Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Best Birthday Yet

Birthdays have always been a big deal to me. I believe we should all have that one day a year that we feel celebrated. I try extremely hard to remember the birthdays of those I love and often find myself stressing (way beyond what is necessary) over the gifts I pick out for people. So when my diagnosis came a month before my own birthday, one of my thoughts was how my treatment might affect my birthday celebration. See, I had plans...I was going to my happy place (my parents' beach house in Bethany) to celebrate with a few of my closest friends. We were going to spend time at the pool and the beach and even take a girls' shopping trip to the outlets.  

So when the date of August 25th was given as my surgery date for my bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction surgery, I was a little disappointed. At the same time, I have tried to give every detail of this journey over to the Lord and trust that He knows what is best for my body. After all, He created my inmost being and knit me together in my mother's womb." (Psalm 139:13) I also realized that coordinating the schedule of three separate surgeons was no small task, and I would happily accept what was given. Besides, my Nurse Navigator, Amy (if I have failed to mention her yet, it is a real shame because she is definitely a Godsend to us) confirmed that instead of me having a birth"day", I was to have a birthday "month" instead. So as a huge fan of birthdays, how could I complain about that!  

My actual birth"day" started with a visit from Hurricane Irene who wiped out our power for 3 days (I know many of you have had it worse) and consisted of being propped up by pillows in a recliner, popping pain pills, having Blake empty my nasty drains, and eating birthday cake in the dark. As unappealing as all of that sounds, I can honestly say that this "lover of birthdays" wasn't even bothered by it. I wasn't bothered because I realized something in the weeks leading up to the actual day. My gifts had already been given to me. At birth, God gave me the two most amazing, supportive parents. Eight years ago, God gave me a husband who is taking better care of me than I could ever imagine (without a single complaint by the way). Starting three and a half years ago, God gave me two little ones that fill my life with so much joy. Last June, He gave me a job that has surrounded me with amazing friends/co-workers and patients. Two years ago, He brought us to a neighborhood full of people ready to lend a hand in our time of need. And throughout the years, He has given us the kind of friends that are walking each step with us day-to-day. As far the physical gifts given to me over the last few weeks, I liken myself to Oprah (not that I love that comparison) because I have literally been showered with all my favorite things. Although there have been many physical birthday gifts given to me over the last few weeks for which I am so thankful, the fact that this journey has surrounded my birthday is certainly no accident because I have felt more celebrated than I have in all my past 33 birthdays combined. 

And apparently my birthday celebration continues through 10:30 am this morning, we met with Mollie, PA for our post-op visit and received the very exciting news that all the sentinel lymph nodes that were taken (3 on the right and 1 on the left) are all clear of Cancer. The pathology report came back as good as it could have considering where my tumors were located.

Psalm 139:13-16
 "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

We actually did get to go celebrate my birthday at the beach a week earlier than expected so I thought I would post a family pic from that weekend.

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