Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Update, Part I - copy and paste style

We like to joke about Aaron's lack of social media use, but he did a great job keeping people on Facebook informed on my progress in the hospital. Today I'm literally cutting and pasting from FB to bring the rest of you up to speed and then tomorrow I'll have brand new information to share with everyone.

First I have to tell you about the amazing support I received on Facebook. Many of my friends changed their profile pics to the Fight Like a Girl logo I've been using. The day of surgery my sorority sisters wore animal print clothing and took selfies (one of them even took her picture in the dressing room of Lord & Taylor because she didn't own anything animal print). There were hashtags all over the place like #InItToGwenIt and #GammaPhisForGwen and one of my friends coined the term #Gwenning, a la Charlie Sheen. It was overwhelming and wonderful and say what you will about Facebook but I felt so much love it was unbelievable. Now, on with the updates:

From Aaron, Tuesday evening, 6/3
All done! I just met with the doctors who did the reconstruction and they finished up about 45 minutes ago. Gwen did great, no surprises. They keep a very close eye on her the next 12 hours to make sure there aren't any clots, and hopefully tomorrow she'll get to eat and start moving around. I can't wait for her to see the crazy amount of support everyone has sent her way today - we are blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives. #inittogwenit rocks! Hugs to everyone!

From Aaron, Gwensday, 6/4
Good morning everyone - update for Gwen. She had a pretty sleepless night since they kept checking her new parts every hour on the hour, but we've passed the 12 hour critical watch period so that's good. She has some pain but it is being managed well (funny post about that forthcoming), and she is much more alert and lucid than I expected. Today's highlights should include water, solid food, and perhaps moving from bed to chair. Hopefully that journey won't include a trip by the mirror, because she will disagree that, to me, she is presently more beautiful than she has ever been.

Thanks for the messages and words of support - love to you all! #inittogwenit

From Aaron, Thursday, 6/5
And another beautiful morning in central Ohio - here's the latest for Gwen. She continues to improve, highlights from yesterday included getting out of bed to sit in a chair, followed last night by actually taking a walk around the floor. This morning she had solid food for the first time and took another walk. Today she'll continue that progress - looking forward to more walks intermingled with naps and food. Doctors seem pleased with progress, removed some bandages, and she is tracking for potentially being discharged tomorrow.

The well wishes and support continue to be a source of strength and inspiration to Gwen and me, we are very appreciative! Stay tuned!#inittogwenit

From Aaron, Friday, 6/6
We're home!

I brought Gwen home from the hospital earlier this afternoon to continue her recovery. This morning included the removal of many bandages, some walking, and a shower! Now that we're home she's basically been told to focus on managing pain, eating/pooping, walking regularly, and getting plenty of rest. Those of you in the 'hood should see us making trips around the block, which I will time to occur soon after taking pain meds so as to keep her scowling to a minimum. Also she has some restrictions like don't lift anything, don't vacuum or iron, and don't cook but I think she'll manage. Feel free to insert appropriate jokes ...

And once again we continue to be amazed at the support so many of you have expressed. It has most definitely made a difference. Thanks everyone!!

From Me, Saturday, 6/7
Hello friends! It's really me, posting from the comforts of home surrounded by pillows and one cat next to me on the bed (Clover/Mr. Handsome).

All things considered, I'm doing very well. I haven't had one bit of nausea, thank God, because that would have been seriously beyond awful. I'm glad that the doctors and nurses all commented on how good the incisions look because I think it looks very Frankenstein-ish, swollen and bruised and with blisters from tape, which was a new experience. I came home with four drains, so Aaron and I are "enjoying" a different kind of intimacy while emptying those twice a day.

As Aaron has mentioned, we are constantly overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support. People I don't even know changed their profile pictures. Even my friends are amazed by my friends, if that makes any sense. I tried to keep up with all your comments and someday I hope to be able to answer messages. Please know that I've read them all and I so appreciate all the love.

In terms of the cancer, I've been told that I won't need chemo and there's nothing invasive, but just in case I needed validation of my decision to remove both breasts, I got it. In my right breast, where we knew there had been cancer, they found even more DCIS(stage zero) and in the left breast they found atypia, which does not always turn into cancer but I think we all know that I made the right choice.

I had not talked about this publicly but the reconstruction route I went with is called a DIEP flap. That means that they took tissue from my tummy to make new boobs so instead of implants, it's all my body (and yes, that means I got a "bonus" tummy tuck out of the deal). That type of surgery is why it took so long - 8 hours, I think - and then I had some breathing issues afterward so it took another 3 hours or so to get to my room. This surgery also requires a longer recovery time but I'm on the right track so far.

I have so many people to give thanks for, but right now, since I've been long-winded and I'm getting tired, I'm just going to point out the Best. Husband. Ever. (Okay, also my only husband ever, but still...) I can't imagine getting through this with anyone else. I love you, Aaron. 

Thanks for reading!


  1. Gwen! I am so happy to read Aaron's updates and your personal update as well. I've been thinking about you and will continue praying for a speedy, healthy recovery! Hugs, friend! You are a rockstar!!!!

  2. Aaron rocked it out, keeping so many updating, tagging you so everyone could see it, and using your own personal hashtag. Boom.

    Love you Carmacks!

  3. Glad you are doing so well!! Continuing to think of you for a speedy recovery!

  4. Wow your hubby is amazing and Im glad you're recovering well :)

  5. I'm so glad to hear that everything is going well. I need to share your story with some others I know who have been battling breast cancer. It's very inspiring.

  6. Wow, Aaron is awesome! I guarantee Jacob's posts would have been something like, "Surgery's over. Went well. We're going home now." I'm so happy that you don't need chemo. I hope you're having a smooth recovery!

  7. Aaron is the new social media maven and nurse extraoidinare!!!!! <3 <3


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