Monday, July 2, 2012

mercies






My dreams tangle with my sheets, I awake breathless, sweat pooling on my forehead, running down my cheeks.  I've been tossing and turning restlessly all night, fighting an unknown demon.

My skin prickles and tingles like its being pricked with thousands of needles all over.  I'm burning up, feverish- but the heat generates internally.  In minutes, it dissipates and I shiver when the air conditioning kicks in.  My nights are long and restless.


Friday morning Rick and I arrive at the Plastic Surgeon's office to see Dr. Pamela Antoniuk.  We are surprised by the posh waiting room that feels more like a swanky hotel lobby than a clinic setting.  We are quickly ushered back to a spacious room all decorated in dark woods, metals and warm colors.  Its Vegas-y chic.  The drab and worn patient gown shatters the illusion of glamour and then I am ushered to the leather "dentist" chair.

Dr. Anoniuk has laryngitis, and a husky, but soft voice comes out when she speaks.  She received her training on the East coast, New Jersey, and still retains a little bit of an accent.  She examines my wound, moving my skin one way then the next.  Next she pokes it, then swabs it, to make sure it doesn't contain any bacteria.  She thinks it looks like healthy tissue and that is is clean.  She then cauterizes it for what seems like a long time.  A deep throb begins to fill my chest. The smell of silver nitrate permeates the air.

She re-dresses the wound and sits me up.  She would recommend removing the entire incision and wound- cutting it all out, and then stretching skin up from my stomach.  She feels I have more than ample skin in the abdominal area and that she could layer the stitches - attaching them deep inside.  I would have to have drains put in again, and be in the hospital for a few days.

When she's says I'll hardly feel a thing- it feels like code for "expect some discomfort."

I mention Dr. Bouton's concerns.

She says with all due respect to Dr. B, that her extensive training taught her procedures that go beyond what a general surgeon can do.  She was trained with special techniques to go outside of the area of the chest to create the effect we desire.

She is calm, confident and unphased by looking at my wound.  But, she says, should the procedure not work, she would then suggest the flap surgery, moving muscle and tissue from my back to create a flap of skin- a much more lengthy surgery with a longer recovery time and more risk for complications.

She'll wait for the results of the swab sample to come back and then be in contact with Dr. Bouton and Dr. Panwalkar.  The three of them will discuss what the best course might be.

But the bigger question still remains.  Even with a new wound that is stitched differently, will my body be able to heal the wound and have it remain closed?  What happens when I have to go back to chemo?    What if cancer comes back in my chest wall and I need radiation?

I sleep restlessly, like I am running uphill as fast as I can, chasing and chasing, but waking to find that thing I am chasing, slips through my hands time and time again.

Monday, July 9th, I will have sedation and an MRI.  Its time to see if the targeted radiosurgery to my head took.  Did the tumor shrink?  Is my brain still clean?  Am I okay?  I see Dr. Foster on the 11th.

The financial department calls me on Friday.  I have 27,000 pending insurance... so far 6,000 of it will not be covered.  What do we intend to do about the 6,000... so far... and the rest that may or may not be covered?


We're clinging to what might just be enough to take our long awaited vacation.  

We're clinging to dreams of salt-laced sea water, sugar sand beaches, sea food, memory making.  

We're clinging to threads of mercy- tethered to strands of faith with a smattering of hope looped in for good measure.  

We're clinging... 





38 comments:

  1. Vicky, I have cried while listening to that song. It is bittersweet but those are indeed words to cling to. Again, I am blessed by your visual-filled accounts of your life. I'm happy you've found such a confident surgeon, and will remain hopeful with you, and for that long-awaited, much-deserved trip. XXOO, Roxane

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    1. Thanks Roxane, I appreciate the support and prayers. The song and the words definitely stuck a chord with me today- these past few days :)

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  2. sweet sweet Vicky -- clinging with you - cling to Hope and the Faith for those things hoped for!

    i am with you - i am fighting with you!

    big hug - a gentle one :)

    xotiffany

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    1. Thanks Tiffany,

      I feel so lucky to have you with me- always :)

      Hugs to you sweetie...

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  3. I hope the wound is healthy and bacteria-free and she can do the procedure on it. I hope it takes the first time and will heal on up, for good. Please know I am thinking of you sweet Vicky.

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    1. Jen, thank you for your reassuring words and for sticking with me :) I don't know if surgery will be the best solution or not, but if it is, she does sound right for the job...

