February 12, 2012 by Julie Moon
I have had a very hard day. I’ve been having adverse reactions to the pain medications that I have been taking. I feel so overstimulated and prickly and uneasy from the inside out. Thankfully we have decided to quit taking these meds and try something different tomorrow. It is an awful feeling…like when you have a limb fall asleep…that prickly feeling as it’s waking up…that’s what I feel all over my body when I take those medications. So goodbye Percocet and Lortab. May I never need you again in this lifetime.
In the middle of the day was a special treat. My sister paid for a local woman to come over and give mom and I pedicures here at the house. It was so sweet and relaxing for the most part. My pain meds caused the end to get a little weird because my senses were overstimulated and I could hardly breathe…everything smelled so chemically strong even though it wasn’t. I did sleep this afternoon and though that was good I still feel awful and can’t wait for these meds to be GONE from my body.
I felt as though the whole day was ending on such a sad and sour note. I was feeling down and very sorry for myself. It’s in these moments that I feel regret for choosing this path. I feel sad that I don’t have to be feeling this way but put myself in this situation. Let’s just put it this way…it’s not a good place.
And then tonight around 9 pm. I got a message in my facebook inbox. The person is my friend but not someone I regularly see or speak to. We had been more involved in each other’s lives before there were 6 children between us. Our paths have crossed from time to time but I did not know her story. Tonight she shared her story with me. She wrote about her mother’s breast cancer at age 45 and losing her father just a few years before that. Her mother survived that battle but has now been faced with another area they will biopsy. She had been talking to her mother about me and her mother decided to get the BRCA testing done. They are still waiting on results and then will decide on their path after those results are in. It was an amazing story but the line that really struck my heart was this.
“Following your story of empowerment has made me choose a path of empowerment over the path of ignorance that I have been on.”
I will sleep well tonight because my heart is full. Two women are DOING SOMETHING because I did something and wrote about it. Her sharing that with me today is helping me to keep on keeping on! It’s the sunrise on this dark day I’ve had today.
Category The Journey | Tags: biopsy,blessings,BRCA,breast cancer,decisions,family,fear,friends,medicine,pain,Sleep | No Comments
February 10, 2012 by Julie Moon
I received an email from a friend this afternoon that brought me to tears. I hadn’t really given too much thought to how my friends were feeling during this whole journey. I have thought lots about my family but not specifically about my friends. She put her feelings into words so eloquently and it really made me think about the decisions that I make to include people in my hard times and rely on my friends. I thought this really needed to be shared.
“Thank you for being so willing to let your friends help out through this time, Julie. I know that it isn’t easy, but it’s been a gift to us in many ways. As people who love you, we could be feeling helpless and sad right now. But, by letting us bring meals to your family and help out where we can you’ve given us the gift of feeling useful. And, we worry for you…but we worry less because you’ve made us feel included in your journey and been honest about how you’re feeling. Less worry is always a gift. And, right now my kiddos are playing in their room, bringing food and cleaning the “houses” of their stuffed animals. Because the animals aren’t feeling well and “that’s just what friends do for each other, Mama.” I’m grateful that friendship, and both the offering of kindness and the very gracious acceptance of it are being so beautifully modeled by this circle of friends you’ve created. So thank you for those gifts…they’ve been unexpected blessings.”
Category The Journey | Tags: blessings,food,friends,planning | No Comments
February 6, 2012 by Julie Moon
Yesterday I was discharged from the hospital. I was crying all morning because I was so scared to be away from all the “experts”. Noone checking my flaps hourly, monitoring my blood pressure, temp and having whatever drug I needed right on hand. My mom is an awesome caregiver but there was a certain comfort about being at the hospital.
But the best thing happened yesterday. Three of my best friends drove 5 hours just to come and visit with me for a while. They lifted my spirits when they were rock bottom. They helped my mom and I get moved over to our temporary Charleston house…a beautiful home on the marsh. Our friends have generously offered to let us stay here while I’m recovering and can’t leave Charleston. It was so great to have a distraction and have friends here to make me laugh and give my mom a little respite from having to do everything for me. Mrs. B, whose house we are at, cooked us a delicious dinner last night. She’s been such a wonderful hostess and made us feel so welcome. Mr. B and all the girls sat on the sofa and watched golf…I think it was the first time he had ever paid that much attention to what the golfers were wearing. Ha!
