Thursday, December 31, 2015

Emergency Surgery With Dr. Lettieri

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions.  Once again I am stuck in either a hospital bed or now in my own bed. I ran into the same problem I had with the first surgery. Dr. Lettieri warned me this surgery would be tedious. Besides the complications of waking me up from the first surgery the right side of my face has swollen up and began to drain not long after I came home from the first visit to the hospital.

Dr. Lettieri was out of the country, I called his office and was able to see another surgeon at Mayo Clinic.  Unfortunately the inflammation needed to be drained.  A fistula had formed.  Dr. Lettieri explained to Eric after surgery he was afraid this may happen. While he was in surgery the paraded gland (saliva gland) was in the way of the nerve he needed to connect with. Dr. Lettieri could not get to the nerve he needed without disturbing the paraded gland.  In the long run this slight unfortunate problem was unavoidable.

When Dr. Lettieri arrived home I saw him right away, and he arranged surgery immediately.  I am now at home, recovering with a drain hanging from my head. I was able to see Dr. Lettieri in his office on Monday he took the head wrap off, left the drain in gave me an anti-biotic and now we wait.

How am I feeling? I am not on pain pills, you know how I hate those. With that being said, I also hate not sleeping.  It's always a fight with me to take the medicine and sleep or live with the pain and use another source for sleeping.  I guess that was clear as mud.....ha ha.  My honest feeling is some pain, but grateful for a surgeon who knows what he is doing and is attentive to my health needs.  Once again I have been lead to a surgeon who I love.  In fact when his office called on Monday to get me in I advised Sharon his assistant "I will not be seeing any surgeon but Dr. Lettieri, I will wait if I have to."  I didn't she and he got me right in.  I want to hug him every time I see him, he is a breath of fresh air--but not necessarily a hugger.

So for now I lay in bed, work my Nerium business when I can, nurse my wounds and again thank the Lord for seeing me through a rough surgery.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Surgery with Doctor Lettieri

 It's been difficult to blog current events. I've signed a book deal, however I am going to keep up my blog.  Soon it will have the logo from my book. I will also have a FB page for caregivers, survivors, or for anyone wanting to know how to comfort a friend, family member or loved one during and after cancer has been diagnosed.

I entered the Mayo Clinic Hospital in the early morning of December 2nd, 2015.  The last surgery I had with Dr. Lettieri was successful.  He took a nerve from my leg masterfully entered behind my left
ear through the left side of my face under my lip.  We were told if the surgery was a success we would feel it grow one inch per month.  It has done just that and now it is time to finish the job.  This is a very tedious surgery, trying to find a nerve that is workable from the right side of my face will take a few hours.

When I woke up in recovery, it was a little touch and go scary for Eric--not really sure if I was having a stroke or reaction to medicine--either way I dry heaved for over 24 hours, did you know dry heaving hurts?

After neurology was quickly called to the rescue I had CT-PT-MRI and brains scans--no sign of stroke--however since I was still in much pain and dry heaving I was kept for longer than expected.
My surgeon Dr. Lettieri is in Italy......What the Heck? Doctors get vacations?

I needed to go to Mayo Clinic since the surgery sight is bleeding.  I was temporarily fixed up, but will not be seeing another Surgeon until Dr. Lettieri gets back. (Monday)  There was nothing wrong with the surgeon I was able to see, but my ultimate choice is Dr. Lettieri--FOREVER- I made the mistake of going to Cleveland Clinic on a suggestion --HUGE MISTAKE --  I will never do that again.

While working on the nerve in my face, Dr. Lettieri had no choice but to try and work around my paraded gland.  I am well aware of this gland and the damage that can happen if I don't get it fixed but I am not seeing anyone else but Dr. Lettieri. The gland for those of you who don't know is the gland where your saliva generates. This gland was compromised my face has backed up blood, either running down my throat or running out of my incision.  We cannot keep it controlled with our own packing.

I'm looking forward to seeing Dr, Lettieri next week.  with more updates to come.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

So Happy

My blog will be changing soon this site will only be available to my family.  I will post the new blog site before I do that. GOOD NEWS.....The reason the blog is being taken down is because I wrote a book and it was picked up by Archway Publishing a division of Simon and Shuster.  The book is finally finished, being edited and will be on the shelves soon.

