Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Family


                                         TROY AND ZACH SNUGGLING

                                         ABBY'S FUNNY EYES!

                                         DAPHENE FROM SCOOBY-DOO, PAINTED ON ABBY'S FACE

                                         ABBY AND ZACH ENGROSSED IN WATCHING TV!

                                                  I LOVE BABY FEET!
                                          VIEW FROM TOP OF CADILLAC MOUNTAIN
                                          ABBY ON HER NEW BICYCLE
                                          ABBY AND ZACH IN OUR POOL, BEFORE IT WAS FULL, ONLY A     
                                         COUPLE OF INCHES OF WATER


Home Sweet Home

Well, I am home from the hospital, in fact, I got home yesterday. My surgery was Monday. I have got to tell you all a story about Monday.

I went in at 945 am to outpatient surgery. They took me right back, I didn't wait long. I went to Nuclear Med for Sentinal Node check. My breast was injected with radioactive dye. They were looking for a single node in my underarm, (left) to direct the surgeon in the right direction during dissection. Anyway, it hurt like heck.

I went back to the outpatient surgery room. Troy, Abby, my Mom and Dad, my aunt Cindy, my mother in law Gail, my aunt and uncle Mike and Judy, my aunt and uncle Neil and Barbara were all there for me. Lynn Snow also was there with flowers. My brother also sent flowers with my mom.

My uncle Mike and aunt Judy came in at one point before surgery and said that there were 15,000 people praying for me. They are Mormon and had asked the mormon church all over the United States to pray for me. I also have a ton of friends, family and patients praying for me. So I probably had close to 16,000 people praying for me. Thanks to Michele Malo as well for placing me on her prayer list at her church.

While my family was taking turns visiting me in the outpatient setting, Abby and Cindy went to the gift shop. Abby was looking for a few things for me. With my first attunement for Reiki, Rose Quartz came to me as my healing stone. I asked Abby to look for one for me. In the gift shop, Abby could not find anything that was related to breast cancer, nothing with a pink ribbon on it. So, what did she do, she went to the gift shop attendent and said "My mom just got diagnosed with breast cancer and do have anything like this ribbon on this necklace?" She had worn the necklace that I had made to wear for healing. The gift shop attendent took Abby to look for items with pink ribbons. They found an item inside glass with an angel and a pink ribbon for hope. There was no price on it so the attendent actually gave it to Abby for me. She also got a key chain with a round piece of rose quartz. She also got me a cross that you can grip and it has a pink ribbon as well on it. My mom, also known as Grammy, (to Abby and Zach) which I will probably call her in the rest of my journey and blog. She got me an glass angel with a hanging pink heart.

With all the power of prayers, I was taken into surgery an hour earlier than planned. I had a Reiki treatment just prior to going to surgery. The surgery only lasted an hour instead of two, which Dr. Huang had planned. After the surgery was finished, he went to the waiting room and said that the surgery went well. He removed the entire left breast and only had to remove 2 lymph nodes.

I got to recovery and woke up with blankets all around me, and one over the top of my head. Abby thought I was buried in the blankets. I had a pillow under my left arm, a lot of pain and numbness. My nurse gave me meds for the pain through my IV. Dilaudid. First time I had ever had this medication. It definitely helped the pain. Abby came in and I would not let go of her hand. Enja, a friend of Misti Tebbetts, performed a Reiki treatment on me after surgery. Misti works with me at SVH Family Care.

I headed up to my room, 625a, on the Oncology Unit at EMMC. I made it before my family did. I walked from the door to my bed, though a little wobbly!!! My nurse helped me, her name was Eden. Very nice and helpful. I got settled. Troy and Abby showed up with my bags, my homemade pillow and smiles.

The nurse asked me a few questions, goals for my hospital stay. 1. pain control, (of course), 2. Feed me, 3. Get results of pathology. I had not eaten since 10pm the night before. My stomach was growling!! I ordered baked Haddock, rice and broccoli for supper, Hot cocoa and ginger ale. Oh, so good. My nurse brought me in some oral pain medication, vicodin and I can't take Vicodin because it makes me hallucinate. The last time I had vicodin, I saw green monkeys on the ceiling. So she had to call the doctor. Percocet works a lot better.

