Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Third Time's a Charm - (told through Lynne)

The number three...  isn't it funny how sometimes things come in 3's?

  1. Two breast biopsies and one head biopsy = 3
  2. Two previous skin cancers removed on my head... and now this one = 3
  3. Two cuts between pathology to remove the cancer... and one more cutting to stitch me up = 3
As I mentioned this morning on Facebook... my devotional reminded me to look for God's hidden treasures strategically placed along my journey today. Can you believe it?  I found three:
  1. The doctor said the cancer was deep, but luckily just missed my bone which was good, otherwise he would've had to cut out some of my skull... I said, "you're kidding right?"  ... Nope, he wasn't kidding! 
  2. There's only a 3% (notice the number?) chance of the cancer tumor coming back in that exact area.
  3. The healing time has been reduced by about 3 weeks since the doctor WAS able to stitch me up! Woo hoo!
Even God's amazing love comes to us in three's... through the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

One... two... three... 
Third time's a charm!  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Minor Meltdown, Miracles & Mastectomy...

(Warning... this is a lot of information... so grab a cup of coffee or tea, and put your feet up! ...I promise a few giggles and lots of answered prayer)
Hi... it’s me Coco!  
I must say, a dog’s life is pretty delightful. I basically get to nap whenever and wherever I want. 

I get fed twice a day - like clockwork!  I can run, jump and basically romp around whenever I feel feisty... which by the way, is everyday.  I pretty much have no cares in the world!  I don’t have to make important decisions, except whether to chase the neighborhood cat or let it live one more day.  

I don’t have to pay bills or look for work. My job is just to be my mom’s BFF!   I know, it’s tough... but someone’s gotta do it!  

But there ARE times when I wish I were a person.  Like every time my mom leaves the house without me; 

or when she’s eating something that smells really yummy, but won’t share; 

or especially when she cries, and I can’t give her a big hug.  That’s when “licks” come in handy... I just lick her tears away. I had to do that this past Saturday...
She probably doesn’t want me to tell you this, but she threw herself a little pity-party this past Saturday.  No one was invited, except me (** oh, lucky me**).  

...Now that the “cat” is out of the bag (I knew cats couldn’t be trusted... oh wait, that’s right... I just spilled the beans!)... oh well... I better let her explain what happened this past week...
(Meltdown... Lynne-style)
After much frustration this past Thursday and Friday... leaving numerous messages; being placed on hold for what seemed like an eternity; being told conflicting information; not knowing what to do first but knowing that every call and appointment was intertwined with my finances, living situation, job-hunt, unemployment wages, and surgeries; being completely overwhelmed with both the tasks-at-hand and communicating with all my loved-ones; not getting any answers to the myriad of messages I’d left before the weekend...  ...yes, I hate to admit it, but I had a mini-meltdown on Saturday.  Let me just say that self-pity is not pretty!  
My big-girl pants were hanging around my ankles, tripping me as I went to the kitchen desperate to feed my “ugly-cry” with chocolate.  
(no picture here, because there’s no more chocolate to be found in the house)
I even shook my fists at God (sorry, Lord... I really didn’t mean it!) and complained about not having a husband!  Can you believe that?  Oh brother... like that really matters!  It must have been the combination of my teary stupor and from my chocolate hang-over!  
Coco just followed me from room to room, watching (with cocked head) as if saying, “What did I do... is it me; is it you?  Just tell me what to do... do you need some kisses?”

Thankfully by the evening, I pulled-up my big-girl pants and finally “got over myself”.  No one like’s a drama-queen!  Sunday came, Mother’s Day brunch was served up Mount Hermon-style with my mom and sis.  And I took a break from all the “tasks-at-hand”.
Monday rolled around, and I asked the Lord to give me a spirit of thanksgiving and hope EVEN if it was another “dead-end day!”  But as it turns out, Monday was NOT to be another dead-end day... instead it was Miracle Monday!
(Miracles... God-style)
Monday Morning: 
1) Made call-after-call-after-call-after-call... and (except for one) I actually reached honest-to-goodness LIVE people!  (Believe me, this is no small miracle!)
2) Somehow - (I know how... it’s a God-thang!) - I got a consultation appointment with a highly recommended surgeon for Wednesday (YES, TODAY) - literally his last day before leaving for two weeks.
Monday Afternoon:  
3)  ONLY due to the gracious offer of a dear friend to come with me, did I head down to the (county-run) Emeline Health Services office.  (Side note: My last experience there left much to be desired (I watched as a shackled prisoner dressed in an orange jumpsuit was ushered in by a Peace Officer), so I really wasn’t looking forward to heading down there again.... alone... (see that husband-thang creeps up again)). So with my friend by my side, off we went - even though I really felt like I needed to wait to hear back from that “ONE phone call” that no one was returning before I threw myself into this enormous healthcare bureaucracy nightmare! 
We walked in at about 3:30pm; were immediately directed to the appropriate office; which as it turned out was “empty”; waited for the signs of life; and after waiting not too long, spoke to Geneva who was really quite expressionless (at first), vague, and a-tad-barky with her suggestions on how I could “try” to get on a waiting list "tomorrow" and wait and "hope" to talk to “someone.”   

