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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

MY Miracle Baby

Lane Benjamin
 Born August 31, 2012

I was 8 weeks pregnant when I found out I was expecting my 4th baby.  I couldn't seem to wrap my head around it.  I had a baby, Miles, he was just one and Lucy was 2 I couldn't be pregnant again!  But I was.  I had a tumor in my foot, cancer.  I was going to go through the most difficult journey but I wasn't  going to do it alone, I was going to be taking my unborn baby with me.

A baby is a miracle.  They are heaven sent and beautiful they bring insurmountable joy, but pregnancy I would say for most is, well hard.  You are constantly gaining weight, sometimes your sick, like vomitting, nauseous, headache, backache, can't sleep, always peeing, uncomfortable sick.  But pregnancy is beautiful too;!

Well my pregnancy was kind of horrendous in all honesty. But I had such a strong desire and fight to take care of this little baby inside me.  Having 2 surgery's while pregnant with Lane, one of which was my amputation was like something I can't even begin to explain.  I was fighting cancer fighting to keep my baby healthy and loosing my leg.  I was a wreck.  But I did it and I had a love so strong for this baby boy that it hurt.

August 31, 2012
Induction day.  This little baby boy hadn't been growing very well and was under a lot of stress so Dr. Browne and I decided we were ready to meet him.  I got to the hospital early that morning.  I was so nervous.  I had been through so much pain and stress I felt I couldn't do any more.  I was scared for the labor and nervous about this baby's health.

The induction went smoothly and quickly.  I was surrounded by Dallas, my mom, my sister Kaylee, and a wonderful nurse and Dr. Browne.  I was calm and Lane came into this world beautifully.  I watched as I delivered this tiny boy and as he came I was overcome with relief as I saw his tiny face and body and felt his warmth against my skin.  I was his mom and we had got through so much together and I just loved him.  He was perfect.

And Kaylee captured it:
Lane Benjamin Smith
5 lbs 15oz

Monday, November 19, 2012

My "NEW" Leg

On July 13, 2012  I went in to see my prosthetist and got my first prosthetic leg.  I went with my mom.  I was really pregnant and didn't know what to expect.  I sat in the room and waited and then he brought it in.  It looked so unreal.  It was plastic and metal with my shoe on the foot.  I couldn't imagine putting my leg in it and being able to stand much less walk.  I had to wear a liner under it which was like a thick silicone sock that went up past my knee.  I stood up and tried to get my leg in the socket.  It was so hard it took a long time to get it in and it hurt.  Finally I was in the leg and just was standing up.  It felt really weird.  I was standing but couldn't feel any weight on my foot.  I then took some steps with the parallel bars.   It was akward at first and felt so stiff.  I just kept walking and when I left I was able to walk with my crutches a bit.

I didn't wear the leg too much just here and there trying to get used to it.  It was so heavy.   When my kids and my nieces and nephew got home they all wanted to see me use the leg and they all wanted to "try" it on.  It was and still is a novelty to them.

 Miles wasn't too sure about my new leg

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Going Home

Dallas took me in the wheelchair down to the truck.  I waited in the wheelchair while he went to get the truck.  I sat there thinking how differnent everything was now.  Just 8 days ago I had two legs and had walked into the hospital now I was leaving unable to walk the thought was overwhelming.  It was difficult to get into the truck Dallas had to help me.  Needing so much help made me feel so vulnerable.  I couldn't do simple things on my own.

I got home after a long drive with lots pain.  I took some pills for pain and then laid on the couch.  I was so tired I hadn't slept and hadn't been eating since being in the hospital.  Soon after I got home my mom brought the kids home and Kaylee came with her kids.  It was so good to see all the kids together just being themselves.  They all wanted to see my new leg except for my oldest son, Ty.  He said he didn't want to see.  It made me sad that he was uncomfortable with my leg but Dallas said he'd get used to it.

Being at home was hard.  There wasn't a nurse to bring me something extra when the pain was intolerable.  I couldn't just hop in the bath tub or have a shower.  I had to be careful when I was using my crutches so I didn't fall and open my incision.  I couldn't pick Miles up when he was crying unless he came to me and sat on my lap.  I just was overwhelmed with how hard everything was now.

