We have had a lot of excitement since my last post. First off, for those that don’t have time for the fun and fluff--the pathology results. The good, the bad, and thankfully, there’s no ugly. Dr. Goulet called me Sunday morning as soon as he received the results, which we really appreciated. The good--the tumor had clear margins, so all of it was removed. The tumor still had some remaining cancer cells as was expected, but since the margins were clear, it is now gone. The good, bad, and not ugly— good, 14 lymph nodes were removed; bad, five of the 14 still had cancer in them but the cancer was contained within each lymph node and had not burst out into other tissue. They had hoped to find no cancer in the lymph nodes following chemo, but it is less concerning now than it would have been a few years ago. Five lymph nodes with cancer classifies it as N2, which means that 5-9 lymph nodes are involved. Dr. Goulet did a beautiful job in surgery. My tumor incision does not hurt at all (or is outweighed by the underarm soreness), and it was done strategically so when healed it will not be noticeable. Radiation will now target a bit more lymph node area and it should kill any cancer that might still remain. They will also watch me very closely from here on out, with check-ups about every 2-3 months and mammograms/ultrasounds/whatever every 6 months. My arm pit looks ugly and is tender. The surgeon removed the drain on Monday so I am now clear to do what ever I feel up to doing, which includes driving since I’ve now stopped the prescription pain pills. I decided I’d rather hurt a little and drive over being pain free and not able to drive. So far, over the counter pain meds are working fine. I'm running out of time and excuses to be lazy!
Oh, I forgot to mention a wonderful silver lining to all of this excitement. I have a temporary handicapped parking tag, good until March! It took me a long time to think about asking for one, and then it took a month before I had the energy to go and get it, but it has been WONDERFUL! I feel special every time we drive somewhere, like queen for the day! So this year for Christmas shopping, I will be the envy of everyone around. I just try to walk slowly and show that I'm tired, or look like I hurt so people won't get mad at me. If anyone says anything, I can always pull my wig off and then they will understand. I'm mainly shopping online and don't go to a lot of places besides medical visits--and those special parking spots are always full, of course.
Now, on to more fun! On Saturday, we were visited by a group of angels called Savior’s Serenade. It’s an outreach ministry group through my neighbor’s church. Tracy coordinated the event and they surprised me Saturday afternoon. It was sort of like Christmas caroling, but instead they prayed for me and performed uplifting religious songs, while holding inspirational signs and radiating love with their smiles. They made a slide show and posted additional photos in a facebook album under their facebook page. They go around and sing to people who are facing medical challenges. It was a really fun surprise and made our entire family feel so loved. I borrowed these photos off of their facebook page, so thank you and credits to the wonderful woman that was taking photos of the event. I can post your name once I have it!
My mom has been here with us for almost two weeks. She’s here for another week. It has been so fun having her here and she’s been so helpful with accomplishing lots of projects in areas that have been neglected for some time (sadly, more than the 7 months of cancer—but I’ll use that as my excuse for accumulating disorganization my entire life).
And finally, I saved the best for last……drum roll……Heath has been called to serve a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the Buenos Aires Argentina North Mission!! He reports to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah on Wednesday, February 27th. We are sooo excited for him. He will be a great missionary. He has been diligently preparing for this mission his entire life. He is full of goodness and spends time daily on the things that matter most--serving others and learning about Christ. This past October, in our church’s semi-annual General Conference, they announced a change in mission age that young men could now choose to serve at age 18 if they were graduated from high school and felt that they were ready (and women can now serve at age 19 if they would like to). Heath graduated a year early and had been diligently preparing, so it worked out beautifully for him. He turns 18 on December 6th! What an exciting early birthday present for him! Here’s a video of the big event a friend put on facebook, there's also a video with a different angle at the bottom of the photos below. We were all together as a family through Google chat, so it was great sharing in the joy with him.