Last night, at bedtime, mom and I went into my bedroom and emptied my drains, changed my bra and put on fresh pajamas. I just cried and cried. I felt so broken and so disfunctional. My breasts are certainly bigger than what I wanted them to be and that made me feel disappointed. I have four drains coming out of my body which just makes you feel gross and weird. Around my breasts are so very bruised and sore. One of my nipples is probably going to blister and scab over…hopefully it will fully survive. But for now it’s all gross and blue from the radioactive dye I had injected to do the sentinel lymph node biopsy. My backside is crazy looking. You can still see all the sharpie on my skin from getting marked before surgery and then I have two long incision scars….LONG. And I had a little over a pound of fat removed from each upper gluteal area…so for now there is a bit of a divot. This is why there is a second and third stage to the surgery. It’s definitely not over and this is in no way the “finished” product. But no matter how many times you tell yourself that…you still feel mournful.
I tried to skype with my children last night and they were screaming and being loud and it was all too overwhelming for me. I had to close down the chat pretty quickly. Hopefully I can have a moment with the Mister soon to video chat just he and I. I miss him and just want to snuggle into his neck and have him stroke my hair. It’s good for me to be away from the kids because I think they would be more than I could handle this week. But my heart longs for him.
I think I’m going to have my mom take some progress pictures starting today. I think that will help me feel like I’m healing even when I don’t feel like it.
Oh….one more thing! Yesterday Dr. Craigie told me my pathology came back all clear…no cancer anywhere!
Category The Journey | Tags: blessings,breast cancer,charleston,family,fear,friends,mister,plastic surgeon | No Comments
February 5, 2012 by Julie Moon
Hard day today. I feel scared to leave the hospital. I feel like I’m in pieces. I am sore all over. All I want to do is curl up on my side and sleep but drains keep me from being able to do so. My back aches and I know it won’t just be better tomorrow.
My friends are coming. I don’t think they will get the response they expect. I don’t want to talk I just want to sleep through the next week. I am sad. I am so glad they are coming. I know I can just cry and let it all go…it makes me so sad to think that women have to go through things like this without a huge support of people. If I feel like this and I have all the best friends in the world then what in the world must they feel like?
I won’t lie…being cut on both sides of your body is painful. My breasts feel engorged…like they don’t belong to me but that someone hung some sandbags on my chest. They are warm and look great though. They are connecting to my body. My back side hurts. I’m scared about riding in the car. It’s gonna hurt. I want to triple my pain meds and just be knocked out.
Category The Journey | Tags: BRCA,breast cancer,decisions,emotions,family,friends,pain,recovery,Scared | No Comments
February 4, 2012 by Julie Moon
I’m feeling extra sappy tonight. I am so happy I did this. Even when it hurts. I couldn’t have done this without my village. Thank you everyone. I finally have a pain med that is working. Yesterday was SO HARD. Friday was a much better day. Though mom keeps saying she doesn’t know where we’d put more flowers I am so encouraged. They sit at the foot of my bed and remind me that I’m being thought of. I can’t wait to see my family and friends again. I worry about the Mister. He doesn’t always recognize what he is feeling. We watched Grey’s Anatomy tonight and that made me feel normal. I have eaten some of my yummy snacks. Tomorrow is shower day and I’m nervous about that. Here’s me giving all my friends and family big hugs and kisses.
Category The Journey | Tags: BRCA,breast cancer,charleston,emotions,family,friends,mister,pain,recovery,Surgery | No Comments
February 2, 2012 by Julie Moon
Wow! This is the most surreal feeling I can imagine right now. I actually did it. The doctors said it went great. I’m sleeping well despite my awesome nurse checking in on me. The hospital is beautiful and my room is large. I do miss my babies and the Mister. I called my big girl around 8:30and had my best friend wake her up. It was good for both of us. I am so grateful my mom is here. I am so grateful I am so healthy that this makes it such an easier procedure. I have gotten sooooo many compliments on my beautiful quilt my friends made me. Life is good. My heart is full.
My surgery took 12 hours. Can you believe that? I am sore. Morphine And Valium to the rescue.
Category The Journey | Tags: big girl,blessings,BRCA,breast cancer,charleston,family,friends,medicine,pain,recovery,Sleep,Surgery | No Comments
January 30, 2012 by Julie Moon
I cannot begin to express the support I have received this week in preparation for my trip. Last night we had an amazing circle of friends that showered me with love, encouragment, prayers and gifts. First of all if you are a mother you know how hard it is to get out of your house in the evening. The fact that so many of my friends were able to be there was just awesome! Not to mention one of my beloved friends suprised me by driving in all the way from Nashville, TN. I was truly suprised and I do love a good surprise. We had all my favorite foods and drinks and the room was so full of love and cheer. We circled up and friends prayed for me, my healing, my family, my emotions and everything in between. My friends suprised me with an envelope of cash to help while we are out of town and my mom and I are feeding ourselves on the road….or whatever else we need it for! They gave me seven wrapped gifts for me to leave for my children…three small gifts in each bag so that my children have something fun to look forward to while I am gone and they know that I love them and I’m still thinking about them. 8, 6 and 3 still is very young to remember that your mom is coming home soon and time just still can slip into that “forever” feeling for them. Many of my friends sent one very talented friend pieces of fabric and she created the most amazingly beautiful quilt for me. I will literally be wrapped in their love while I am healing. It was an amazing night as sisters!