I tried to get out of the house a bit but had to go in a wheelchair.  Getting used to this change was so hard.  Somedays I could hardly stand it.  I would see friends with their children just going about doing everything I had done before.  Fixing meals for them, carrying them, helping them with the bathroom, going swimming, putting them in and out of carseats.  Just simple things that I couldn't do and I would get upset and emotional.

I was in constant unbearable pain at home.  I laid rubbing my leg using heating pads anything but nothing relieved the pain.  The pain was not in my actual leg but in my missing foot.  I was having phantom pain. I went into the hospital emergency once or twice for pain and a couple weeks after leaving the hospital I couldn't stand the pain any longer. I was always hurting couldn't sleep or eat and was nauseous and throwing up.  I went back into the hospital for a few days and I started on different narcotics that numbed the pain somewhat.

I was having such a hard time and felt like I just wasn't getting better.  I hated having constant debilitating pain and wanted to just feel back to "normal".  Which still hasn't happened.  I moved forward as best I could but was needing lots of help.  Thank heavens I had my mom.  She took care of my kids, fed us, cleaned up did the laundry.  We wouldn't have been able to get through it without all the help.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hospital Post Amputation

Because I did not have a general anaesthetic for the surgery I was in recovery and immediately awake and aware of the pain.  My first thought was I know my leg is gone and I don't have my foot, but my missing foot was hurting so very bad.  The pain was so unbearable and excruciating I just wanted to be put to sleep or pass out so I didn't have to feel it.  I was so anxious and unable to control my breathing and my emotions.  I was crying and asking for my nurse to get the pain to stop. I couldn't seem to get enough air as I started to hyperventilate.  I remember telling my nurse my foot was so so cold and begging her to put a warm blanket on it even though I knew the foot was gone I thought the blanket would help and it did.  I prayed and prayed for the pain to be controlled and finally the epidural started to work.  I was still in horrible pain, but I was able to bear it.  My leg was gone and all I could  think was that I would never have a leg again.  I was heartbroken.

After being in recovery for a couple hours I was finally taken to my hospital room.  As soon as I was in my room my Mom and Dallas were there.  I was so happy they were there even though I didn't want to open my eyes and see my leg.

Throughout my hospital stay I was anxious about my pregnancy.  There were times I couldn't feel him  move and I would be so scared he was not going to be okay and that they wouldn't hear his heartbeat.  I was trying to heal and grow a little baby.  I was overwhelmed with emotions.  I wanted my little baby to be okay I loved him and was sad he had to go through this with me.  He had a difficult journey here. I love this baby so much.

 I had the epidural in for 3 days and then they stopped it and tried to control my pain with oral medication.  As soon as the epidural started to wear off I was in agony.  I was in an extreme amount of pain and they decided to start the epidural again.  After 2 more days they stopped the epidural and I used a pain pump.  It seemed to work okay and I used it for a few days until I was finally only on oral medication.

On day 3 or 4 Dr. Puloski removed my cast and bandages.  I told him I still was not ready to look at my leg.  He asked me if I was sure and I assured him I didn't feel ready.  He removed the bandage and said it looked good and then it was wrapped again.  The next day when my nurse came in to clean my incision and wrap it I looked.  I was overwhelming to look down and see a new leg.  One that was missing a foot and an ankle.  It was my leg but it looked so foreign. I let the tears fall slowly down my cheeks.

I had lots of visitors in the 8 days I was in the hospital.  My mom stayed with me the first night and both her and Dallas stayed in Calgary with me for the first 3 days and then my dad came to visit and my mom went home with him to watch my children and bring them to visit. My brother and sister came as well as aunts, uncles, cousin and friends.  I kept my amputated leg covered by a blanket I was not ready for people to see my leg.

I was so happy when my children came.  As soon as they walked in the room they came to hug me and Miles just laid his little head on my chest and I held him for a half hour without him moving.  My heart was full.  I was sad I would not be able to carry this little boy for a long time.

It was so hard being in the hospital and not being able to take care of myself being in pain everyday.  I was so glad my mom was there to help me wash my hair, shower and get me out of the bed.  I remember how hard it was to get to the bathroom at first.  I used a walker and the few steps to the bathroom were unbearable.  I remember looking down and seeing a leg that did not touch the ground.  I  was sad.

I hate the hospital I can't sleep in them I was always getting poked and I was so emotional.