I will continue to keep updates with my health, and will continue to use this platform as a journal and therapy session for myself, but with a new address and look. Thank you to all who have been such a great part of my journey thus far.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Post-Op with Dr. Lettieri

This past week has been hard, not because of the pain from the surgery.  Staying home and not being able to drive has been difficult. Today I had my post op appointment with Dr. Lettieri.  Sonya was so sweet to take me to Mayo I don't like anyone to go with me because it is not a fun way to spend time. This time I was forced to ask for help, Eric could not go because my appointment time was changed at the last minute. I wondered what she would think of Dr. Lettieri and hoped she would love him as much as I do.  I warned her as soon as I introduce her as my sister Sonya, he would have a smart comeback about Monya-Sonya. I was right, he asked why "I said it was the 60's"  he laughed asked if we had another sister named Tonya, and of course I said "oh no, that would be too easy her name is Kris.
Today he had a young resident with him Dr. Deep very cute and very young. Immediately Dr. Lettieri announced he was not happy with the eye surgery.  We're going to wait until all the swelling goes down then he will decided how to proceed with more surgery.  My eye started to open yesterday and it is dripping more than ever.  He said it was just going to get worse, and that he wished he had been a little more aggressive with the bottom lid, it's drooping more than Dr. L wanted it to be.
Dr. Lettieri was really happy about my nerve cross graft he did in February, it is even better than what he had expected.  I am hoping I can wait on the eye surgery and have him do that at the same time as the nerve surgery.  I didn't bring that up with him today, I will be seeing him again in a couple weeks.
Heather came in and took out the rest of the stitches in my eye while Dr. Deep and Dr. Lettieri talked doctor talk--way over my head.
Today was good news about the nerve, but surprising news about my eye.  I could tell he was disappointed.  I told him "it's ok" he said "not for me"  I made the assumption he was being hard on himself because he's a perfectionist. He said "No, that has nothing to do with it, I just want you to have it working at the best it can, and I know it won't so I want to fix it" he continued to tell me I would have more drainage than I had before if I didn't get it taken care of.
Many people have questioned my choices, guess what? that's ok I realize you are not living my life you are not the one who has to kneel and ask what to do.  I feel completely comfortable with the decisions I have made. Many have given me natural path choices and questioned my choice to go medicinal, it's ok too. Everyone has a different thought process, these choices were made by relying on the Lord to answer me and lead me to the right places.  I can honestly say the only time I doubted a decision was when I went to Cleveland Clinic, I felt rushed to make an answer and Dr. Lettieri was out of the country when this all happened a year ago.  We made a fast reactive choice, based on the fact we were told with a nerve we only had a small gateway--because I didn't know a "small" gateway didn't mean I needed it taken care of within a week or two. I could have waited for Dr. Lettieri.  I don't look at things that way, my mind doesn't process that way. If I hadn't gone to Cleveland Clinic I would not appreciate and love Dr. Lettieri like I do, I wouldn't appreciate Mayo Clinic like I do.  So to those skeptics who like to give me their opinions, I will not apologize for  following my heart listening to the spirit and doing what we thought was best at the time.

Surgery with Dr. Lettieri

Eric and I waiting to be called back--we are now frequent
flyers here at Mayo--I think I should have a punch card with some
great reward after X amount of surgeries. When the registration
nurse knows you by name and nurses remember you by name
it's a sign, you've overstayed your welcome.

