Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The "C" Word

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.

Jamie

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. ;)

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

We're praying for you and thinking of you. You can beat this. We love you!
-Becky

Kara said...

Love you Jamie.
Thank you for sharing with us.

Hugs

Shellie said...

Jamie - You are one tough cookie and if someone can fight through something you can.

Believe it or not, my mom just got home from the hospital last week from the same type of surgery. She had one of her left lobes removed and part of the other. Please feel free to email me if you want to talk. I can hardly imagine the roller coaster of emotions and anxieties you have felt. You can beat this! Love to you all.

Tiffany Whitbey said...

Jamie,
I am so sorry to hear this news but I know we won't be the only ones that will be praying for you and your family from Oregon. Please keep us posted and let me know if there is anything that I can do.

Tiffany

Julie G. said...

Jamie- Thanks for sharing. Many people will draw strength from your experience and example! Our family's thoughts and prayer will be with you and your family. Love you.

Loree said...

oh my goodness jamie! i am so sorry to hear this life changing news. tears came to my eyes as i read about this trial you will have to face. you are strong and i know you can beat this. you and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers. love you lady! hang in there! :)

Heidi said...

Our prayers are with you. I hope for 100% recovery!!

Ashley said...

Goodnight what a shock for you guys! I have so many questions for you. Where are you having your surgery? If you are having it at IMC I will for sure be working with you. Who's your doctor? Are they going in via thoracotomy? Sorry so many questions, but most of all we love you! You are one tough cookie and you are going to do great! You take such great care of your body that you will recover very well. Love you guys!

Mindurs said...

Oh Jamie hugs from me. Sending you many good thoughts and prayers.

Neal and Lori Jeppson said...

We got your email. Thanks for letting us know. We will be praying, hoping ans thinking about you.
-Neal & Lori Jeppson

Zach 'n' Jack said...

Jamie - so many prayers and love that I'm sending your way. I can't even imagine how you are feeling. Good luck and lots of love.

Hailey said...

Goodness, I don't even know what to say but I hope you know you and your family are in our prayers. We are thinking of you and know your strength and trust in Heavenly Father will get you through. I think the "c" word is one of my greatest fears. Probably because of Beau, even though his has never been malignant. I still remember before we found out if it was cancerous or not, all the fears that went through my mind as a 12 year old. We love you! I will be in touch with you when we get back to Utah. I would love to take your kids when needed or do anything I can to help. Just keep the positive thoughts flowing and we are sending them your way. Thanks for sharing. :)

Nancy K said...

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! We love love love love love love love love (and on and on) you.

Melanie and Chauncey West said...

Unreal. How many of us could have the same thing and not know for years, or worse, until its too late. There's definitely a silver lining in your case. You are so strong and a fighter. You inspire me Jamie. God bless. Keep us all in the loop.
Love, Melanie and chauncey

Patrice said...

You are wonder woman Jamie, and if anyone can get through a trial like this, you can. You have the greatest spiritual strength and perspective. And you posting about this has already put into perspective my trials, so thank you for letting us stand with you and your family. You'll be receiving prayers from Indiana.

Russ and Em said...

Tell Jake thanks for supporting you in posting this. For those of us who love you but don't stay in touch we want to pray for you too.

You and your wonderful kids are in our prayers.

Kim said...

We know you are strong and will beat this! Your example of faith and strength are so inspiring! We are sending many prayers and hugs your way. We love you :)

sportyrls said...

We love you Jamie! I agree that sharing- even bad news- can help in so many ways. How else can we mourn with those that mourn and comfort you during this time? We love you and are praying for you. You are such an amazing, strong person!!

Amanda said...

Good luck this next week with surgery! You seem to be handling things so well. I am so glad you posted this (and emailed), I want to send my thoughts, prayers and karma your way!

Becky said...

Hugs and prayers still sent your way!! <3

Smiley

Mom said...

Hi Jamie and Jake.
I want to extend to you and your family, including your parents and siblings, my love and support for you during this time. I am sorry to hear about your recent discovery and pleased it is operable. You are young and vibrant and have so much to live for. Go for it girl! The whole world is at your feet and all of us who love you and support you are behind you cheering you on and watching for you at the finish line. Love to you
Lucinda Schaffner

Whitney said...

Jamie Jamie--I've already emailed and talked and prayed about you, but seeing as how you're up here on the blogger with it now, just know you've got tons of people who do and don't know you praying for you here in Provo.

I love you, sis.
-Whit

Valerie: said...

I am TRULY sorry for your bad luck right now. We will NEVER know until we die why bad things happen to good people. The Lord knows what he is doing and I know you know that. Hang in there.

Brian and Carly said...