I was so ready to go home by 8 days but as I left the hospital I was so sad that I was leaving in a wheelchair.  I was leaving changed.  And I had so much pain.  My amputation was done now I had to learn to live differently.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Amputation Morning

May 22, 2012 .....   Such a difficult day.  Actually the hardest day of my entire life up to this point.  Hard for me to put into words the emotions I felt the morning of my surgery.

Sunday night my sister and mom came over to my house.  Kaylee was going to paint my toe nails on my two feet for the last time.  I was sad.  We watched TV and she painted my toes orange.  I watched as she painted and thought how I would never have both sets of toe nails painted together again.  I hurt inside because of such a simple thing.  I didn't really say much that night.

Monday evening I went over to my mom and dad's so Kaylee could take some pictures of me with both me legs before I left that night for my amputation the next morning.  I wanted pictures to remember but had been putting it off because I was dreading my surgery.  I remember taking off my shoes in the field and feeling the stiff grass on my feet.  Something I now don't feel as I have to walk with two shoes on in order for my prosthetic to be stable.  I had a knot in my throat as I smiled in the pictures.  I didn't want my leg to be gone.

Just before Dallas and I left for Calgary Monday night my Dad gave me a blessing.  I could feel the power with which he spoke and the the tenderness of his love.  I was so sad knowing how scared and hurt my family was.  I had nothing to say.  I couldn't think of anything that would ease the sadness we all felt.  I walked out of the house after saying goodbye to the kids and hugging them.  I knew that somehow I would be there mom when I came home.  But I would be changed; different both physically, emotionally and mentally.  I got in the vehicle and tears streamed down my cheeks as we drove away.  I would come home unable to stand up on my feet.  I was so scared.  So sad.  Just heartbroken really.

We got to Calgary around 10pm and I headed up to labor and delivery for my steroid injection.  I had to worry about my unborn baby and coming out of a surgery without my leg.  My nurse told me how sorry she was but didn't say much more.

Then we headed to the hotel.  We got in bed and I remember rubbing my two feet in the sheets trying to remember all the feeling of having two feet.  We set three alarms.  I had to check in at the Foothills hospital at 5:30 am Tuesday May 22.

The alarm went off. I quietly went into the bathroom and ran the water in the bathtub.  I sat in the tub staring at my two feet.  I wanted to remember what my left foot looked like.  It had a scar on the top that I had got in high school when Dallas hadn't held the boat still when I was getting in and it cut me.  I didn't want to forget what it looked like.  I cried as I looked at my feet and rubbed lotion on them and I sat in the bathroom looking down at my feet until Dallas called from the room and asked if I was coming out.

I got to the hospital and waited to be checked in.  Then I went upstairs and was quickly taken to a
pre-op area with Dallas.  They had me change into a gown and gave me slippers to wear.  I asked them if I could keep the slippers off so I could see my feet.  They said sure.  I didn't want to talk to the nurse I was trying to keep my emotions in check and talking made that hard. I sat on the stretcher and stared at my feet.  I was then taken to the surgical waiting room.  They said I would have to go there alone but my nurse that had done my pre-op information told them I would be needing my husband with me and she insisted he be allowed to stay with me.  I will forever be thankful for her sensitive care towards me.

Dallas and I sat be side each other and Dr. Puloski came and sat beside me.  I don't remember much of what he said.  I remember holding Dallas' hand and seeing tears in my surgeons eyes as he said how sorry he was but that he knew he was giving me the highest care he felt was needed for my case.

He left and then my surgical nurse came and explained a few more things with tears in her eyes and then the anaesthesiologist came and talked to me too.  Then my nurse came back to take me to surgery.  I stood and looked at Dallas and saw the tears spilling onto his cheeks and I hurt so much. My nurse told him they would take very good care of me.  He said please be okay when you come back to me.  I hoped I would.

He walked one way and I walked the other way.  I don't know who was with me that morning, but I could feel someone helping me walk down that hallway.  And I felt as though I was almost carried into the surgical suite and got up on the surgical table.  The nurse then covered my legs with a white sheet and I began to cry and asked if she could lift the sheet up so I could look at me two feet together for the last time.  She did and cried with me and then I laid down and my surgery started.

I prayed ALOT that morning.  I prayed for strength to help me walk into my surgery.  I prayed for help with the pain control.  I prayed for Dallas and my family.  I prayed I would be okay.  And I know so, so many others were praying for me that morning too.  And I believe that is why I was able to go into my amputation so easily.  The faith of so many people carried me that day when I could not have done it on my own.

