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Old 01-16-2009, 07:36 AM   #601
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Wow, I am really, really late to this thread, but I just spent the better part of an hour or two reading every post. Sammie, you are an amazing woman! You have been through so much! I just want to make one comment on the 'nasty' e-mail you received. NO, you don't have to be positive in your posts. You have to be HONEST for your sake and for everyone elses sake. I don't personally know anyone who has gone through cancer (thank God), and this was the most real and eye opening thread I have ever read. I don't think I have cried so much for someone I have never met or even talked to on line.

Prayers and hugs,
Karie
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Old 03-08-2009, 06:43 PM   #602
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I haven't posted in a long time. I have been trying to recover from 2 knee surgeries, a major blood clot scare and now pneumonia that is just starting to go away.

It looks like I need a major surgery in the near future as my implant on the mastectomy side has moved and is out of its pocket and is misshaped. So we are not going this route again. I guess I will do the trams flap where they will take fat and muscle out of my stomach and back, move it internally to the chest area to try and form a cone like breast. The muscle is never detached.

I have been depressed because the mound that I was left with when they put in the expander looks really bad. It is a daily reminder of my breast cancer and I want a few days off. I want to look a little normal again as anything can be better than what I look like.

Must be a self pity month or something.
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Old 03-08-2009, 08:15 PM   #603
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(((hugs))) I'm sorry I haven't been a very good correspondent the past few months - especially since it sounds like you could have used some happy mail. I'm glad the pneumonia is going away. I hope the doctors are able to work out the problems - that must be very frustrating!
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Old 03-09-2009, 12:06 AM   #604
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Sorry you're still having such a miserable time, Sammie - I wish you could get some good news. And please don't feel guilty for feeling bad - it's impossible (and, in some people, annoying) to be positive all the time.
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Old 03-09-2009, 12:24 AM   #605
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(((hugs))) I'm sorry I haven't been a very good correspondent the past few months - especially since it sounds like you could have used some happy mail. I'm glad the pneumonia is going away. I hope the doctors are able to work out the problems - that must be very frustrating!
Hey friend,
You are a great supporter whether I get a card or not. I have every card you have sent me and I get them out and look at them often. So it's like getting a ton of cards from you at once. I know you care so don't even think about not sending happy mail. Your cards have been a continual happy mail & support for me for a long time.

Hugs.
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Old 03-09-2009, 12:43 AM   #606
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Sorry you're still having such a miserable time, Sammie - I wish you could get some good news. And please don't feel guilty for feeling bad - it's impossible (and, in some people, annoying) to be positive all the time.
I think the good news is that I am still here and fighting. The pain gets me down at times especially when it has to do with surgeries unrelated to breast cancer. It is 3:30 AM and I am up cause I can't sleep due to my back and knee pain.

Poor Mark last week. It was serious as my blood work said I may have a blood clot probably hidden in the leg or even in the lung. The leg because of the intense pain in the calf. But they only found a very large synovial cyst behind the knee causing the pressure. Probably building up since my last knee surgery.

I have a great Primary Care DR and he wanted to make sure my lungs were OK and fortunately there were no clots or what I was worried about - a met from the breast cancer gone to the lungs. But good news - only pneumonia. My prednisone for lupus totally covered up the symptoms of pneumonia other than a few days earlier with fever and chills which I stupidly ignored. It's so weird. I am happy to have pneumonia.

In April I get my first MRI to check my remaining breast for tumors. The mammogram is useless on me and almost anyone who has dense breasts. I would encourage anyone with dens breast to ask for an additional test at least once every 3 years.

I am not sure why I am so wordy in the middle of the night. It is a peaceful time but can be a scary time if one has a medical problem. Right now I decided to worry another day. Not today.

I see my neurologist later today for my Horner's syndrome. Fortunately they couldn’t find a tumor associated with it. It is frustrating that I can't read much at times because my eye lid wants to droop. My pupil doesn't react to light or dark so it does make it harder to read.

But I really am happy to be alive and love being here for Mark, my kids and my grand kids. Even if the kids are far away, I feel close. We are hoping they come back this summer and we will try to go there too. Right now I am excited to just take a week vacation with Mark to Phoenix in May. We haven't been anywhere alone for a very long time.

