Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday Feb 23rd

"There's nothing like a left threatening illness to make you think about what's important. Even if you're not going to die anytime soon, the thought of the possibility of death is enough to get your mind to focus. You grab on to the things in your life that are a blessing and a privilege to be a part of, and you tend to let go of the things that aren't. Treatment sometimes makes it impossible to enjoy these things- but the hope is that treatment is only temporary."

This is out of a book I started to read a few days ago called The Victoria Secret Catalog never stops coming. Embarking on my mastectomy surgery I thought this might be an amusing read over the next few days. (Thanks Jennifer!) I read this last night and it helped me to relax my mind a bit.
It has been a pretty long week. Jon has been working out of town again and the kids have been pretty well behaved but I am a nervous wreak. I am getting ready for my surgery next Wednesday. I went to Herceptin on Wednesday afternoon and then went and registered Olivia for Kindergarten. I can't believe that she is already old enough to be going to Kindergarten. Yesterday I had my friend Shari offer to come over and help me out with the kids while I ran some errands and went to a doctor's appointment in the afternoon. It is so much easier to do errands without dragging 3 kids in and out of every place that should be a quick stop. I went to see Dr. Tsoi (pronounced Choy) yesterday afternoon. He is a plastic surgeon. I wanted to have a realistic idea of the outcome of my body after all this cancer business. He told me that because I was going to do radiation that the route of reconstruction relying on tissue expander's and an implant probably wasn't going to work for me. Radiation leaves the skin very UN-flexible and hard to work with. He explained that it fries all the blood vessels in the skin. He said that a better route for me to go was to do a TRAM surgery which would transplant tissue from my tummy or my back into my breast area to get the blood circulation back in that area and provide better insulation for an implant. Being that I have about zero extra skin or fat on my tummy he suggested that taking it from my back was a better plan. I was pretty depressed to hear this news. Not only would I have to deal with healing around my breast but also in the area where the tissue is transplanted. Not to mention the giant scars it would leave in both places. Also the fact that the skin is a different color in those areas than it is in your breast. He also used the analogy that reconstruction surgery using transplanted tissue is like robbing Peter to pay Paul. Meaning I could have other complications in the area that tissue is taken from while trying to use those muscles that are no longer there. We watched a short video about reconstruction. (I love that all the women in these brochures and videos are at least 50) We also got to see pictures of other patients that have gone through the procedures. That was a treat. They are reconstructed so they look normal with clothes on, without is a different story. They look almost Frankenstein-ish. 2 different skin tones, scars everywhere. Women who were able to go the expander and implant route looked a million times better in my opinion. The goal is to appear normal over clothes but I just hadn't prepared myself enough I guess to look so different. I was so angry and depressed after leaving his office. I hate what cancer has done to me and what it is still going to be taking away from me! I guess you can't always have good days. I am still not having 2nd thoughts on doing the mastectomy, I just wish that I could face this part of my treatment thinking that I would still look OK in the end, maybe not great but not like Frankenstein. I am going to go and get a 2nd opinion after I start my radiation and they can see a little better what to expect with the skin damage from radiation. The one good news that I received was that I would only have to wait 6 months to start reconstruction (after radiation) and not a full year. Needless to say I am still feeling rather bummed and depressed today and now that much more nervous about my surgery that is only 5 days away. Leave me a comment and cheer me up!!


Lilann said...

I have been reading your blog for quite a while after someone posted your blog site information at Split Coast Stampers. I can't say I know exactly what you are going through because I have never had cancer, but I have had to get a mamogram every year since I was in my mid 20's (I am now 48) and I have had to have a needle biopsy. However, my husband was diagnosed with a stage 3 malignant fibrous histiocytoma soft tissue sarcoma two years ago on 2/14/05. Our life was turned upside down for almost one year. We had to go to Atlanta, GA (4 hours away) for chemo and surgery. He was able to have his radiation in Savannah. Some days I would say how will I get through this? We are self employed and have two children in school. Thank goodness for family!! On 2/19/07 my husband and I were sitting in a Mexican restaurant and I reminded him that exactly two years ago to the day he was in a hospital room at Emory Crawford Long Hospital starting his chemo treatments. I never thought I would think this (especially two years ago), but it almost seems like it was a dream. Looking back I realize that you do what you have to do and you get through it, and then you are able to get on with your wonderful life. My wish for you is that you will be able to look back on this later and say, "It seems like it was all a dream".

