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Ver Beek Blog

Our young family battling stage IV breast cancer one day at a time
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Archive for November, 2009

That’s life

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.   We’re thankful for many things including the fact that Boston Market is open on Thanksgiving.  🙂  It was a long day at home and it didn’t feel like Thanksgiving without seeing the whole family.  There is always next year. 

The kids are finally turning the corner and feeling better.  So much, in fact, that my parents watched them today so Dusty and I could go out and shop.  We went to Target and then got rear ended.  That’s right rear ended.  The first time we’ve been out together in weeks and we got in an accident.  Thankfully no one was hurt.  While we were waiting for the police to arrive we had time to reflect on our lives.  All we could do was laugh.  It is what it is. 

Dusty and I came home and were humbled and I was brought to tears over the card and generosity we received from a group at Herman Miller.  Thank you so much.  That was unexpected and incredibly kind.

I’m feeling better.  I’ve been doing my arm exercises and the pain and range of motion is improving in both arms.  For some reason I cannot stand anything touching my skin where I was operated on.  I don’t know what that is or why.  Maybe it’s the nerves coming back to life?  If anyone knows what that is or what makes it more tolerable I would love to hear from you. 

P.S.  Did you know Target sells a 3lb bag of Wint-O-Green Lifesavers?  That made my day.  I love them and ate them while we waited for the police. 

Happy Thanksgiving

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The traditional Thanksgiving dinner with family is not happening for us.  Unfortunately all three kids have fevers.  Samantha has an ear infection and cough.  I took Brooklyn to the doctor today because we couldn’t get her fever down after 8 days and she was diagnosed with a sinus infection that developed from having the flu.  Max has a fever, but hasn’t been to the doctor yet so we don’t know what he has.  Both Samantha and Brooklyn are on Amoxicillin so I was hoping that out of pity the doctor would give me a prescription for Max too, but no such luck. 

Jill and I saw Dr. VanderWoude today and she is very happy with my pathology report and the way I’ve progressed.  We gathered that she was surprised by how well I responded to chemo and surgery and she didn’t expect me to do as well as what I have.  She commented that by the size of my tumor she didn’t expect all my lymph nodes to come back clear.  God still works miracles.  It’s great to be cancer free. 

I start physical therapy next week for my arm and see Dr. Edlund (radiation guy) to get the game plan going.  I think I’m getting my tattoos.

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!

Plugging along

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I saw Dr. Hoberman on Thursday and she said my incisions look good and I should be out of the woods for any infection.  The only cause for concern is that I can’t raise my right arm very high at all.  The muscle in my armpit is so tight and bruised it feels like a rock and is extremely sore.  She said it’s because she had the retractors so far up and in there because she needed to get around all the scar tissue.  I can raise the left arm with a little soreness, but nothing to complain about.  She is prescribing physical therapy for my right arm.  I’ll be happy when I have the use of that back again. 

Brooklyn is fighting a fever and the flu.  Max and Samantha both have coughs.  Dusty is doing great being super dad – he should have a cape.  You should’ve seen him last night.  He doesn’t do well with vomit and Brooklyn was vomitting.  I’m usually the one who deals with it, but he didn’t have a choice.  He looked like a deer in headlights at first.  Thankfully Brooklyn knew to use the puke bowl and Dusty quickly snapped out of it and got her to the bathroom.  He goes back to work on Monday (I bet he can’t wait!). 

I can’t believe it’s going to be Thanksgiving next week!  I see Dr. VanderWoude (oncologist) next week so I will probably find out when radiation will begin.  I’ll let you know how that goes. 

Thank you for your prayers, cards and emails.  I will never tire of receiving them.  I still run to the computer like Christmas morning whenever I do a post.  I know it’s silly, but hey I don’t get a lot of thrills right now. 

Week Two

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Wow.  I’m glad I was warned that the second week after surgery is worse than the first.  Boy is that true!  I am really sore.  I’m sore all over and especially on the right side where they took the lymph nodes.  Yowzers.  I’ll be okay.  Just a matter of time. 