I think I just wrote a book.

Hugs.
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:22 AM   #607
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Things always seem worse in the middle of the night. I'm glad you're looking forward to your holiday - it will do you both good to get away from everyday life.
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:02 AM   #608
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Hi Sammie, that sucks about all the back and knee pain you have. Even though you are happy to have pneumonia *grin* I hope you recover from it soon. *hugs*
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:37 PM   #609
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Hi Sammie! So glad that you'll be getting to vacation with Mark. My thoughts are with you both!!!
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Old 03-09-2009, 07:31 PM   #610
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Yeah a vacation in May. I can't wait. But before that I have a ton of tests. I have an MRI next week to look or a tumor in my neck that may be causing the Horner's syndrome. I have an MRI in April to check my remaining breast for cancer. I am a little scared about that. I just had a CAT of my lungs – no tumors or blood clots. Just pneumonia. There is so much and then all the DR appt's that go with everything.

Mark just had hand surgery for Dupetrens syndrome. The incision goes in a zig zag cut from his first knuckle to his wrist. They dug out a lot of growth so he can now extend all his fingers. I tell you, if there is something strange, one of us will have it. It's not bad enough that we each have cancer, but for me throw in lupus, neuropathy, FM, Horner's, 2 knee surgeries for torn meniscus', surgery on both feet for Morton’s Neuromas and I can't even think of what else….oh yeah…pain.

Poor Mark not only cancer for him, but he then had 6-7 major surgeries and lost a kidney, had a colonoscopy, then the next surgery a urostomy, several hospitalizations for intestinal blockages, Dupretens, cataract surgeries at the age of 49, and I can't even think of all of his either. I feel more badly for him than me.

It's too much. People gripe about health insurance coverage for all but they have no clue what would happen if one doesn't have it. We would have been totally wiped out and I don't know what would have happened. We feel so lucky even though we can't work.

I have no clue why I am writing this. We celebrated our 40th anniversary 6 weeks ago and on Wednesday I will be 60. Man. Where has the time gone? We have had a great ride together and for that I am so grateful. I am scared at times that my cancer will come back and I will leave him too soon. And then of course I am scared that he will leave me too soon. Time goes by too fast. Kiss your spouse good night tonight. We never know what the next day will bring.

Oh man, I must be really down again. I don't feel down. I feel scared, but maybe they go together.

Thank you all for the great support as it has meant the world to me.
Hugs to all of you.
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Old 03-09-2009, 08:18 PM   #611
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Sammie,

I think I owe you a phone call. Will try to remember this for Wednesday. If I don't remember, pm or email me!

Hugs to both you and Mark.

Rainsong
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Old 03-09-2009, 09:01 PM   #612
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Sammie,

I think I owe you a phone call. Will try to remember this for Wednesday. If I don't remember, pm or email me!

Hugs to both you and Mark.

Rainsong
Oh, that would be so nice. I may even call you if my brain is working that day.

Big hugs to you and DH too.
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Old 03-10-2009, 04:14 AM   #613
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Hello Sammie!

I just read your updates and I'm sad to hear you're in so much pain, and that you and Mark are going through so much. Very gentle hugs to both of you.

I know we haven't had a chance to meet, but I feel so close to you, and so grateful for your friendship, your perspective and your honesty. It takes a lot of courage to share what you've gone through so openly, and I admire the generosity of your doing that every bit as much as your endurance and strength. I deeply respect people who try to endure stoically but I respect you all the more for being able to let all of us know what you've gone through and for not bowing to all that pressure to put a good face on things and pretend it's not really an issue. I wish so much that all of us could take away just a little of your pain and that by each of us having a sore pinky or something, that we could each take enough off of you for you and Mark to be free of pain and worry. I hate to hear that it's keeping you up.

Most of all I admire your love. Your words just glow when you talk about Mark, your children and grandchildren. All of you are so lucky to share in that steady, fierce and beautifully warm and merry love.

