Friday, February 27, 2009

Next appointment

This afternoon I received a phone call from the Cancer Clinic here at the Abbotsford Hospital and my first consultation appointment is coming up quickly - on Wednesday afternoon, Mar.11. I didn't think it would be so soon. I don't know when treatments will begin after that first appointment but at least I'm on their radar. Just wanted to let you know...


Friday afternoon musings...

I woke up this morning thinking about my teacher friends at the the PD Day in Surrey. I wish I could have been there with you, just connecting and seeing other teacher friends from other schools. I do miss school and the routine and excitement of each new day. What an abrupt stop to ordinary, routine life! But this is the day that the Lord has made and I'm happy to be feeling well and stronger and able to be on my own, and visit with faithful friends and family who continue to stop by. Though my arm is still sore and sensitive to touch, and the shoulder area is pretty swollen, I am able to do my exercises. Like I was saying to a friend this morning, recovery is hard because you never quite know if it is going the way it should, or if something is awry. I'm counting on the fact that the shoulder is supposed to be swollen as it heals and one day it'll be back to normal again. Just be patient, Sandra...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Exercise time!

OK, now that the drains are out and the bandages are mostly off, it's time for exercises. I just completed doing some arm stretches and shoulder movements. The arm is pretty tight yet but that should change as I continue to "walk" my fingers up the wall and stretch out the muscle. The skin under my arm is very sore and sensitive and I don`t even like clothes rubbing against it. The incision wound is not painful at all.
The snow sure came as a surprise today but it looks pretty outside! Everything is white and clean again. Maybe I`ll walk to my mailbox in a bit and pick up the mail. That will give me some fresh air, too. I feel pretty good and notice that my energy level continues to get better and better each day. I`m so thankful for this smooth surgery recovery thus far.

Resting in His care,

Monday, February 23, 2009

Just want to let you know how the day went before we sit down for supper. Ardie made a roast beef dinner with mashed potatoes and broccoli with cheese. Mmm!! My brother and nieces are over, too, so we can eat dinner together. That's wonderful! The surgeon removed the drains and the staples and because I have no feeling in the surgery area, it was a painless procedure. It feels good to be freed of that apparatus, that's for sure. The pathology report was a little discouraging - I was hoping for no lymph node involvement but that is not the case. One lymph node of the 8 removed was affected which is not good. The tumor was very close to the muscle and the skin so some muscle was removed as well. It was more invasive than I(and maybe they) thought and now I wonder what that will mean for further treatment. My surgeon guessed that I may need chemotherapy and radiation to eliminate that muscle involvement. I'm glad for 3-4 more weeks for the healing process before I go to the cancer clinic. I came home very tired and rested for the rest of the afternoon. I hope I can gradually do more this week. I will be on my own tonight. I know Nathaniel and Ardie will continue to drop by and help out with anything but being on my own shows progress, too.
Please continue to pray for healing from the surgery and calmness and peace in dealing with the report. Thank you for being there.
And now, it's time for supper.

Love, Sandra

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Good evening!

Another wonderful day! I had my hair washed, watched a movie, folded some laundry (can you guess this is my favourite chore?), visited with friends that came by this afternoon, and just enjoyed the day. Ardie, my sister-in-law, is spending the weekend with her family at home and Jeanette, a good friend, is here with me this weekend. Some of you were wondering if I am alone but there is always someone here with me, for which I am very grateful! I like having company in the house and I also cannot do everything myself yet so it's nice to have help.
I just have to say thank you again for encouraging cards (I keep opening up cards every day - I'm going to have to string them up around my bedroom), gifts of food, visits, emails, and above all your prayers! I feel so loved and truly grateful!


Friday, February 20, 2009


There's a song like that - "oh, what a beautiful day, my Jesus, oh what a beautiful day! Thank you, God, for sharing it with me - oh, what a beautiful day!" The sun is shining in my window and I'm sitting on top of my bed instead of in it because it's so wonderfully warm! I am feeling good again today. I feel like I'm gaining a little more energy every day and that is so encouraging. Yesterday I had my wound dressing changed for the last time. On Monday the drains will come out for good and I'll be freer to move around!
I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend - oops, that's what I've been doing for the last week. Well, all of you, out there - have a great weekend and take time to revel in the sunshine, if you have some!

Singing His praises,

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The patient writes...

Yeah! I get to do the next posting and I'm thrilled to be able to chat with you all. First of all, thank you so much for your prayers, cards, visits, encouragement and support over the last week, and before. Thanks for being there and walking along beside me. I have felt God's love and care through all of you. It's in the hard times that the prayers of God's people become so real and so vital!! I can't believe it's been a week since surgery and I am feeling so good already! Prayers have certainly been answered over and over again. I have taken no pain medication for the last 24 hours!!! Though I am sitting in bed writing this blog I am able to get up and walk around the house occasionally. I've thoroughly enjoyed the sunshine streaming in through my bedroom window, although I think it's hiding at the moment.
OK - I'm going to have to stop for now. I had big plans to do all sorts of things today: read, do a sudoku, write in my journal, maybe knit a row or two, email, etc., etc. That's me - always planning a big list of things to do but I'm quickly running out of steam. Time for a little nap before lunch. Continue to pray for peace and calm, gentle healing of the wound (the skin is a little sore and very sensitive), and continued strength and energy.
Love you all.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Just in case you're wondering...