June 24th 4:45am on our way to Mayo Clinic.  I talked Eric's ear off trying to keep from taking any anxiety medication--hey, who worked? While entering the Clinic I refused to look to the left, intentionally I jabbered to Eric about what a positive experience I was having with Nerium.  I wanted----NO I actually needed to keep my head in a good place for at least a few more minutes while we got registered.
Just over a year ago was a dreaded day.  I'd been discharged from this same hospital with a disfigured face.  Hearing a doctor tell me "you need to get used to the new Monya, your face will never be the same" If I were to look to the left I would have a vivid remembrance of being wheeled out in a wheelchair and while waiting for Eric to bring the car around I watched a woman fall to the ground have a massive heart attach.  I listened as "code blue" echoed through the corridor. I watched as healthcare professionals did all they could do to revive her life.  They were unsuccessful, and I felt nothing but jealousy.  I wouldn't necessarily say this was my lowest point of my life, but it ranked up in the top 5.
I've seen and felt tragedy, separation anxiety, depression,  heart ache, enormous unexplainable pain, loss of hearing, sight, smell, both breasts and all my hair. I've had temporary loss of feeling in my hands and feet. I still look back at all of this and know the positive out weighs the negative.  I'd do it all again, feel every ache and pain to know what I know now. What I know to be true is there is life after this earth life, it is beautiful and peaceful there is no pain, hurt or jealousy. It is a place like no other place you have been here on earth. I want to go there again, I will accept and take on all that happens to me hear on earth to have that feeling for eternity.
After being registered Eric and I headed up to the 2nd floor for surgery.  When I got into the elevator
I couldn't help but look at that spot, it was empty; too early in the morning for visitors. The rush of reality came flashing back of that day a year ago.  Eric asked if I was OK, I responded "yeah, sure I'm good" After checking in with surgery, they took me right back. I guess Dr. Lettieri is on time.  After vitals, question after question about allergies and when was the last time I ate or drank anything, I started to dose off.  My thought was "Read my chart, can't you see how many times I've answered these questions? this is not my 1st rodeo" I saw Dr. Magtibay walk by and into the patients room across the hall, I suddenly sat up and wanted to talk to him.  The nurse continued with her questions, but I keep asking her to ask Dr. Magtibay come see me when he's done.....she was looking at me like really?  I said to her I will answer all your questions, you can start my IV really fast if you promise me you'll get Dr. Magtibay.  This time the IV only took a one time poke, that's new it usually takes several pokes then they have to get a different, more efficient RN to poke me.
Soon Eric came back and just after that came Dr. Magtibay, I just love him.  He hugged me wanted to know about my surgery. I asked about his children and wife, then Dr. Lettieri came in.  I didn't have to introduce them they knew each other. Dr. Magtibay excused himself, turned smiled at me and wished me blessings on a great outcome.
ready to go, Dr. Lettieri took this picture so I could see
the difference of my smile

Dr. Lettieri smiled at me and when I smiled back.....he said "do that again" not knowing what the heck he was doing I said "why?" he said "quit being difficult just do that again, that thing you just did with your face" I shook my head and said with a big smile "this?" he smiled big, he said "where's Heather?" "I haven't seen her yet" Dr. Lettieri went out to find her, but she was walking in at the same time. "do that again for Heather" I smiled as best I could they both in unison said "It's working" Dr. Lettieri asked me to do that same thing over and over.  Apparently the surgery he did in February with the cross nerve was starting to show.  By their responses I could tell this was good news, he was happy.  Heather has been with me from my 1st diagnosis with breast cancer, and we have become great friends.  I can honestly say she has been a true to the end friend.  She watched as I suffered through chemo, radiation, expansions numerous surgeries she has assisted on for me.  She was there last year when I was rushed to the hospital in horrible pain, curled up in a fetal position losing all control of my bodily functions.  She stayed with my sisters and helped them to understand what was happening to me.  I love her like a sister, I really really love her.  She was happy for me, truly happy for this bit of HOPE I was finally feeling.
Dr. Lettieri, Me, and Heather
I love them both
After Dr. Lettieri gave his pre-op assessments on me he walked out and I yelled "I love you" he answered back "I love you too" I was rolled into the OR,  and off to my Happy Place in Paris. I seriously don't remember a lot about recovery.  The only thing I can remember is saying I needed to go to the bathroom.  In the past I have not been able to have outpatient surgery because either the surgery required me to be observed for more than a few days, or my bladder didn't work because I was under anesthetic for so long. The recovery nurse helped me into the bathroom, when she went to shut the door I said "no don't shut the door" "honey, don't you want some privacy?" "Heck no, I want you to hear the stream of pee his the toilet, and all those people in recovery are on drugs they won't remember"  she laughed I immediately pee' was long and it was loud, and I was proud--she said "you didn't take anytime at all"  She helped me back to bed and I slept for three days.  Some funny things that happened; that night Eric woke up and I wasn't in the bed so he went looking for me, 1st the bathroom, then he went downstairs no Monya.  He said he walked upstairs again to check the bedrooms, but there I was asleep in the hall closet.  He got a picture of it but I'm not posting it.  The next morning I went to the bathroom, Eric said "a man is coming to fix our cable in the bedroom" I told him ok but I needed to lay in the bed if that was ok with him.  The doorbell rang, Eric brought the man into our room I could hear he and Eric talking. I was sitting on the ground with my head in the toilet throwing up.  Eric came in and said "are you ok? the guy will be done soon"  I don't remember any answer I just remember continuing to throw up.  I guess I fell asleep sitting on the floor in front of the toilet with my head on the toilet seat. He got a laugh out of that one, and no I'm not posting the pictures.  I'm glad to be home, but never want to fall asleep on a toilet seat again.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dr. Lettieri Eye Surgery

Tomorrow morning I will enter Mayo Clinic Hospital for my 26th surgery.  I'm having a lot of anxiety with this  upcoming operation.  I forced it so far into the back of my head knowing we were going on a family vacation, suddenly on the plane ride home  it hit me.  I'm not quite sure if it's because I realize what recovery is going to be like or if I am just so done with all of this silly nonsense--it's like groundhog day, over and over again.

