Saturday, April 28, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
I am so thankful to have received news that the lymph nodes were benign and that there were clear margins around the melanoma (and the basal cell carcinoma on my ear). I am so thankful for all of your prayers. For your support. For your compassion. I can honestly say that I felt surrounded and held by love last Friday... blessed by a supernatural peace. I will be forever grateful... to God and His people... my people... our people. It is so very humbling to be the recipient of such love and grace. So very humbling.
Family and friends and food and flowers... Love and prayers and gifts from the heart. Certainly, there has been more good from this experience than bad. Even with a post-op complication at one of the lymph node sites (and now a seroma), I have had it good. I have been lucky. I have been blessed. It doesn't always work out that way. Why? I don't have the answer.
What I can tell you with absolute conviction is that: the picture is always bigger than we can see. We may never see or understand... our lives are only small, small pieces. But, I do trust. I trust that God loves you and me. I trust that our physical bodies are insignificant compared to our souls.
My heart especially goes out today to the ones that didn't feel lucky or blessed or get out by the hair of their teeth. The ones who are still in the fire. In the hard places. In the hurt. In the fear. In the places you doubt... and question... and rage. I pray. Lord, I beg. That these sweet souls find Your peace in the midst of their trials. And, I thank You for Your love.
Leontien, you remain in my prayers.
Andrea, as I am waiting to hear your results... I continue to hold you up in prayer.
I'm asking for your prayers again today. This time for Brian, my step-son-in-law. He has just been diagnosed with lymphoma. He and Audra, Evan's daughter, celebrated their second anniversary in February; they have two precious children between them, who very much need the prayers for peace and support and for his healing.
Oh, and the Green Leaves... well, let's just say that they have been being "UN-knit" as much as they are being knit. Hopefully, there will be a post about them soon! ;)
blessings and love ~ tanna
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
I'm sending out a special prayer this morning for AndeM1 who wrote:
Im having an excision next tuesday. thank you for sharing your story....you have given me strength. Know that I am praying for you.
On a lighter note, finished this "Badlands" by Sara Gresbach for Addiesma Designs and wore it to one of my doctor's visits... handknits always make me feel wrapped in a special warmth. ;) Somehow, the name of the pattern seems appropriate for now.
This drape front shrug has some versatility in wearing options, but this is my favorite. It was a nice soothing knit.
Done in Madelinetosh DK, color: Cove, it is soft and snugly.
Wishing you all a wonderful day and for AndeM1 a special hope and prayer for a smooth, effective and quickly healing surgery today.
blessings ~ tanna
Friday, April 13, 2012
It seems once you trip into a rabbit hole, the tumbles continue. I went into the surgeon's office yesterday expecting to schedule an excision of the lesion on my leg, possibly with a skin graft and then to follow up with the dermatologist at 3 month intervals.
I came out with a plan to have a radio-detectable injection into the area around the lesion next Friday... a short wait and then the excision of the sentinel lymph node for biopsy... followed by the excision of the lesion to muscle fascia. The surgeon does expect to be able to close without skin graft (that's good news). The part, I guess that threw me most, was her insistence that I see an oncologist... it seems that word, that specialty, and all that it implies just threw me farthest into the hole.
I am regrouped now. Feel good with the plan. I have discussed, studied, researched Breslow's Depths, Ulceration, Mitotic Rates and Clark's Levels way more than I would have ever wanted to do. The part that still leaves me a little shaky is that the biopsy was a 4mm circle; there is probably five times that still left... with an uncertain value on all of those scales. I will be happy when it is out next week.
I cannot possibly begin to tell you how much your prayers and concern mean to me. In an e-mail from Pondside, she stated: I learned that the prayers of people I didn't even know were like a bulwark for me. When I couldn't pray myself I was supported by the prayers of others. Amen and amen. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
**DISCLAIMER** One more thing about yesterday's post, the GPA thing was mostly an attempt at levity. I do know some excellent physicians who had less than (not much) a 4.0 GPA. They tend to be the intuitive, gifted healers. I also know some people with 4.0s that didn't have a lick of technical or intuitive skill. The best physicians are the ones with the 4.0 GPA, an intuitive gift and technical skills to match... along a strong faith and acknowledgment of God's ultimate sovereignty. It is an art as well as a science.
I apologize for not having visited the past two days... I am hoping for this evening. You know I'll be having to find out what's going on! I still shake my head in wonder that this world of blogging has attached me to folks I have never met, but feel like I know. Thank you again for your concerns and your prayers.
blessings to each of you ~ tanna
Thursday, April 12, 2012
In every photo including my right lower leg, you can easily see a dark spot. A dark spot that I have had for a few years. Not my whole life, a few years. It's a spot strangers will ask me about or express concern.
I'm fair. I grew up on a farm and worked or played outside year-round. I've never really been a sunbather or "tanner", probably because my success rate on getting a nice tan has always been almost non-existent; but, I was a runner and an avid golfer for many years. Being outdoors has always been my lifeline to sanity... to health... to happiness. It is where I feel closest to God... most thankful... most alive.
I have had multiple lesions frozen, biopsied, excised and/or "watched" on my forearms, hands, face. I've had one mole (that I'd had my entire life with NO CHANGE whatsoever and no concern to me) on my leg removed in a excisional biopsy... because they were concerned (it was benign).