Monday, August 27, 2012

My Family

The weekend before my surgery was the long weekend in May.  Dallas and I decided to take the kids to Kalispell for a couple days and then come home Sunday.  My surgery was scheduled for Tuesday and I wanted a day to just be home and get prepared for my surgery day.

The weekend passed so quickly.  I had a hard time concentrating on anything but how having no leg would affect everything I was doing.  I thought about how I wouldn't be able to shop with my kids, go swimming, carry Miles, do my laundry, go on a bike ride, etc.

We drove home Sunday late afternoon and the kids slept and the drive was quiet.  Just as we were driving into town my dad called Dallas and told him to come to my Aunt Robyn's.  We pulled up and all our family was there.  Dallas took the kids in and told me to wait in the car until he called me.  I knew something was up!

I walked into the entry and standing all together wearing matching T-shirts that said
"Fight Like a GIRL" was my family.  My  Mom and Dad, brother (his wife) and sister(her husband), Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and cousins and my nieces and nephews; as well as my husband and children.

I was overwhelmed with emotion as I took in the family in front of me.  They were all standing together showing me how much they loved me and I loved them.  I was so thankful for my amazing family.  Our extended family has always been  so close and I was so grateful they were there to support and love me.  I knew they truly wanted me to get better.  And I wanted to.   I really wanted to show them I could try my best with this challenging trial.  I knew they all carried a heavy but hopeful heart knowing the seriousness of my cancer and the rehabilitation after my amputation.

I knew that this family would help me get through everything that would be coming my way.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Choosing Amputation

Although amputation was really the only choice I struggled to commit to such a life altering decision.  I started to get sad.  Really, really sad.  I wanted to stay home and didn't want anyone to come see me.  I cried and read and read and read about amputation.  I looked at pictures, I talked to another girl similar in age to me about her amputation for cancer as well.  But the more I read the sadder I became.  I didn't want anyone in my family to talk to me about it.  I wanted everything to stop.

I was hardly keeping above water in my house.  My mom came one day and took all my laundry home and did it.  Dallas cleaned the house.  And I can hardly remember taking care of my own children.  I just didn't want to do this.

I knew that I would consent to the amputation before I had left the cancer centre that day but I didn't want to.  Finally I went back to Calgary and talked to an anaesthetist about the surgery and pregnancy and then was seen by the perinatologists in Calgary.  They explained I would again not be given a general anesthetic and that I was at risk of preterm labor.  I then signed the consent form.

Dr. Puloski's receptionist called with my surgery date.  May 22, 2012.  I cried.  It was real I was having part of my leg removed.  I would never be the same.  I hurt inside.  No one could make me feel better.  I was dreading that day that came so fast.

The week before my upcoming surgery I went swimming a couple times with the kids.  Something I knew I wouldn't be able to do for a long time afterwards, and something we did often and enjoyed.  I remember carrying Miles as often as I could knowing after the surgery I wouldn't be able to.  I held my kids more on the couch during the day and just hurt inside for all the things that were going to change.

I really prayed the weeks before my surgery.  I prayed harder than I ever had in my life.  Somedays I was okay and some days I was a wreck.  But whenever I was around anyone, family, or friends I just kept my emotions under control.  For some reason I just didn't want to share with anyone how deeply scared and sad I was.

I thought of so many things that would change.  I thought of how I would look different how forever more people would look at me would talk about me and how I thought I would be less pretty.  I thought my husband wouldn't feel the same about me.  I thought of how I wouldn't walk for a long time.  And mostly I thought of all the physical pain I would go through.

No matter how much I thought of all these things.  What I thought turned out to be even harder than I ever could have imagined.

I chose the amputation because of these.............

I REALLY love these kids!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Difficult Decision

Dallas and I went to Calgary to the Tom Baker Cancer Center the end of April.  I was dreading this appointment.  I had been to the cancer centre before and it isn't a nice atmosphere.  You sit in a white, bright waiting room surrounded by people already diagnosed with cancer of those going to find out they have cancer.

As we walked around a corner to be seated in the waiting room we saw an older man standing on a scale, ( he was missing his leg above his knee).

I sat in the waiting room for a long time sick to my stomach waiting for my name to be called knowing the news I would be given would change my life.  Finally they called my name and we sat in a small room beside each other.

