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Sunday, October 6, 2013

A few updates

Just wanted to provide a few updates on how living left-handed has been going as well as when my appointments will be tomorrow at MDA. I also wanted to provide more info on my silly dog bite and my dear friend, Melinda.

I am doing surprising well with my post-op recovery. Well, I actually don't know what the doctors will say, but at least for me, I have been pleasantly surprised by my progress, and I laugh a lot about the adjustments that must be made living with only one functioning hand. I still deal with pain - mostly nerve and phantom nerve pain in my pinky and ring finger. Actually, the bulk of my pain is in my lower back and left leg. I still take Hydrocodone at night but I have been able to maintain my pain (for the most part) with Ibuprofen during the day. I felt like my other narcotic was causing weird side effects, so I just decided to see if I could survive without it. So far, so good. Ty Lord!!

Many areas in my lower forearm are still sensitive but I'm sure that will continue as things heal. No doubt, hand therapy will be another new level of pain. I have some movement in my thumb, index finger and middle finger. I can touch them together if I concentrate really hard. I cannot bend my index finger or thumb no matter how hard I try, so I am trusting that will come with time and lots of practice. My middle finger is the most productive and flexible at this point.

I will hopefully get my drain removed tomorrow and that would be wonderful!! No doubt, I will still be very dependent on others for help, but removing the drain will make my life more convenient in so many ways - from showering to changing clothes.

Speaking of, living life left-handed has been an eye-opening experince. Even when my right hand was deteriorating before the tumor was removed, I still had full function of my index finger and thumb on my right hand. Now, even with small progress in movement with the three working fingers of my right hand, I can't use them in practical ways (like holding things or bearing weight) . . . yet. My right arm is pretty useless thus far but goodness I am thankful to have it!! And, I WILL be using it before long!

So, it's been interesting to see what I can do and what is almost impossible without the help of others like - cleaning or applying deoderant to my left underarm, cutting food, spreading a condiment on food, tying my shoes, doing Alexa's hair, putting on my watch, strapping my bra, etc . . .

I wanted to challenge you to try to do a few things entirely left-handed or with your non-dominant hand (no cheating). I'm not asking you to do this so you'll feel sorry for me. Rather, so you will get a kick out of how creative you have to be to get little, everyday tasks accomplished without constantly asking for help. Hint: I have learned your mouth/teeth are a great asset as well as your legs. Who knows, maybe I will gain some flexibility in the next couple of months.

-- opening & closing a ziploc bag 
-- opening a pill bottle or anything with a screw lid
-- putting in contacts
-- applying make-up (specifically eye liner & mascara)
-- washing & drying your hand
-- using a zipper
-- folding clothes and hanging them up
-- dressing a rambuctious three-year-old
-- typing (just like I am now)
-- taking clothes off & on

**If you have any advice on how to accoplish these things with great ease, please share your secrets with me. I'll share mine too :)

We will be in Houston for three appointments tomorrow. Would you please be in prayer for the following?

9:30am - Dr. Sharaf (my plastic surgeon)

--Please pray Dr. Sharaf is pleased with how my incision is healing and that my drain would be removed. (We have been measuring my drainage ouput 2x a day, so hopefully it is low enough to remove without complications.) I am VERY nervous about having the drain pulled out. I am afraid of the sensation and afraid it will gross me out so much I may get sick. Pray I can be brave!!

1:00pm - Bloodwork 

--Please ask the Lord for great numbers and no reason for concern.

2:00pm - Dr. Benjamin (Sarcoma Oncologist)

--We will be discussing future treatment in light of my post-op recovery. We believe he will recommend chemotherapy but we are also going to ask about future radiation to my arm and the possibilty of another PET scan. Please pray for God's timing and direction with all of this. We don't want to move too fast and hinder recovery of my arm or move to slow and encourage cancer growth.

4:30pm - Dr. Lin (orthopedic surgeon)

-- He will be assessing my recovery. I assume we will talk about hand therapy and what I might expect to accomplish with my hand/arm in the future. We will probably discuss treatment options with him and the possibility of reconstructtive surgery to my "numb" fingers further down the road. Please pray Dr. Lin would be pleased with how I've been progressing. I am also hoping to share more about our mighty God and the miracle He pulled off in helping Lin save my arm.

Well, the dog we thought might be the culprit - wasn't :( It just didn't look like the same dog when the animal welfare man brought pictures by for me. We thought we might have seen another possibility today but I don't really care anymore. My wound is healing and the colorful bruises and swelling are starting to go away. Needless to say, I walked at a public park the rest of my time in Dallas.

I apologize for not updating you sooner. The surgeon was able to completely remove the tumor. Her recovery and pain control has gone well and her speech was protected. Praise the Lord! However, pathology revealed her tumor was a spindle cell sarcoma of the bone. This is a different cancer than Melinda had before, and shockingly, it's a sarcoma like mine (not the same kind though). They believe it was caused by her radiation.

I received this news while I was in the hospital last week and it was very hard for me to process. My heart is deeply saddened for Melinda and reminded, even when you are free of cancer, it can come back and even be different. Ironically, Melinda will meet with my sarcoma doctor (Benjamin) next Monday, October 14. He is the best and she'll be in great hands. They believe chemotherapy may be the next step for her. Melinda's attitude is remarkable as she faces another hurdle on her journey. Her trust in and praise of Her Father despite another setback is humbling. Please pray for endurance and complete healing for Melinda.

In closing, the music minister at church today read Psalm 34. This passage (especially the last half) has been very meaningful to me throughout this journey. However, a different section of this passage jumped out and grabbed a hold of my heart. It caused a welling up in my soul - a deep, deep joy one can only have when they know and experience the goodness of our great God. As of September 24, 2013, I am more cancer-free than I've been in several years!! My God accomplished this and even though the road ahead will more than likely be filled with many challenges, may His name remain on my lips . . .

"I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; He saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him."  -- Psalm 34:1-8


  1. Dearest Kelsey: Will be praying that your appointments go well. Will also be lifting Melinda up. Hang in there. With the Lord's hellp and that of your family and friends, you have come so far. May the Lord fill you and those you love with HIS peace and strength. Sharl and Doug Taylor

  2. Wow!!! You do have a busy day tomorrow. We pray you will have good reports from all appointments tomorrow. How exciting it is to here about the movement you have with your fingers even if it is just a little. God is soooo good!! We will be anxiously waiting to hear results from your appointments. We will be praying for Melinda. Our love, Bob and Shelly