Archive | October 2008

One Day At A Time…

I slept much better last night, and although I woke up a couple of times needing pain meds, I feel rested this morning and was happy to see the sun shining brightly out my window.  “This is the day which the Lord has made; I will be full of joy and delight in it!” Psalm 118:24  Another day, a new day, a better day!   The last two days I feel like I was in a fog.  My brain just didn’t seem to want to function.  I couldn’t read words on paper and my writing was all jumbled.  My body ached like the flu, and every joint felt bruised but that was probably just the anesthesia meds wearing off and now I feel a whole lot more alert and relaxed.  I still have the IV catheter in my side until at least tomorrow which provides a steady flow of local anesthetic.  I am also on narcotics and muscle relaxers and anti inflamatories but Tim is keeping awesome track of my meds schedule and even wakes himself in the night to give me what I need on time to stay on top of the pain.  I am trying to get up and walk around the house a little to keep from getting stiff and to keep my lungs clear.  I never knew there were so many soap operas on TV during the day!  I’m not a huge TV watcher.  Thankfully, we have lots of Tivo recorded episodes of my favorite shows and some Netflix videos to pass the time, although I tend to drift off to sleep through them.  My bandage tape has caused an itchy reaction to which my dear friend came to the rescue and changed for me with paper surgical tape with the nurses phone okay.  I am ready for a shower by now – three days without makes me feel like cave woman!  I appreciate so much all of your e-mails and words of encouragement.  It is easy to get kind of down emotionally as I ponder the road ahead and don’t feel physically up to it right now.  I know that will change in the coming weeks.  Your words are powerful to build me up and I thank you.  Thanks to my dear friend Hope who has taken my puppy Colby off my hands this week.  That has been a huge burden lifted from me!  I am so glad she and her family are enjoying him.  Thank you Betty, Jen , and Candy for the meals this week….what  blessing to our family you are!  They were so delicious!  If you’d like to come by for a short visit just call Tim at his cell number 703-477-6142

 (p.s. yes, that’s a photo of me – digital sketch image enhancing, of course! Check out my image enhancing online shop at Heaven’s Blessings )   ~Koryn

The photo above is of where I am camped out on the couch,  The lapel pin I am wearing (see close up below) was made by and sent to me by Jodi, my dear internet friend who had the same procedure as I had the day before me.  Click the photo to see how you can purchase one of your own in support of breast cancer awareness pins from Jodi’s shop Happy House Quilts!

Be still

 Today was better than yesterday and tomorrow will be better than today. I’m heavily drugged most of the day, but comfortable and resting well.  Thank you for the many well wishes cards emails and flowers and meals.  You are all such a blessing to me and to our family. Glad this hard part is behind us and now it is time to be still, rest in God’s presence and healing hands. Please continue to use the cell number below. I’ll call you back when I am able. Looking forward to talking to you soon. P.S. This photo is one I took on my birthday last weekend at the pond behind our house. It was like God giving me a beautiful birthday present !

– Koryn

Home Sweet Home

Koryn is back home!  Please remember NOT to call the house phone number until after Sunday, as she is trying to rest. Call my (Tim’s cell) 703-477-6142.  The last 24 hours have been a bit rough for her, especially last night.  She had a quite a bit of pain and nausea though the night and, according to her, got no sleep.  Today’s been better regarding the nausea, but the pain has really been difficult.  The worst part of her day was the hour and half commute in rush hour from the hospital.  The bumps and stops and starts were quite uncomfortable for her.  We got home about 6.

They’ve got her on some fairly potent pain medication as well as valium, a muscle relaxant, and when taken together, she seems to manage pretty well.   I’m trying to get her in a decent meds cycle so as to keep it manageable around-the-clock.  I’d expect she’ll be doing much better by the weekend.     –Tim

This entry was posted on October 29, 2008. 7 Comments

Surgery Update

Today, Tuesday, October 28th was a long, but overall positive day for the Hutchisons.  Koryn and I woke up at 345, as if we had really been sleeping, and were on our way to Walter Reed by 430.   I won’t go into too much detail but suffice it to say that we are glad we are past this day, with Koryn well on her way to winning her battle. 