Max and Samantha came home Saturday night.  It was good to have all the kids home again, but very stressful.  They were tired and very insecure.  They wanted to be held all the time.  They didn’t want anyone out of their sight.  Sunday was spent with a lot of tears.  Poor little kids. 

Samantha spent the day at Jill’s house today.  It looked like they had fun together:

samantha-at-jills-house-2-web.jpg

I am Cancer Free!

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I am cancer free!  Cancer free!  Did you hear me?  CANCER FREE!!!

We just got back from Dr. Hoberman and praise God I am cancer free.  She removed eight lymph nodes last Thursday and none of them had cancer.  They found no cancer from the left breast and removed stage zero DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ) cancer on the right side.  Amazing.  Relieving.  Thank God. 

Not only that, but all three drains were removed.  It didn’t hurt too bad pulling them out.  It was uncomfortable.  I feel like a free woman.  Free from cancer and free from those annoying, gross drains. 

Last May, just six months ago, I had a large tumor and aggressive cancer.  I spent a suffering summer doing a dose dense version of chemo and today I was told I’m cancer free.  We did it!  I say we because I was not alone.  I was cheered on and pulled through by my family and friends.  This is proof that God hears and answers our prayers.  Believe it.  I am blessed to have a God loving family and friends. 

Another bonus:  My hair, eyelashes and eyebrows are growing back! 

Have a wonderful sunny day.  My goal for the day is to walk a couple houses down and back again.  I think I can…I think I can…I think I can….

She’s amazing

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Samantha’s appointment with Dr. Burdo-Hartman went well.  She actually saw Dr. Dodge.   She continues to amaze them.  They found no major concerns with her.  Dr. Dodge commented to Dusty that she sees so many kids with Cerebral Palsy and can’t help but wonder how the kids would be if they were placed on the cooling mat.  She said if Max and Samantha were born just a few months earlier they wouldn’t have had the cooling mat and there is no telling what Samantha would be like today.  They asked if Samantha could participate in a study regarding the cooling mat technology they used on her.  She will go back in August for a two hour appointment to be a part of it.  I don’t know what it entails.  If it will be published.  What they’re looking for.  What they will test her for.  We’re so thankful God created the cooling mat technology.  Not only for Samantha, but for all the other babies who will benefit from it. 

I’m feel the same as yesterday.  Nothing has changed.  I hope the drains can be removed.  I’m also nervous that we haven’t heard anything about the pathology reports.  I hope the old adage is true – no news is good news. 

Waking Up

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My body is starting to wake up from surgery.  I’m sore, crampy and tired.  I counted my incision scars from neck to hips and I have ten (not including mole removals).  I think this ends my dream of ever wearing a bikini again.  🙂 

It’s still hard for me to look at myself.  When I bathe, change bandages or empty my drains, I emotionally remove myself, get the job done, and then sit on my bed and cry.  Nothing can prepare a person for this.  I’ve thought about this surgery all summer.  I’ve seen pictures of what it will look like.  I understood it was going to happen to me and why.  Actually seeing it on me is another thing.  It makes me sad, turns my stomach and makes me angry all at the same time.  I don’t see myself when I look in the mirror.    

I miss Max and Samantha.  I’ve seen Max a couple times and he wants me to pick him up and doesn’t understand why I can’t.  It breaks my heart.  Brooklyn is doing great.     

I go to Dr. Hoberman on Wednesday.  She thinks we’ll be able to remove the drains (yippee!) and we should have the pathology reports by then.  I will not miss the drains.  They are so gross and uncomfortable. 

Samantha is going to see Dr. Burdo-Hartman tomorrow (Dusty will be looking for you Barb!).  She’s the specialist Samantha sees from her birth trauma a year ago.  Please pray for another good visit without any disappointing news.  She’s a true miracle.  

I’m Home

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It’s good to be home.  It’s been a long few days. 

