Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Benefits of Cancer



I am praying for the least invasive lumpectomy for my cancer, but still preparing for whatever the new test results throw at me. Thus, I sat down and read cover to cover the very thick binder of information Levine Cancer Institute provided: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Breast Cancer...And Then Some. (This is not the actual title, but should be.)

I learned many things. For one thing, breast reconstruction can be done using the patient's own fat. The most popular region to take the fat from is the tummy. The patient gets the double bonus of perky new breasts, and a tummy tuck, all for the price of one surgery!

However, the surgeon looked at me and said he didn't think I had enough tummy to do this. This is one situation where being a little chubby would have been useful. My reading revealed that there are other regions they can take fat from...like  the lower buttocks. Now my lower buttocks are not very fatty...but my upper thighs are! I am petitioning the surgeon if a mastectomy is required, we do a thigh liposuction! Win/win! Just because it has never been done doesn't mean it can't be. I am willing to be a trendsetter here if it means I get sleek thighs in the bargain.

I am also wondering if they can clean my teeth while I am under the anesthesia? I hate the bi-yearly cleaning because I have very sensitive teeth. And since they insist next year I need another colonoscopy, could they throw that in as well? As long as I am out like a light, I want all the unpleasant things in store for me to be completed in one fell swoop.

Sure, the operating room might get a little crowded, but it will be a chance for a real multi-disciplinary approach to treatment. All the doctors insist that improves patient care...They can all gather around my unconscious body and fix me to perfection then and there! (A God image if ever I saw one...)

Today, I go off for genetic testing. If I have the "cancer gene", that is a game changer. Likely looking at a double mastectomy in that case. This is ok if they are willing to rebuild both breasts using my thighs. I was called "thunder thighs" in Middle School, and have never lived it down. Maybe cancer is not a tragedy, but an opportunity!

I read on. I found yet another unexpected blessing from cancer. If I have the mastectomy, I am not allowed to vacuum for 6-8 weeks! Woohoo! It just keeps getting better.

Now understand, I don't want a mastectomy. However, I need to be prepared. The radiologist called yesterday expressing the issues that make me a difficult lumpectomy case. She agrees I should "give it the old college try," but I have been forewarned that it may not work out as I hope. I may have to do the mastectomy.

I am living proof that God can calm one's fears, and even give inexplicable joy in the midst of severe hardship and trials. I do not yet count it ALL joy when I encounter trials...as James in the Bible suggests. But I am seeing SOME joy...and that is major.

If circumstances determine our joy or our moral choices, then we are likely to be miserable, despicable, conscience-less creatures. One of the hardest, but most freeing lessons in a faith-filled life is that real joy has nothing to do with circumstances and everything to do with our relationship with God. I suppose one of the supreme benefits of cancer, or any deep struggle, is we find out just how strong that relationship really is.

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Romans 12:12 

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,


4 comments:

  1. Indeed! This is a lesson learned over time. When my husband left, I first heard this joy in ALL circumstances from Charles Stanley. How is that possible was my first thought...then I went in and found, downloaded, and printed every single joy verse out. Then I placed them in a notebook and spigot read them and find one that was balm to my hurting heart. Today more often than not, I am joy-filled. But it did take time to live it. LOVE today's entry. And, if we're compatible...I'll donate tummy fast:) you can have BIGGER ones than before!!!

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  2. Awww Vicky! The infamous tummy tuck tram flap procedure! I signed up for that cause insurance will pay for a tummy tuck? And I did have tummy! Now I want to warn you what this procedure will produce. Yes, your lower abdomen will be free from fat and much flatter which is great, but they cut an end and push that up to fill the breast. Sounds great but that muscle that they cut to bring up, well between the breast and the abdomen yeah, it's there too. So you get this under the breast puffy lumpish thing that doesn't look great and doesn't go away. After all it's part of that muscle that they moved. Now if they are talking about sucking out the fat, and reinserting it in the breast that's different. I'm just saying my tram flap procedure left me with a tiny flat abdomen and a poufy upper belly, kinda like being pregnant. And yes, my butt is still there same as ever. :) But you know what? You're taking this like I did and seeing the best you can. After all, no one is hanging you on a cross ya know? There is something to be said for holding all this lightly. God's got your back.

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