Koryn started the day in Nuclear Medicine with the injection of the radioactive dye for her Lymph node biopsy, which was done during her four hours of surgery.  Needless to say, Koryn was understandably anxious throughout the morning, and while her time in Anesthesia was, in itself stressful, she left anesthesia definitely in her “happy place”.  The surgery took a total of 4 hours, and according to both of her surgeons…it was a success.  There were really no complications or unexpected findings.  We won’t know the final results of the lymph node biopsy for about a week.  Lymph node involvement is a major factor in determining Koryn’s final treatment plan, so we anxiously, yet prayerfully look forward to those results.

Koryn finally emerged from recovery, or shall I say, reached some level of lucidity about 530 this evening.  They have been giving her a pretty hefty dose of painkillers, so she was feeling pretty good when I left her at 9.  Her pain was pretty much under control, although the next 12 hours will probably be a little rough as the spinal block they gave her will slowly wear off and the full pain load will be on the meds they are giving her.  Fortunately, the overnight unit was pretty empty so it appeared that she was going to essentially have her own nurse for the night!  

I’ll write more tomorrow unless Koryn takes control of the keyboard upon her return, but I would like to say thanks to all who’ve sent their well wishes and prayers.  Throughout Koryn’s journey so far, it has been amazing to watch how the prayers of our faithful family and friends have lifted her up and encouraged her in these often difficult times.  The past few weeks have been absolutely amazing as we experience God speaking personally to the both of us.  We are so encouraged!

This entry was posted on October 29, 2008. 7 Comments

A Note About Tuesday’s Surgery

You can reach Tim on his cell phone 703-477-6142 Tuesday / Wednesday but reception inside the hospital is poor.  You can always leave a voice message.  Please try not to call the house phone after Tuesday this week…..Tim will update this blog Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.  I am expected to be home late Wednesday.  Please call before coming by the house. Please no visitors at the hospital. Thank you for understanding. Love, Koryn  Scroll down for Sunday’s post & photos! 🙂
This entry was posted on October 27, 2008. 10 Comments

HOPE

Yesterday was a beautiful day!  It was also my birthday, a day of celebration of life and love, friends and family.  Each time the song Happy Birthday was sung, the refrain “…and many more” rings in my heart!  God has many more blessings in store for us, many more days to see the good things poured out from Heaven!  Many more opportunities to see what He can do!  This is my favorite time of the year, when the leaves change their colors and prepare for the coming winter.  Every season has its purpose…even in my life right now, I know that the dark winter is coming, but spring is promised…a future of hope, healing, and renewed life.  Tim and I hold on to that promise and keep our eyes faced forward, and always looking up. 

 

How Great Is Our God< – click to listen

These are the words my 17 year old son wrote on his Facebook site after he was attacked following his school football game Friday night. Pushed to the ground, kicked multiple times in the head, for no reason by 5 punk thugs, he came out of it thankful he wasn’t hurt worse than he was, other than cuts and bruises, and recognized God’s protection over him and his girlfriend and friend who were with him. His girlfriend wasn’t harmed, his friend was beaten also.  But all of them have a strong faith and are an example to me of God’s love.  How great Is Our God!  Even in the trials, He is with us.

Tic-Toc

48 hours from now I will be in surgery.    It hardly seems real.  The words keep playing over and over again in my thoughts “I can’t believe this is happening to me”.  Yet, the world just keeps on spinning around me as if nothing were happening at all.  Kids have choir concerts, nieces and nephews carve pumpkins, leaves fall off trees, girls go to homecoming dance, and all the while I can’t help but feel like I am in a daze watching it all.  I feel like asking the world to just stop for a few weeks so I can prepare myself for what’s to come but the truth is I could never be ready.  Nobody is really ready for such a big change in their lives.  My new friend gave me a book to read called Grace For Each Hour.  That’s all I really need, I guess…grace for one hour at a time….I can’t look too far ahead, and I can’t look back, just at the next hour.  And God will pull me through each one. 