I cannot wear my cochlear device it is excruciatingly painful ringing in my head and gives me terrible migraines and dizziness.  However, I've lost most of my hearing in the left ear (the good one) I can't hear my alarm go off in the morning (usually I can hear that thing ring throughout the walls of my home) I can't hear music, people talking, everyday things I have taken for granted.  Although, it is annoying I will have to wait until after this surgery tomorrow with Dr Lettieri hopefully he will be taking the gold weight out of my eye lid placed in at the Cleveland Clinic (wrong size) and being upgraded to Platinum--I like to consider it an upgrade--GOLD to PLATINUM--and I think I will save the Gold Weight--let's just see what Dr. Lettieri thinks about that......I paid for it, why not take it home?  That's the easy part, the more in depth portion of the eye surgery is basically to fix the chronic dry eye--I actually didn't want to know the details about how that is done, Dr. Lettieri likes me to be informed of procedures--I frankly don't care or understand all that doctor jargon, so I told him "I trust you, just do it"  I love and do trust him, I'm in good hands tomorrow.  Heather will be scrubbing in too....bonus for me I love that girl.

Time to get to bed now I have 5 hours before it's time to check in.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Seeds of Hope

Those of you who read my blog, know I talk a lot about having hope in my life.  I know for me when I have a  seed of hope it gives me good things to look forward to in my life. Hope always gives birth to the overwhelming trials of life. It always believes the best, even in the face of my worst circumstances. For believers in Christ, hope is much more than a wish, yearning for a positive outlook, it is based on the promises of God.  I'm grateful for the Hope Doctor Lettieri has given me for a positive outlook with my nerve surgery
I can have hope in life no matter what surrounds me, because I believe in a Heavenly Father who cares, knows me by name (Isaiah 45:3), understands the desires of my heart (1 Chronicles 28:9), and who knew me before I was formed in my mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5).
Recently, I watched  an interview with passengers of the the miracle  Flight #1549. Instead of ending in a disastrous crash, it gracefully landed in the Hudson River in New York City. Knowing this was a UsAirways flight, I have had some exposure to the story, and was very proud of the captain and how he landed.  The outcome was nothing short of a miracle. In fact, it was being referred to as “the miracle on the Hudson” because all 152 passengers and all the crew survived.
I thought about the passengers and what must have been racing through their minds in those final minutes before the impact. During the cries and prayers, I’m pretty confident in saying there was one thing they all desperately held on to ......Hope.
Some passengers hoped to kiss their spouse one more time, others to hug their son or daughter, and some to make things right with a friend or family member.  As the plane was about to hit the water, they knew their lives were at stake. Many were praying, and all were hoping for a miracle. Then the impact came and an amazing scene unfolded with passengers streaming onto the wings of the aircraft.  Eric and I watched the news replaying the scene over and over I watched the amazing rescue. 
While I watched this documentary I  couldn't help but think of the many people who feel their life is like that plane. I know sometimes I feel like I'm going down, leaving me only to hope that someday things might be different. When I have those feelings it's difficult to shake it off, sometimes it takes days or weeks.  Then I remember the promises, the covenants made and I have Hope again.
I know people who are facing setbacks with their job or relationships.  I know people struggling financially or who are feeling the pressures of life.  It's sometimes overwhelming.   Knowing Heavenly Father is for me, not against me, gives Hope for a brighter future.   His love has no boundaries. 
I have to constantly ask myself; Am I solid like a rock, or am I allowing myself to sink in the sand?
I recently let the enemy, Satan, own my thoughts, I've even allowed others to dictate my divine destiny by getting my head.  I need to always keep hope alive and never ever give up.  I know God always, no matter what has a solution for me.  I know this because he knows me, my destiny was chosen before I came to earth.  He has rescued me when I was in depths of despair.
So far He has not let me down, when I trust in Him, I am never disappointed.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Dr. Lettieri

So much has happened since I last posted.  May is almost over, I never go this long without blogging.  This has been such a great way for me to release some of my frustrations, express my appreciation from my heart and share the humor in my life.

