Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Home sweet home

I'm home from the hospital. I'm glad to be home and glad that my homecoming wasn't as stressful as I had anticipated it to be. I was concerned that Cooper would react badly to me not being able to pick him up since he's definitely a momma's boy. If I'm out of sight he adjusts pretty quickly to other women caring for him, and to dad of course, but if I'm there and don't pay him the right kind of attention he gets very upset. Thankfully, he didn't wig out on me when I walked in. I sat on the couch and put a pillow in front of my chest to protect my incision locations and drain wounds from him in case he tried to climb on me. He stayed pretty calm and put his arms around me and let me shower him with kisses. I missed him so much. We have my nightstand and bed area situated with everything I'll need over the next few days while I spend most of my time recuperating and healing. I can get up and around and do basic things but the doctor wants me to take it very slow and help the healing happen quickly so that we can move on to the next stages of treatment and reconstruction without delays. And Mom is working on a grocery list of food items I want which help fuel the healing process. Mom and Bob have done a great job with Cooper while I was in the hospital. They got him to sleep in his crib which is just wonderful and seemed impossible the last couple times we tried to make that transition. This time we had no choice - he can't be in the bed with me while I'm recovering from surgery - with the wounds and drains involved it's a relief that he's in his crib now. He's not completely used to it but he's doing GREAT with it so far. He wakes up often but he's been able to put himself back to sleep half of the time. Bob and my mom go in when he doesn't seem to be calming himself down and they shush and pat him and if needed give him a sip of some water and he calms back down and goes back to sleep. It's amazing and a huge relief given our situation now. This week I will have two surgical follow up appointments - one with the reconstructive surgeon (Dr.Crisera) where the drains will probably be taken out (hopefully), and one with the surgical oncologist (Dr.Chang) where we'll review the pathology results and bone scan results and discuss next steps based on that information. I'm really nervous about this but I need to let go and trust in God. It's hard for me to do that but I have no choice. My mom is going to help me with this by working with me on some guided imagery exercises that will help calm me and help me focus on positive healing thoughts while I'm still laid up recuperating. Next week I meet with two different medical oncologists to discuss their recommended treatments for my type of cancer, stage, etc. So far, it sounds like both chemo and radiation are in my future. I'm OK with that and ready to get going asap so we can deliver shock and awe to any remaining cancer cells floating around my body. I'll also be getting my teeth cleaned next week since that should be done before chemo starts because of the dental side effects often experienced throughout chemo treatments. I need to clear this with the surgeons/oncologists before I go in but from what I've read thus far it's something that needs to be done so I have an appointment for that for next Wednesday night. Meantime, while I heal physically, I'm beginning to work on setting up help for myself in the mental/emotional aspects of this process. Besides the guided imagery work mom will do with me, I've been talking to local survivors (friends of friends) and now I'm working on scheduling an intake appointment with a local cancer support organization that hosts support groups for patients, caregivers, etc. I plan to participate in a formal support group, and will also be working on reintroducing myself to a local therapist for more one-on-one work so I can stay on top of managing the roller coaster of emotions I'm experiencing and expect to continue experiencing. I'm so incredibly grateful for the love and support of family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances from all over. Your encouraging words and prayers mean the world to me. Thank you so much.


  1. I'm so glad your home!! I know Coop loved seeing his mommy come through that door (as she will for many MANY years to come!)!

    I just wanted to say (besides I love you) that your going to beat this. Come hell or high water, you WILL beat this. You are a woman who doesn't take no for answer, who fights like no one I've ever met before, who needs but only a challenge to light the flame in your eye! (which by the way I can see burning from here!) That being said, you will have great days, good days and not so good days. But through it all, you have your family and friends who are here NO MATTER WHAT! Regardless of what state my husband has me moving to, I am only a phone call away - to vent to or if it's only for me to share my latest dumb-ass move that's injured myself or put my foot in my mouth if that's what it takes to make you smile :).

    I am soo very proud of you. I want you to know that - And I can't wait for when you have come through this on the other side victorious and we throw one HELLAVA PARTY!

  2. Glad you are home. Can I be invited to the victory party when this is all over?!?!?! I think it is great you are seeking help for the mental part of this whole thing. My sister-in-law actually saw some sort of onco-therapist - a therapist who specializes with cancer patients. I cannot remember the exact name. I am SURE you could find one in the LA area! She found it really helpful!


  3. Hi Julie,
    I'm so glad to hear that you're home and doing well. What a great support system you have lined up! You're inspiring in your determination, and I can just tell that you will be victorious! Give cancer hell, Julie!!!

  4. Julie,
    I am so glad to hear that you are looking into support groups and therapists. That is so important! Maintaining a positive attitude and managing her stress will help ensure that your immune system is in ass-kicking shape to fight off the cancer (See "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers" by Robert Sapolsky). You are such a smart woman and I'm not the least bit surprised by the determination and organization that you are approaching this battle with. I'm thinking lots of positive thoughts for you and am checking in with your blog regularly.
    Bridgette (bmama)

  5. Hey Julie, I am so impressed with all you're doing to make sure this sucker's riding off into the sunset! You are one inspiration for me. I continue to pray every morning for both you and Kathie and know that you're going to come out on top of this. You've really been there for all of us, and so we're there for you!!