Surgery is behind me

A week has passed since I had surgery.  Each day I’m feeling better, but still not feeling like myself.  I have to say that I didn’t know just how loved and cared for Dan and I would be.  I’ve never had so much love showed that I can ever remember before.  We have received beautiful flowers, cards, emails and delicious meals!  It has been awesome to experience this kind of love and kindness (but I would never have picked cancer to get this :) ).  Thank you seems like so little to say, but that’s really all I can say.  I’m hoping to be on the giving end of this kind of love one day.

The actual surgery lasted about 6 hours.  Both doctors were pleased with the results that they got.  I only had to spend one night in the hospital.  That night was pretty rough.  Every hour someone was coming in to check on something.  The anesthesia had made me not able to empty my bladder, so about 3am they put a catheter in.  Never in my life would I have thought that would be good, but at that point I was really glad they did.  Once that happened, I think we did get about 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  Around 10 or 11am my doctor came in.  He got the catheter removed and things started to work again.  Around 1 pm we got to go home.  I slept most of Saturday.  Sunday was the worst day for pain.  I went a little too long without any pain medicine and it took until Monday morning for it to catch up. 

I had no idea that surgery would hurt as bad as it has.  Not that I have been in constant debilitating pain, but I have been constantly aware the surgery and of my limits.  The best way to describe the feeling is like a really tight bandage wrapped around my chest, but there is nothing around me.  My chest is really tight from the expanders that have been placed under my chest muscles.  They are forcing my muscles to stretch and my skin. 

Apparently every move that you make is somehow tied to your chest; like pumping the soap from the dispenser, getting up from a chair, opening a door and everything in between.  I have to have Dan help me with everything.  It is really hard to be so dependent on someone else for everything; I’m very glad that he is willing to help, but it’s difficult for me emotionally.  I’m not used to being so needy for everyday tasks. 

Thursday was the worst day for me emotionally.  I think it was just all getting to me; the constant pain and tightness in my chest, not being able to raise my arms up, having to have someone for everything, and on and on.  I started to cry about it all that morning, but even crying hurts.  I know it’s not always going to be this way or feel this way, but it can feel like it at times.  Later Thursday I went out for the first time for my doctor appointments.  I had 2 of the 4 drains removed; that was nice, but I was hoping for all of them to be gone.  (The drains have to be messed with every 4 hours and measured every 12 hours.)  The pathology report did confirm that my lymph nodes are negative, so that was a huge praise.  We also found out that they are 100% recommending chemotherapy for my treatment.  This was not at all what I wanted to hear.  We meet with the oncologist this coming Thursday for more details about the chemo.  I guess that will be when they tell us how much and how long I will have to do that.  Honestly, I’m more scared about that part than everything else.

Saturday night we went to the mall to walk.  It’s funny that we were mall walking, but it’s too hot for me to walk outside (it takes a lot of effort to take a shower these days).  I think we would have been lapped by the usual walkers, but thank goodness it was at night and the serious mall walkers are there in the morning!  LOL!  It was nice to get out and be sort of normal.  I’m not begging to get out of the house; I still have 2 drains in and that makes me self-conscious.  Last night was my first night back in our bed.  Dan made me a “ramp” to sleep on so I could be elevated.  Things are slowing getting back to normal.  I guess “normal” for us is going to be different than what we were used to.  Maybe we will get back to how it was before cancer once my chemo is over; I’m really hoping so anyway.

As crappy as cancer is, it has been over whelming to see that people really do care and want to help in any way they can.  It has given me ideas of how to show love to others when the time comes that people that I know are going thru a rough spot in life.  I’m still praying that God will receive glory from my life; whatever that looks like.  My battle is just beginning, but it’s comforting to know how many people are praying for us daily. 

— Holly Thompson


  1. Holly –

    You don’t know me. I went to TIE while Dan was there and found him on Facebook a few months ago.

    I have read most of the posts you guys have recently made in your blog. Great to hear that the surgery went well and you are working on getting back to normal.

    My mother-in-law went through this about a year to a year and a half ago. I will keep you and Dan in my prayers and will continue to read about your progress here.

    Danny Holland

  2. Holly, you are in my thoughts and prayers. As the saying goes, it’s hard to see the forest for the trees – I’m sure that’s how you feel right now, but the love and prayers that surround you now will help you through the days ahead.