I wish you a VERY happy birthday and a wonderful vacation together. All the love in the world to you, Sammie.
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Old 03-10-2009, 07:05 AM   #614
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Thank you Jane. You made me cry.....with great love and friendship. I think I write here what I don't tell others that I talk to daily except with Mark. It is a safe place for me and I appreciate the friendships that I have made and it is all of you that have given me more strength and courage.

Thank you from all that I have in me.

LOVE and HUGS. I wish I could hug you all in real life.
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Old 03-11-2009, 07:23 AM   #615
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Sammie, I am SO GLAD that you both have health insurance!!! I hope Mark's hand is recovering nicely. Best wishes for your upcoming MRI. *hugs*
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Old 03-12-2009, 06:01 PM   #616
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Poor Sammie had to listen to me sing happy birthday to her 'cause she was in the shower and I got her answering machine!

Rainsong
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Old 03-12-2009, 07:18 PM   #617
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Poor Sammie had to listen to me sing happy birthday to her 'cause she was in the shower and I got her answering machine!

Rainsong
But you sang so pretty. Plus I got dried off before I could get to the phone and then talk to you. It was so nice for you to sing to me.
Thanks.
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Old 03-12-2009, 07:18 PM   #618
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Happy Birthday Sammie! Another year already!!
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Old 03-13-2009, 04:37 AM   #619
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Happy Birthday Sammie! Another year already!!
Thanks Sophie. ....my goal is to keep having these birthdays every year. Cause if I don't have them, I am in big trouble.
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Old 03-13-2009, 05:47 AM   #620
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Old 03-13-2009, 12:54 PM   #621
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You made me smile Nadine. How pretty. Thank you.
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Old 03-14-2009, 06:10 AM   #622
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Hi Sammie, It's nice to see you back. I have been following your story and think of you. I have to tell you that I have so much respect for your fight and the love you and Mark have for each other. Im sure your family is wonderful. I had a mastectomy 3 weeks ago and thought of you and all you hve been through. I am one of the fortunate ones who can do hormone therapy. We definitely have to look for the bright signs. One day I finally got my drain out and got a new foam temporary boob. I thought - how good can it get? Take care. Happy Birthday and have a wonderful vacation.
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Old 03-14-2009, 07:04 AM   #623
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Sammie and Rose,
You are in my prayers for a full recovery of health.

March 19th, St. Joseph's feast day, I will celebrate the 7th anniversary of a lumpectomy for stage one Breast Cancer. My operation was much milder that both of yours, but I'm still so happy to be able to celebrate. My health was and is excellent - I only get the big illnesses like cancer.
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Old 03-14-2009, 08:23 AM   #624
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Hi Sammie, It's nice to see you back. I have been following your story and think of you. I have to tell you that I have so much respect for your fight and the love you and Mark have for each other. Im sure your family is wonderful. I had a mastectomy 3 weeks ago and thought of you and all you hve been through. I am one of the fortunate ones who can do hormone therapy. We definitely have to look for the bright signs. One day I finally got my drain out and got a new foam temporary boob. I thought - how good can it get? Take care. Happy Birthday and have a wonderful vacation.
Hi Rose,
I have been thinking of you after reading about your mastectomy on the other thread. I hope you are doing OK. Isn't it wonderful to get those drains out? I am very glad you have the type of cancer where you can take the new hormonal treatment. I am always a bit jealous but hey - that's life. We still are all fighting the same beast - breast cancer. And we still have the same fears and hopes. Keep us updated on how you are doing.

I should find out next week about if and when I can have the flap surgery to replace the bad mound that moved and has already been replaced once. They have to take it out and I can't go that rought again. My body doesn't like it. I am not looking forward to the stomach incisions, the back incision (he will take from both) and then the drains again. I would be less than honest if I said I wasn't a bit scared - again. All that recovery.

Mark got another intestinal blockage yesterday and it was bad. I wish I could take his pain. Life sure isn't fair. I don’t want him to suffer any more. He has had enough.

Take care and I hope you the very best and I hope you have caught it early. Come back with news.
Hugs.
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Old 03-14-2009, 08:27 AM   #625
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Sammie and Rose,
You are in my prayers for a full recovery of health.

