Updates on Kathy's battle with breast cancer.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Surgery Complete

Surgery was Monday, November 19th.  It went well.  Thankfully, I don’t remember much about it.  They used something that blocks short term memory in addition to general anesthetic.   I kept asking the same questions over and over again, and was told the same stories over and over again, like Dori in Finding Nemo.  The surgeon removed the area of tissue where the tumor once existed and around 12 to 15 lymph nodes.  The tumor was gone, but the titanium clip and a series of mammograms helped the doctors mark where it had been.  We are still awaiting the pathology report.  Since it wasn’t back on Wednesday, we won’t hear results until Monday.   
My friend Jill sent this shirt.  It seemed perfect for wearing on surgery day.

My #1 Fan and Coach

My E.T. Finger, "Phone Home."
Another great fan & t-shirt.
We stayed over night at the surgery center because I have a drain tube for the lymph node area.   Monday night Garrett, Scott Jr., Courtney, and my mom came for a visit.  I was still affected by the general anesthetic, so they made some memories from my loopiness (which I don’t remember well).  Scott stayed the night with me in a recliner.  It was the best hospital overnight stay I’ve ever had, with minimal interruptions and quiet surroundings.  I was home at 11:00 Tuesday morning.  I came home with a “pain ball,” about the size of a softball that slowly released a numbing nerve blocker for my left shoulder and chest area.  It was really helpful.  By Wednesday night, it had shrunken away to the size of an apple core.  The doctor showed Scott how to remove it, so I now only have the drain tube. 

My underarm area is sore and tender, but pain meds keep it manageable.  I’ll have the drain tube for 7-10 days, until it is draining a minimal amount within a 24 hour period.  I’m feeling way better than I’d expected to feel at this point.  I can’t drive or jog until the drain tube is removed.  I can walk as much as I’m up to now.  

Tuesday night around midnight, we had a knock at our back patio door.  Garrett had invited me out of my room “to see something on the computer.”  When we looked up to see who was knocking, HEATH walks in!  He flew in to surprise us for Thanksgiving!  Garrett helped him in the planning weeks ago, and our neighbors picked him up from the airport.  It was such a fun, total surprise.  A week ago Wednesday, my mom arrived to be with us for three weeks.  Wednesday night, my sister Krista arrived.  We’ve been having a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! 

Scott with his masterpiece.

Smoked with bacon in the Big Green Egg.

Finished Smoked Turkey.

Garrett & Heath preparing the turkey fryer.  
I enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner.  We were treated to two delicious turkeys.  Scott smoked a turkey, wrapped in bacon, and Garrett fried a turkey.  We had all kinds of sides and lots of pies—all for the smallest Thanksgiving crowd we’ve ever hosted--eight.  I think a group went out for midnight shopping, but I opted out for this year.  I think I could have done one store, but there were not any steals that couldn’t wait until morning before the door busters ended.  It’s nice laying low for a change. 

As I reflect on the things I’m thankful for this year, my list is deeper and fuller than previous Thanksgivings.  I’m thankful for my wonderful husband and best friend.  He has been “one” with me through this entire process.  My kids have been amazing in their love and support.  Our extended family has kept in close touch though they all live far away.  Our church family has embraced us with such love and support.  Our extended network of friends and family from all over the country has provided such uplift and encouragement.  Facebook has provided access to so many that we love from living in so many different places.  The prayers, kind words of 

encouragement, inspired moments, and countless ways of reaching out and sharing support have made such a difference.  My family and I are very blessed and very thankful for the important part each individual has had in helping us through this journey.  I am so thankful for prayer and the power and strength we have felt through the continuous prayers offered by so many.  I am thankful for my Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ.  I have grown closer to them through this process.  When you find yourself in a situation where God is in control of the outcome, you do all you can to research and make the best decisions possible, and then rely on Christ who knows how we feel in every trial we go through.  He is there to comfort us and guide us.  He is always there for us, we just need to turn to Him.  He has provided our family with peace throughout this journey.  I am so thankful for God’s love and the strength and power He gives us when we try to put Him at the center of our lives.   


  1. What an amazing journey you've been through. This post was beautiful. You continue to be such an inspiration for all. Your family is amazing in the way they have loved and supported you. You've taught them well to think of others and love. Kathy - you are such a light to all! Thank you!

  2. Thank you for sharing such wonderful thoughts on this blog! We are so happy the surgery went well and that you are recovering surrounded by your family. How fun to have Heath for Thanksgiving!