Dr. Puloski came in, sat down and said.  I've discussed your case with numerous specialist across Canada and we all came to the same decision.  In order for you to have a functional quality of life and best treat your exceptionally rare type of cancer you need to have an amputation to your leg.  Despite knowing in my heart all along that this would be the outcome tears filled my eyes and I didn't want to look up at Dr. Puloski or Dallas.  He continued to talk telling us radiating my foot would cause it to break down and become a foot I would never walk on and then they would try another surgery but said they would not be able to completely remove all the tissue with cancer cells.  He said I would be able to do everything I did before.  He said that the pain would be less with an amputation.  I think he said other things but I hurt so badly inside I could hardly listen to him talk.

I remember asking him if I had been his wife would he advise the same thing.  He looked at me and said yes.  He told me I would need to sign a consent form allowing for the surgery.  As soon as he said this I had a feeling that told me sign the paper.  But I wasn't ready, I was scared, I wanted to go home, I wanted to think about it, I wanted it to just all go away.

After Dr. Puloski spoke to us he had a radiation oncologist speak to me as well to reaffirm what he had told me.  I just kept hearing her say how sorry she was everything was happening while I was pregnant.

After the appointment as we were leaving the hospital I stopped in a bathroom and sat in a stall and cried.  I cried alone I just didn't want Dallas to see me so sad.

We drove straight home.  I didn't want to talk.  Family called as we drove home, but I wasn't ready to tell them and I wasn't ready to hear Dallas tell them.

We got home and picked up our kids at my mom and dad's and I sat at the island and told my mom and dad what Dr. Puloski had said.  My mom got tears in her eyes and my dad said are they sure and didn't say anything more.

I went home.  I wanted to be alone.  I wanted to feel like I did before cancer.  I remember telling my brother and sister on the phone that the doctors wanted me to have my leg amputated.

Everything was so unbearable.  My brother asked if I thought I could do this and I remember saying yes.  Even though what I really wanted was no cancer and to have both of my feet.

I was so sad, and scared.  I hated knowing my life was changing forever.  I would never be able to stand on my own two legs.

Monday, July 23, 2012


I got home from my foot surgery 3 days later.  I wasn't able to weight bear at all and it was casted.  I hated it.  I couldn't take care of my children so my Mom saved the day.  She would come in the morning get Ty off to school and then me, Lucy and Miles would go to her house for the day.  It was painful and swollen.  Two weeks later I went back to Calgary and Dr. Puloski looked at the incision took out stitches and gave me an air cast and told me to start to slowly put weight on it.  At that time my pathology results still weren't available, but he told me that as soon as he got the results he would call me knowing I would want them right away.

I went home and walked on my foot way to soon and it got so swollen it turned a purplish red colour and I couldn't stand to walk on it.  At this time it happened to be Ty's 7th birthday so my mom and Kaylee helped save the day  (did everything pretty much) and Grandma Sharon made the cake.  Thank Heavens for Grandma's and a super aunt.

Last minute while I was still healing I decided to go with our Gibb family down to Arizona for a family vacation.  Dallas couldn't come with work being to busy, but my mom came with me to help me with my 3 kids.  Lucky I had her the vacation turned into sick kids everywhere.  Miles got sick a couple days before we came home and threw up at security at the airport, on the plane and multiples times on the drive from Bozeman, Montana to home.  But we got him home to the hospital and he got better after a few more days.

Looking back I'm sure glad it worked for us to go on that holiday because things were going to get worse.

After I got home from Arizona I had been thinking about the tumour and wanting to know what the results were as it had been 5 weeks since the operation.  I called the Raymond clinic asking if they would be able to check over the computer.  They called and said to come by the office that afternoon.  But before I could go Dr. Puloski called my house.  It was April 16, 2012.  He said Hi Lyndsay.....  This is Dr. Puloski calling well I guess I'm calling with bad news the lump in your foot is a malignant myoepithelioma.  I need to see you up at the Tom Baker Cancer Center but before I see you I need to discuss your case with other surgeons, oncologists and radiation oncologists at the Tumor Board Rounds I think I know what is best but I want to go over all the options before I talk to you so I'll see you here on April 30, 2012.  Make sure you bring your husband and or mom with you.

