Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Day 6 Post Surgery 7/25/18

This morning I decided to sit on the front porch swing, drink coffee, and enjoy the beautiful creation surrounding me.  As I was arranging the pillows on the swing, I noticed movement.  I quickly glanced again and saw one of those green tree frogs firmly attached to my pillow.  I picked up the pillow only to have it jump on to the swing.  The more I coerced it to flee, the more possessive of my swing it became.  I’d like to say I won the battle, but I gave it the swing and I settled down in my Cracker Barrel rocking chair on the other end of the porch—I decided it was a day to be nice and share the porch. 

I wanted to be outside because I believe my front porch is my new favorite room in our house.  It’s peaceful (when said frog is not around) and we have beautiful trees surrounding it.  I wanted to be outside and in a good peaceful place because I had to make some phone calls that I didn’t really want to make.  It’s never fun being the messenger of news that you would rather not be true.

So let me just dive in and explain what the doctor told us yesterday.

As we were being dismissed from the hospital, the doctor told me of the results of a typical test that they do when they take biopsies.  He said that one of the tests they normally run is a perinatal wash.  Basically, they put sterile saline solution into my pelvic area, take a sample, let stuff settle (that is my translation), and then they screen the stuff that settled at the bottom.  He let us know that the stuff that settled was positive for microscopic cancer cells.  I asked him to explain what that means.  He said he honestly did not know what that meant for us.  He did say that this combination of positive wash but negative biopsies was not common.  He let me know that he would be taking this to the Tumor Board at Mayo next Wednesday, August 1st.  We go for a follow up visit on August 3rd to get staples out and find out what the Tumor Board thinks.  I told them to think hard and way outside of the box because I do not plan to repeat the chemo process.  My sweet oncologist called last night to talk about the findings, she agreed with our gynecologist oncologist that this is not a normal case.  She said, “You’ve got us with our head in our hands.” 

And yall—that is all we know—which basically means we know nothing!

But guess what?  I Know the one who does know.  I Know the one who spoke the world into being.  I Know the one who created my body with a redundant sigmoid colon. I Know the one who knows my name. I Know the one who orchestrated my surgery at this exact time to find these microscopic cancer cells.  I Know Him.  I Know Jesus.

Our family certainly wasn’t expecting that news, but we still trust in Him to guide our days.  This morning one of the verses I found in my Bible study was Psalm 9:10  Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.  Because we do know Him, we trust Him no matter what news we receive.”

One of the last things my doctor told me was to celebrate the good.  Yall—that is what we are doing.  I am home from a very difficult surgery and recovering without a bag!  My body is slowing learning how to function.  I’m not in the hospital—I’m with family.  The Lord is watching out for us!

Ways that you can specifically pray:
1-That God would help the doctors to think way outside the box. 
2- That God would get the glory in this.
3-  That my immunity would be strong enough to kill these microscopic cells.
4- That our girls will settle into this new school year and learn what God wants them to learn.  (Hannah starts 8th grade at Martha Puckett Middle School on August 2nd.  Leighanne starts at South Georgia College on August 10th.  Sara begins her new semester at College Pines on August 20th.)
5- That our focus will be on enjoying everday we have together. 

We love you all!

In Him whom is able,


Monday, July 23, 2018

Update Day 4 Post Surgery (7/23/2018)

Day 4 post surgery. 7/23/18 Just found out I'm not going home today. It's ok--they are just being extra cautious. They are going to run some extra tests because I've had a messed up tummy today. (Not unusual for this type of surgery.)

I did get great news from Dr. Robertson, all of the random biopsies he took during surgery came back completely negative for cancer. Y'all--we were all so excited! He said that was a great sign.

Looks like the healing may take a while, but when we are in a good place, we'd love to share our story of God's faithfulness. I just can't list all the amazing things God has done on our behalf.


Sunday, July 22, 2018

Update (7/22/2018)

Today was another tired and sore day for Julie, but better than yesterday.  Dr. Dinh came in this morning and said that everything continues to look very good with labs, Julie's activity, etc.  He changed her diet back to regular so she can now eat "anything" she wants, though there are some obvious things you want to stay away from when your digestive system is raw so she is taking it slow and easy with what she eats.  Dr Dinh felt like there was a real good chance that she will get to go home tomorrow, but he said Dr. Robertson will be back and it will be his call.  We have (and will repeat tomorrow) asked that they be very conservative and not discharge us too early.  However, all of the things we really wanted to happen before we were comfortable going home have pretty much happened.  Her hemoglobin is low.  If it is lower tomorrow we will ask more questions, but Dr. Dinh felt like it would be fairly stable.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Update (7/21/2018) and Something Special that God Started over 48 years ago!