Geeze girl! You helped me through a really rough trial in my life, and I want to help you through this one. Thanks for letting us know so we can be cheering you through it on to the next half marathon. Love you!

Car

Kristine said...

Jamie! Sending you a big cyber (((HUG))). We'll be praying for ya. I can't believe you've been running in all those races and training all this time with a big obstruction in your lungs, how tough are you! Cancer ain't got nothin' on you girl. <3

Amber said...

Jamie, reading it again on your blog has started the emotions again. We love you! You and your sweet family are in our thoughts and prayers. I'm so glad I got to see you before we left, and sorry I won't be close during the surgery and recovery. You are such a dear friend, hang in there. The Lord will support you and your family through this difficult time.

I'll Take Mine... said...

I wish you a speedy recovery and will pray for you and your family.
I also have to say that it was for a reason that you are NOT in Washington DC right now, with a bunch of strangers, training for a new job, but ARE with family and friends, and loved ones, who will carry you through and protect you, and heal you. You are where you are meant to be. Ok, I'm getting all weepy now...
Be well.

Darren and Traci said...

We told Emmie about you having cancer and to remember you in her prayers, it was so cute listening to her pray for you and that the cancer will go away. So just know you're getting some extra prayers from us as well. It's amazing that you've been able to keep carrying on how you have been with that mass hanging out in your lung. I'm glad they are acting so quick and that your surgery is scheduled. And I'm glad your sense of humor is intact despite you're scary news, that last picture is truly awesome ;)

I'll Take Mine... said...

I linked to you today in my blog, asking for prayers for you. I hope that's ok.

If that's a problem, let me know.

Link:
http://untethered5.blogspot.com/2010/06/good-thoughts-needed.html

Anonymous said...

I'm a Foreign Service Officer who found out about you from another FS blogger. STRENGTH to you with your surgery and the days ahead!

Bfiles said...

I too am a FS candidate who has followed your blog. I will be thinking of you and your family and wishing for a very successful surgery and recovery. all the best.

Jen said...

Hi! Another FS family here...have also followed your blog and praying for a speedy recovery! Thinking of you and your family!

Nurse Heidi said...

Jamie, you're gonna kick this. The lovely ladies of the runner's thread are right behind you! Thanks for coming and hanging out with us today - we'll do it again soon. (I've got this lovely prank I've always wanted to pull involving a catheter bag, yellow water and a gold fish...maybe we could do it in a chest tube reservoir instead ;)...)

Watts said...

I told ya your FS family loved you! Get better soon so you can come play with us. You've always been a great friend and we are thinking and praying for you. Thank goodness MED is a pain in the neck eh? You can totally beat this. I am still amazed at how much you were doing with half your lungs not working. You will be in our prayers this coming week. Love you!
-Becky

Donna said...

Prayers coming your way from here. Stay strong.

Shannon said...

It’s Friday, and that means that the Weekly State Department Blog Roundup is up – and you’re on it!



Here is the link:
 http://cyberbones.blogspot.com/2010/06/weekly-state-department-roundup.html



(If I quoted your text or used your photo(s) and you would rather I had not, please let me know. Please also be sure to check the link(s) that I put up to you, in order to verify that they work properly. If you would rather that I had not referenced you, and/or do not want me to reference you in the future, please also contact me.)

Thanks!

Zach said...

We're all praying and thinking of you and your family.

So glad it is treatable, and anxious for a future time when your lives won't be cast in the shadow of this disease.

The silver lining to these types of trials is the galvanizing unity it brings to a family.

Anonymous said...

You are a trooper! I admire your strength. You will be in our prayers. Jackie Fisher

Daniela Swider said...

Yet another FS family that heard about you from another FS blog. We are thinking about you too and hoping for the best possible outcome for you - a successful surgery and speedy recovery!

Big hugs of encouragement and good vibes!

Stay strong!!!

Ang Killpack said...

Jamie,

Our prayers and thoughts go out to you and your family. I'm so sad to hear that this is something you and your family have to go through. You are one of the strongest women I know. Our Heavenly Father knows you and loves you.
We love you guys, and pray for the best.

Ang and Cory Killpack

The Cherry Family said...

Wow, Jamie, your story is viral now! This positive support is inspiring!
Lots of love,
Abby

Leslie said...

You're a babe Jamie, you'll kick this and be back to our regular ol running Jamie in no time!

Anonymous said...

Jamie,

I just want to let you know that I am praying for you and your family. You are such a wonderful person and inspiration to many. Thinking about you.

Love you,
Melissa Cosler

fsowannabe said...

I'll be praying for you and your family; but I'm sure you won't need it. You'll kick the C's a$$!

Mug said...

After reading this I could hardly see through my tears to comment. I send you my love, and prayers. Wishing you a speedy recovery!!!
Love,
Carol Coy