I was so shocked but had felt that this would happen all along.  But to really here it to know that it was MY DIAGNOSIS was unbelievable.  I was hurt, and scared and felt alone.  I called Dallas and told him it was cancer and then hung up and cried on my bed while my children asked me what was wrong.  I cried and cried wanting it to go away.  So scared I would be dying and leaving my children without a mom.  

Dallas came home from Taber right after I called and said we better go tell your mom and dad.  I remember pulling up to the house.  My mom and dad were outside by the garage.  I can't remember what they were doing but I remember walking to my parents and saying the lump in my foot was cancer.  I didn't cry I just didn't want my family to see how scared and hurt I was.  I could tell my mom wanted to cry but held it in for me.  My dad got stiff and upset and said well are they sure; now what do you do.  I said that they had to talk about my rare cancer with other doctors and I would know what they wanted to do in 2 weeks.

It was so horrible and kind of a blur.  I think my mom told my brother and sister and she told my grandparents and aunts and uncles.  I just didn't want to talk about it.

I was so terrified that I would be dying it's all I could think at the time.

I was given a priesthood blessing by my Dad and brother and another blessing by my Stake President.  It reassured me that this trial was mine and was not a consequence of anything I did or didn't do, but that I had chose to do this and that my body would be strong.

We had a family fast and we had a prayer together as an entire extended family.  More than 70 family members came to my moms house and together we prayed.  My grandpa gave the prayer and the strength of the Spirit was so strong I knew that my Father in Heaven heard our prayer.

I didn't pray for a miracle because inside I knew that this was not going to just disappear.  But I prayed for comfort and strength and I prayed asking that I could raise my children and love them on this earth.

Being diagnosed with cancer was Hard.  There is nothing good about it.  I was a 28 year old mother of 3 and pregnant with my 4th baby.  I hated cancer and hated knowing it was changing my life.  But I was certain my Heavenly Father loved me.  Somehow I knew I just had to keep waking up and going forward.  Somedays I really didn't want to.

I think I knew what was coming.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Surgery #1

I was 14 weeks pregnant and was having the tumour removed from the bottom of my left foot.  Dr Puloski was unsure of the nerve damage I would have and said my foot would probably never feel the same.  I was nervous I'd never had surgery before besides a c-section and I was scared.

Dallas took me to Calgary the night before and then we checked in for surgery early the next morning.  I then had my blood pressure, temperature and weight checked.  I was nervous for me but especially for my little baby, which no one but Dallas and I knew about.

Dallas and I waited for my name to be called and then I was taken alone to wait in the surgery waiting room all alone.  It was horrible.  I was sitting all alone as my surgeon and then the anaesthetist spoke to me about the surgery.  Dr Puloski explained that if the the pathology on the tumour came back as cancer that another surgery would have to be done.  And the anesthesiologist explained that he would use a spinal and an epidural so I would be awake for my entire 3 and a half hour surgery.

I was led down the hall by a nurse to the surgical suite.  I climbed up on a stiff hard table and was then given and iv and and epidural.  The surgery took forever.  I was uncomfortable I felt as though me legs were aching and not lying flat on the table.  I was restless.  When they finally removed the tumour I asked to see it I remember the surgical resident bringing it to my face in his gloved hands.  It was so big it filled both of his cupped hands and was a yellowy white colour.

I was then taken to recovery where I remained for about 4 or 5 hours due to some complications with pain control and the epidural moving up into my face.

Dr. Puloski came in the next morning and explained that the tumour was extremely difficult to remove it was wrapped around every major tendon and nerve and he had not got a large margin around it so it would be likely to come back.  I thought I am never doing this again!

Day 2 in the Foothills Hospital

Day 3 Post Surgery

Friday, July 20, 2012


After waiting for about a week I called the Doctor's office in Calgary, Dr. Puloski.  His receptionist informed me he would be away for the Christmas Holidays and would not be taking any  "urgent" patients until after the New Year.  I was beside myself.  I obsessed about the lump in my foot and cried and wondered and just needed to know.  I read everything about soft tissue cancers that could be in the foot as I was sure my lump was cancer.  Two days later I received a call informing me that Dr. Puloski would like to see me the next week on December 22.  I was relieved and hoping for more information.  Dallas and I headed up to Calgary and I met my surgeon for the first time.

As soon as Dr. Puloski walked in the room I thought oh he's young and good looking, Dallas thought he looked young!  He introduced himself and asked me about myself.  We learned that we both had 3 children the same ages.  And he learned I had some medical background and was not going to be like his other patients!

