Thursday, September 30, 2010

His Precious Little Girl

These last two days my head is reeling from the 180 I've experienced.  I will do my best to recount it to you, but I can't get believe the brain fog that has settled over me.  Fog like split pea soup!  My short term memory is terrible.  Here's the highlights folks.

True North called yesterday to give me the official word that she cannot perform my surgery till after she returns from maternity leave next year. 

My insurance company, United, has denied my request to have Dr. Hands paid as an in-network provider, even though they would not have to pay anything more to do this.  They would have to pay two in network plastic surgeons for this procedure regardless.  I was just asking them to pay Dr. Hands this way.  I will be appealing their decision.  I can make three appeals.

I am going ahead with a bilateral mastectomy with The Wizard on October 26.  He is planning a "skin sparing" mastectomy for Flopsy, and I am electing a prophylactic skin sparing mastectomy for Mopsy.  Mopsy's nipple will remain; The Wizard will save Flopsy's nipple if he feels comfortable based on the pathology when he opens me up.  I am not counting on this.  He will also remove a fair amount of my lymph nodes on the left.  I will only be in the hospital a day or two, not the seven required for the mastectomy and immediate reconstruction.

When I wake up, my girls will be gone, and I will be left with hanging skin as if both my melons were scooped out and deflated.  At least one nipple.  I asked The Wizard "What will my breasts look like?"  He said "Well, kind of like a fried egg."

If all goes well with my healing and I am able to reach over my head, I will start radiation treatment one month later.  The week prior to starting radiation, a CT scan will be performed, and I will receive my radiation tattoos.  5 1/2 weeks or 28 sessions of radiation, twenty minutes at a time, Monday through Friday.  The radiation will be directed where the tumor used to be in Flopsy, and up into my arm pit for my remaining lymph nodes.

6 months after the completion of radiation, I will be able to have my reconstruction. During that six months I will continue my appeals to my insurance company, and will make a serious effort to get in the best shape I can prior to that surgery.

Folks, my brain and emotions have been all over the universe and back in a couple of days.  I am doing my best to absorb this.  I really really wanted to wake up with my new boobies.  I did not want to go where I am going.

I am a girly girl.  This is asking so much of me, on top of asking so much of me.  No hair.  No boobies.  God help me.  I've been carrying these big girls around since 7th grade and I am 51 now!  Identity crisis!  and I can't even twirl my hair when I'm anxious.  Now I rub my fuzz instead.

I am not ashamed or hesitant to tell you I am crawling right now, physically and spiritually.  I stood like a mountain during chemo, and now that it's done and with all of this, I am really grieving.  I am so tired, my stamina the lowest it has ever been, and the neuropathy is a daily challenge.


Things happened so fast in these last two days, I didn't have a chance to call out for my angels.


They started arriving on their own.


It started with this message from my fellow survivor Jill, who writes the blog A New Shade of Pink.  She wrote a recent post about her Dad.  It struck a very deep nerve with me and I wrote her a personal message about it.  One of the things I said to her was this, "At 51, the little girl in me still waits for someone who is never coming."  This was part of Jill's loving reply to me.


If I may, I'd like to remind you that you have a loving heavenly Father. You are and always will be His precious little girl. And I believe it broke His heart when you were diagnosed with cancer. He sees your tears. Every one of them. He feels your heartache and pain. And I believe He longs to heal you and love you and bless you.


While on the phone with the insurance company today, I felt myself getting upset and angry realizing the people you talk to are not the ones who make the decision, and it was obvious, whoever had reviewed my case did a cursory review and stamped it DENIED.  The only explanation I got regarding the denial was "we have in network providers."  They gave me the name of one.  I called his office today.  This plastic surgeon has very little experience doing the DIEP procedure, and where he performs surgery IS OUT OF NETWORK.  How absolutely ridiculous.  Don't even make me say the eff word.  While on the home phone with them, I heard a call coming in on my cell.  I was bawling after the insurance call ended, sat on the couch, and listened to the voicemail waiting for me.

It was from Nani Glenda; our mutual friend is Emily's Mama, who got me involved with the Relay for Life.  I met Nani at the Relay, she is one of the people that came up to me to introduce herself and tell me how much my blog was impacting her life.  I wasn't even at the Relay ten minutes and I was already bawling from my conversation with her.  Remember?  She said she's been wanting to tell me some things, and she asked Emily's Mama for my phone number.  She's had it a week or so, but called and left this voicemail today.
  
She reminded me who she was (of course I remembered you Nani!) and that we met at the Relay, "when I told you how much you have impacted my life with your blog, I still read it and so look forward to it."  She talked about how on her walk today, starting up the big steep hill (actually near my house), how she was looking at the top of the hill way off in the distance, such a long way!


"Why did I come this way?" she thought.  It was way more than what I think I can do.  She went on, and I paraphrase.


God told me "Look down at your feet.  Start taking one step at a time.  Don't go too fast or too slow."  I focus on where I'm at.


I focus on where I'm at.


She continued, with a voicemail so long she had to leave two!  "I encourage you in this journey, stay focused on the day, God's mercies are new every day."


God's mercies are new every day.


She continued.  Maybe the whole issue with the doctors is a closed door, she suggested. Remember how you talked about when God closes a door, he opens a window, but it's hell in the hallway?  Maybe you are in the hallway.  God will open a door for you, and you will know that was his perfect plan for you.  In the midst of the struggle, I pray that out of the confusion and mess, he will make clear his plan for you.  Thank you again for sharing with us, I look forward to your blog and it is still impacting my life.  I love you and I am lifting you up every day.


I listened to this message absolutely stunned and cried with such gratefulness and comfort.


It was as if God called me today, and he used Nani's voice to make the call.


Keep going.  I am with you.  I love you.  Trust.  Let go, let Me.  My precious Writergirldreams.  My precious Debbie.  Keep going.  My hands are on you and this path, and my mercies are new every day.


I collected myself, barely, and returned her call.  She said how she picked up the phone a couple of times then hung up, hesitating, afraid to intrude, but she felt compelled to make this phone call to me.  I told her she made my day.  She said I made hers.  


Wow.


In my mailbox was a card from my girl Midge, with some loving words in her familiar handwriting.  The quote on the card was this - Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.  Anais Nin


Midge, did you know both you and your Mama sent me the same cupid sticker book!

There was also a box in the mail, from Kimberly, my angel at the American Cancer Society.  The card read "If people ask why you're wearing a scarf on your head and you say it's because you're a pirate...They'll have no followup question."  Aarrrgghhh!  Inside the box was a cute little figure dressed in breast cancer pink, and a little bald head that you can grow some grassy hair like a Chia pet.


Then later, while writing my blog, my Duncle Dody left me a voicemail saying SHEESH at all the turn of events, and in his Duncle Dody style "I love you Deb."


I can't say if my battle with the sharks and King Kong is over, but I've settled down now.  I am surrendering again.  I am handing over the reins.  Again.  I am taking a deep breath.  I am letting go.


My body and my life and my brain and my soul is at Genesis.  There is a plan for me.  I am not a super hero.  I am human.  I am loved.  I guess you're stuck with me well into next summer.  Lucky you.

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.  Michelangelo

Tonight, with your help, I realized I am the angel in the marble, and God is carving to set me free.

Remind me when I forget.

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.  Michelangelo


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