On Thursday, April 21, I was eight weeks pregnant and had an oh-so-fun first nurse’s appointment scheduled. I sat through the appointment, answering 781 questions about all things me. At the end of my appointment the nurse asked if I had any questions or concerns and my exact words, as retold to me by my doctor a few weeks later were, “Well it’s kind of silly, but I found a lump.”
Side note: Two things I’ve learned since April 21:
1—Never feel silly about bringing up a change or pain you’ve noticed in your body.
2—Never just lightly sneak it in at the end of a conversation. I guess it should have been the first thing I mentioned. Live and learn, eh?
The nurse checked it out and asked that I come back later to have a doctor examine me. I went back later that afternoon and my doctor suggested I get an ultrasound right away. Like in 10 minutes. So Tim and I drove down the road and met with a very nice radiologist who examined the lump. It was jagged and didn’t move—not good, according to Google. But it hurt; that’s how I found it in the first place—and Google said that was actually a good sign. She took some measurements and recommended a biopsy be done soon. We scheduled that to be done a week later because Tim was going to be out of town.
A few days later we went back to our doctor’s office for an ultrasound of the baby—which was growing right along. As soon as we finished that appointment Tim headed out to Phoenix and I headed to work. As the day went on I felt sick. And then more and more sick. I ended up leaving my office early and heading home. I had some severe stomach pain along with some other symptoms, so my doctor had me go to the emergency room. I spent many glorious hours there as they took a sample of this and a sample of that. They told me I either have a bad virus or very bad food poisoning. Still do not know that that was. But it was bad.
Then on Friday, April 29, I headed back to the hospital for my biopsy. That was an experience. The whole time I kept thinking, this is such a fuss for something that is going to turn out to be nothing. I went home after being at the hospital for a few hours, and spent the weekend healing.
On that Monday my OBGYN wanted me to come in as a follow up to my ER visit. I went in and she examined me, checked on the baby and we heard the heartbeat. Everything was great and I was on my way. This would be the last time I would hear that heartbeat this side of Heaven.
May 4—May the fourth be with you.
The last thing I had on my plate that week, medically speaking, was a hospital visit to hear about the results of my biopsy. I never really thought there was a real possibility I could have something seriously wrong with me. The day before was election day here in Indiana, and Tim and I had jokingly said we should go out to dinner on Wednesday night to celebrate Ted Cruz winning the election and me not having anything wrong with me. Well, that went totally sideways. Not only did Cruz lose, he dropped out of the race completely. And not only was I not well, but we learned I have cancer. A very serious and aggressive form of cancer.
We took Haven to the appointment with us because she is home with me on Wednesdays and I seriously thought we would be in and out in about 10 minutes. I was wrong. Very wrong. I’m going to write about all of the details, mostly just for me. So that I can remember. So be prepared to be bored.
We checked into the hospital and they couldn’t find my name. They eventually found it on a special list—sign number one that something may have been wrong. Then we went right to registration, no waiting, which is pretty unheard of there—number two. While we were registering, it was mentioned that we were seeing a nurse—Tim and I high-fived each other because we weren’t even meeting with a doctor, just a nurse, so I must have been fine. The nice lady registering us mentioned that the nurse was already out in the waiting area for me, so there was no need for me to wait—number three: You always wait. Once we got into the room a couple of nurses were there, along with the doctor—number four. I should have been thinking that something was up, but I had no clue.
Then the doctor said it. “Unfortunately, the results did come back that this is a cancer.” That’s it. That is how you find out you have cancer. Unfortunately. That doctor was amazing. I cried. She cried. The two nurses cried. Tim cried. Haven seemed ready for a nap.
I calmed down. They told me they were going to do some more tests that afternoon on me, which we did. Then they told me I was scheduled for an appointment with an oncologist, Dr. Ansari, at 8:30 the next morning. My response was “Oh, so this is a big deal.” I have Dr. Ansari (one of the best oncologists in our area). And I’m meeting him first thing in the morning. Oh dear. “May the Fourth be with you” will never be the same for me.
There is so much more to my story, which I’m sure many of you already know, but I’m tired right now. I’ll add more to this blog soon-ish.