So I met with my oncologist the next morning and he is a pretty amazing doctor. He told me if I wasn’t pregnant we would do this and that and then some of this, and that would be Plan A. But I was pregnant, so we had to move on to Plan B. He had me meet with a surgeon later that same day and schedule a lumpectomy, which we set up to be done on May 25. A few weeks after I healed from that the plan was to start chemotherapy. Chemo + pregnant = Oh. My. Word. As if I wasn’t already a hot mess now I was pregnant and Googling the heck out of chemo and pregnancy.
One week later we went back to my oncologist’s office to hear my case discussed at a breast cancer forum. That was very interesting. It was also at 6:30 in the morning. There really is nothing like listening to several doctors talk about you and flash pictures of you and your tumor on a huge screen at 6:30 AM. In all seriousness, it was an amazing experience. There were about 26 doctors and nurses all sitting in one room discussing me and my situation. There were a few moments when I was just listening to them, and it was so interesting I completely forgot they were talking about me and my future. So bizarre. When we left that appointment our next stop was surgery on May 25.
Then things changed for us in a really, really bad way.
Last Monday, May 16, I had a checkup with my obstetrician. Finally, a regular doctor’s appointment. Something quick—and more importantly, something normal. I was working on a big project at work that morning, and I left it spread all over my desk as I ran out the door at 12:52 for my 1:00 appointment. I thought I’ll be in and out in no time and back at my desk by 1:45. I even told Tim to skip this appointment because he had already missed so much work, and he will have “more important appointments” to go with me to in the near future. So he stayed at his office and worked.
Everything went great, at the beginning. Did all the fun things you do at your first appointment with your doctor, and as we were finishing up she said, like always, “Let’s just check the heartbeat and you’ll be on your way.” She pulled out the Doppler and spent about three to four minutes trying to find the heartbeat. I wasn’t worried at all. The exact same thing happened with both of our girls, so I was used to this drill of pulling out the ultrasound machine on wheels to find the baby, which my doctor did. But this time there was still no heartbeat. She pointed out the head, spine, little nubs of legs and arms. She pushed on my belly to try to get the baby to move. It was looking right at us, but didn’t have a beating heart. I started crying. So told me it’s not the best machine, and to breathe, because I had kind of stopped doing that. She took me across the hall and right into another, and more detailed ultrasound.
Side note: I will never [again] complain inside my head, or out loud, when I sit and sit and sit in the waiting room to see a doctor or have an ultrasound. I have no idea what is going on back there to another patient, and maybe they needed my appointment time more urgently than I did. Also, I’m sorry to whomever I cut in front of, and for taking a very, very long time.
The tech started the ultrasound and I could see the baby as clear as could be, but there was no sound of a heartbeat coming from the machine. I don’t remember a lot after that. I remember the doctor asking for Tim’s work phone number because she couldn’t get ahold of him on his cell, and I said “I don’t even know where he’s working.” What? My brain was gone and my heart was broken. You see, just a few days earlier at the forum, we were told that we would no longer be able to have children after chemotherapy. I was devastated.
I finally found Tim (at church, where he works) and we went home and cried and cried. I could feel myself very rapidly slipping into some sort of depression. A little bit, and a little bit, and a little bit more as the night went on. We told Kiersten, and she took it hard. She had just made a craft for the baby at school that day and had written David Flower on it since we didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl. She still cries for her baby in heaven.
I was almost 12 weeks pregnant when I found out that the baby had stopped growing. The baby measured just over 10 weeks. I found out that I have cancer the day the baby turned 10 weeks old. I never would have gone to the doctor if I wasn’t pregnant with this baby.
Later that week, after communicating to my oncologist and surgeon that I was no longer pregnant, they changed everything. Back to Plan A. Chemo right away, then a lumpectomy, then radiation. They are leaving my tumor in. What is still hard to swallow is that at the exact same time that I was scheduled to have my tumor removed, I am now scheduled to have my baby removed. The tumor is staying and the baby is leaving. So backward.
So this Wednesday I am having a D&C and a surgery to insert my port for chemotherapy. Hopefully I’ll be starting chemo next week; I should know more about that later this week. I’ll have chemo every other week for eight rounds, roughly four months. Then in October-ish I’ll have my tumor removed and then we’ll move onto radiation. Plan A.
Wednesday will not be easy for us. Please be praying for us.
Thank you everyone for all of your love, encouragement, and support. You have no idea how much that helps and how good it feels to know that we are not alone.
One more thing. At my last visit with Dr. Ansari I asked him, “This chemo that I’m having—can I have any more kids after this?” His answer: “Yes. I’m going to shut down your ovaries.” That does not sound delightful, but I’ll take it! God is good!!!
The time from last Monday, when we found out about losing our baby, to last Thursday, when we met with Dr. Ansari, felt like an eternity. I was so, so sad. But now I can’t stop smiling. My little rainbow in the middle of this storm.