After supper and resting with Abby in my bed beside me, and Troy sitting in a chair, I decided I wanted to go for a walk. At this time my parents had already left, they had to pick up Maddie (their dog) at the Brewer Emergency Vet due to ? Lyme disease. Troy and Abby were getting ready to leave. We started walking out into the hallway, Abby holding my hand the whole time. There were some beautiful wall quilts on the walls of the 6th floor. The nurses at the station look flabergasted that I was up and walking, in less than 3 hours back on the floor. (that is the nurse in me, the faster you walk, the faster you can leave the hospital!!!! or well heal and clear lungs of anesthesia, did the same after both of my C-Sections.) We were halfway down the hallway, and Troy said that he had to use the bathroom. He went to the restroom down by the elevators. There was this older man (81) walking up and down the hallway.

Abby and I walked to the end of the hallway, holding hands. This older man was standing at the window holding onto the railing. All of a sudden it looked like he was falling, but I walked over to him and grabbed his right arm. He said that he was ok. He then passed out. I still had ahold of his right arm. I lowered him to the floor so he wouldn't hit his head. Luckily, I had my pillow under my left arm, I braced really hard so that I wouldn't hurt myself. I yelled to Troy, that I needed help and scared the poop out of him (I won't use the swear word). He went to get help. Help wasn't coming fast enough so I sent Abby for help too. An employee came and looked at me, I had a johney on so I think they thought I needed help. I pointed to the man lying on the floor. I said he passed out. I had his head resting in my lap as I was kneeling on the floor, holding a pillow on my left side. Finally, he was lifted up onto a stretcher, his BP was quite low, 76/30. I had Troy and another employee help me up as I was only like 4 hours postop. Abby was upset because she thought that I had hurt myself. I was ok.

My nurse had come running because she thought I was the one passed out on the floor. She knew that I was headed for the elevators for a walk. I was ok.

God had placed me in that situation for a reason, I had to be there to save this gentleman. His wife was a patient and I think dying from cancer. I don't have the logistics of course HIPPAA confidentiality.

Several nurses thanked me that night for saving this gentleman. I reacted like a nurse and forgot that I had just had major surgery. I couldn't let him hit his head on the floor, I just couldn't. The nurses were calling me a Hero. I did what I had to do, I saw him falling and grabbed him.  This is a true story.

I asked for pain meds when I got back to my room. My chest hurt a little bit. I promised my nurse that I would not leave my room for the rest of the night. She chuckled, at this point, she was my night nurse, Erin.

The first time I looked in the mirror, I was not scared. I thought that I would react differently looking at my chest being flat on the left side. I didn't cry or gasp. I felt relieved, the cancer was gone. I felt like a heavy burden was lifted off my chest (sorry bad analogy). It hurt but I didn't care.

On Tuesday, Dr. Huang came into my room around 715am. He gave me instructions on my drains, how to strip to keep them patent. He said no shower until the drains come out. This is not good news. I usually take a shower every day. My hair was sticking to my neck, from sweating in the night from anesthesia. My room was also very hot, sweat all night long. It was bad, no air conditioning!

My day nurse came in and said discharge orders were written and that she would be working on them. She had her other patients that she had to round on, but that she would get to them as soon as possible. I told her not to rush, my husband and daughter weren't there yet. I totally understand about the push for taking care of patients and then also getting all the paperwork done. Eden was a great nurse. Erin was great too.

So, now I am home and feeling good. I have so many friends that I did not know I had. You don't know how many people you have made an impression on until something happens. I want to thank everyone for all the thoughts, prayers, and support that has been given over the last week or so. I appreciate all of it. I have been put on this earth to be a healing and caring soul. This is why I am a Nurse and Nurse Practitioner, once a nurse always a nurse.

I want to thank everyone for the food that was cooked and blessed for us. We don't have to cook for a week or more. Fresh made bread, quiche, lasagna, meatloaf, chicken shells, paper plates and cups from my work. Sue, thank you for shampoo and paper products. This is all a great big helped.

Right now, I am sitting in my rocking chair writing this post and thinking about all of my blessings. HOPE, FAITH, LOVE. LOVE ENDURES ALL THINGS.