March 19th, St. Joseph's feast day, I will celebrate the 7th anniversary of a lumpectomy for stage one Breast Cancer. My operation was much milder that both of yours, but I'm still so happy to be able to celebrate. My health was and is excellent - I only get the big illnesses like cancer.
Stasia
Stasia,
Wow….the 7th anniversary of a lumpectomy. Good for you and I would be celebrating too. I had to laugh - other than cancer, “I am healthy”. Yeah…
Keep it up (the healthy part) and I really am so very happy for you. I want to get to that 7th year too.

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Old 03-14-2009, 10:10 AM   #626
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Sammie - thinking of you and Mark~~~
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Old 03-16-2009, 03:42 PM   #627
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Gee, I didn't realize you had your own thread, kiddo! Great to talk to you and I am sending good thoughts your way. Take care!
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Old 03-16-2009, 05:42 PM   #628
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Gee, I didn't realize you had your own thread, kiddo! Great to talk to you and I am sending good thoughts your way. Take care!
Thanks Martha. Mark actually started this thread when I had my mastectomy surgery. I didn't know you hadn't seen my thread. It's quite long now and takes a while to read. I was great talking to you too.

I got the phone call today that my insurance co. had approved the TRAM surgery. I don't know when it will be yet and my find out on Wed. There are so many questions and I am really anxious now. What they will do is to take the 6-pack muscle of the left side of my abdomen along with the fat, nerves and blood veins. Then roll it up in a kitty corner fashion into the chest and make a cone of a breast for the right side. They keep everything attached so there is a good blood supply. But it is a very long surgery - 6+ hours. I want to be strong enough afterwards without those muscles.

Right now I have a small mound and this is the reconstruction I have been kind of waiting for. I have had 2 failed attempts at the "mound" and it has again ripples and moved from the pit. So they have to take it out.

Tomorrow is the MRI for my neck to rule out a tumor and then next month, I have the MRI on my remaining breast. I am scared of this one. I want to stop thinking about cancer but every time I turn around, there are DR app'ts and tests all the time. I don't know how Mark is so calm with his own. Yet he gets really nervous about me. I am scared for both of us all the time.

I go to the Susan G. Komen forum sometimes, but it upsets me more when I read about women who are stage 4 or those who have just died. When I was first diagnosed, I read the SGK forums all the time and then stayed away for a long time. Sometimes I am just plain jealous that I can't be stage 1 too. But that is the wrong way to think too. I am glad for them....just jealous I guess. Anyway I just went back about a week ago and still get upset.

This is getting long....again.

Take care everyone and thanks for the calls Martha and Rainsong. What a neat birthday gift.
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Old 03-17-2009, 12:00 AM   #629
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Fingers crossed for the MRI today Sammie - you deserve a break so let's hope they rule out a tumour today. Will be thinking of you.
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Old 03-17-2009, 01:40 PM   #630
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I am home from the hospital. I feel crappy still from the pneumonia 3 weeks ago. So my DR is going to do a follow-up X-ray tomorrow. Another app’t. I don't know what is going on in my body, but I am starting to get a little depressed. Actually I can get really depressed when I start to think about all this crap.

I wanted Mark to go with me today but told him to stay home because he had been down from a bowel obstruction. When I told him this after I got home, he was upset that he didn't go with me. It's just me.

My surgery date is going to be May 27th. We decided to make the May date because we are going to from Phoenix for a vacation for just the 2 of us earlier in May. I was a little afraid too that if something went wrong, I would be so far away. The nurse said I would be in the hospital for 3-5 days and to plan on 6 weeks for recovery. OK. This scares me too but I am putting up a good front. I am tired of pretending all is well. I feel I have to so that others won't think I am complaining all the time. I guess that is why I write here. I can complain all I want.

The MRI for my remaining breast is April 21st and the oncology app't is the following week. I want that week to come and go by fast.

I will wait for the MRI results from today. I actually think it will be fine. I called it a neck MRI to everyone. It was actually from the brain stem to the top of the lungs. I guess that is a little more than a neck MRI.