Another friend has created an intricate meal plan for my family while I am gone. That was one thing I really felt worried about and she has done an A+ job managing it. My family will be well fed and taken care of while I am away. That same friend and a few others put together a HUGE basket of snacks for my mom and I while we are gone. Such a blessing!!
And of course my best friend and my sister are prepared to fully take over and fill in for me…ready to step in at a moment’s notice to take care of everything else at my house.
THIS is the village you want to live in. THIS is the village I live in and I am Grateful. Moved. Inspired. Strong. Humbled. Blessed.
Category The Journey | Tags: blessings,charleston,family,food,friends,quilt | No Comments
January 2, 2012 by Julie Moon
January 2012…it’s go time! It’s the new year and that means the ball has dropped and it’s officially rolling. This week I get the kids back in school and I head out to Tennessee to do a little organizing work. Getting a client all settled into her new home in Nashville. I’m looking forward to some immersion in my work and also testing out the waters of me being gone and others taking care of my three little moons while I’m away. That is definitely the part of this journey that has me the most nervous. Next week is a big week. Monday and probably Wednesday too I have all my preop to get done. I have orders for bloodwork, metabolic profile, urinalysis, chest xray and EKG. I then have an MRI on Friday in Atlanta. I need all the prayers one can muster for all of these tests to come back perfect. I’m a little stressed about all the finances of this beginning. *deep cleansing breath* I think while I’m in Nashville I’m going to ask my friend if we can do a little yoga in the morning each day…hoping that I can add that to my daily routine this year and that it can center me the way it did when I was preparing for childbirth.
I don’t FEEL scared but every time I write about this stuff I start crying. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is that I’m feeling. I feel a little detached from everything right now….my friendships, my relationship with God, the Mister. It’s funny the person I feel the most connected to right now is the big girl. She’s growing up so much right now and I think I’m really just enjoying her company so much…it’s uncomplicated and just so easy with her these days. I am going to REALLY miss her while I’m gone.
Category The Journey | Tags: big girl,breast cancer,charleston,expenses,family,fear,friends,God,insurance,mister | No Comments
December 22, 2011 by Julie Moon
I had a friend stop me at baby girl’s school last week to tell me about her sister who was just diagnosed with breast cancer. She’s got four children, no family history and she’s young…maybe 40. She was nursing her 8 month old and found a lump.
I had another friend stop me at church to tell me that she finally went and had her first mammogram. She’d been putting it off and decided to go and do it after hearing my story.
These are the reminders that help me when I’m up late at night feeling nauseous that in only 42 days I will be changing my life in an intense way. Christmas has been so busy it’s almost hard to even think about it yet. Today I had to call and schedule a couple of things that must be done before surgery and it hit me hard. I know this is right but man is it just MIND BLOWING all at the same time.
Category The Journey | Tags: breast cancer,decisions,fear,friends | No Comments
November 29, 2011 by Julie Moon
The Mister and I traveled to Charleston, SC this weekend to meet with the plastic and breast surgeons. We left on Saturday and were able to have two days to ourselves…without children to reconnect and just enjoy each other before the appointment day. I am so grateful for my sister watching the kids Saturday and Sunday…a wonderful babysitter helping out on Sunday night and Monday morning and one of my best friends coming over Monday after school to keep the kiddos, clean up the house and get everyone to bed before we got home. What a network of great people I have supporting me on this journey. It was reassuring to see that I could be gone for 3 days and things still function as normal. I have to admit that I am probably more nervous about what is going to happen to my kiddos when I’m gone for 2 weeks than I am about the surgery itself…ah motherhood!
The Mister and I were able to eat at some great restaurants, check out some local shops and the market and visit Folly beach at Sunset. Did I mention we slept? Oh the bliss of no children in the house kind of sleep…no naps interrupted by squeals of disagreement over the wii or by a toddler banging her fist over your head because she is hungry. We slept well and we napped. It was glorious!
I feel peaceful. I feel content. I feel excited. I feel nervous. I feel happy. I feel sad. I feel grateful. I feel blessed. I feel spared. I feel sure. I feel crazy. I feel amazed.
No wonder I can’t sleep yet tonight.
February 1, 2012…a day that will change my life forever.
Category The Journey | Tags: breast cancer,charleston,decisions,family,fear,friends,mister,plastic surgeon,surgeon,travel,waiting | No Comments