The ONLY place I have been really concerned about in these years has been this dark spot on my lower leg. The ONLY spot the dermatologists (2) and the Physician Assistants (2) and the surgeon (1) have NOT been concerned about is this one. It had never been biopsied, measured, or photographed. No concern. At one point, I had asked a dermatologist to remove it and we scheduled the procedure. 45 minutes into an hour drive to have the procedure, her office called and said she was sick and could not do the surgery that day. I took it as a message that I was just over concerned about a benign spot and decided not to pursue it any further at that time... I decided to go with the "it's nothing" diagnosis.
As recently as February 29, 2012, on a visit to a plastic surgeon's office regarding a basal cell lesion that would need to be removed from my right ear, I whipped up my pant leg to once again say, "No one thinks this is a problem, but this is the spot that worries me." He looked at it and said, "Well, think of it this way: if it had been melanoma, you'd be dead by now." Dismissed... again.
Strangely, that comment gave me a sense of peace for the first time... a way to let go of the sniggling fear that had been floating so long in the back of my mind. I did ask for a referral to a new dermatologist, preferably a woman. They set an appointment for April 6, Good Friday.
Eight AM Good Friday morning found me sitting in an exam chair meeting a bright, young dermatologist. Very personable and kind. She examined my face and ears and hands (the referral was for dealing with those in particular). As she finished this exam and was about to discuss a plan, Evan asked me to show her my leg (AGAIN to whip out this dark spot). I told her that the other dermatologists (one of them in her clinic) had dismissed it as nothing and I told her what the surgeon had told me a month before. I had given up. She said to just let her take a look. I pulled up my pant leg and her face gave credence to all I had ever feared (she is young... perhaps she will grow better at her "game face" as time goes by). She stated she was very concerned. We told her we had been too... for a long time. We told her that every time we had sat in an office and looked at the ABCD posters for detecting skin cancer, it seemed to have met every one of the criteria. She absolutely agreed... for the first time.
A biopsy was done. It is melanoma. By a miracle, it is still in an earlier stage. It is right on the border of excision v. excision and much more aggressive therapies. I see a surgeon (a different one) at 12:45 today.
I don't know what my message to you would be... I want to say: if you think something is wrong with your body, keep looking until you find someone who will see it with you. But, after working in health care for so long myself, I know sometimes... as humans... we just look for things. And, we need to trust that when they say we don't need to worry, that they are right... and we really don't have to worry. My new dermatologist (note MY, I'm keeping her), told me that she hoped I wouldn't be angry about the missed diagnosis. I told her it was nothing close to anger that I feel... just a loss of confidence... a loss of trust... and a fear that has left me unnerved.
Several years ago, one of the worst arguments my daughter and I ever had was over the GPA of physicians. Stupid thing to have a serious argument over, huh? At that time she was dating a young man, who wanted to be a doctor. I was hard core into believing that if I could have control of medical schools, only the 4.0s would gain acceptance or graduate (I worked in surgery 25 years... I had some grounds for having that opinion). I argued with her that on a test of 100, if you miss two... that's two lives impacted by your wrong answer; if you miss 15 out of 100... that is 15 lives that may be lost or otherwise negatively impacted. Multiply that by a lifetime of decisions and you see my point. She took it as a personal insult to the young man... it wasn't personal for me, it was and is how I think. Seems logical. The answers and decisions they make are about lives... yours and mine and the people we love.
Yesterday, after calling Amanda with the news and the plan, I was cleaning off my desk and noticed the information packet the dermatologist's office had sent... and, I noticed among other accolades: Graduated Medical School with Special Distinction for 4.0 GPA. It was like some special message just for me... of hope... and trust. I know even if you have a 4.0 GPA, you will make mistakes. We are human. But I when I see that GPA, I know her work ethic... and I know she's are smarter than the average bear. And, I still think it was a special message for me... of hope.
I immediately called Amanda back and relayed this information to her. The lengths a mother has to go to prove her point... to win an argument YEARS later! Ha! She did concede and we had a good laugh. Laughter is good medicine. ;)
Maybe that's the advice I'd give... check their GPA.
blessings ~ tanna
Sunday, April 8, 2012
We all know today is Easter. We all know the story. We were given the ultimate gift... forgiveness. grace. a pass: paid for by Jesus' life. Makes all the bunnies and chicks seem frivolous and inappropriate... yet, they symbolize life. New life.
And, for me... they symbolize love... love received... love passed on...
I hope each of you will feel The Love today... and pass it on in some way...
This Love, this New Life, this Forgiveness... it is available to all... all. Just for the asking... for the acceptance...
John 3:16 For God loved the world so much that he gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. New Living Translation
Blessings to all ~
FYI: the bunny nugget and chubby chirpers are free patterns on a great new blog I have discovered: Danger Crafts made with Sugar'nCream cotton yarns from Hobby Lobby.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
We arrived in Gulf Shores on a foggy, cool afternoon of March 17, 2012. It was such a special moment to have been present for Little Man's first sighting of "the Beeeg Pond", with the "beeg waves" and the "little waves". Although this was Little Roo's first sighting of the big pond, too, he wasn't quite as impressed... this time. The look on Little Man's face with the waves rushing in... p.r.i.c.e.l.e.s.s.!
My greatest treasures in life are these kind of moments spent with my loved ones... and my heart's greatest joy is that they enjoy these moments, too.
Oh, that you could hear these serious conversations... conversations that continued at bedtime as I lay beside his sweet little self while he recounted the days happenings... and his joy with The Big Pond and The Little Blue Pond (swimming pool in the backyard)... the big waves and the little waves... the "sheshells" and the "jellie fishes"... The precious "heyyooo"s...
Time is always too short with my loves... disappears like footprints in the sand.
blessings ~ tanna
Monday, April 2, 2012
And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves the bow that is stable.
~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet