Charlyn’s Silver Linings

1.  My post-mastectomy incision has not healed after seven months and several resconstructive surgeries.  Then I developed a blood clot in my subclavian vein (at the port site), the jugular vein and the axillary vein.  My port was removed, placed on anti-coagulants and told by my oncologist that since the chemo was preventative and since nearly eight months had lapsed, I would no longer need chemo.  So my silver linings – no more pain to face, no more port to flush.
2.  I am undergoing my eighth surgery for reconstruction of my wound which has not healed completely since my original surgery in March 2011.  Silver Lining – I’m getting that tummy tuck one inch at a time every time they go in and resect more skin.
3.  I was at my state sorority convention this past weekend. One of my “sisters” wanted to plant a “love kiss” on my bald head. I told her only if she made a donation to the Shriners Hospitals for Children. By the time they were all done, my head was covered with love kisses and we had raised $568 for the Shriners kids. Talk about a silver lining!!!
4.  I’ve gotten so many compliments on the bald look that I’m beginning to wonder how bad my hair looked!! I spent the evening in the ER getting IV antibiotics. My wound which had been there for so long opened back up. Again pictures too graphic so not attached. My WBC’s were only 3 on Friday so was in serious trouble of becoming septic. Where’s the silver lining, you ask?  They were 19.8 last night, who knows why?  SL, they were there when I needed them.
5.  I received medication on Monday to stimulate WBC’s destroyed by the chemo. One of the side effects is extreme bone pain. Yesterday I finally knew what pain was for the first time in my life. Now I’ve had gallbladder surgery with an 8-inch incision, hysterectomy, and double mastectomy, all of which I never took pain pills for. Yesterday the pain started in my pelvic bone and progressed up my spine to my neck. It was like being struck by lightning every 2-3 seconds for nearly four hours. Where’s the Silver Lining, you ask?  I was at work waiting on my patient to deliver and God sent me a special angel named Fran, a nurse that I have worked with for years. She stayed with me in the call room the whole time just being with me so I wasn’t alone. The second SL was my patient delivered for me after my pain had completely subsided and had a beautiful baby boy. I might add that Fran lost her husband a year ago to lung cancer and her five-yr-old niece to bone cancer just recently. I kept thinking how I was such a weakling those four hours while that poor child suffered for over three years. But last night I was able to sleep for four hours straight, then another three hours. Another Silver Lining
6.  My trainer called me at midnight to tell me we are going to do water aerobics in his pool free of charge.  The only problem with that – I have to wear a swimsuit!  With a privacy fence around my pool I never wear clothes and it’s heavenly.  I don’t think his wife would appreciate the altogether!!  And she is such a sweet heart that I wouldn’t think of upsetting their wonderful life.  They are like a son and daughter to me right now and along with several other wonderful friends, have been with me each step of the way.  Silver Lining.

7.  Going through cancer sucks.  Your life is on hold indefinitely while going through chemo and other treatments.  At the end of it all, I’m going to build that window of life again.  When I rebuild my window, it’s going to be a stained glass one, bright with many colors.
8.  I had a nurse that I worked with over twenty years ago who was a breast cancer survivor.  She ran a support group about feeling good for oneself.  She also sold Mary Kay cosmetics and had the skin of a twenty-year old while she was in her 60’s.  I have a patient who sells Mary Kay and she came and did a makeover for me to have a picture taken the week after I had my mastectomy.  If I was going to die (I didn’t have the PET scan and bone scan until two weeks later), the only picture I had was when I had gone back to gray hair and was 90# heavier.  Long story short, I now wear makeup every day, fix my hair and dress in bright colors.  If I don’t feel better, at least the people around me do and they compliment me all the time so in the end my spirits are lifted as well.  Silver Lining
9. I went to see my plastic surgeon today to have an excision of my wound which has not healed in six weeks.  When I got there I the wound which had been about a half inch in diameter was healed except for a small pinpoint area. Now I, along with several others, had been praying for healing and just like that – overnight – it suddenly healed. Now to get the chemo started next Friday. It is definitely a Silver Lining day!
10. The Susan G. Komen 60-mile, 3-day walk in Tampa Bay is at the end of October. This will be my third year participating in this event. I started doing it for all the wrong reasons (may not, Silver Lining) to lose weight and stay motivated to keep exercising. As a result of being actively involved and having lost 90# in the past 2 years, I found my lump on self-breast exam in March. My mammo in August 2010 was completely negative. The Silver Lining is that through the weight loss, my breasts were easier to palpate and I found the lump early.
11. Dx: Triple Negative Breast Cancer – quote from initial pathology report “very poor prognosis.” Silver Lining – negative lymph notes, negative PET scan, negative bone scan. The good news (Silver Lining) is that I found the lump early, got diagnosed and had surgery all within 2 weeks time. It helps to have worked in the biz for over 35 years. My PET scan, bone scan and lymph nodes were all negative so the chemo is prophylactic and I only have four treatments, once every three weeks. 

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