Monday and Tuesday Patrick and I traveled to Houston to MD Anderson for Pre-Op visits and tests. I had a lung CT, blood tests, EKG, chest x-ray, and a mental health evaluation (and yes, I passed that one). 🙂
I consulted with my hematologist, anesthesiologist, oncologist, psychologist, surgeon, research nurse, and a couple of ER docs (due to a reaction from the contrast dye for the CT scan). All of this in addition to the PET scan I had last week.
We arrived at the hospital at 9:00 Monday morning and left the hospital to return to our hotel room about 1:15 Tuesday morning so we could get a few hours sleep and return at 8:45 a.m. for round two.
It was all about as fun as it sounds.
After 22 hours of tests and doctor visits in two days, we came to this conclusion; I am not going to have surgery at MD Anderson.
We used that time to ask a lot of questions, listen to a lot of answers, and pray for a lot of direction and discernment.
When we got into the car to head back to the airport after our last appointment, Patrick and I didn’t have to say a word to each other, we both just knew. Before the driver even left the parking lot, I reached for my phone to dial the number of my Conway doctor (and life-saver), Dr. Michael Wood. I spoke to his nurse, Tracy (who is a living SAINT), and told her I was scheduled for surgery at MD Anderson on Monday, April 27th, but I wanted a breast surgeon in Little Rock to do the surgery instead.
After a brief silence she said, “Tina, you know the best surgeons are booked months in advance, right?”
Yeah, I knew that, but I also knew that if God was leading us in that direction, He would take care of the small details, like getting a pre-op appointment with the best breast surgeon in Arkansas within a matter of days, and getting a surgery date for the next week.
And guess what?
God did indeed take care of it.
Tracy called me back the next morning with a pre-op appointment for Monday and surgery date of May 6th or 8th with Dr. James Hagans. (When it comes to breast surgery, this guy is kind of a celebrity in this state. I am not joking. His patients LOVE him!)
I’m sure I’ll love him too, but right now, I’m really loving God, Tracy, and Dr. Wood.
We feel very strongly that surgery (and radiation) administered closer to home, rather than at MD Anderson, is what is best for me at this stage of my treatment plan.
This I know; I love home. Home is where I heal best. I need to be with my people. Seven to ten days in Houston for surgery, and then five weeks in Houston for radiation, without my support system, would not be conducive to my healing or well-being.
My oncologist supports this decision (although her preference would be for me to have those treatments at MD Anderson). She acknowledged the crucial role that mental and emotional health have in physical healing, and after 20 visits with me since September 3rd, she knows me well enough to know that spending that amount of time in Houston without all my people would put me on the edge of crazy.
She is a very wise doctor. 🙂
I will continue as her patient, of course, so trips to Houston are still on the calendar, but fortunately they will not be as often, and soon, will only be once every three months for check-ups and scans.
I will find out my exact surgery date and time after my appointment Monday morning with Dr. Hagans and will update with that information once it is confirmed.
In the meantime, I am feeling well and enjoying every single day. After my grueling and sleep-deprived Monday and Tuesday, on Wednesday I was able to attend Mornings with Mom at Creed’s school. It was beyond wonderful to be there with him. I’ve been going to Mornings with Mom at Conway Christian School for 11 years. I’m pretty sure this year was my favorite.
As always, we appreciate your faithful prayers for me and for our family. As we take the next step in this it-seems-like-it’s-lasting-forever treatment plan, we ask that you please continue to lift us up in prayer. We still have many decisions to make. Pray that God continues to direct us, and that we are sensitive to His leading. Pray that my appointment Monday goes smoothly with Dr. Hagans. Pray that my surgery is successful and without complications. And PRAY FOR ZERO!
Love to you all.