I just realized I never posted an update yesterday.  Julie continues to do well.  She was moved to a regular diet, but it was a misunderstanding between the doctors and the nurses so she ate a little mashed potatoes and grits and got moved back to clear liquids diet.  They just want to be very conservative since she had so many problems last surgery.  The doctor even said that the surgery was so perfect that he couldn't hardly believe it.

Julie has been up walking multiple times today even without a walker.  She is doing really good.  Today has been a harder day with more pain, tiredness, etc., but the doctor had already warned us that today and tomorrow we should expect that then it will start to get better.  They have moved her off of the push-button pain meds and onto an as-needed oral, but that also means she stays sleepy more of the time (also a good thing because she needs rest).

Now for a special story of how God works..........

The surgeon had told me this, but it didn't fully register until I read his report on the surgery and looked up what it meant..... Julie was born with a "redundant sigmoid colon".  This basically means that the very last segment (the sigmoid) of her colon was about twice as long as normal.  This typically causes a lot of constipation and can even cause the colon to get twisted and cause a surgical emergency (though most people that have it don't have to treat it), but in Julie's case it means when they re-connected the sigmoid to the rectum there was plenty of colon to do its job as normal.  What does all of this mean?  It means that there is a real good probability that Julie will not have a problem with short gut syndrome.  She has had a section of her small intestines removed and that will cause her to have to adapt how and what she eats somewhat, but the sigmoid is key is things behaving as normal.  So...... when God was forming Julie's body, He knew she would have to have the sigmoid removed due to a tumor and he gave her an extra one then so she wouldn't be without at this time in her life.  Just more evidence that you can (and should!) trust God with your life and your eternity!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Surgery Update (7/19/2018)

It has been a long day, but a very good day.  We had to be at Mayo at 6:00am today to check in for the surgery.  Dr. Robertson came in a few minutes before 7:30am and went over the last few things and then they had Julie back in the operating room shortly afterwards.  I received a notice from the desk that the actual surgery began at 8:25am.  Dr. Robertson had scheduled the OR for 8 hours, but before the surgery he said he thought it would take around 4 hours.  Around 11:25am the team called out to the desk to notify me that the surgery was going well and it would be about another hour, so I quickly went down to the cafeteria to grab a bite to eat.  Around 1:30pm, Dr. Robertson had completed the surgery and came out to talk with me while his team was completing the clean up, etc.  I don't remember all of the details, but there were three basic criteria that he was looking for to be able to reconnect the colon and he said all three of them were better than good (almost perfect).  While he was inside of her he was also looking for any signs of potential cancer and said he did not find any.  He did take a few random biopsies, but he said nothing looked like it could be cancer.  He did have a little scar tissue to cut away, but even that was better than he expected.  He said she did really good and we really couldn't ask for a better scenario for this surgery.  At 3:40pm, they were moving Julie from recovery to a regular room (woo hoo -- no ICU required this time) and we could go up to see her around 4pm.  When we walked in at 4pm she was eating jello and looked great.  Their goal is to start her on solid foods tonight and to have her up walking tonight as well.  We are expected to be in the hospital for 4 to 7 days.  As I write this she is on the self-administered push-button pain meds and is getting good rest.

Thanks to everyone for all of your prayers throughout this whole journey.  God has been amazing in the way He has worked and we are so grateful.  Your prayers, notes of encouragement, visits, etc. have been amazing as well.

To the Glory of God!


Saturday, July 14, 2018

Good News Report (7/13/2018)

Good news report!
This was taken yesterday outside of Mayo. My sisters Karen and Sheryl joined me for a long day of tests and appointments. I began the day with an ECG (heart), then bloodwork, next an urinalysis, then an 90 minute MRI, then a CT scan, next we snuck out for lunch, and finally we saw the doctor. 
Here's the news: They did not find any evidence of tumors, and my CA125 marker was 9. I have been given the thumbs up for surgery to reverse my colostomy on July 19th. 

Challenges/Prayer Requests: 
  1. He may open me up and discover that my body is not able to be reversed. 
  2. Due to the amount of blood loss at the last surgery, he is expecting to find scar tissue. This may cause my surgery to be up to 8 hours long. 
  3. He will be looking for cancer while he is inside. 
  4. Pray for my body to able to heal and recover afterwards. We are looking at 3-10 days in the hospital and up to 6 weeks recovery.
Y'all, I am so ready! Pray for my caretakers!