Love Jenn

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Getting Ready for Surgery

Well, tomorrow is the big day. Surgery. I keep thinking, what am I going to look like with one breast? I just can't imagine it. Why me? Why did God pick me to go through this? Why does my family have to go through this?

At least, I have only cried maybe 4 or 5 times today. My mom and dad came up for the day. I love them so much. They gave me everything to be able to go to college and become a nurse. I have for as long as I can remember wanted to be a nurse. I think it was the summer before my 6th grade year, I had to have my appendix removed. I remember the nurses taking good care of me. I was in Bar Harbor hospital for about 4-5 days. Ever since then I wanted to be a nurse and help people.

Here I am today, I went back to school and became a Nurse Practitioner. If it weren't for my mom and dad and my husband, Troy, I wouldn't be here doing what I am doing today.

I want to say to my husband, Troy, I love you. Thank you for 2 beautiful children, Abby Sue 9 yrs, and Zachary 3 yrs. They are my life! Why do they have to go through this? My husband has been right by my side since the diagnosis.

So, surgery tomorrow. I am quite nervous about what may happen. I received some presents from Beth Bacon at SVH mammography department. A camisole with "removeable boobs" depending which side you have surgery on. I guess laughing is the best thing, sort of. lol.

Well, the next time you hear from me will be after the surgery. Goodnight for now.

Remember, Self Breast Exams find more cancer then mammograms. Know your breasts! If anything changes, contact your PCP.

Thank you all.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


It has only been one day since I wrote but I need to let everyone know that I am feeling upbeat in that I can feel all the prayers that are coming my way. I have a rose piece around my neck with a ribbon on it. I will add to pictures.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Diagnosis

On June 7th 2011, I found a lump under my left armpit. At first I thought, "it's nothing." I spoke with my primary care provider and he ordered an Ultrasound. So after waiting Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I finally had got my Ultrasound on Monday June 13th. The downfall that I have is that I am a Family Nurse Practitioner and quite good at reading Ultrasounds. I saw a "black hole" or cyst like area. The only thing that was different was that there was blood flow to and from this "cyst." I had a bad feeling. My heart sunk. I stated to the ultrasonographer that it didn't look good. She looked at me and just smiled. She is not allowed to say anything until the radiologist reads the test.

Once the test was done, I stood up, got dressed and cried. The sonographer came back in and stated that the radiologist wanted an immediate Mammogram. She gave me a big hug and kissed me on the cheek. She said to me "Oh my god, I just kissed you and I don't even know you!" This actually made me feel more comfortable. She cares. It really meant a lot to me.

After seeing the mammogram pictures and the US pictures, I talked with my PCP. I immediately got set up with Dr. Huang in Bangor, a really good surgeon. We had our consultation and he ordered an Ultasound Guided Biopsy. I had informed him if anything came back positive, I had already decided to do mastectomy. Dr. Huang stated one thing at a time.

The US Guided biopsy was on Friday, June 17th, the day before my Birthday. I was going to be turning 38. The biopsy left a large bruise on my left breast. The weekend was hard. Monday came and no results. I worked my regular Monday. On my way home from a late night at work, my cell phone rang. It was my PCP with results of the biopsy. Rey asked me how far from home I was, which was 5min. He stated that he would call me back in 5 min. I told him that if he knew anything, then he had better tell me. This is when he told me that the biospy showed Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. Further testing was being done. ? estrogen dominant.

That night when I got home, I had to tell my husband and my 9 year old duaghter. I cried all night long. What a headache!!!! and my face so puffy. I did not go back to work, how could I. Everytime I think about my children, what I will look like with one breast, what will happen after surgery, whether I will have Chemotherapy or Radiation, I would and still cry. :*) (smile with a teardrop) I will continue to use this because despite having cancer, I am going to SURVIVE. There is a reason for God to have given me this process. I am not sure why yet, but I will figure it out.

Since the diagnosis of Breast Cancer, I have had more support from friends I didn't really know that I had. I want to thank everyone for your support. Please Pray for me, I need all the happy and strong energy on Monday June 27th that I can get. I love you ALL. I WILL SURVIVE.