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  4. Vicky, I'm riding in the car roof most of the day, so I will use that time to pray for peace. I am in the midst of a limbo situation also, and your advice to cling is timely. We only have today, and determining to live in the present is a challenging choice. Today's JC gives hard, but proper perspective, which I believe you are following: pray, then leave the outcomes to Him. Hugs!

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    1. Thanks Jenn, yes, Jesus Calling had the proper perspective as always... absolute trust and everlasting arms... diving right in and glad you are clinging along with me...

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  5. Your dreams seem to be signaling deep fears tho' your conscious mind is able to hold them back during the day. Your resilience and perspective are amazing, but please don't forget to tenderly hold and honor the fearful you too. She needs your tender, loving care. In fact, sometimes the fears calm down when they are acknowledged (as you are doing in the post) respected, and honored as normal and understandable.

    So sorry you have these extra physical concerns on top of everything else. Sending love and light to you, dear Vicky.

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    1. Bonnie, I think that is exactly right- for the longest time it felt like almost every day had a fear inducing quality to it. Lately I've been able to step away from it, but now I feel out of practice in some regards, in remembering how to not just face the fear, but live with it. And yes- writing it always acknowledges and releases it for me.

      I always appreciate your insight Bonnie- thank you! Love and light to you as well :)

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  6. Well.. she certainly seems confident in her skills. Sending healing thoughts your way as you navigate these waters... and I sure hope you will be navigating VACATION waters soon enough. Salt water is the great healer, body and spirit. That includes the tears, you know... let them fall as needed.

    Sending love your way too... - K

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  7. Karen,

    It would seem so simple to just plan a vacation and then go. But there is just too much unknown that makes it no fun to even try and think about when and where we'd go... but I remain ever hopeful that all those details will work out and we'll jump at the chance when there is more clarity.

    Love to you...

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  8. I got chills when I first saw your words. That song has gotten me through my "little battles" and it brings tears to my eyes every time I listen to it. We must remind ourselves that all these troubled things are all just blessings in disguise, even if we can't see or understand them. As always, thinking and praying for you!

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    1. Carrie, I can honestly say that at your age I did not have near the insight and wisdom you do- it will continue to serve you so well... Thank you for the prayers!

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  9. Praying for you from CNY...prayers for peace, wisdom and healing.

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    1. Thank you Barb- I truly appreciate the insightful nature of those prayers :)

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  10. As always, Vicky, I am thinking and praying for you today and I will pray for wisdom for the doctors. Wisdom, that they will know the right thing to do where you are concerned and that it will be the one that leaves you with the least discomfort.

    "Where hope would otherwise become hopelessness, it becomes faith." ~Robert Brault

    Love and hugs are being sent you way, Eileen

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    1. I understand your quote Eileen, at a whole new level... thank you for sharing it with me. I told someone recently that I had to have faith- and I think this is what I meant- that without faith- it would be hopelessness... thanks for this perspective!

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  11. Praying and holding on with you.

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    1. Thank you Susan- you remain a constant blessing to me in so many ways!

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  12. keep the faith! You are blessed to have such doctors. Tonight i will pray for you and your doctors and your family.

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    1. Thank you Annmarie, I truly appreciate all the prayers being said!

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  13. Wow that sounds so incredibly hard for you... and the waiting is hard too we have been in that waiting room before, not for this issue but others. Will be praying for you... God is big enough to heal we just have to wait.

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    1. Thank you- I agree- its all in the waiting for His perfect timing. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement!

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  14. Dear Vicky, you have every reason to toss and turn. You have a lot to contend with and letting the fear go and trying to fight for some control in your life has to be tremendously hard to juggle. All you can do is pray for the right answer and trust those wonderful doctors. The plastic surgeon sounds very competent if that indeed turns out to be the right course. Cling tight sweetie, even with your fingernails for as long as it takes. You are tenacious. Our mind is a wonderful thing, I saw that with my Dad. Never give up bloody fighting or believing in better days. If there is anything I can do even thousands of miles away please ask me. You and your boys will always be in my prayers and like every other fight you have had to date there will be an answer that presents itself. Believe that God will look after you every step of the way and he has you firmly in his grip. Much love and hugs to you xx Oh and turn that music up and sing out loud.

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    1. Thank you sweet Lilly- for words that encourage me and lift me up time and again- that is priceless and invaluable to me. I'm preparing for a marathon fight- so I'm doing what I can to keep me going as long as I can :) Thanks for following along!

