Saturday, July 28, 2012

Greetings from Room 407

It has been a week long stay in the ever so lovely St. Francis Hospital.  The surgery to remove a latissimus muscle from my back to correct the damage done by radiation to my left breast has been successful.  However the impact of surgery while still undergoing chemo treatments has made this one of the most difficult weeks of my life, physically.

I have battled a pattern of pain, migraine, exhaustion, and fever this week that has baffled all of my doctors. This seems to be one of my hidden talents...baffling my doctors.  However it has been an incredible week of relationship building also. My mom, endearingly known as "L-dog" arrived last Wednesday in time to accompany me to my pre-op appointments and has not left my side since.  It is so amazing to be able to have one person that I trust whole-heartedly to defend me to the death! Haha. The great thing is we are both able to appreciate the kindness and compassion of the precious people we meet in these extenuating circumstances.  We can communicate with eye contact and have the same intuition. I cannot speak highly enough of 99% of the nurses at SFH. I meet so many people in the medical profession that have lost their love for the practice and more importantly the people they encounter.  But these women have involved themselves in my well-being and I know their life stories. From Geralda, a jovial New Yorker who relocated to the south, to Jenel-a soft-spoken caring nurse named after her beloved grandmother, to our favorite nurse Laura...who brightened our day with her thousand watt smile and cheerful laughter.  Laura, if you read this, thanks again for the fresh gripper socks :)

As a cancer patient I hardly ever have just one doctor, and this week is no exception. Dr. Jain performed my procedure and in classic plastic surgeon fashion, is cool, calm, charming, and upbeat.  Dr. Jiang has been my substitute oncologist as Dr. Pippas has been vacationing in Greece. I had one previous interaction with Dr. Jiang in the chemo room when my Adriamycin was pushed too fast and my body reacted with an immediate all over rash. It was a memorable first encounter so his was a familiar face. He has truly become part of our medical family this week with his quick wit and caring ways. He always leaves us with a clearer view of the mystifying situation and a plan of action. Tonight he even brought me a French vanilla cappuccino, just to cheer me up because he has been so worried! A small gesture that meant more than he will ever know. I have also been visited by my old buddy Dr. Scarborough this week as he is making his rounds here at SFH. I never tire of his sweet and sarcastic comic relief. Our daily banter keeps me "Carly" through these tough times.

Both docs agreed that if I go without fever tonight, I can finally go home tomorrow. We are very anxious to get home because we get to go home to.....ONNIE'S HOUSE! I have officially moved in and renovations have begun. It is a very exciting time in our family...a time of homecoming and new beginnings. I have been awarded a "Greater Blessings" housing grant through the amazing folks at The Fuller Company and Charterbank. I will be blogging more about this later as we are still in the very beginning stages, but I will share some images to whet your home improvement palate. :)

I'm going to let the Demerol kick in now and pray for a fever free night. Thanks for all of the posts, comments, calls, and texts. I still need and appreciate everyone's support more than words can say.

Over and out from 407,


  1. I know I could never go through what you are, Carly, with the cheerful and optimistic spirit you have. However, I must say, it is obvious that God is watching over you with these caring doctors and nurses you describe here. I agree that many medical professionals have lost their love for the profession and don't put out 100% of themselves, and it's sad because patients such as ourselves are truly entrusting these people with our very lives. It warms my heart to know that you have these wonderful people on your side.

    My prayers are always with you. God bless you and those around you.


  2. Carly! It's Amy from JBACC Infusion Suite! I've missed you. My daughter-in-love sent me this link because you mention her mom, Laura, as your fave at St. Francis. She had no idea I had gotten to tend to you a tad during your infusion at JBACC. Is it a small world or what?!

    It's sweet to see your face and read your story online. I'm glad you're sharing so others will benefit from your experience and be blessed by your optimism.

    Blessings sweet girl!

  3. Amy! WOW!!! Small world indeed. I missed you last week, I finished chemo on Thursday! :)