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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Home again! Home again! Jiggity jig!!

Well not quite yet, but I was discharged from the hospital today at 2:30pm and am back at my Houston home with my family! The last four days have held a myriad of emotions from elation at God's tremendous answer to prayers in removing the tumor and saving my hand, to the sobering reality that the road to my arm’s healing will be much longer than I anticipated and doesn't even involve my cancer battle.

I was so focused on the outcome of my surgery (if I would keep my arm or face amputation and if they could fully remove the tumor), I had given no thought to what regaining function of my hand would look like, much less the post-recovery pain. That reality hit home when I saw my incision very early the first day in the hospital. It stretched the length of my forearm - from wrist to elbow. Needless to say, I realized then that I wouldn't be "back to normal" in a few days. In fact, Dr. Lin explained on the first day I might not know about the full functionality of my remaining fingers and thumb for several months. And much of the functionality would be dependent on how my median nerve healed and how my brain relearned how to move my fingers. I didn't know how much rearranging he did inside my arm and I didn't expect to have a drain and catheter peeking out of my arm for several days.

As the pain-management team relentlessly sought to figure out the best way to control my pain, much of which is phantom ulnar nerve pain, tears would pool up in my eyes as I worked and worked to get one finger to move and I just couldn't. And then I was dealing with the strange sensation of fingers reawakening and fingers never to wake again. It is a very strange sensation indeed, but the doc said my brain would adjust to the numb feeling with time.

When my family and docs would encourage me that it is extremely early in the recovery ball game and remind me my body is incredibly resilient, my thoughts would move to "the cancer." It was, after all, the entire reason I earned admittance to MDA (I couldn't escape that when I looked at my bald head). Then, I became anxious about the future after this obstacle was hurdled - more chemo, possible radiation and the word I have grown to hate - recurrence. And all the while, I simply wanted to be an independent cancer-free wife and mama with two good arms, energy and no need for narcotics.

Needless to say, the last four days have been filled with many ups and downs. I had to remember, as one friend once told me, God doesn't give us grace for our imaginations, He gives us grace for the moment, and I needed to focus on the task at hand - getting better and focusing on all I have, not what I've lost.

Thankfully, I am pretty much out of the groggy foggy narcotic state I've been in and can update you on what's next. I am thankful I no longer have to wear tights up to my knees, a robe exposing all of my backside, and the need to measure every ounce of my urine. I am also thankful to be "unhooked" with the exception of my drain which will remain in my arm for another week. However, I'd be remiss if I didn't express huge gratitude for the tremendous care I received at MDA from docs to nurses. The MDA staff was compassionate, patient, caring and gifted. My family was also an indescribable blessing to me - thanks for being the best nurses and play pals Alexa and I could ask for. And how can I possibly express the thankfulness I have for all of you who have prayed me through with such faithfulness. I have the most amazing team fighting with me!!

Okay, so what's next? We'll leave for Dallas tomorrow and Alexa and I will probably stay with my parents through the week until my follow-up appointments with my orthopedic and plastic surgeon at MDA on Monday, Oct. 7. The fact is I only have one functioning hand, so I need help tying my shoes let along wrangling a three-and-a-half year old. I also need to elevate my arm as much as possible. The main objective right now is allowing the wound/incision to heal. Then, we'll focus attention on hand therapy and starting a new chemo regimen at home. Hand therapy will probably be 6 to 8 weeks. We won't know full details on possible chemotherapy until I have another visit with Dr. Benjamin.

Thank you again for continuing this journey with me. It's been quite a trek thus far but I'm so excited your journeying along in faith and hope with me. I would have never chosen this path to see the Lord work as He has in my life but I know it is changing me, my family and anyone who's along for the ride. And perhaps that isn't such a bad thing!?

A few pics from the week . . .


The only reason I include this is so I can look back and say, "Man, I looked awful. I've come a long way. God is faithful!”


Mimi rocking Alexa to sleep after her hospital adventures. Alexa knew all the nooks & crannies and she was quite popular with the hospital staff.


Alexa playing at one of the many amazing parks in Houston.


Alexa enjoying a sunset overlooking Houston on the 24th floor/observation deck at MDA.


We're going home!! I don't know who was more excited, mommy or daughter.

- Pain control as my arm continues to heal. Especially for the ability to sleep at night. It's a tricky act balancing my narcotics.
- For my incision to heal quickly and infection-free. I get to take a shower this week - HOORAY!!
- For my drain to be as comfortable and irritation-free as possible this week and for all fluids to drain properly and without clots. The drain is like the port to me - it absolutely grosses me out and I get woozy seeing it stick out of my arm. Seeing the fluid collect isn't easy on my tummy either.
- For continued patience & discipline to work on regaining movement back in my fingers. To be grateful for little improvements every day.
- Understanding and patience for Alexa as her world continues change - no routines & now a very fragile mommy.
- For endurance and strength for my constant caretakers. I pray God heaps blessings upon them.
- For my heart to remain strong & encouraged on this journey.
- For my body to be free of cancer - no recurrence in my arm and for C7 cancer to continue dying.
- For God to continue His work of "good" in my life and more glory going to Him.


  1. Johnny & Leda McNabbSeptember 29, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    So happy to get to see your pictures and keep updated on the progress being made. Love and Prayers!


  2. Dearest Kelsey and Kennedys: Sog glad you have been released to go home. We are continuing our prayers for your recovery and for you to be cancer free. Also hope you will be filled with God's peace and strength. We love you. Sharl and Doug Taylor