Brianna said...

Hi Cousin Eliza!! It's your couisin Brianna Mondy. I hope you are doing ok! Well i just got an account on blogspot and i was wondering how you put in a song. Well you can email me at Thank You and i hope your doing ok!

Maiah Mondy said...

I know you are going through a lot of emotions right now. I wish I knew what to say to make you feel better. All I can do is let you know I am praying that God gives you comfort during this season in your life. You have been so brave. You are in our thoughts and prayers. We love you!

The Bluths said...

Well I think you are the only person that wishes they had more extra skin and fat on their stomach. I'm sure plenty of people would be willing to give you theirs :) Wouldn't that be nice, a win-win situation? I hope that cheered you up a little bit, or at least made you smile.

Pamela said...

Hi Eliza,

I know this has been hard on you, Honey, but we are all behind you 100% and could never understand what your going through unless we have been through it !! You have a great support team behind you and we never quite know what Gods plans are for us !! We think you are the GREATEST and we love you alot !! Just know that our thoughts and prayers are always with you !! You have been a trooper, don't let it get you down now, it will all work out for the best!! We love you !!! Pam & Joe

sheri said...

Eliza, you have so many people who love you and are supporting you with prayer and help. this is not going to end! I am confident you're making the right decisions for yourself. You continue to amaze me everyday with your strength.
We love you!

Shari Robinson said...


Hang in there! The masectomy is very hard to think about but once it is done it is ok. Your beauty is on the inside... it is hard to realize that your body will never be the same but much more important to live! And live each day fully with your wonderful family. It is going to work out... and you will look beautiful. I am thinking of you every day and praying for a quick recovery from the masectomy. Please call me so we can talk. Love, Shari

Nick Mondy said...

There is a plan! It's taking those first initial steps into the darkness that really test our faith. You have made so many brave decisions to get to this point. Don't let your mind race worrying about all the things that MIGHT happen. Continue to focus on the next step and go forward in faith. You have so many family members and friends praying for you! We all love you so much. You truly are our Little Miss Sunshine! We're glad you live so close so it's easier to help and be with you.
Will any of my old, fatty muscle help you out? I can handle a few scars after all you've been through!
Love, Dad ;-)

sumtoy said...

Eliza...My prayers are with you. Good luck hun. Roseanne

Cindy Motherway said...


Such an up and down roller coaster! After reading your post my heart aches for you. I only know that you are headed down the right road and you are about the strongest person I know. It will be difficult but if anyone can do it, it's you! I had to smile to myself because when he said take from the belly or the back, my first thought was, Eliza has no belly, Eliza has no extra anything! Except heart and strength! So when I read your next sentence about having no where to draw from I had to smile!

Hang in there! I was thinking about you over the weekend, today, will be tommorrow and for sure on Wednesday. Please feel free to call if there is anything I can do!


Toni Nelson said...

Hey, you should add Britney Spears to your list of bald groupies! j/k Hope that made you smile. I talked to mom about you this weekend when I called, I have been meaning to call you to see how things are. I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I may be in Utah, but I'm still here for you. Love you!

Renee said...

Hi Eliza,
You don't know me at all but I sure wish I was nearby just to give you a big 'ole hug and to tell you that I care. I'm so sorry that you have to go through this - but please know that you are (and have been) in my thoughts and prayers.
Big cyber (((HUGS))) to you.
Renee V.

Robyn said...

Eliza, I have never met you but have been following your blog for months now. My family and I think of you often. I cannot even imagine what you are going through but Heavenly Father has a plan. It's hard to think about that when we are in the middle of a large trial but everything has a purpose. If anything you have been a great example of faith and a positive attidude to so many people. I know this sounds weird but I had a dream about you the other night and you had beautiful hair and we gave each other a hug. I know that is how it will be later. Remember that we will all have perfect bodies soon enough. I'll also give you some of my belly fat if you are interested.
Much love from your sister in the gospel. Robyn