The computer didn't find its way home yesterday so this is still just Ardie writing. I'm heading off to work in a few minutes and working until late tonight, so I'm thinking it will be tomorrow before the patient herself will be writing. Sorry to disappoint all of you!

Today has been a pretty average day so far except for outside where it is absolutely beautiful and spring like! It's nice to have that sunshine streaming in the house to brighten and cheer everyone up!

Keep standing by and writing those comments...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

No Laundry Today

OK--maybe the folding laundry, watering plants and taking a bath were all too much for one day. I personally think it was the staying up to watch The Bachelor that was the clincher :-)! (We were rooting for Jillian--of course we wanted the Canadian to win.) Anyway, today she's more tired and looking a bit more pale again. No folding laundry today!

The home health care nurse came in again this morning. She said the wound and drains are looking really good. That's very good news.

Several of you have left comments about visiting. Unfortunately we haven't always been able to get those comments until quite late. The best thing to do if you're thinking of dropping by is to call first. That way whoever is with Sandra will let you know if she's sleeping or feeling up to it.

Having said that, keep the comments coming on the blog. Sandra is really looking forward to reading them once she can access her computer (hopefully tonight!).

(by Ardie)

Monday, February 16, 2009

New Progress

As I write this, Sandra is folding laundry. I feel guilty letting her do that, but she asked to be given that task. All instructions from the doctor and nurses are that the healing will go much faster if she uses her arms as much as possible. So this is good therapy.

Today has been such a great day! After another 11 hour night of sleep, this morning she was able to walk around and water the plants (more therapy) and then took a bath. That works with just a tiny bit of water in the tub, as long as the surgical wound stays dry. She managed to stay awake all morning and has only had one long nap this afternoon. Again record progress. She did stay in bed after all of that activity, finding that simple tasks are still very tiring. But all of these are steps in the right direction for which we are very thankful!

(by Ardie)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sleep is a beautiful thing!

Sandra had over 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep last night! She went without pain medication for over 12 hours! That's incredible progress!

I had less sleep than that because I kept getting up to check on her thinking something had to be wrong. We decided to use the intercom system on her phone. That way any time she needed me she could just reach me while I was upstairs in bed. She didn't summon me once during the night. I am so glad she could sleep well!

Getting up for a smoothie this morning for breakfast totally exhausted her again so she is sound asleep once more.

We are awaiting the first visit by the home health care nurse this morning to change the dressing on the wound. The nurse should be coming daily for the next week or so.

Thanks for all of your prayers and support!

(posted by Ardie)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Home again!

She's home from the hospital and happy to be in her own bed! The work of getting cleaned up, dressed and transported home took a lot of energy and left her tired. She made the comment "You really take for granted the simple things in life like brushing your teeth."

Once home, the first thing she wanted to do was open up a card from the box from the staff at school. She had saved them up to read once she got home and is doing one at a time to savor them.

Thanks so much to everyone for cards and gifts and prayers! It means a lot to know so many are caring for her!

(Written by Ardie Elgersma)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Good news!

So my aunt Sandra will be staying over in the hospital another night, but will be coming home tomorrow!

She is doing much better, and is much more alert. She was also able to successfully comb her hair! completeing the first task of her physiotherapy.

Keep praying for strength to come home!


Friday Morning

Hi everybody, this is Erin again...

My mom has been at the hospital all morning, and talked to Dr. Byrne and he said that it was a very successful surgery, and his follow-up was good.

However, the pain is still too much, and she's too groggy, so by 5 o'clock tonight they will decided whether to keep Sandra another night, or to let her come home.

Her physiotherapy test is also today. It will be determined by whether or not she can comb her hair with her left arm, although at this point, it's too painful, and she can not lift it yet.

Thanks again for all the prayers and support, right now the biggest thing is the pain, so keep praying that it will keep decreasing.

Erin on behalf of the Elgersmas

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The First Note

Hey Everybody!

This is Erin (Sandra's niece) writing, and we just wanted to first of all thank each and everyone of you for keeping her in your prayers. The support is such an encouragment, so thank you all.

We want to keep you as updated as we can, so you can know how the process is going. We will try our best to be punctual, but we might need to ask for your patience on some things.

So, today the journey really began. Surgery started at 12:45 and was done by late afternoon. Waking up was good and my aunt had no problems breathing or with nausea! So that's one success already! She's very tired and has little to no strength, but overall, from what we've heard it has been a successful surgery. We will know more about it tomorrow when we talk to Dr. Byrne, the surgeon.

My mom was with her for most of the evening, and we visited her tonight, and she looks great! Her color is good and she's still smiling!

So that's really all we know for now, we will let you know when we find out more tomorrow.

Keep praying,

Erin on behalf of the Elgersma Crew