Psalm 139:1-5, 16  “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know when I sit down or stand up.  You know my every thought when far away.  You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest.  Every moment You know where I am.  You know what I’m going to say even before I say it.  You both precede and follow me.  You place your hand of blessng on my head…You saw me before I was born.  Every day of my life was recorded in your book.  Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

FAMILY PHOTOS -updated 10/25/08 <–click

Nesting

That’s what we use to call it when we were waiting for our babies to arrive…”Nesting”…cleaning the house, making things ready for a newcomer.  Now I am “ready-ing” my house to be without me fore a few days or weeks…catching up on all the laundry and house cleaning I’ve let slide.  I even climbed up into the attic and got down all the Christmas cards that will need addressing before the holiday season hits soon.  I’m glad I’ve always been on top of that project and purchased my cards at 50% off the year before!  Little things like this help me feel a sense of control in a world where things are all gone to pieces in a very short time.  I know that nothing will ever feel totally ready for what I am about to go through, and many things will have to just be left undone.  That’s okay.  I let go of perfection a long time ago.  This sort of feels like the calm before the storm.  How severe the winds will blow, I still don’t know.  So many friends have offered their help and yet I don’t know what I’ll need in the coming weeks.  Whatever it is, I feel confident that someone will be there to step in and take over.  Thank you to all of you.  Even if just to love on my very high-need dog. 🙂   I met my new friend yesterday, the neighbor who is also battling breast cancer.  What a delight!  She truly lifted my spirits and showed me that I, too, will overcome and feel whole  a month from now.  Yet both of us still face the toughest challenge yet of the chemo and radiation and both of us looked at each other with the same thought…”how hard is that going to be?”  I am just glad that we won’t face it alone and that we have each other now.  What a gift from God she is!  Her children were a real pick-me-up too – just so sweet and precious…two preschoolers with their innocence and playfulness.  Something to grasp on to in times of stark reality.  Four days until surgery is here….better get sweeping those dusty floors!

My sporty side!

This look will be similar to the ball cap hair piece I just bought in preparation for my upcoming chemo treament when I won’t have my own hair.  It allows you to wear your own baseball cap(s) over a ponytail that is made of real hair and bangs.  I got the wavy brown hair which looks more like my own,  but this photo gives you the idea, anyways. It is taken from the  hair piece web site. This whole process feels very surreal like it’s not happening to me, but to someone else.  I know I’m not really going to feel that when the hair goes, but at least now I will be prepared for it and can still look somewhat like myself. Sporty and hip! “Ha”!, Tim says (and he’s right – I’m a far cry from “sporty!”)  But then I am discovering new things about myself every day now so who knows what new leaf I’ll turn over!

This entry was posted on October 22, 2008. 4 Comments

A bit of control

I called patient advocacy today at my hospital.  I just had to vent….speak my mind, and hopefully make a difference in the treatment of the next woman with breast cancer.  There’s just been some things that have bothered me about the MRI facility and/or the care/ doctor’s insensitivities, technician’s lack of patient privacy, etc. that I felt neede to be addressed.  They were small things, yet it’s a small something I can take control of when my world has been pulled out from under me.  The woman I spoke with assured me she would take on my concerns personally and inspect the rooms and situations I described.  That’s her job.  She was very caring.  My experience with the breast care clinic and the plastic surgery office is nothing but absolutely professional, but there are just other places in the hospital that could use some improvement.  I guess that’s probably the situation with everything.  I’m hoping that by using the avenues afforded to patients, positive changes can be made.  It made me feel better to do something about it rather than just complaining and wishing it were different.

