Lots of UPDATES:
Wow! I’m not even sure where to start…so many ups and down lately I can barely even think straight. I guess I will start back a few weeks ago. I had a routine Pet Scan and was nervous. This isn’t anything new, I just hate scans. You get so nervous before…then you wait…wait…and wait. It’s awful. My mom came to town to take my mind off of things and decided to do some running around before I had to get the girls from school…then the phone rang. It was my oncologists office. I was checking out at Dollar General and my mom was right behind me. I could feel her heart dropping as I just stood there almost frozen and nodding my head. I had a few tears in eyes and checked out quickly so I could get outside and finish the call. I whispered to my mom that they found a lesion on my liver. We sat in the parking lot crying our eyes out. I had exactly 7 minutes before I had to put on a brave face and get my girls from school. So, I called John…then my dad…then got my babies and headed home. I was told they found a small lesion on my liver and wanted a scan of just my liver the following day. So I did.
The next day the phone rang and it confirmed the same results. I had an appt to see my oncologist and we talked about the results and he said he was confident it was indeed cancer that had now spread to my liver. I couldn’t believe what was happening. How the hell was I back on this path yet again…why was this happening? I knew my type of cancer was very aggressive (triple negative) and if I were to have a reoccurrence it would most likely be liver, bones, lungs, etc. So, I get scanned quite frequently and blood work even more frequently…because things can make a turn for the worse in a short time. What was next… a scan of my brain to make sure it had not spread more. I felt like I could vomit at any moment….almost as if someone was holding my head under water and I just couldn’t get air and catch my breath. Thankfully the brain scan was good and I finally let a breath out.
Next I was told I needed to see a specialist in St. Louis at Siteman to further confirm what was going on. Mind you this is all happening the week before, and the week of Thanksgiving. More importantly it was right before a family vacation we had planned with the girls over a year before….ughh. So, I was in fast forward trying to get everything settled and in order as quickly as I could. I needed an MRI of just my liver at Siteman, and then go from there. I could get in for a consult about a week later. It is now Thanksgiving week. It felt like a million years had passed before my appt. A week of worrying…. and nerves… and crazy awful horrible thoughts of my cancer spreading…what would I tell my kids? I was in mourning. I mourned the loss of my health, my relationship with my kids and my husband, my dependency on friends and family for help…. I mourned the fact that my dreams of becoming a mother once more had vanished… that now just living was all I thrived for each day. It was hell. There is no way on Earth to sugar coat how I felt.
Fast forward to my appt in St. Louis. The DR was very nice and told me that he wanted an MRI done there, and read by their radiologists that just reads liver scans all day long. I felt like I was in good hands and I was getting great care. He asked if I wanted to know the results that day, which would be the day before Thanksgiving…2 days before we left the country with the kids for vacation. I said yes, I wanted to know. I go the following day and have the MRI. I imagine he is totally swamped with cases the day before a major Holiday. I called and his nurse said she’d call back. I tell my parents to keep an eye on the girls and I was going to go lay down and rest.
I was exhausted…in every single capacity… The dr’s nurse called a bit later and had some good news…but I still was unsure what was going on. She said the radiologist looked at the scan and didn’t see anything, so follow up with your oncologist. I just listened and didn’t ask questions…I just said thank you and hung up the phone. I was in shock. What did that even mean? Where did the spot they saw go? I have to be honest and say I wasn’t jumping for joy…I’m still not jumping for joy. I wasn’t given much information and in 48 hours I was boarding a plane for a family vacation where I would have zero phone access, zero texting access, and limited internet. I knew there was more to this story…but it was going to wait. It was family time, and we had waited way to long to let something like this stand in the way of our vacation we planned.
See, this vacation meant everything to us. We told our girls last year when I was sick that we would take them on their very first plane ride one day. That I would get better, get stronger, and John and I would plan something great. And we did. It was magical. I left every single worry I had here, and cleared my mind for this family trip. It was by far the very very best week of my life. I had everything I needed with me, and we just lived. We didn’t wear watches, we had no idea when it was time to eat… or time for bed. We laid on hammocks and stared at the moon and just lived in that moment. It was life changing. My heart was the fullest it has ever been. I know it’s hard to put the cell phones down… to step away from your computer…to remove that watch, and just live in the moment. It’s not easy, and we are so busy every single day that we just need to take time to stop. Just stop everything for even a few minutes and just be. I know that taking the kids part way around the world isn’t something we can do often….it took us a year to save to even go…but I learned so much that is worth more than all the money we spent. I think for us going to a place where phones and internet were not very accessible helped us disconnect so much easier. We have been on multiple trips with the girls. But I usually have my iphone nearby texting a friend or family member cute photos…and John is always just a phone call away from work being able to reach him. So, this was awesome! No phones, no time limits….no places to go. The trip was amazing and I truly enjoyed every bit of it.
Fast forward to now…. So far health wise all I know is my MRI in St Louis was clear and looked good. I have no idea why the scans here in Rolla showed something and the scan in St. Louis did not. I have not had a follow up appt. with my Oncologist yet, but my guess is I will have blood work and another scan in two months or so to check again and see if the liver spot is still showing up, and what my tumor marker is. (tumor marker is blood test given and sort of helps track if your cancer could be back. You don’t want to see any high spikes etc in this number. It went up a few points this time, but not much.) So, I am cautiously optimistic;) Once my next set of blood work and scans are done, I think we’ll have a more definite answer as to what is going on. If my tumor marker is unchanged and the scans are then clear I will then jump for joy! I pray that it was just a shadow of some sort it picked up, and nothing more.
So, I will finally wrap this up by saying Thank You. Thank you for all the outpouring of love, support, and prayers. I am truly thankful for every single one of them. I am trying my hardest to be as proactive as I possibly can when it comes to my breast cancer. I know that I cannot change what could inevitably happen, but I can try my hardest to be knowledgeable and continue with self exams and do all the things I am suppose to do to keep this beast away! I will pray, I will love, and I will teach my children that each day on Earth is indeed a Gift from God, and not another is promised.
Thank you again from the very bottom of my heart. All the prayers, and good thoughts, texts, emails, calls, visits, gifts, cards, voicemails and so on. To my friends and family who have stood by my side and held my hand through all of this… it has meant everything to me. I know with you all by my side I can do anything! So, truly thank you. Love, Jen