... But then something clicked, and she told us to wait while she investigated whether an “Intake Worker” had time to see us before they closed - no appointment, no guarantees.  
Long story - short... we were seen that afternoon, filled out all the paperwork; answered all the questions, and I walked out a couple of hours later completely covered for ALL my medical needs through a very special program called, Breast Cervical Cancer Treatment Program (BCCTP).  But wait... it gets even better.... are you ready... wait for it....
Because BCCTP is connected with Medi-Cal (which by the way, I did NOT qualify for on it’s own), I also have complete medical coverage for my skin cancer and the specialized surgery needed on my head!  In short, I have (eighteen months) of healthcare insurance that will cover 100% of ALL my medical needs during the entire 18 months.  In addition this program is so unique that it’s only offered to individuals ONCE IN A LIFETIME.  
Seriously?  I mean, really?.... I can’t make this stuff up... I can’t call it a coincidence!  So, can I just stop here and sing, 
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow... praise Him all creatures, hear me lo...  praise Him above ye Heavenly Hosts... praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost... AaaaaMEN!
(Mastectomy & Reconstruction... doctor-style)
Today at noon:
Given my family history, and after consulting with the breast surgeon, we’ve decided that a bi-lateral mastectomy (both breasts) may be the right treatment for me.  In the short run, this is a bit scary to me, but in the long run, I know I will have complete peace of mind.  Although mastectomy and reconstruction surgeries are far more invasive than a lumpectomy, it will take care of the problem (once and for all) and I won’t have to worry about breast cancer reoccurring and future surgeries down the road.  Plus, as far as I understand, this health care insurance should pay for the entire process... I will never have that opportunity again in my lifetime!
Don’t worry, I won’t sing again, but I do have so much to be thankful for!  
So here are my next steps/prayer requests:
  1. Schedule appointments with the Plastic Surgeon & Oncologist
  2. Coordinate a surgery date that works for all surgeons in late June
  3. Get prepared for some extended down time (depending on how the reconstruction goes, at least a couple of months).
  4. Scheduled head surgery for May 23rd... I’ve run into a potential snag.  My current doctor may NOT be a Medi Cal provider, so I may have to go somewhere else to have that done.  I was hoping to have that surgery with healing time (2-4 wks) done before my bi-lateral mastectomy in June.  If I have to change doctors the timing may be off.
  5. Investigate whether I qualify for Disability Insurance (since I won’t be able to look for full-time work until I’m completely healed) and NOT jeopardize my healthcare.
Well, now that I’ve completely overwhelmed you all, let me say an HUBER - GINORMOUS - TO THE MOON & BACK - THANK YOU!!!!  I’ve told more than one person, assisting me along the way, that they’ve been divinely appointed due to an army of prayers going up on my behalf, and I truly believe that!  Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Lovingly, Lynne 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Cranium starts with "c" too....

Opps... I forgot to mention one other "c" word - "cranium."

Seriously, I just can't make this stuff up....  

I recently noticed a large spot on the back of my head.  After a jaunt to the dermatologist and one biopsy later... it IS a type of skin cancer that needs to be surgically removed.  So I have that surgery scheduled for June 4th.  Hopefully they can get clean margins the first time around, otherwise they'll have to keep removing until they do.

So just one more prayer request to add to your ever-growing list... me thinks one shouldn't have so many prayer requests!

Chocolate... I need chocolate!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Coco & the "C" Word

Normally I like words that begin with "c"... after all, my name IS Coco!  In a dog's life, words beginning with "c" conger up visions of cuddles, chow-time, catch, climbing and crawling - you know, playtime!

But this week, some new "c" words have cropped into my corner. This week my mom (Lynne) has been making lots of phone calls; researching the computer; there's been NO climbing or crawling (all over her) allowed; she hasn't been able to play catch with me because I've noticed she can't throw my bone very far; she drives off in her car for mysterious appointments; and the worst of it... for reasons unbeknownst to me, she's thrown me out of her bed and confined me to my crate at night!  C#@p!

What is going on?  I don't want to sleep in my crate... why won't she let me cuddle with her?  .... then I heard her say THE "C" word to her friend... it's all so very confusing to me.  Will someone please cough-up what's going on, so I can cope better? 

Ok... I think she's going to explain it to me (and you). Hopefully she can clear this all up for us!....

... thanks for caring and being my companion on this journey!

after having double breast biopsies this week, here are the results and next steps...

The Good, the Bad, & the Good!

The GOOD = Currently, the calcifications in my left breast look good!

The BAD = The right breast... not so much...

& the GOOD = Baring no surprises, if you have to have Cancer.... this is the best kind!! 

Next Steps:

1)  Start making calls to see if I'm eligible for financial
      assistance through State programs.

2)  Meet w/ a new doctor on Monday (unfortunately mine is on
     vacation until June 7th) to discuss surgeon options.

3)  Set up surgery - recommendation - a lumpectomy... 2-3
     weeks from now.

4)  Radiation 5 days a week for 5 weeks.

And could it get any better???  Why yes, IT COULD!!!  
Praise God... NO CHEMO!!

Prayer Requests:

A)  Continued peace regarding 1) my current financial 
      situation; 2) the real possibility of a delay in finding work
      due to the radiation schedule; and 3) the uncertainty of
      my future employment and living situation if things don't
      change soon.

B)  A spirit of trust and gratitude ALWAYS - no "ifs", "ands" or

C)  To learn the lessons I'm supposed to learn, so I can be
      more Christ-like! 

Thanks to my loving Savior and all of you... My spirits are high; I feel absolutely loved and cared for; your prayers and support are felt to my very core; and I am so thankful for each of you!  

Sending you all warm hugs of gratitude,

P.S.  "So, see Coco... "c" words aren't so bad....

Christ is in Control
Chocolate always make one feel better
Caring friends are amazing
Cuddles will Come soon
No Chemo - woo hoo!