Early morning on Monday, May 22nd, I was surrounded by love in the waiting room of Surgical Services at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital. I had already been to nuclear medicine to get an injection of a fluid that would help the surgeon trace my lymph nodes. My husband Tim, daughter Briana and her husband Jonathan, daughter Morgan and her boyfriend Deep were doing their best to keep my nerves at bay. In walks my sweet pastor Jennifer Hampton with her big, beautiful smile. Standing in a circle, she had just started to pray when the nurse calls, “Robin Bralley!” Jennifer continues and finishes her prayer as the nurse calls again, “Robin Bralley?!” I hurriedly gave hugs to everyone and took the long walk back with Tim holding my hand the whole way. It seems like there were no less than ten doctors scurrying in and out as they prepped me and before I knew it, Tim was reassuring me with a goodbye kiss, and I was out! Many thanks to family (Mom, George, Randy & Caroline) and friends (Sandy, Brian, Kristin & Susie) that came to support Tim and my girls during the long wait. And it was a long wait!
Apparently, I wanted to stay out because it was way into the night before my family was finally able to come see me and even then I could not wake up enough to talk to them any length of time. They explained to my family that despite a shot of Narcan, I didn’t want to wake up. My blood pressure and oxygen were low, so I’d have to spend the night in ICU. Which in turn bought me an extra night in the hospital as well. I was originally told I’d only be there one night. The next morning I finally came to and was surprised at how well I felt. It was wonderful and amazing news to hear that no cancer was found in my lymph nodes and it appeared that the tumor was gone as well. Hallelujah, the chemo worked! Double bonus that they thought the cancer in my thyroid was contained in the thyroid so more good news! I can’t say enough about the wonderful care I received and the amazing outpouring of love and prayers I had covering me every step of the way.
Wednesday mid-afternoon I was finally released to go home, and recovery began. I’m not sure what I ever did to deserve the amazing family I have, but let’s just say I was spoiled rotten by my husband and daughters in the coming days. My house looked like a florist while wonderful family and friends covered us with flowers, food, and prayers. This is when it’s really handy to have a nurse for a daughter, as she was able to help me remove the gauze bandages a couple of days after going home. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to having a small meltdown about my new appearance. Especially under my arm, where the lymph nodes were removed. It’s a lot to take in at once, but I am slowly coming to accept it and know that it will look better with time and eventual reconstruction.
Until then, I was very touched by yet another stranger. You see, Dianne Whisnant is a member of Central UMC in Shelby, NC, pastored by my previous pastor at Sunrise UMC, Danny Leonard. Dianne is involved with a ministry called Knitted Knockers. Knitted Knockers are special handmade breast prostheses that are comfortable and lightweight. It’s yet another option for mastectomy and lumpectomy patients. Dianne, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for thinking of me!
I continue to be overwhelmed by the kindness shown to my family and me and remain GrateFull and HopeFull!
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