We arrived at the hospital Thursday at 1 p.m.  We were immediately brought back to the surgery area and there was a card sitting on my bed.  It was nice to be greeted in such a scary place by a nice card.  We met with Dr. Gootjes and Dr. Hoberman before the surgery began.  They went over what they were going to do and answered questions.  Dr. Hoberman prayed with us.  I was also able to see my parents before going in.  It was comforting to know there are people who love me waiting for me. 

The next thing I remember was being in my room on the third floor.  I expected to be out of surgery around 6:00.  I was shocked to see 10:00 on the clock on the wall.  I remember talking to Dusty, my parents and Jill.  Next thing I knew I was alone.  It was a long night.  I woke up every hour, sometimes twice.  I was very uncomfortable, but the nurses did a good job minimizing my pain.   

Friday was an okay day.  It was a blur.  I was happy to see Dusty in a clearer state of mind and was relieved to hear the surgeries went well and were considered successful.  We haven’t received the pathology reports from the lymph nodes yet.  The surgery took longer than expected because there was so much scar tissue in my armpit from the sentinel node biopsy I had done in June.  She wanted to take her time and minimize any nerve damage.  She is an excellent surgeon.   

I was able to come home yesterday (Saturday).  I was ready to come home.  It’s hard to get rest in the hospital.  I brought ear plugs and an eye mask to the hospital.  That helped tremendously and I highly recommend ear plugs to anyone who wants to get some rest in the hospital.  I think they should sell them in the vending machines.  🙂 

Before sending us home they gave us discharge instructions and taught me how to empty my drains.  I have three drains.  One on my left side and two on my right.  They don’t hurt unless they get caught on something and are mainly just a nuisance.  Emptying them is gross and turns my stomach a little, but it has to be done.  I have a camisole I bought at St. Mary’s before the surgery which has built in pockets for the drains.  I’m so happy I have it.  It’s very comfortable. 

Overall I feel much better than what I thought I would.  I’m staying on top of the pain with the medications.  I’m able to move pretty well.  It’s more of an emotional struggle than a physical one.  I don’t want to look at myself.  I feel like I look like an alien.  It will take some getting used to.  I’m glad it’s temporary. 

Dusty is taking excellent care of me.  We have a bed set up on the main floor in the office so I don’t have to go up and down the stairs.  We bought walkie talkies for Brooklyn last Christmas and those are coming in handy.  We used them in the middle of the night so Dusty could come down and help me out of bed.  He carries one around with him and I have the other one on the nightstand next to my temporary bed so he can go outside or be around the house and I don’t have to yell. 

The kids are doing good.  I miss Max and Samantha so much.  Kathy sent us pictures everyday of them playing at her house.  It was nice to see their smiles.  Brooklyn is home with us now and Max and Samantha are with my parents.  I hope to see them today. 

Today we had couch church. 

Thank you for your prayers.  God was with us through all of this.  I’m so grateful that the surgery went well.  He gave me the right surgeons, anesthesiologist, nurses and techs. 

Kathy, Max and Samantha:

kathy-holding-max-and-samantha-day-3-web.jpg 

Max and Samantha in Kathy’s kitchen:

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Home Coming

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Lindy is being very strong after this life-changing surgery–imagine that! 

Yesterday went better than expected and her pain is managed appropriately.  She’s got the gleem back in her eyes again and she’s already been walking down the halls.  In fact, we got the orders that she’ll be discharged to my care later today.  Apparently, our insurance company only cover two nights at the hospital for all she’s been through.   So, I’ll be bringing my sweetie home later today and will do my best to get her well again.  She’s a pretty patient, so I welcome the challenge.

Emotionally, we’re still numb.  Personally, I think this is the prayers and positive thoughts people are sending our way.  Numb is better than sad…we’ll take numb.  It seems weird (I’m sure psychologists would have a hay day with this),     but please pray for numb–it’s getting us through this. 

Love you all,  Dusty & Lindy

It’s done

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We just got word that the surgeries are done.

During the six hour surgery, she had both breasts removed, lymph nodes removed, a hysterectomy, and her bladder tied up. The great news is that her ovaries were clear so she was able to keep them.

Thank you all for your prayers and well-wishes. We are so in awe of each of you.

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