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  15. Well I am still here cheering for you Vicky.
    Hang in there girl.
    I know through all the experience I had with my family that you need to fight for your rights and demand the right care.
    It helps doctors make the right decisions knowing you are a fighter. Ask them all the right questions because they are important for you to know the answers to.
    Doctors do perform miracles. There are things out there they will never do because its not covered but then again they might do them anyway under what is covered name, and you will benefit.
    Keep fighting and keep the faith.

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    1. Thanks Vic- it certainly helps having your support the whole way through! I believe we will figure this whole thing out and get the desired outcome- I just need to do my homework and keep the faith :)

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  16. Vicki, my heart has been aching for you and for your family since I read this yesterday. I wanted to comment, but I didn't have the words. Thank you for sharing your faith and also the struggles that you are facing. I can't begin to understand the 'whys' of so many difficulties that so many that I care about are facing. I love that song by Laura Story and I know the truth of it, but tears never cease to come to my eyes when I hear it, because the truth of it is so often known through pain. This morning as I was reading in Psalms 144, it says "Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle; my lovingkindness and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and He in whom I take refuge." I thought of you and how I knew then how I could pray for you. So, today, I am praying for you and your family to feel the presence of the Lord as your Fortress, your Stronghold, your Deliverer, your Shield, and your Refuge. Many many prayers for you and your family...

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    1. Oh Becky- you couldn't have found more perfect words for my battered head to absorb. Thank you! You've blessed me with this perspective and gives me comfort. I think of you and Melissa so often and know we'll be forever bonded by our experiences.

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  17. I only know you from here, but today I feel so very connected to you. I admire your honesty and your vulnerability when you write. I am inspired by your faith and by your strenght and by your grace. I want you to know that you are a blessing to me and to others. Please know that I pray for you, for your healing and for your precious family. I pray that you feel the love of those who surround you, and more importantly, that you feel the loving arms of our Lord wrapped around you. My heart is with you.

    Julie B

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    1. Hi Julie,

      gosh, I'm humbled by your words. Its readers like yourself that allow me the space and ability to be vulnerable and I am grateful for that. Thank you for your gracious words. Blessings to you!

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  18. Vicky, you have been SOO strong but you are human, your tired and very weary, GOD KNOWS THIS. My prayer is for strenght moment by moment and WISDOM.
    You are loved by me and so many that have never met you. You are our sister, friend, cousin... You are SO important to me.
    I'll keep praying with ALL the others and you keep fighting.
    Kay form the OR coast.

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    1. Kay,

      You are spot on- I have felt weary and tired- my whole family shows signs of it. So all of you showing up here with your heartfelt words of encouragement are such sweet respite. Thank you- blessings to you!

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  19. I haven't commented because I couldn't find the right words. Mostly what comes to mind is that it just isn't fair. And it isn't. But I know that we can't view life in that way. Know that I am praying and praying some more.

    And I have been guilty of turning off that song when it comes on the radio. Sometimes it's hard to hear the truth in it.

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  20. Being off Facebook means not getting your updates. Oh man. This was a smack of reality after reading today's post. I'm reading what Melissa says (right above me) and it resonates with me. The choir Hunter is part of sang that song in May and it was very thought provoking, and provoking, I must say. I don't want to learn that way. I don't want YOU to learn that way. I don't know WHY we have to learn ANYthing that way....but it seems we do. I want these problems to all go away for you and I REALLY don't want you to have to think about money in the midst of them. I long for "sugar sand beaches" for you as well. Praying they come true, even on short notice or the drop of a hat because the doctor says, "GO" and "all is well" and "take a break." Hugging you through the screen. Weak. Inept. All I've got. Love you.

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  21. Dear Friend~ My heart aches with yours. I understand your feelings. I love the Blessings song. The first time I heard is was shortly after I got diagnosed as staged IV. It was raining outside and I was in the grocery store parking lot,I just sat in the car and cried pouring my heart out to the Lord. He's with you every step of the way. Keep leaning on Him. I had a tram flap done when I had my reconstructive surgery. What time is your test on Monday, so I can be praying right when it's going on. Love you Sister!

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  22. Vicky, I haven't really been reading blogs recently, so I apologize for the many posts I'm sure I've missed. I think of you every day and carry you in my heart.

    Praying for our amazing God to fill you with courage and peace, strength and sweet rest. Praying for God, the provider, to send the resources you need.

    Know that you are never short on friendship. Much love to you, beautiful girl.

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I welcome what you have to say. Thanks for taking the time to grace me with your thoughts and words!

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