Today marks the 1 year anniversary of my cancer returning. On this day, I am going to tell you exactly how I got here. I explained a lot in my very first post on this blog. I’m going to piggyback off of that post but get much more detailed. I hope you guys don’t mind! 🙂 In October 2011 I got pneumonia. I went to the hospital. I was treated and released. In November 2011 I met my future husband. Very important fact!!! 🙂 Continuing on….In February 2012 I got pneumonia for the second time. I again went to the hospital, was treated and released. Around March or April 2012 I had a cough I could not get rid of. It sounded sort of like a whooping-cough. I had been to the ER several times, and to my primary care physician multiple times, and each time they told me something different. It was bronchitis. My asthma was acting up due to the weather. Basically, the problems I was having were related to those two things. The ER or my primary care would treat what they thought was the case and send me home. While I was going through all this, I remembered reading about a friend’s mom going through something similar. Her mom was continuously going back and forth to the ER with the same symptoms. They would treat her issue and send her home. On her third and final trip they found fluid in her lungs. They drained the fluid and sadly found lung cancer. I also remembered my friend Raymond went through the same thing until they finally found his cancer. I always refered back to those stories. I knew this was serious. Finally, I made ANOTHER appointment to see my primary care doctor. He was out of the office so they sent me to another doctor associated with the practice. She took a look at my lungs and agreed they sounded abnormal. She sent me to a specialist, a pulmonologist (lung doctor) named Dr. Lilly. It took me a full month to see him but once I did things happened very fast. He sent me to get a chest x-ray which finally showed fluid on my lungs. Every other x-ray I had gotten thus far had been normal. He decided to do a needle biopsy to test the fluid on my lungs and one more procedure. The other procedure (I forgot the name) sucked all the fluid off my lungs so they could biopsy it. I waited like a week for the results. Dr. Lilly called me on this day 7/13/12. When I woke up that morning I said to myself “It’s Friday the 13th.” “What if something bad happens?” I quickly shot down that thought. I am not superstitious at all. Well, maybe a little. Especially when it involves a black cat crossing in front of me. Lol! Anyway, he was on vacation. I could hear his children playing in the background. Hindsight is 20/20. A doctor calling you on his vacation to tell you the results of your tests can’t be good. However, I still had hope he was calling me with good news. At this point, I am pulling into the parking garage at another doctor’s office in Downtown Baylor with my husband D. Dr. Lilly tells me the fluid that was tested has come back positive for cancer. I was STUNNED. I mean, all the wind had been knocked out of me. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I was devastated. No, devastated isn’t even a word big enough for what I was feeling. I was BROKEN. My entire body BROKE! That being said, I had to go see my other doctor Dr. John O’Connor for my check up. A little background info on him: I relapsed (the cancer returned) in 2008 (as you can see I’ve been back and forth on this carousel ride for quite a while). The oncologist I had at the time told me the cancer had spread to my liver. There was a tumor on my liver. My doctor gave me four rounds of chemotherapy. It was doing NOTHING to kill the tumor. Hell, it wasn’t even putting a dent in the tumor. My mother was very unhappy with the way things were playing out. She said she saw my doctor actually scratching his head in confusion. He was stumped as to what his next step was. Smh. Mom eventually took me to Texas Oncology at Baylor Plano (which is where I am to this day). I met with a doctor named Dr. Rao. She was an amazing doctor. Very knowledgable. By the time we got in to see her she had read my entire medical record. As you can probably guess, it’s quite large. Lol! Mom and I were so impressed that she knew my whole medical history despite getting my records less than a week before my appointment. Dr. Rao suggested that since the cancer wasn’t responding to chemo we should try radiation. THAT is how I met Dr. O’Connor. He is a radio-surgery specialist (radiologist). I believe I had 4-6 rounds of radiation. The tumor had been killed. It was dead. That was a HUGE victory in my fight. We were so happy and I was deemed “in remission.” After that I went in every 3 months for an MRI (machine that looks for abnormal cells/cancer cells) of my liver. Then, because I was doing so well it moved to every 6 months. It is now July 13th, 2012. Dr. Rao moved to Texas Oncology McKinney about maybe 3 years prior. I decided to stay at Texas Oncology Baylor Plano. I got a new doctor. Dr. Kavoor. He and I have been together ever since. I was still seeing Dr. O’Connor though. He didn’t change. Anywayssss……… I’m on my way to get my MRI and visit Dr. O’Connor. I get my MRI first and then go see Dr. O’Connor to find out/discuss my results. I had planned to talk to him about going from seeing him every 6 months to once a year. I hadn’t had any problems in 4 years. I’m good! Or so I thought…….. While I was getting my MRI I kept bursting into tears. Thinking about the news Dr. Lily (the pulmonologist) had given me sent me into a tailspin. I would be okay for a few minutes and then………waterworks. I go into the office and sit in one of the exams rooms. I’m talking to his medical assistant, Brittany, telling her about my recent or “that day” diagnosis. She, D, and I were very sad. She went to tell Dr. O so we could talk about if after he checked the results of my MRI. Dr. O comes in and he says “I’m sorry to tell you this BUT the cancer has returned in your liver.” At this point I swear I am suicidal. I think I was looking at windows wondering how hard I would have to run in order to break the glass and end it all. I’m like whatttt?!?!?!?!? My liver hasbeen clear for FOUR YEARS. He acknowledged that, but, he said these things just happen. I could NOT BELIEVE IT! I asked him if we would be able to do radio-surgery/radiation again? He informs me that isn’t an option. In 2008 there was one tumor in my liver. Since it was in only one spot they were able to kill it with radiation. This time there were multiple legions all over my liver. Radiation would not help me this time. I KNEW KNEW KNEW I was going to die. I KNEW that if the cancer spreads anywhere it’s automatically stage four. People just don’t come back from that. 2008 was different. We were only dealing with a singular spot. The doctors were able to treat the tumor and put me back into remission. This was different. It was now in multiple places. It was in my lungs AND liver AND in multiple spots in both. I was DONE!!!! I was FINISHED. I am hanging up my coat and saying my goodbyes. I vowed to die in peace surrounded by all my family and friends. D tried so hard to comfort me. All I wanted was my mom and dad. After my doctor’s appointment I went to their house and I was beside myself. My mom said the typical quote (well typical for me anyway). Ha ha! She says “We will beat this!!!” I did not believe her. My dad was heartbroken. My mom is stong. Her only thought is “We will get through this.” “We just have to figure out how.” “My daughter will beat this.” Her most important quote, “I WILL NEVER GIVE UP!” If you know my mom her determination is awe-inspiring. She is my hero. Both my parents are my Hero. They are my whole world. Strong isn’t even the correct word to describe either one of them. More like, THE HULK! Lol! About a week later we met with Dr. Kavoor to go over my treatment plan. My body responds well to chemo. I had hope, albeit a small hope, but hope none the same. It was going to be a hard, uphill battle. At that time everything was wait and see. We were living on a prayer. We were begging God to spare my life. All that was left to do was take the chemotherapy he had picked for me and go from there……….
*****Tune in to my next post as I describe my first chemo treatment and the chaos that ensued after******
Make sure you are loving, kissing and appreciating the people who mean most to you. Just people in general. You NEVER know when you won’t be able to tell them those famous words that mean so much. Love you guys and thanks for reading and the continued support! 🙂