Tomorrow is the surgery to take out the extender, clean the area, and put in the new extender. It is hoped this will ONCE AND FOR ALL get rid of that infection that is causing that "red area" on my breast. And I am hoping for a good outcome and the end of this endless trying to make everything "all better". If it doesn't work, then the extender will come out, we give this side a while to heal and get better, and then try again sometime in the future.
I had a call from my "chemo friend" whom I have never met, but knows a lot more of my story than most people who do know me and see me each day. She has gone through a lot similar to me, except for all the craziness of the reconstruction. She has decided not to do this. We talked about how life will never be "normal" again...but it will be a "different normal". We both will look at things differently, make changes in our lives and the way we live them, and still mourn the loss of a whole year of our lives....but glad to be alive and have a wonderful chance of being long-time survivors! And we intend to meet next week for the first time. I am looking forward to this.
Around the same time as this call, my former Pastor e-mailed with a story about a conversation he had after viewing a photo of an older woman who had survived breast cancer. The conversation was with the 80+ year old woman in the photo and she told him how God was with her all the way and made her recovery possible. The photo showed a light coming down on her and she looked at peace with herself and her life. I wrote him an answer and I am repeating it here:
"This is a story I feel with my heart. And one I understand with my spirit.
I have learned that how I look is not as important as who I am. I have learned that God can give me incredible strength just when I need it....and He can hold me and cry with me when there is more needed than just strength. I have learned that what I will take with me from this life will not be where I went, or what I did, or how much I accumulated; but if I was a good friend and if I showed love both when it was poured on me...and when it was not.
I have had people tell me, "You actually look better than you ever have!" And I just smile because I know now it has nothing to do with a hairstyle or make-up or clothes. God's love is shining through my eyes and my heart and that makes anyone beautiful. And I am at last at peace with myself because I know God sees my heart and that's all that matters.
Yes, I understand the story and the journey and the light that shines brighter because of it."
You know that saying "there's a light at the end of the tunnel"? Well, there really is...and we thank God for that!