I have a surgeon.  I love, love, love. Dr. Sal Lettieri.  I was referred to him by Heather a year ago, but since he was out of the country at the time we decided to go to Cleveland Clinic (huge mistake) I haven't heard from Cleveland Clinic since I had my surgery in July of last year.  I realize I should have waited and seen Dr. Lettieri.  He is employed by Mayo Clinic, works at the Maricopa Burn Center in Phoenix and does 2 days a week at Mayo.....whew that was a mouth full.  How do I explain Dr. Lettieri, and why I love him......?  He is compassionate with a little bit of sassy in his attitude.  I just really feel comfortable with him.  Dr. Lettieri did my last surgery at Mayo Clinic.  He is very confident in what he does.  There is a huge difference in doctors who are confident and those that are cocky. My doctor at Cleveland was very cocky and arrogant, I never felt comfortable with him or felt  he had my best interest at heart.  I was so impressed with Dr. Lettieri one day at one of my appointments.  He was telling me what he thought would be the best surgery for me, then instead of making the decision he said "I know some really smart surgeons, I'm going to call one of them and get their opinion" he pulled out his 'flip phone' (seriously who still has those?) called a colleague  gave him my diagnosis and asked him what he would do.... the other surgeon agreed with his decision, he hung up and said "In my job I know some really, really smart people, so I'm going to get one more opinion" and he did, he called another surgeon he knew just to make sure they all thought it was the proper procedure.....I loved him at that moment, not too many doctors do that in fact no doctor I know has ever done that for me.....confident vs. cocky......he's confident.  Last week I got a text from him saying "call me when you can"  I was at work on a break so I called him.  This is what he said "I've been thinking about your surgery and......." he proceeds to tell me about a change in the procedure of my surgery, ...... I interrupted him and said "I trust you, I don't really understand any of what your telling me anyway so just do what you know is best for me" It finally feels really great to have a surgeon I can trust.  I have thought about him so many times since then, what it said to me was he was thinking about me.  He has many patients, and I guarantee he has their best interest at heart. I found out that he is Nie Nie's Dr. L, on her blog.

My last appointment with Dr. Lettieri was good news.  The nerve replacement he did from my leg to my face is supposed to grow an inch a month.  February was my last surgery, so it should have grown 3 inches.  He checks this by tapping on the left side of my face to see where I feel it on my face.  When he did that, I instantly felt it on the upper right side of my lip....HOORAY....stand up and do a jiggle's working.  I cried on the way home, I'm so happy.  So, what does that mean?  It means in 3 more months if it continues to grow I will have another big surgery to connect it to a viable muscle, or was it a nerve....? I don't know, it gets connected to one of those on the right side.  It doesn't really change the look of my face, but it gives me some feeling back.  Right now my face is still so numb.  The entire right side of my upper lip feels like when you go to the dentist and get novocaine..... Dr. Lettieri, was really happy with the results.

My eye continues to be an issue, it constantly drips.  Basically the surgery Dr. Cockyman did at the Cleveland Clinic was a waste of time. I have a hard time seeing out of my right eye. By the time I leave work at UsAirways it is a constant drip and never goes away.  Dr. Lettieri and Heather had me do some exercises with my eyes to see what the issues were.  I will be having surgery at the Mayo Clinic on June 24th, hopefully to put an end to the eye dripping and redness.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Our Family Is Forever

Hi my name is Monya Williams I live in Gilbert Arizona with my darling Husband Eric, together, we have 4 children.
Kayla is married to Jeremy Roussel and they have one cute little boy named Recker, he was diagnosed at 14 months with Autism he is non-verbal, we have faith and hope he will one day speak to us.  Recker is the proud older brother of Ezra Ray born 2/23/2013.
Blake  is our only son and Married to Chloe, they live just a few miles away from us, they were married on 5/25/2012.  Blake works full time and is a student, Chloe is a dance teacher and choreographer, and also works as a dental assistant.
 Kaitlyn  is married to Brian Wright, they also live within a few miles of us.  Brian is a full time student and is the owner of Native Events, renting tables, chairs, dance floors and the most beautiful lighting for weddings. They were married on 11/09/2009. On February 13, 2015 their first child Phoenix William Wright was born.
 Our youngest is Haleigh she got  married on March 28, 2013 to Scott Bigelow, they live also within miles of us and are enjoying their "honeymoon" stage of marriage right now.  Haleigh is in dental hygiene school and will be graduating in July 2015.  Scott is a full time student and owns his own business.
 On July 31st, 2009 I was diagnosed with stage 3C Breast Cancer.  This blog is a journey of my life as a wife, mother, grandmother and breast cancer survivor.  This is LIFE AS I KNOW IT.