Do you know what graphene is . . . ? Neither did I.
It is the most conductive material on the earth. Discovered in 2004, graphene is nicknamed the “miracle material”.
“Imagine a material mined from the earth that is stronger than steel, harder than diamonds but as flexible and transparent as saran wrap, with a higher intrinsic mobility than silicon, 100 times more conductive than Copper and comes “packaged” as a thin sheet only 1 atom thick that you can actually see with the naked eye and form into any shape you want. This is Graphene, a form of Graphite being hailed as the miracle material and is breaking through historical scientific limits changing the way we live.”
Graphene is the thinnest and most conductive material known to man.
I loved the use of the term “miracle material”. When I read about this it made me think of how we are called to be conductors of Christ. We are called to be vessels carrying Christ love to a lost world.
Am I graphene, the most conductive material in the world? Do I allow Christ to flow through me to others? Or am I more like rubber? Soaking up what Christ would like to do for me and others.
Unfortunately, many times I find myself trying to take control of a situation myself, insulating or even blocking Christ. . . being more like rubber.
Yesterday (June 11, 2013), I saw my wife Jasmin as a beautiful example of miracle material. In the wake of having both of her breasts removed, she was so still in the middle of the storm around her.
That does not mean we both did not cry about what was about to happen and could not help but think of what things might be like in the future. However; in spite of this, Jasmin had a peace about her that conducted Jesus’ love and joy right through her and on to the world. It was an awesome experience. God is so good.
We arrived at the hospital, checked in, and then waited. You know, the usual start to a medical related activity.
On a side note. . .Why is it that no matter what time you show up at the hospital, they are behind? How can you be behind at 6:00 in the morning?
Anyhow, Jasmin’s two sisters, Jennifer and Julianna and her mother Beth met up with us in the waiting area. We were sporting the “just beat it” t-shirts in honor of Jaz.
A little background on a procedure performed on Jasmin back in October. . .
Before chemotherapy began, a radiologist inserted a metal pin the size of a pinhead into the tumor in Jasmin’s breast. The purpose was to help the doctors locate the specific area where the cancerous tissue should be removed.
Fast-forward to the day of the surgery.
Jasmin’s surgeon sent her to an imaging center where several mammograms were performed to help locate the pin. Once it was located, the radiologist inserted a wire into the breast where the metal pin was located. The wire acted as an arrow to allow for the doctors to observe the location of the pin. The surgeons job is then to remove the pin along with a clear margin of surrounding tissue.
The pin location process took longer than expected. Jasmin arrived back from radiology to a team of doctors and nurses waiting on her. . . a little ironic. Before she went back, Jasmin asked the reconstruction surgeon, who is a Christian, to pray for her. What a powerful moment to see a surgeon praying over his patient, his nurses and staff and himself.
There were two surgeons performing the surgery. One had the job of removing the breasts (cancer surgeon) and the other was there to begin to reconstruct new ones (reconstruction surgeon).
The cancer surgeon began his work and had a challenge in front of him. Under normal circumstances, women have a layer of fat between their breast tissue and their skin. The fat layer allows some wiggle room for not damaging the skin when removing breast tissue. As Jasmin’s surgeon put it, there was no fat to work with. There were times when the breast tissue was almost directly touching the skin. In those cases, it made it difficult not to damage the skin but still remove the breast tissue. They took their time and did a great job. Praise God!
One concern heading into the surgery was that the tumor may have breached the chest wall and into the pectoral muscle. The physicians would have had to remove muscle tissue in this scenario. However, it turned out that there was no such invasion into the muscle.
During the surgery, there was some internal dialogue in the operating room as to whether or not Jasmin is a marathon runner due to her body shape. When the reconstruction surgeon was sharing this story with us, Jasmin’s response was, “no, but I probably do a pretty good 5-K when I am shopping at Target.”
That’s my girl
Surgeons completed the double mastectomy in a little under two hours and the reconstruction took about the same amount of time.
Those four hours in the waiting area felt like F-O-R-E-V-E-R. I was not so much scared as I was sad. I prayed, read, worked on the blog and checked emails. Nothing seemed to make the time go by quickly.
They removed both breasts and several lymph nodes. She now has tissue expanders in her chest. If all goes well, she will have one more surgery in 3-5 months and the tissue expanders will be replaced by implants.
I will try to write more about the actual reconstruction process in the future.
The removed lymph nodes were sent off to a lab for testing. If the results show no observed cancerous activity in those nodes, Jasmin will not need any radiation treatments. If there is evidence of current or past existence of cancerous cellular activity in the lymph nodes then she will go through radiation treatments on her chest.
Most of the time, radiation after mastectomy is not necessary; however, when the patient is young or the cancer is aggressive, sometimes you have to do both mastectomy and radiation. The test results will be back on Friday and will let us know what comes next.
The Lord willing, Jasmin will be out of the hospital on Thursday. She is very sore and in a lot of pain. However, she is in high spirits and glad to have this behind her. There is such a peace about her. Thank you Jesus.
She is a champ.
FYI, Morphine can cause itching and blurred vision. Jasmin came out of surgery and was itching all over. It seemed that no matter how many times she hit the Morphine button, the itching would not go away. So for all who are reading this, take note. . . taking more Morphine does not take away the itchy side effects of. . . more Morphine.
So now, I am sitting in the room and Jasmin is sleeping well for the first time in two days. I am so grateful for God’s provision of wonderful Doctors, nurses and other medical staff. I am grateful for our wonderful church family and pastors whose prayer, presence and support means so much. Thank you Lord for your provision.
Hopefully, I will be able to update you soon on the results of the lymph node testing.
Before I sign off, I would like to mention a true blessing we experienced this past Sunday. Jasmin and I had an opportunity to jump (not step) outside of our comfort zones. Jasmin was asked to give the testimony of her journey with cancer at our church in New Braunfels, Oakwood. In an effort to be more like graphene and less like rubber, she and I spoke of the walk that began in October. I have included a link below to the service if you would like to watch it:
Please be in prayer for the following:
- Lab results that show no traces of cancerous activity in the removed lymph nodes
- Speedy recovery and no infections for Jasmin
- Protection and peace for our children in their understanding of what is happening to their mommy
- Intervention with my work while I am away and multiplied time when I return
- Praise that Jasmin is out of surgery and on to the next chapter
- Continued praise for our HEALTHY baby girl Hadassah who was Jasmin’s constant companion through her first 12 weeks of chemo
- Glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ through this trial
I would like to leave you with the following scripture. . . it really hit home!
1 Peter 1: 3-9
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Thank you friends for your continued prayers and support. Thank you for your texts, messages on Facebook, voicemails and visits. We love you so much.