma says they were not dark in appearance, as they might be if they contained melanoma. We will wait. "They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.." Isaiah 40:31

Dr. Sharma spent two hours with me on my first visit. He was thorough, explaining risks, detailing research, and outlining our next steps. Initial pathology reports dictated the size of the excision.....about five inches across and just down to the muscle. Lymph noses would be taken for testing and a skin graft performed by a plastic surgeon.

Next, on to see Dr. Michel Saint-Cyr, the plastic surgeon. His analysis was thorough. If he could just move a flap over from my leg, he would do so. Otherwise, he would take skin from my abdomen. End result: the flap worked, and no grafting was required.

Googling melanoma will result in hoplessness. I warned my children about that. There is just no treatment. Chemotherapy, radiation...not effective. Immunotherapy shows some promise. But, delving into websites yielded little enlightenment. Knowledge is power, so I wanted some knowledge. I wanted to know what others with melanoma were experiencing. As I track my journey through this diagnosis, I hope others on the same journey can find some reassurance, hope, and come to a place of giving thanks in all circumstances. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Woman With Many Titles

I have thought about joining the ranks of bloggers for a while. I am known by many titles: Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Sister, Sister-in-Law, Friend, Decorator... all titles I wear with pride. But, is there anything there that a past-middle-age woman can write about that someone will want to read. Besides, none of those titles defines who I am.

What does define me is a deep, abiding daily walk with my father God. I am His child, and that relationship dictates what goes on in my personal and professional life. Those are experiences I will share with you.

And, there's one new title that I have just acquired:

MELANOMA PATIENT

Yep, that's right. Turns out that a mole behind my right knee that I have had my entire life was harboring a dark little secret. I noticed, as I was lotioning up for the day, that the mole felt rough; and, hello, a baby mole was sprouting beside it. Yikes! and Nasty!

I've never been a sun-worshipper, but have had my share of Gulf Shores beach trips and brief tanning bed episodes when we lived in Indiana and there was no sun for months. Yet, that's what the pathology report said a few weeks ago. It was one of those experiences where everything is fine one day....then your whole life changes.

I am writing my first post from a hospital bed at UT Southwestern University Hospital following a five-hour surgery yesterday.

I will tell you about what's happened since the diagnosis on May 14. And, I will tell you how my trust in God and his perfect plan for my life has and continues to guide my steps.