  3. Holly,
    I am so glad to hear everything went fine with the surgery. I read your story to my sister-in-law one night after Dan had posted your update after you came home. She had been complaining of things in her life that really weren’t bad at all. I had seen the post and I thought I am going to read this to show her that someone our age is really going through so much more. Needless to say, she was crying by the time I got done. I told her I had prayed for you and still do especially when I see something posted. I know God has a plan for all of our lives and these things always make me think of chapter 29 in Jeremiah. God thoughts toward us are not of evil but peace and to give us an expected end and he says he thinks of us more than you can number the sand. He loves you and he thinks of you always and it will be as you have said to glorify Him and to make you stronger and give someone else comfort when they go through the same thing. I pray your days get easier and that your mind and body are comforted and Dan too. Stay strong and lean on Jesus for everything. He commands us to cast our cares on Him cause he cares for us.


  4. Thank you for taking the time and effort to update. Your attitude is so encouraging to hear. One clear way that Our Father is receiving glory from your life is in your authentic telling of your story. It is and will continue to be strengthening to many. Even many you may never meet.
    Continuing to pray for you,

  5. Holly & Dan, you are an inspiration to me. The faith in God and the love you have for each other is a thing of beauty. Wish we had more of that kind of love in our world. I know how it feels to have a husband step in and do things for you that you would normally do for yourself. Those times are when we see our wedding vows in real life. That kind of love is a blessing from God. We praise God for your victories and pray for his strength and comfort in the hard times. Thank you so much for sharing your feelings with the rest of us to help us understand what you are going through.

  6. Holly,
    You don’t know me either, but Mary Singleton is my ‘chemo angel’… I just finished round four of chemo and am a graduate!!! You can and WILL get through it. I want you to know that as God as my witness I had NO, NONE, ZERO side effects of chemotherapy. I am not saying you won’t, but I want you to have hope that there are patients that fly right through it. It wasn’t awful at all for me. I had 4 rounds of Taxotere and Cytoxan with 3 weeks in between each treatment. Write me if you wish or if you have questions. God bless you and your husband and family as you make your way through this time. It is just a bump in your road, and then you’ll be back on track with your life. But unlike others, you’ll get to have a new outlook on every day.
    God is AWESOME and He is in control!
    Lisa Kavanaugh

  7. Holly,
    Thank you for keep us all posted….I have been praying for you and have asked my small group here in Richmond, VA to pray for you…I’m so glad that your surgery went well and that your recovery is going pretty well (despite the pain you are still in). I will continue to pray for you and the upcoming appt. you have with the oncologist regarding your chemo treatments. I know no one would ever wish this upon anyone, but I can already see how God is working in your life to glorify him and to help you grow…you are an inspiration to so many people…thanks for sharing and keep it coming:)

  8. Hi Guys, Holly, it’s good to know you are up to writing to update US!! Just the fact that you are doing that is a milestone in your journey. We all care for you and appreciate the effort you give to keep us informed when no one would even expect it. We’re all pulling for you and thinking of you often!

  9. Holly, it is so good to see a post from you. I know it’s tough but you are doing great! You are obviously so loved by so many and I am confident you will come out of this stronger than ever before! As hard as it may be, remember that God will never give you more than you can handle. You both are continually in our prayers. -RS

  10. Hey Girl, I am so glad to see this update. I am also glad that you went mall walking. At least it was a change of scenary. I have been thinking of you a bunch but just have not called or come by lately because I know you are so Blessed in that area and I want to be sure you rest too. Always remember that so many people are praying for you and will continue to do so for as long as it takes. If you need ANYTHING I am just a few miles away. I will talk to you soon. I Love You!

  11. So glad you are writing this so we can follow your steps. You are truly amazing and you are in our constant thoughts and prayers. You probably don’t know it, but you have been the giver of the kind of love you describe for a while now. Love you so much,

  12. Wow. Dan just told me, and sent me here to catch up on things. I had cancer too, and am now cancer free. Amy and I live here in Maryville, and would love to bring over some dinner … do you like Tex-Mex or Italian best?


    Hope to see you two soon.

  13. Holly And Dan,
    First of all to God be the Glory that you have made it thus far. I am so happy and you both have been in my prayers. As I read this post it is so obvious what an impact that the love that others show has had on the both of you. God works in mysterious ways, right? Of course no one would ever choose this path nor did I choose mine persay but it does make us who we are today and bring us back to reality so to speak about, YES there is good out there in the mean world. We just choose to share it and embrace it. You both are so blessed to have each other and your attitudes throughout all this has made a world of a difference. I am proud of you Holly and I commend Dan for being the man and husband God has intended for him to be to you. Keep the Faith and the chemo will go fast and it will all be over and done. My niece Selinda is living proof today. She does say “IT DID” make her a different person and her outlook on life has changed emensly. She looks beautiful actually more beautiful than she was. She radiates strength and beauty. You will too Holly. Embrace it and accept it for what it is worth. I love you~


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