Confirmed

I got the call from my doctor this morning confirming that the second biopsy revealed invasive lobular carcinoma.  I guess I might have been holding onto a shred of hope that they were going to say it wasn’t, but until you get that final report you always hold out hope.  I told him that was okay and that it actually made my surgical decisions a lot easier.  It confirmed them, I suppose.  Then like a ray of light, I met a new neighbor through one of my former teacher friends at St. Matthews, whose son is in her class this year.  She lives a stone’s throw from my house in the same sub division and is being treated at the same hospital and had the same surgeons I will have!  Her surgery was 4 weeks ago and she is doing great!  She told me all of the things I can expect and gave me such assurance that everything is going to be fine, and that this pre-surgery time is actually the hardest.  Not only that, but we share the same spiritual faith and our husbands both work at The Pentagon and are in The Air Force!  She just moved to this area a couple of months ago and has young children, yet our circumstances with diagnosis and treatment couldn’t be more similar.  God knew I needed this friend who would be just one step ahead of me in her treatment to pave the way for me emotionally and to prepare for what’s to come.    One more huge  blessing in a string of many!

This entry was posted on October 20, 2008. 4 Comments

Are you talking to me God?

As we were driving home from church today, we passed by this sign on the side of the road.  I remembered that our Bible study leader said a couple of weeks ago that our attitude (our “mood”, if you will) is all determined by a single thought.  From there flows the attitudes of our heart and mind.  We can choose to listen to the negative, self defeating messages barreling at us, or we can speak God’s truths to ourselves and change our whole perspective.  Things like “I am valuable”, “God cares about me”, “God wants to use me”, “”He will never leave me or forsake me”, these words are shaping my view of my current circumstances and helping me stay positive and looking UP!  Funny how God speaks to us even as we’re driving down the road.  On September 10th I had to take my dog to the vet clinic.  I had just had my first core needle biopsy two days before that and was understandably pretty nervous and anxious.  There in the parking lot as I was pulling out of my parking spot, I glanced at the bumper of the car parked next to me.  On it was a sticker that read “Do Not Fear” and  a cross next to the words.  Hmmmm…was God talking to me?  Then as I pulled out onto the main road, a big truck got in front of me.  Plastered across the back were these words – “God Will Supply Everything You Need”.  I then had no doubt that reaching down from Heaven to my little finite world was the creator of the universe speaking to my soul and comforting me and instructing me.  I hadn’t at that point gone searching the Bible for peace…I was still wandering around feeling sorry for myself and full of anxiety.  But God reached out to me and spoke to me right where I was.  Again today I was reminded that His hand in in my life and through the words of others and through His words in The Bible and elsewhere He wants to communicate His love to me. 

A Flower in The Rain

(Video Below):

You are the One; there’s no one else
Who lifts me up
And gives me water from the well
But there’s a hole
That seems to drain it all away
And once again I’m left in fear and doubt
When all my strength is crying out

CHORUS:
So here I am again
Willing to be opened up and broken like a flower in the rain
Tell me what have I to do
To die and then be raised
To reach beyond the pain
Like a flower in the rain

The evil wind, it blows a storm
To rock my world
Just when I think I’m safe and warm
I’m led astray far too easily
It’s always hard for me to say I’m wrong
Until I know I can’t go on

CHORUS

Lord, You have searched me
And know when I sleep and when I rise
You’re familiar with all my ways
Even the darkness will shine
Like the day when you look into my heart.So here I am again
Willing to be opened up and broken like a flower in the rain.
Tell me what have I to do to die and then be raised
To reach beyond the pain like a flower in the rain
Like a flower in the rain?

No Exit

Today was surreal.  At times I have felt like I  wished there was an escape hatch where I could exit this nightmare and act like it never happened.   Just 16 days ago I entered a Random Road that caught me totally off guard and I never would have chosen to turn down it on my own, but here I find myself. I never thought I would be put in the position of deciding such big things for my future and quite honestly I just was so focused on ridding my body of cancer most recently.  But today, in the end (after many hours with doctors, asking them all lots and lots of questions),  I feel really good about our decisions and know that one day I will once again be whole and healed and cancer free.  My parents are going to try and arrange to fly out to stay with us the week following surgery which is now scheduled for sure Oct. 28th.  There are obviously only ten days until then so please pray that my parents can get things in order to make that happen and that I stay well and healthy.  I look forward to moving on past this.  This is a first step in that process….a long process, but still, one that I feel okay with and at peace with.  Again, that peace can only be God’s hand upon me.  I know other way to describe it.

