No Hill For a Climber, Fighting To Heal

Loraine and I truly hope that by telling our story of her battle against breast cancer that we may help others who may be facing the same. There is a plethora of things about this terrible disease that we had no clue about, every day seems to be a learning experience. With what seems to be every day, we are faced with new challenges that we never dreamed of in the past.

Nothing about breast cancer treatment ever seems to move at the speed we wish it would. Even though from the time of diagnosis until Loraine’s double mastectomy was only a couple months, those months seemed to drag on and on, you just want to get that shit out in order to begin further treatments. Yet, further treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy cannot begin until a woman has healed from her mastectomy. Loraine’s underwent her mastectomy on January 6th, it is now February 27th and we have no earthly idea when her radiation treatments can begin as she is not fully healed as a result of the infection which had set in quite deeply at her left incision.

Loraine still has a ugly, angry looking hole in her chest that seems to be getting bigger by the day. Literally, you could place a small stack of quarters into this hole, it is scary looking and not something anyone who is squeamish could adequately care for. The good news is, it is actually not infected any longer. We went to Saint Luke’s today for wound care, the doctor was out sick with the flu, but the two awesome nurses who have been involved in Loraine’s wound care were still able to clean the wound out and dress it. They told us that despite how ugly it looks, it is common that deep wounds like this can appear to be uglier before they get better as the underlying and exposed fatty tissue has to die off before healthy skin tissue begins to grow back over the hole. The surrounding skin and underlying tissue looks healthy, Loraine has been on antibiotics and we clean and dress her wound every day. Apparently we are doing a good job. What looks like puss to her and I is actually the dying fatty tissue which we have been removing every day after she has bathed. I wash out the wound with sterile saline solution, remove the dead fatty tissue and then repack it with a collagen and silver dissolvable packing called Prisma, then re-bandage the wound until the next day when we repeat the process.

Loraine had a visit with her medical oncologist last week. Dr. Satteli had her go ahead and at least begin her hormonal treatments since there was no need for further waiting on this course of treatments that will last the rest of Loraine’s life. Dr. Satteli suggested a skin graft may be necessary to get the wound fully healed in order to begin the radiation treatments. I have to wonder if that would heal her any faster than waiting on natural healing. I really hope Loaine does not have to undergo another surgical procedure anytime soon, it seems she has been through enough already. I will be getting answers for this question Tuesday when we go back to see the wound care doctor, hopefully he will no longer be sick next week.

Cancer is a tiresome bitch. While we are very optimistic that Loraine is going to beat this, every day can still be a grind. Doctors appointments every week so far, and there will be many more going into the future. We have had daily wound drain care for the first three weeks after her mastectomy, and now we have daily care of this wound created by the infection. Thank God I have good insurance to cover a good portion of our expenses that we have incurred thus far. Each day we get up and are thankful for the life we have, even with these kinds of setbacks. We know there are others out there who have life much harder than we. We know from experience that you can never take your good health or life for granted, all can change on the drop of a dime. Therefore you must live a humble and grateful life and appreciate all the blessings which do come your way. Cancer is a bitch without a doubt, but it has also introduced us to some of the most caring people we have ever met. We can always look up at a cloudy sky and get down and out because of a gloomy day. But we can also look up at that cloudy sky with the knowledge that soon, the sun will be burning back through to give us the days we can fully enjoy. I love the old adage about how some can view a glass of water as half empty or half full depending on their perspective. What many of those people miss, is that same glass is refillable. We fight the good fight each and every day. The best rewards in life come from the hardest fought battles.

Be healthy and well, never let life take you down without first giving it a good hard fight.

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