Thursday, October 7, 2010

Surgery Day

Tomorrow is surgery day. I'm packing this day full of stuff to the end. I'll get a forced nap in the middle of the day tomorrow. I can catch up on sleep then.

Today: Took kids to Storyville. Got lunch. Put Henry down for a nap and got props, clothes, snacks, back-up clothes for the family photo session and kids prepped. Kind friend then snapped pictures of us as we ran, watched caterpillars, blew bubbles, read books and ate cookies in a gorgeous golden field. The kids enjoyed this entire activity completely. They especially liked calling Ms. Jeri crazy. Then we grabbed a pizza dinner. Went home. I spent 40 minutes reading & talking to Naomi and waiting for her to fall asleep. She is excited that she gets to wear her dress from the pictures for school tomorrow. Next I read to Henry, rocked him and hoisted his sleeping body into bed.

I wondered, "When am I going to be able to do all this again?"

I'm so anxious to get in the ring and start fighting the cancer with something besides broccoli sprouts and a good attitude. But I don't look forward to the big unknown either.

Tomorrow the doctors at Hopkins will install a chemo port and remove a lump and about a dozen lymph nodes from my right armpit, more or less. I joke that tomorrow starts the era of the "arm-in-the-glass-box" because when they take out your lymph nodes, they (the pamphlets of the medical community) start advising you about the dangers of lymphedema. The big "L" is a swelling of your impacted limb that can happen because the system your body uses to drain fluid, infections, bacteria, viruses and to transport some disease-fighting cells gets blocked. If lymphedema happens and goes untreated, the swelling can become permanent.

So the pamphlets advise me to avoid the following things from happening to my right arm: bug bites, cuts, scrapes, burns, bumps, dry skin with cracks, tight clothing, carrying a purse, heat to the limb and air travel without compression bands. Hmnn....

To prevent such things from happening, the pamphlets suggest: wearing gloves while cleaning dishes and doing laundry, wearing gloves while gardening, avoiding repetive motions with my arm, wearing gloves at all times when it is cold, shaving with an electric razer, lotioning and examining my skin daily, refusing blood draws and blood pressure reads from the affected arm.... or I could just buy a glass box for my arm.

I joke. But lymphedema is one of my worries. I have many more. Chemo - What will that be like while pregnant and taking care of two young kids? Radiation - Same questions. Lately I mostly think about my kids. When will I be able to pick them up again? When will I be able to play with them again?

But it could be much worse. I could be that young mother in the news who doctors cut in half to remove cancer from her hip bone and spine. My kid could have the cancer. I could be hit by a bus tomorrow.

I have a lot to be thankful for. Thank you so much to all the angels who helped me get ready for this new adventure. I've gotten so many things checked off my pre-treatment bucket list. I feel about as prepared as I can be. Now I've got to eat a bowl of ice cream before my surgery-imposed fast and hop into the fighting ring.


  1. Wow KJ...that's a lot to be going through. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Your kids are lucky to have such an amazing mom. I'll pray that you'll be holding them and playing with them again soon. Much love to you.

  2. Okay, I'm a sobbing mess! I know that's not why you write this, but I can't help it. We'll be praying extra hard for you tomorrow.

  3. KJ! I so hate that you are going through this and I hate that I am across the country and unable to help you with your kids, etc.! I will be praying for you and hoping that you will be doing all the mommy things we take for granted every day SOON! Also - I have another good friend who is battling breast cancer. She has 2 little kids (not pregnant) but could be a good resource. Let me know if you want me to put you two in contact.


  4. Oh, my friend. I'm so sad to be on the other side of the globe. I wish I were there to help in some way. My prayers and thoughts will be with you and your little ones all day. I'm so happy that you all got to have some fun with Miss Jeri. I can't wait to see those pictures of your beautiful family.
    Good luck in the ring! My money's on you.

  5. I told Steve I am off today. SO, if you guys need anything call Kevin or I and we'll be more than happy to help.

  6. I'm thinking of you. I have a surprise for you that I will bring over as soon as I know you're home and settled. GOOD LUCK, friend :)

  7. Love, prayers and a set of boxing gloves on their way from me to you!

  8. I love you, girl. We have been praying for you constantly and will not stop. Aloysius says the sweetest prayers for you and the baby and reminds us during our prayers to do the same. You are the best mom! Fight hard. All my love and positive vibes going out to you.
    Love, Alisha

  9. You're in my thoughts and prayers today, friend.

  10. all the best, KJ. give'it heck.