Monday, August 22, 2016

Another Surgery

Before Surgery this actually looks really good in comparison
to the previous months.

After Surgery..I don't know what that yellow thing
is but it stinks like the hospital
I now have this doozie

Friday I  had surgery with Dr. Lettieri. It was not a planned surgery, so I was a little shocked when he called me on Wednesday to tell me.  

He did a skin graft taking the skin from my upper right collar bone area, I now have a new 3- inch scar but the good news is I think this will be my last surgery for awhile. Today I am very sore and still in pain.

The last thing I remember saying before I was knocked out in the Operating Room was 

"Dr. Lettieri....?"

"Yes" Looking up from his paper work

"Dr. Lettieri, I love you" and out I went.

I woke up in recovery with a massive headache and pain in my chest.  I didn't know Dr. Lettieri was going to take such a large area of skin for the graft; but I trust him and know he will take good care of me.  I am home, recovering now, it takes me longer after each surgery to recover and get all the anesthesia out of my body.  Surgery is becoming a monthly event, I'm happy Dr. Lettieri thinks this is the last one for a few months.  I need time to enjoy the Fall weather that will soon be here.

Friday, August 19, 2016

What's Up?

Ok so I haven't been the best at blogging my true feelings about the unfortunate facial paralysis I have.  Here is a quick synapse of what has happened just in the last 2 years.

  • Mastoid (layman's tumor) in the inner ear canal, burned black skin, very long difficult surgeries.
  • Woke up one day with the right side of my face partially paralyzed--spent 3 weeks in the ICU and had 3 surgeries to find out exactly what happened.
  • The nerve in my face that controls the right side went completely dead--no reason except an infection we had a hard time getting rid of.
  • I was told to go home and learn how to deal with the new face, Eric was told "Get used to your new wife, she will never smile again." (I love this Doctor, I am just stating how we heard it, not necessarily how he delivered it.)
  • Went to Cleveland Clinic for 7 weeks waiting to have another at least 12-15 hour surgery. Had what I thought was a near death experience.
  • Came home to Arizona, searched for a surgeon who specialized in facial trauma...found him, love him and he's at Mayo Clinic or Maricopa (options are nice)
  • Had a nerve crossover surgery (layman's...they took the nerve from my calf and threaded it through the left side of my head, down to my cheek.
  • Waited one year, and the nerve grew one inch a month--Dr. Lettieri very too.
  • Had the next part of of the nerve surgery, everything was great until it wasn't...infection again this time compromising the parotid gland (Layman's--your saliva gland)
Yesterday Dr. Lettieri called me to advise I will be having surgery tomorrow.  I realized tonight as I mentally prepared to enter surgery tomorrow....I am a professional at surgery.  The hospital admittance receptionist called and said 

"Monya, we are planning on seeing you at 5:30 am"

"Ok I will be there."

So simple, so comfortable and so REAL.  It's not normal for hospital staff to actually know a patient well enough to talk to them with such ease. No questions about health history or medications I take, not even the routine of no aspirin, no eating after midnight....nothing just "See you tomorrow"

I'm so tired of telling my family and friends about surgeries, asking for prayers, it's almost embarrassing for me I done it so many times.  I know those who pray for me don't feel like it's a burden but this story is getting old and needs an ending of Happy, and thriving in life.

When I start to feel sorry for myself I think about all the people who have shown me so much faith and hope during the last seven years.  I also think about my strength and the spiritual growth I have gained by going through these hard times. I'm not the same person I was pre cancer.  I know Heaven is watching over me and everything that has happened is for a reason....I have no idea what that reason is but I know the Lord knows and has a plan for me.  So as I retire to bed tonight I will kneel to pray once again to ask for guidance and inspiration for Dr. Lettieri to have steady hands and a clear mind as he enters the OR once again with me.

Thursday, August 11, 2016


In my opinion one of the most powerful words in the English language is Imagine; this single word gives hope to a world that is in so much turmoil. 

Of all the songs John Lennon wrote and performed, many of which have had tremendous impact on our culture, “Imagine” has the one I most resonate with. While its influence reaches across the globe, there are physical representations of it in the two places that most represented home to Lennon. The Liverpool Airport, renamed the Liverpool John Lennon Airport, has the line “above us only sky” painted on the roof. Yoko's monument to her husband, in the Strawberry Fields section of Central Park, is a mosaic of the word Imagine, where fans gather to mourn him as well as to celebrate his legacy. 
Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today... Aha-ah...

Imagine there's no countries

It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace... You...

You may say I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world... You...

You may say I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one
These words were sung by a somewhat complicated man, in 1971 I didn't realize how inspiring these words could be. Now, as we fight and are at war with the world over religious beliefs and pride I can see that Lennon had great insight and wisdom to write and sing these words.  Even today I am teary eyed when I hear this song.  I love the hope it gives us.
7 years ago this month I was diagnosed with breast cancer, it has been a wild ride since that day I heard the words "you have breast cancer."  I am blessed to still be alive and so many other health issues have come since then.  I've learned to hear a diagnosis of breast cancer is not a death sentence to all and for me the words that crashed my world were "your face will never be the same again." I took my smile for granted, I will never smile the same again, I still have no feeling in the right side of my face I have chronic dry eye and am in constant pain even with the weight Dr. Lettieri placed in my eyelid I still have trouble seeing. Expressions that come so natural for other people I took for granted; like raising your eyebrows being able to eat without my eye blinking is impossible; I rarely eat in public places. I am recognized by my new look. Interesting enough I have always been self conscious about my looks and certainly never felt beautiful. Trying to embrace who I am and who I represent in life has been and is an ongoing struggle for me.  I know beauty comes from within, but trying to look in the mirror and be ok with the woman staring back at me has also been frustrating and brought many tears.

Tonight I watched my grandson Phoenix who is only a year and a half old laugh and giggle at silly things he saw and heard.  I love and adore my children and grandchildren, with that love comes a responsibility one I don't take lightly.  I want them to be happy, not only through their innocent laughter but as they grow I wish for them to find joy in the small things,  to never take anything or anyone for granted.  I hope I can relay through my eyes and my heart their Bon Bon has had struggles in life but that I learned to embrace them, grow from them and then share how to be happy through those trials.
I, like John Lennon hope everyone, especially my grandchildren will live in the moment, I imagine them all living in peace, judging no-one along their path but instead handing them a dollar or two, and asking the Lord to bless them in their trials.  I imagine them having no greed and living true to their believes with integrity.  I wish for them to see ALL men and women as a brotherhood and sisterhood giving, sharing and helping each other. Yes, and just like he was judged as a dreamer I am judged as an optimist--dreaming and optimism are wonderful attributes to have.  As gloomy as the world seems right now we all have so much to be grateful for and as the song says Imagine all the people living as one and sharing one world. I see this happening and often times it is when I am asleep dreaming; so there you have it I'm a dreamer and an optimist.