July 30, 2001 - Still All Clear
Dear friends & relatives & prayer partners & new friends & reconnected friends...
I've been well - the last check-ups I've had were all clear. Energy is almost back to normal and the mischieviousness definitely is! So, I'm about to embark on the (hopefully) last step of my cancer journey other than the occasional doctof's visit.
This Saturday, August 4th (our 18th! anniversary) Roy, Cocoa the Dog and I will be driving up to York PA. On Tuesday, August 7th, I will be having surgery at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. I have elected to have a prophylactic (preventative) mastectomy on my right breast and then reconstruction of both breasts. The type of surgery is called a D.I.E.P. (pronounced "deep") flap reconstruction. A (for you guys) football-shaped or (for you gals) marquis cut-shaped section of my belly fat and skin will be removed along with the blood vessels that supply it. The removed tissue will be formed into two new breasts, stitched into the appropriate places for such items and the blood vessels reattached. The surgery will take about eight hours total for both procedures (mastectomy & DIEP). Although the surgery time is longer than with other kinds of reconstruction, recovery time is faster and long term potential problems are lessened. So in effect, I get a tummy tuck and a "boob" job - there had to be some rewards for this whole process! :-) If you're REALLY interested in the surgery, check out www.diepflap.com, the website of the doctor, Bob Allen, who orginated the technique.
After the surgery, I'll be recovering at our home in York PA until I can travel back to Orlando. The reason for having surgery in Baltimore is that only a few surgeons nationwide do this surgery and one of the best, Dr. Bernard Chang, is at Mercy. A friend who is a personal trainer will be coming up to stay with me after I come home from the hospital. My wonderful husband, Roy, will be staying with me for the first two days and nights after surgery.
By the time September rolls around, I hope to be back to "normal" again - whatever that is - I've forgotten! We've a couple of meetings scheduled and I have a speech or two pending. The book proposal for this adventure (One Lump or Two? How to Overcome the Fear of Breast Cancer) is almost created and the speech is ready to go! The opportunities I've had to minister to others who are going through the process have been awesome - I've been blessed more than I can tell you over the past two years.
I ask for your prayers and good wishes - for me and another quick recovery - and for skill for the surgeons and their teams who are involved in the operations. And lots of extra strength and patience and comfort for Roy! I'll have my trusty computer with me, so email is the best way to stay in touch. And, of course, I'll keep you posted on the adventure - thanks for sticking with me on my journey!
Love & Hugs!
Return to the top of this email.
Return to the previous email.
Go to the next email.
Go to the list of emails.