Here’s the report on my scans. I had a CT scan at the beginning of April. I met with my doctor two weeks later and was told the scan indicated that my cancer was gone. At the same time, my surgeons scheduled my mastectomy and reconstruction to be completed on Tuesday, April 30. Woo hoo! Another step closer to the finish line.
My surgeon requested that I have another PET scan completed so that she could use it for surgical mapping, which I completed last Wednesday afternoon. Tim and I spent an afternoon in Indianapolis last week to go through all of my surgical tests and prep to be sure my body was ready for such a major surgery. When we left Indy I was not given a green light due to my EKG having some irregular findings.
When I left my doctor’s office, after my PET scan, I confirmed that the images and report were going to be sent to my surgeon at IU Simon and I asked how long until they would receive them. I was told they should have them by Friday.
Thursday afternoon my phone rang. Well, first my son had a crazy blowout diaper. I dealt with that joy and cleaned him up and then my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, so I didn’t answer it. It wasn’t from Indianapolis so I didn’t think it was urgent or important. I heard a voicemail alert. Usually, embarrassingly, hours, if not a day or two will go by before I remember to check messages. But this time I checked right away. That never happens. This is what I heard…
“Kim. This is Dr. Ansari. This is my cell phone number. I’m traveling right now, so call me on my cell phone right away.”
Let me fill you in on a few things that I know. It is not good when your oncologist calls you directly. Nurses and assistants always do the calling. It is not good when your oncologist calls you while he’s traveling. And it is not good when he gives you his personal cell phone number. So I called Tim right away.
I couldn’t get a hold of Tim and Dr. Ansari called again. I knew my PET results were going down to Indy, so at first, I thought his call was about my EKG. No matter what, I knew this wasn’t good. I answered it. This is what I heard:
“Kim. You’re not having surgery next week. You still have cancer. The scan showed, blah blah, blah…”
For the next three seconds I kind of stopped listening. In my head, I was thinking, “Wait. We’ve already celebrated. I’ve had a clear mammogram, ultrasound, and CT scan. I’m done with chemo. Forever. I’m not going back to that. And I just changed the craziest diaper. Like four minutes ago. Now I’m hearing that I still have cancer. It’s not gone. Not defeated. And it’s still there after all of this hell. This is my life. Dealing with all sorts of poop. From every direction.” All of that ran through my mind as he spoke.
After those three seconds passed I came back to reality. He was still talking. When he finished I said, “Wait, what?” Classic Kim.
Dr. Ansari said, “The mass in your breast and your intermammary nodes both still have active, alive, and growing cancer.” Alive, active, and growing are not words you want to hear. I just said, “Okay. Now what?” He told me he has no more treatment for me. This is not what you want to hear when you’re 37 years old and a mother of three awesome kids, a wife to an amazing man and diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. So, my doctor is sending me back down to IU Simon to see what clinical trials, immunotherapy, or chemo they recommend for me and my situation.
He did apologize for giving this news to me over the phone and while Tim was not home. He just wanted to get the information to me right away so that I can get down to Indianapolis as soon as possible and start whatever treatment quickly. I’ve already been off of chemo for a month now, and that’s not good for my situation. He told me to have Tim call him so he can walk him through this as well. He’s a great doctor and an awesome man.
This is not at all what we were expecting or believing would be our next steps. I thought I’d have surgery on April 30 and then enjoy a relaxing summer with my family before radiation. We don’t know what our next steps will be, but we will learn more in the coming days and weeks. Please pray for us.