Thanks for letting me come here and write. It helps me a lot.
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Old 03-17-2009, 01:43 PM   #631
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((((((((HUGS))))))))))
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Old 03-17-2009, 08:45 PM   #632
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Dear Sammie, best wishes for your x-ray tomorrow. Yes, no need to pretend here. I am glad that at the very least, we can provide listening ears (er, reading eyes) for your writing.
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:01 AM   #633
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Hi Sammie
I'm glad you don't feel the need to pretend here - everyone needs somewhere to vent.
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Old 05-29-2009, 05:56 AM   #634
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Well, time is running out until my major surgery on Tuesday. My stomach is starting to feel like I have knots in it. On the mastectomy side, the MRI showed dead and dying tissue around the expander. The side just is a hard mound that is quite painful.

So...because the surgeon who did the mastectomy just plain sliced off the breast and didn't leave any skin, we are going to go to a more drastic surgery to get skin, muscle, blood vessels, fat etc to fill the hole that will be created.

The reconstruction surgeon is going to take half the stomach muscle, fat, blood vessels etc on the mastectomy side and cut it at the public area and then keep it attached at the top and roll it up into the hose. So I will have my own tissue but no muscles in half the abdomen. Because I don't have enough fat on one side to make it look like the other side, he will put in a small implant.

There will be 2 cuts in the abdomen from hip to hip. One below the belly button and one above it. That is how they will get the needed skin. Believe it or not, when they pull the two incisions together, they will throw away the fat on the other side to make it symmetrical and it creates something just like a tummy tuck. WOW. A freebie.

The DR said that after 6-12 months, I will be able to sit straight up again but until then I will have to use my back, arm and leg muscles. He originally was going to avoid the implant and take both sides of the abdomen muscle and I thought about it for about a month and then called and said that I couldn't do that. My back just isn't strong enough to support me forever. Especially since I have had back surgery. So we will do the least problematic surgery.

If I had fat behind on my upper back behind the breast, they could do a transfer there but I don't have any. So we go to the abdomen. Mark will have to help me up for a while until I learn how to move around myself.

I will be in the hospital for about 5 days and it will be about a 5 hour surgery. If he had doe the bigger surgery, it would have been a 10-12 hour surgery and that was another factor in my deciding not to go that route.

We have made a lot of meals and froze them and one of my DDs is coming back about a week after I get home to help out. I needed that week alone with Mark to see what is going to happen and to try and get the pain level down to a better level. My granddaughter (5) is also coming with her to be my nurse. That should be interesting.

So after Tuesday, I will be off line for a while but Mark will bring the lap top over to the bed and maybe I can read and come in a little. He will do an update after the surgery and will probably send a couple people here the update too. I am nervous to say the least. But this is needed to get rid of what is dying.

I think I just wrote another book here. I didn't mean to get so wordy.
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Old 05-29-2009, 06:17 AM   #635
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{{{HUGS}}} Of course you wrote a book. That's alot of stuff and worries to be carrying around. We'll be thinking about you and Mark. You are really brave.
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Old 05-29-2009, 06:22 AM   #636
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Thank you for sharing what you will be going through surgically. I can't even imagine the emotional elements you are and will be experiencing. Good luck with the surgery. I hope you rest well and experience the least amount of pain possible when the surgery is over. Take care and think happy thoughts!
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Old 05-29-2009, 06:34 AM   #637
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Oh Samantha! I hope everything goes well in the surgery!! I'm glad that your daughter and granddaughter will be coming down. Definitely something to look forward to afterwards!!!
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Old 05-29-2009, 06:35 AM   #638
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More hugs for you!

I know you don't know me but I feel like I know you, and I think of you often and wonder how you are doing that day.

I want to THANK YOU for sharing so much with us. Your courage and strength is very inspirational. I wish I was more eloquent so I could explain why, but I'm not, so I will leave it as you simply are very inspirational to me. You GO, girl.

I will be thinking of you.
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Old 05-29-2009, 11:25 AM   #639
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(((HUGS))) Sammie.

We'll all be thinking of you and sending warm thoughts, prayers, and hopes for a safe and speedy recovery. And (((HUGS))) to Mark too for being there and taking such loving care of someone so very, very dear to us.
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Old 05-29-2009, 12:14 PM   #640
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Will be thinking of you Sammie and sending the best of vibes.
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