It has been some time since I have given an update on my health, and since I just received the pathology report from my surgery, this is a good time to post.
Since my surgery I have been tired a lot and resting more than I would like, but I understand that healing happens the best when accompanied by rest. The first week after surgery I was so blessed to have no pain at all. However, once the healing started in ernest, I did experience pain from the healing process. I just saw my surgeon yesterday and he explained that the skin that has been stretched over my chest wall has no cushioning left and because he had to cut out the original lumpectomy scar, he had no choice but to pull the skin tighter then normal to close the wound. The skin is tight and hard and when the muscle underneath the skin flexes, it can be quite painful. Last Friday the solid pain I was having left and now I am just having tolerable pain as the healing process continues. The doctor told me that it will take about a year for all the tissue to settle down and the skin to relax so that it isn’t so tight. At least I no longer have the pricking pain from the staples. The drain and the staples were both removed last week. I was pleasantly surprised that neither procedure hurt at all.
Now to the after surgery pathology report. The report showed that I had three lesions inside the tissue, not just the two which had been found by the mammogram. All of the tumours took a direct hit from the chemotherapy. The two major lesions had the cancer eradicated and what was left was nodular fibrosis and fat necrosis. Lovely sounding, eh? There were some cells adjacent to the lesions that were rare atypical cells that they could not say was cancer, but were suspicious for residual cancer. This was not a mass, but individual cells. The third area was a mass, but it measured only 1 mm and it was listed as a minute area of residual carcinoma. 1 mm is only about 1/25th of an inch, which is very minute indeed. The margins were all clear of cancer cells so the good news is that it looks like the surgeon got all of the remaining local cancer cells. That was such good news for me to hear! He did not take any lymph nodes so none were available for biopsy, however the one lymph that appeared to be affected by the cancer, also had a fantastic outcome from the chemotherapy and it can no longer be felt, and the last CT scan showed no evidence of enlarged lymph nodes.
I have not yet had word from my oncologist about whether he is going to insist I have radiation or not since there were some cancer cells left after the chemo, but because of the very small area of residual cancer left and in addition only scattered atypical cells that could not be identified as a grade of cancer because of the effect of the chemotherapy, they may not want to put me through more harsh treatment. There is also the consideration that the cancer had spread to the skin and since I have skin left, (thankfully so!) it is still possible I may still be a candidate for radiation. I will post again when I find out more.
As of today I am feeling better and I am able to stay up without going back to bed for a nap, and without sleeping in until noon. I am back to work on our ministry newsletter and looking forward to going back to our next DVD project. I just need to be in constant awareness of what things are important to do and what I can leave aside. I have learned that I cannot do everything. There are more good things in this world that call my name, then I could possibly accomplish in my lifetime, let alone whatever time I have left. It has become increasingly clear to me that I need to be in prayer about what to do, how to do it and when it needs to get done. Time is a precious gift. We are all given a portion of time and we cannot go back and have a re-do. The focal point of time known as “today” keeps moving and it doesn’t stop. Soon today will be yesterday and then weeks, months and years pass by. All of these passages of time have one thing in common – they are in the past and are no longer accessible to us. Just like the past, we also cannot live in the future. The tiny portion of the moving point of time is all that we have right now, and it is called “today”.
Lord help me to recognize my limitations and the importance of not squandering the gift of time. Help me to know what is important to You. Help me to hear Your words of affirmation in the end “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”