Monday, March 19, 2012

Fighting Cancer #1 Priority

No surgery date is defined yet.....however, we did find out a couple of new things to share with you.

First of all, we met with our plastic surgeon and agreed that fighting cancer is our #1 priority as it should be.  Reconstruction can happen later without the pressure of prolonging chemotherapy should something else go wrong.  Therefore, I will be going under the knife first of all to see if these flaps are surviving or partially dead/dying.  In the event they are dead/dying in part or whole, both flaps will be removed and the wounds will be closed.  This means reconstruction can occur after all chemo/radiation and recovery are complete.  If the flaps are thriving and need more time, then they will remain as is.  However, we are preparing psychologically for the removal of the flaps although we are not quite sure what that means....we will continue to pray for strength to keep moving forward to fight cancer.

Secondly, we learned that this Wednesday, the cancer specialist team consisting of medical and radiology specialists and surgeons will be meeting to discuss challenging cases.  Yup, I am on the list of challenges to be discussed. The decision to proceed with an Axillary Node Dissection (or not) will be finalized.  The benefits and challenges of these procedures versus radiation after chemotherapy or chemotherapy alone will be vetted and decided upon. So what does this mean going forward?

If the team decides it is beneficial to have the Axillary Node Dissection then this procedure will be coordinated with the plastics surgeon - remove more modes and flaps if required.  This procedure would likely occur next week so that I would have one versus two surgeries.

If the team decides that the Axillary Node Dissection is not necessary, then it is highly likely I will have surgery with the plastics surgeon this weekend. Dr Souf will come in after hours to explore and remove as necessary so that I can heal and keep going forward with the cancer treatment plan.

The bottom line is we will know when surgery will be by the end of the week.

So you are probably wondering how we are doing with all this.....actually, we are ok.  Things happen for a reason. The removal of the flaps is temporary - perhaps we will appreciate the craftsmanship of plastic surgeons more so :)  There is a plan or there will be a plan in place to conquer cancer - that is a good thing!!  A plan carefully thought out by specialists - again a good thing.  There is power in number...Teamwork is awesome!  You are all a part of our team - our prayer and support team!  Again, there is power in numbers!  We continue to pray for strength and courage as we move forward!

As always, we will update the blog once we hear from the doctors regarding our plan.

Much love, Shelley & Bob


  1. Thanks for all the details Shelley. The nurse in me loves the details and it helps me concentrate my prayers in the right places. You are doing awesome to keep looking forward. Take care

  2. Thanks, again, for the update and all the details. I just hope there isn't a test on all of this anatomy and medical terminology!! Remember, I'm on the cheerleading squad of this team - loud and proud - that's my talent!! Stay strong!
    love and prayers,

  3. Joanne BeltraminiMarch 20, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    Shelley, your positive attitude through these difficult times is amazing and inspiring. Remember, I'm your wig-woman should you need one!

  4. I, too, come very well equipped to be a cheerleader! I even have some pom poms...I am even willing to share with Pat! "Double space...". Here's to kickin' some serious Cancer!! Thanks for the updates.

  5. Shelley,
    I was thinking about you on my drive to work this morning- how you always helped me, so joyfully, with my dumb questions. I owe you – in prayers.

  6. Despite all the challenges it is inspiring to hear that you have distilled out all the positives - true to your own style Shelley!

    A quote came to mind today to share:

    "In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."

    Shine on Shelley!