Sometimes I feel at a loss for words...and for those of you that know me well, you know this is a rare occurrence. ;) Today is one of those days where I am not really quite sure how I feel, what I want to say, how I want to say it. I feel like I am on a teeter totter and I am one slight move away from either falling into that dark space or lifting up into a place of sunshine and gratitude. I am having trouble sorting out the thoughts in my head and in my heart and I am desperately trying to stay in the positive, live in the moment, smile, laugh, and be thankful. Although this journey is going to be the most trying of my life, I know that there is still so much to be grateful for. I am grateful for the constant support and love from my INCREDIBLE husband, my mom & Doug, and all of our friends and relatives. You all have no idea how much of an impact you have on us right now - how your words and gestures truly can turn around a really tough day, and make it brighter again. So please keep the love coming!
This morning Mike, my mom, and I headed downtown to Karmanos in order to have minor surgery to get my port placed for chemo. A chemotherapy port is a small device inserted under the skin (below my collarbone) with a catheter that is connected to the subclavian vein, which then connects to the superior vena cava. The advantage of this pump is that the veins in my arm won't be so beat up with the constant injections from chemo, and blood can also be drawn through the port. You can read more about it here and enlarge the picture at the bottom of the link for more details.
My check-in time was 8am but the procedure didn't actually take place until after noon. The hours in between were spent getting poked for an IV and blood draw, chatting about upcoming appointments, making each other laugh, and talking about how amazing lunch at The Fly Trap would be. I was not allowed to eat or drink after midnight last night and I was starving! Because I was so hungry, I opted out of the sedation...that's some serious hunger! :) They said that I would have to wait 2 hours in recovery if I chose to be sedated, so I said "scrap it" and just had local anesthesia. The procedure took less than an hour and we were on our way. It's definitely bizarre to have this artificial device in my chest and have yet one more scar to tell the tale of this disease.
Off to lunch we went and we were all feeling good and enjoying the beautiful sunshine. We were soon reminded that we were still riding this crazy roller coaster when I got the call from Dr. F's nurse. As we feared, the MRI results of my spine are again inconclusive. They are definitely worried about the spot at T12 as well as a few other spots that the MRI showed. I also discovered that I have a herniated disc at T5, which as a PT, this surprised me because a thoracic level herniation is rare. So, now we wait...again! I will now have to get a biopsy of my T12 vertebra, which will definitely be the final answer as to whether this cancer has infiltrated my spine. If it has, this means we are looking at Stage 4 level of disease and I can't begin to tell you how terrifying this is. Needless to say, this put a little damper on our lunch, and the three of us had a very real, emotional, and difficult conversation. No matter what stage this disease is, I will battle it with everything I have - but the worry I have for those that love me the most, just about brings me to my knees. Seeing the fear and worry in their eyes is worse than any physical pain I will ever endure.
Thankfully, there is some good news mixed in there... #1 - the spots in my spine could still end up being nothing and this would be the most amazing news ever! My wonderful brother, Jeff gives me the best pep talks lately and reminded me that there is just as good of a chance that this is not cancer and that we need to stay hopeful! #2 - Surprisingly enough, I found out yesterday that most of my genetic test results are in and I am negative for the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genetic mutations! This was shocking news to the genetic counselors, and my family. We thought for sure this was genetic and so now it makes me wonder, why the heck do I have this?! The answer to this question doesn't even matter, but can't help but wonder. There is still one genetic test that we don't have the results yet for- so there is a chance it could be that genetic mutation. This negative result is actually very good news for a variety of reasons because it reduces my chance of other cancers and further complications.
Due to today's recent developments regarding the need for another biopsy, my chemo treatments have been delayed. The results of the T12 biopsy could change the course of my treatment, so we now have to wait (ugh - I hate that word!!!) to see what this test shows. We should be getting a call tomorrow to schedule the biopsy for early next week. I think we will all feel better once these tests and preliminary measures are over and treatment can finally begin! To wake up each morning and fall asleep each night knowing this cancer is inside me trying to rob me of my healthy future, is enough to drive me crazy. I cannot wait to begin treatment so I can officially start the real fight! Bring it on!
I have an absolutely incredible weekend ahead of me and I am so thankful for that. After my MUGA scan tomorrow morning for my heart, I am heading to opening day with Jeff. This is how I know he is very worried about his little sister--I teased him by saying, "look what I have to go through to get an invite to a Tiger's game!" Saturday is going to be a complete blast spent with some of my best friends as we paint and redecorate my bedroom. My extremely creative and talented friend Julie has designed an entire new bedroom for Mike and I so that we can have our own little sanctuary to help us heal. I am beyond excited to see it all come together and have this incredible space to relax and recover in! As if all of this isn't incredible enough, Sunday is what our family friend Gina calls a "love fest"! Many of our family and friends are coming over Sunday afternoon to spend some time with us and share their love before my treatment begins. I am so grateful that Gina had this wonderful idea and I know it will be a fabulous day. If you aren't busy from 2-4pm, come by and say hello :)
I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend with the ones you love. I can't help but thank you again for your love & support. It is the best gift of all!
It was a bit of a challenge to get decent pics of the port since I was taking them myself. The port gets a little cut off in this first image but you can see the incision in the bottom of the image and that's where the port is. There is also another small incision just next to my collarbone.
Side view let's you see that I now look like I could be a member of Star Trek with this lovely, freakish protrusion sticking out from my chest.
And because pretty flowers always make me smile....some macro images of my tulips...
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