Thursday, June 10th, 2010 I was told I have cancer.
I debated writing about this on here. Jake isn’t too keen on me sharing such personal news on a public blog where anyone can read it. I understand his reasoning, but realize we differ on this subject. Maybe it’s the man in him and the woman in me that makes us respond the way we do. For me, when tragedy strikes, I want friends and family to know. We can always use as many good thoughts, prayers, support, and positive karma coming our way, to help sustain us during difficult times. I have felt strongly I should document this journey here, so I can look back in a few months, and years from now, and remember how I got through one of the hardest trials in my life, and came out stronger because of it. I want my kids to see how our family got through this together, and became more unified because of it, too.
It’s hard to put into words the emotions I felt as I sat across from my doctor, as he pointed out the tumor in my lung. At that moment my life flashed before my eyes. As I looked over at my three kids, trying to sit still in the doctor’s office, my thoughts automatically went to them and to Jake. Is this really happening? How did it happen? Am I going to die? Will Jake and the kids be okay without me? All questions that ran through my head in just those first few seconds. I walked outside in a daze, wondering if what I had just experienced was real or just a horrible dream. I unlocked the van door, let the kids get inside and buckled Josh. I climbed into the driver’s seat and shut the door. Breathe. Stay calm. Breathe. My fingers trembling, I dialed Jake’s number.
It has been 5 days now since we learned the news. A lot has happened since then. We have learned this cancer mass has a name: Typical Carcinoid Tumor. It’s supposedly the “best cancer to have” because it’s operable, slow growing, and doesn’t spread like Atypical carcinoids do. It is located in my right lung, covering the air passageway to my middle lobe, and partially covering the lower lobe. This has caused my middle lobe to be completely collapsed, with no air getting to it. I’ve been told this tumor is most likely the reason for my bouts of pneumonia and bronchitis these past couple years. That was at least a tad comforting to find out, knowing I’m not just someone with a horrible immune system, catching nearly every sickness I come in contact with. This tumor most likely has been there for years, growing slowly, and in the last year has become big enough to notice and cause breathing problems. Jake and I met with a pulmonary disease specialist yesterday who performed a bronchoscopy and biopsy of the tumor tissue. Good news is that the doctor was fairly certain that the tumor did in fact start in the lung and hasn't spread to any other organs. Huge blessings! The only thing we have to be careful about is the cancer coming back, once it's surgically removed. He said there is a small chance that will happen so I will need a bronchoscopy every 6 months for 5 years, and then every year after that. As for the surgery, my middle right lobe will need to be taken out, and it’s a good chance my lower lobe will need to be taken as well. We won’t know for sure about the lower lobe until the dr has me opened up and can get a good look at what he’s dealing with. This lobectomy will take place on Tuesday, the 22nd, just 12 days after I was first told of my “condition.” It’s actually quite a relief that the doctors are moving so quickly on this. I haven’t had too much time to really dwell on the reality of the situation. I’m sure over the next few days it will sink in, but for now, I feel a little numb. We are glad, though, we finally have some answers. Now we need to prepare for what is to come these next few weeks and months. I also have to say I am completely amazed and humbled by the outpouring of love, prayers, and support we have received these past few days. There are people all over the country and world, thinking of and praying for me and my family, and the shear thought of that brings tears to my eyes. Thank you to you all. We feel your love and draw strength from you.
It’s now after midnight and I need to close before I fall asleep at the keyboard. More to come soon.
I asked Jake to take a picture of me after the biopsy when I was coming out of sedation. He said I was pretty hilarious. Glad I could be entertaining for him. ;)
Cub camp. Potentially my last :(
2 days ago