 Isaiah 26:3:    You will keep in perfect peace
    all those who trust in You, God,
    all whose thoughts are fixed on You!

This is what it means to be HELD

I feel so held by the hand of God through your prayers.  I cannot explain it, my total dismay has turned to peace and I know it is because you are praying. Thank you!

This entry was posted on October 17, 2008. 1 Comment

The ball is rolling…

I was actually having a really good day today until I came home to a bunch of answering machine messages.  One was the chemo doctor’s office scheduling my first appointment with them for consultation November 20th.  Oncology Hematology is what they are called….the cancer people! That’s what they do – treat cancer via chemotherapy.

Then my doctor called to say that Tuesday’s biopsy results aren’t fully in but the preliminary result is concerning for lobular carcinoma and that we have an appointment set up tomorrow with plastic surgery to discuss reconstruction options.  That’s a whole lot to swallow all in one message!  Whoa!  So I called him and he said we don’t have to have surgery Monday or Thursday or even a week from now but that we need to prepare ourselves mentally for mastectomy and make some decisions ahead of time so that we feel comfortable with where we go from there.  He also said that the pathology report from the biopsy 3 weeks ago showed venous (veins) and lymphatic invasion (not lynph nodes but the channels that lead to the nodes) and so he wouldn’t be surprised to find cancer in the lymph nodes when they biopsy those at this surgery we do next.  That said, it is all treatable and responds well to the therapies available there with a positive long term outcome.  Whew!  Am I suppose to be glad for that?  I can’t tell.  

I just feel numb.

This entry was posted on October 16, 2008. 3 Comments

Surgery postponed

I got a call today from the surgeon’s office. Anesthesia has to attend a conference next week and they have postponed surgery until Thursday the 23rd. Pathology reports from yesterday’s test could change that even still, but right now that’s where we stand. Stay Tuned!

This entry was posted on October 15, 2008. 2 Comments

Biopsy #2 Update – Oct. 14

Just wanted to update and let you now what happened today.  I had a core needle MRi guided biopsy of the other side of the breast and they took 15 (count ’em) FIFTEEN samples to send off to the lab.  The procedure took two hours under only local anesthetic.  They are expiditing them so we can get results back Thursday or Friday.  We went up to the breast care center and got the forms to proceed with genetic testing but won’t follow through on that until a few weeks from now.  This was just the preliminary paperwork.  This will test the BRACA1 and BRACA2 gene presence, a genetic, family-passed breast cancer gene.  Tim and I then went to talk to the surgeon and look at last week’s MRI images and ask him a page worth of quetions we had.  He never rushes us and always makes time for us no matter how long that takes.  He is really good to us, in fact the whole staff is so caring.  With my head down and unable to watch anything during the biopsy a nurse gently rubed my back and whispered near my ear “How are you doing?  Not much longer…one more…” Etc. She was like an angel sent from Heaven on a very rough day.  I guess such a procedure shakes up the nervous system, especially being awake and aware during the whole thing but unable to see anything…I was cold and shaking afterwards but after some Tylenol and a drink and deep breath I felt better.  Right now we wait.  If results come back showing malignancy, then surgery will be postponed until a day this month when plastic surgery AND the surgeon can be in the O.R. together to perform mastectomy & sentinal lymph node biopsy.  If they come back benign, then surgery will still be this coming Monday the 20th and will be a double lumpectomy (both the site we know to be cancerous and the site that they biopsied today) and Sentinal Lymph Node biopsy surgery.  Hope that’s not too much information for you, but now you know.  I appreciate your continued prayers and e-mails.  I feel God’s mercy in little things and know that He is using your prayers to help me through so keep it up!     Psalm 94:18
When I said,  “My foot is slipping,” your love, O LORD, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.

This entry was posted on October 14, 2008. 1 Comment