Posted on May 2, 2018
“On the darkest of days, when I feel inadequate, unloved and unworthy. I remember whose daughter I am and I straighten my crown.”-unknown
Oh what a few weeks can do to your heart and soul... (& lungs)
Less than a month ago on April 8th we made the all-to-familiar trek to MSK for what we thought would be a simple and relatively easy procedure to destroy three tumors on my left lung.
I mean, it’s not liver surgery.
Another One Bites the Dust
Dr. Stephen Solomon, (Chief of Interventional Radiology @ MSK) and his dedicated team conducted the Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) procedure. Using a CT scan technology, the image-guided needle was navigated into the center of each tumor mass. Once positioned, a high-frequency electrical current was shot into each tumor thus destroying the unwelcome residents. My left lung was liberated however, a post-op x-ray showed some excess air was trapped in my lung cavity. I received a Pneumothorax diagnosis which came with a first-class trip up to the 16th floor.
After having a chest tube inserted I slipped on my ear buds, eye mask and started my Calm app and passed out. The next morning x-rays confirmed the chest tube worked and the excess air was gone.
After only 1 night, we were discharged. This was a much welcomed first for Fred and I.
I felt good leaving the hospital and was eager to get out of the city for some much needed R&R.
Goodbye Manhattan, Hello Hamptons.
We were very blessed this past trip to be able to stay with friends in their beautiful home. The day after being discharged, I started experiencing some labored breathing. MSK ordered me to strict bedrest and told Fred to closely monitor my breathing. The next day my breathing was not getting better. When it became too difficult to speak in complete sentences, we knew we’d have to head back. Since we were at least 90 minutes from Memorial Hospital, Fred brought me to the closest MSK campus on Long Island in Commack.
Upon check in, another x-ray was ordered. This time the x-ray showed excess fluid building in my left lung cavity. After viewing the scan, Fred later told me that 2/3 of my lung cavity was immersed.
I remember thinking to myself “it can never be easy can it.”
After the x-ray, Dr. Stigelbaum came into the room explained that I had a Pleural Effusion
*buildup of fluid between the tissues that line the lungs and the chest.
…and that I needed a Thoracentesis.
*procedure in which a needle is inserted into the pleural space between the lungs and the chest wall to remove excess fluid, to help you breathe easier.
Sigh, here we go again... ear buds, eye mask and Calm app and Night, Night for Sam.
Despite the MSK team’s best efforts e.g. Draining ½ a liter of fluid out of my lung cavity, another post-op x-ray revealed the cavity was still immersed.
My little left lung was out of breathing room.
Cue Ambulance, EMT’s, Lights and Siren.
Manhattan We’re Coming Back.
As I later told this part of the story to friends and family, I’ve been asked a lot if I was scared in the Ambulance. I can honestly say I wasn’t.
Now some may argue that had to do with the pain meds.
But I know because I’ve learned - it’s because God’s divine plan for me covers it ALL – despite the bumps, disappointments, knock downs and tragedies. His are always Plans to prosper me and not to harm me, Plans to give me hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
Plus - I'd never been in an ambulance before. Weaving our way into NYC with lights flashing and siren screaming was kind of exciting.
So, after a 24-hour wait in the Urgent Care, 3 more nights on the 16th floor, and a few liters of excess fluid drained out… my little lung inflated up and started working again.
We got back to Orlando about 2 weeks ago on April 18th.
So where does that leave us? - So glad you asked :-)
After what feels like a pit stop at home.
This week Fred and I are back at it.
Ready to make another trek. This time for the right lung.
A big reason why we are able to get the best care possible and be as aggressive as possible is a direct result of your donations.I want to take a moment and thank all of you who have donated, shared our story and blanketed me in love and support.
Tomorrow, May 3rd we head BACK TO NYC. Friday May 4th Dr. Solomon will perform the 2nd RFA procedure to remove 2 spots on my right lung.
As we prepare to Fly back to MSK on Thursday we ask that you take a moment and pray for the following:
- This procedure goes smoother than the last
- That Right Lung recovers better than my Left Lung did. Prayers for a quick turn-around and recovery
- Continued Wisdom and Understanding for Dr. Solomon, Dr. Kemeny (Queen Bee) and all the Nurses and MSK team
- Accommodations in NYC (my sweet husband always having to sleep in a chair)
- GiGi and Pop Pop for taking care of our precious Knox and Cassius
- God's provision and protection
- Safe travels to and from NYC
- Prayers that this will be the last procedure for a while
I hope to continue sharing my story so that God will use me to impact, encourage and give hope to others. So, on behalf of my family and friends please keep sharing, donating (every dollar amount is prayed over and appreciated) and praying.
I can't even begin to count how many people have impacted my life over the past year, but I want to start highlighting and personally thanking some people who have made all the difference. I continue to fight for you all.
My girls. My tribe. My prayer warriors.
Sabrina Seidman, Ashley Lucille, Jessica Diaz, Kim Martin, Wesley Brinkhurst, Jenn Ruble, Erin Chavez, Erin Brown, Ashley Angelotti, Becca Hundersmark, Danielle White, Erin Fischer, Amber DeFino - you girls are life! From the memory box, to random trips to Disney, Sam Strong tank tops, phone calls, gift cards and boxes, text messages, concerts, pool days, you name it, these girls do it. God has blessed me SO GREATLY with the most amazing core group of girls. You give me life, make me laugh, bring me joy and create an environment where I feel safe and free to be myself. I can't thank you enough for your love and support.
Adam Friden and team at Catered Fit.
When this journey started and I had no idea what to do diet-wise, Adam you came to the rescue! I just want to thank you and your awesome team for sending us meals that catered to our needs. I've known you since 1st grade and could not be more proud of how far you've come. Fred and I appreciate your business and hope it will continue to expand and impact the lives of others along the way.
My glam squad!
SIKE! (do people still say that? well, i just did)... I don't really have one but some days I feel like I do. Lea Montes, you are a dream. Thank you for making me feel and look like a movie star but more importantly I appreciate your friendship and encouragement. You're gorgeous, talented and blessed with a heart of gold. I adore you. Kristen Weaver - from the day I saw those beach wedding pictures on your website I KNEW you were going to be our wedding photographer. Little did I know the friendship that would unfold because of it. God has given you such a beautiful talent and I'm honored to be one of your subjects. Thank you for all the memories you've captured of us over the years - nothing will ever replace that. Jenny Bracht at Dolce Vita - you gorgeous girl you. Thank you making me feel beautiful even with this crazy hair I have these days. You have the most incredible heart and I'm just thankful to know you. And yes, Katie Hill I still love you boo don't think I ever forget about you. xo
Thank you all for continuing this journey with me. We will update everyone ASAP.
Fight the Good Fight.