I awoke this morning to horrifying news of what appeared to be a terrorist attack in Orlando. I don’t know how or why we can’t just love or at the very least find peace that we are all different. I just spent 4 days in Livermore, California with Glenn witnessing the marriage of a young beautiful couple. As I fell asleep last night, I focused on the faith, hope and love that I have been blessed with. My prayers go out to all the victims and family in Orlando.
A week ago we had one of our sleep technologists not show up for her shift. We were the first to notice that she was missing. Missing work was something Jana would never do. She loved her job. Changing patient’s lives is what she enjoyed. Sadly, that next morning, we learned that Jana had passed away in what appeared to be her sleep. She was only 55. Valley Sleep Center sends our deepest sympathies to Jana’s family and friends. We will miss her and plan to honor her with an excellence award given out to team members that serve our patients with that “Jana Gibson” spirit.
The Orlando shooting and the passing of our friend Jana reminds me that tomorrow is never promised. Having cancer twice has taught me that each day is a gift. How I choose to live this gift is my gift back.
Our spring project has been remodeling our beach home. It’s been a huge challenge and isn’t complete. “Twice as long and twice as much,” is what I would say to any of you considering a home remodel.
Our summer has been planned to spend time with family and friends and to celebrate my 50th birthday, which was in January, and my 30 years of marriage (in March) to Glenn. We’re taking a trip to Kauai in July with the kids and grandkids. The other trip is scheduled in August to go to Europe on a river cruise up the Danube with friends.
I’ve needed one more reconstruction surgery and to get my port removed. I had planned to do the surgery after our two trips but because our remodel wasn’t finished, I’ve decided to move up “deportation & remodel my chest day.”
Most breast cancer patients undergo multiple surgeries. When you choose mastectomy, seldom are nipples and skin spared. Often, you end up with metal expanders that have a reservoir which is filled over time to expand skin. Then they do a swap surgery removing the expanders and place implants. Even then the result hoped for doesn’t always happen.
I was fortunate enough to have found my lump in a self-exam. I had dense breasts so my cancer was never seen on a mammogram. It was only seen on an ultrasound and a breast MRI. Because my cancer was small and at least 4cm from my nipple, the surgeons felt confident that I was a candidate for a skin/nipple sparing mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. What we didn’t know is if the cancer was in my lymph nodes and nothing could be for sure until they got in there. That was March 6, 2015. After an eight-and-a-half-hour surgery, I woke up to happy smiling, doctors, nurses, Glenn and Colton in bright pink shirts that said “For LaLa’s TaTa’s”. There was no cancer detected in any of the lymph nodes removed and the mastectomy/immediate reconstruction was successful. What you would assume would be the worst day of my life, in a way, was best.
As with any thing that gets built or rebuilt there is settling over time. So tomorrow morning (Monday June 13th) I’m going in for my next surgery which I’m calling “LaLa’s TaTa’s remodel and deportation day.”
The surgery is at 7:30am.
I am nervous, and if I could ask you to pray for my surgeon Dr. Tan and his team from Banner MD Anderson. I’m also hoping for no infection. Post chemo patients tend to have a lower resistance to infection but I feel that I’m going in strong and my white blood cell count was 5.6 which is really good for me.
If you are male or female remember the mantra, “Touch the TaTa’s or Feel it on the First.” Early detection is the best medicine and can make your decisions and treatment much easier if/when the time comes that you or your loved one face this horrid disease.
I will spend one night at Banner Gateway Hospital. I cherish your prayers.
As always, thank you so much for your faith, hope and love.
Remember to always kiss each other goodnight for we never know what tomorrow holds.