He looked at the lump on my foot and pushed on it and told me what I already knew.  The only way to know for sure what the lump was was to get a biopsy done.  He believed it would be benign (non cancerous).  I asked him if it was cancer would they have to take my leg.  He said not to think about that and we'd just take things as they came.  I asked him if I could have the biopsy done in Lethbridge and he agreed knowing because of my job I would get in much quicker than in Calgary.

As I left the Foothills hospital I called the Ultrasound Department in Lethbridge and my biopsy was scheduled for the next morning.  I was nervous but looking forward to getting the information we needed.

My mom took me to the biopsy.  She waited in the waiting room and the nurse and ultrasound tech both of which I had worked with prepped me for the biopsy and talked to me about Christmas.  The radiologist the same one that had read my MRI did my biopsy.

First he used a needle to freeze the area of the lump.  Feet are very, very, very sensitive so many nerves.  The freezing worked and the first 2 passes with the biopsy gun where okay, but the tissue wasn't adequate he needed to go deeper so the third time he hit the muscle and the bone and the immediate pain I felt was indescribable.  I was writhing in pain but was surrounded and by my co workers and nurses and with some pain medication they were able to control some of the pain.  I was so grateful for there kindness as tears streamed from my eyes I was glad they knew me personally.

My family prayed and fasted as we waited for results all hoping and praying that the lump would not be cancer.  Then I waited, Christmas passed and New Years and I hadn't heard anything.  Finally about 5 weeks later I was going crazy with anxiety,  Dr. Puloski called saying the biopsy had to be sent away to a different pathologist and both pathologists agreed the lump in my foot was an extremely rare BENIGN myoepithelioma and that he wanted to see me again and discuss some options.

(Miles And SANTA)

Hearing it was benign made my family and husband happy, but I was still unsettled with the diagnosis. I felt strongly that it wasn't going to be so simple and straight forward.

The very beginning

Last Summer (July 2011)  I was at the swimming pool with the kids and while I was in the pool I stepped on a piece of glass with my left foot.  I quickly got out to try to get it out but couldn't see it.  Over the next couple days my foot hurt but then it went away.  Then in August my foot began to hurt in the same place and I was finally able to extract the piece of glass.  Then at the end of September in the same foot I was sitting on my couch and on the bottom of my left foot I noticed a lump about the size of the end of my finger.  It didn't hurt to walk or to push on the lump but I new it hadn't been there before.  

About 2 weeks later I took one of the kids to see the Doctor and showed him the lump in my foot, which he thought was nothing really and thought it would be okay to just watch it and if there was any change I should come back.  But if you know me I don't always agree with what I'm told so while still in the office I told him that I wanted an ultrasound ordered.

Another 2 or 3 weeks later I went and had one of my co-workers ultrasound the lump in my foot.  It was something that they hadn't seen before and the radiologist was unsure what to make of it so it was recommended I get an MRI.  The MRI wasn't booked until February but I talked to one of the radiologist and told him I felt it was a large solid tumour and he pushed it up and  I had the MRI on December 6, 2011.  

I laid in the MRI machine for 2 and a half hours and I new something was odd.  As soon as the exam was finished I was then pulled aside and the radiologist showed me the images and told me the MRI showed a large neoplastic tumour wrapping around my tendons and invading some of the muscle, but he had never seen anything like it so I was seen a couple days later by an orthopedic surgeon in Lethbridge who said I have no idea what this is and the best thing I can do for you is send you to a specialist in Calgary an Orthopedic Oncology Surgeon.

By this time I was scared and the waiting was so unbearable.  But I would soon find out I would be doing a lot of waiting!

To Be continued.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Starting off with GRATITUDE!

Unsure of how to start my blog, which will be my cancer journey, my family life and how I will learn to live without my leg; I decided to begin with the thankfulness that is filling my heart!

I am so amazed and humbled that so many family members, friends, the community as well as so many various individuals have given to me of there faith, prayers, service and countless acts of kindness and love.  I feel so thankful and my heart has grown to notice and love the people that surround me.  It is so unbelievable to know that so many people are lifting me up when I have been unable to bear this heavy trial alone.

I cannot express the absolute love and appreciation I feel to everyone that has thought of me.  With all the support I have received and continue to receive I am truly grateful!