b : to overcome by superior force or numbers
I have been trying to write, to fill you all in on what’s been going on. Especially when quite a few of you have asked via private message on FB, or text, or email about my biopsy results and why I yet again had to go to the hospital. I apologize for not getting back to all of you. It’s nothing personal. I just haven’t had a chance to. Every time I would start to write to anyone or try to work on the blog to fill you all in I would realize there was something else to do, something else to take care of, things that needed to get done. I have had too much come at me too soon and I’ve been unable to catch my breath. It’s like standing at the beach just at the oceanside watching waves and suddenly you are caught unawares by a rogue wave and then you’re being hit by wave after wave, knocking you down and never letting you back up to catch your breath, to regain composure, to run for safety.
I will make this relatively short, albeit not too sweet.
Wave One: Around the first week of July I had the epic marathon biopsy from hell. As those of you who read this blog know, based on the PET scan done two weeks prior they found that the lesion in my liver was active as well as my thyroid gland and another lymph node in my neck. So I had a core biopsy done on my liver AND a fine needle aspiration (FNA) done on both lobes of my thyroid and the lymph node in my neck that showed the activity. Yes… FOUR biopsies done on the same day. It took four hours. I counted no less than 20 needle pricks in my neck ALONE. It was long (the procedures were 4 hours total), it was stressful, it was painful and damn I was glad when it was over. I started to cramp in my upper abdomen right after the core biopsy was done on my liver. It went away after a few minutes but I got all sweaty, crampy, and nauseated. I thought nothing of it even though it happened a few more times after that same evening. Again, I thought it was just my body all traumatized from the biopsies.
Wave Two: I was wrong. A couple of days later I was loading the dryer and felt the same crampy pain in my upper abdomen. I was hoping it would go away. It didn’t. It actually got worse. So bad that I struggled back into the house, fell onto the ground and started to moan out in pain. Matt came over to see what was wrong and that’s when I started screaming out in pain. The worst pain I have probably ever felt. Wave after wave of pain came until I was eventually screaming into a pillow to prevent Autumn from hearing me. 911 was called. I was brought to the ER and later admitted for pancreatitis. After 3 days of no food or drink they discussed discharging me when I made the awful discovery of black tarry stools (sorry folks). This meant I was bleeding from somewhere. I had to stay two extra days while they did tests and found nothing. Hypothesizing that most likely the bleeding came from the biopsy site on my liver. I was finally released after 5 days in the hospital.
While in the hospital I was waiting for my oncologist to call me to tell me the results from my biopsy. I never heard from him. I called repeatedly and never heard. I decided I would ask my hematologist if she could get me a copy of the biopsy report so I could maybe have someone in my family who was a doctor read it and tell me since my oncologist was too busy to do it himself. I went in the Wednesday after my hospitalization and asked for the report and it was actually my hematologist who broke the news to me.
First let me say, I wish my hematologist was my oncologist. She was more compassionate than the oncologist I’ve been seeing for the past 3.5 years and was the one who told me my biopsy results. She did not have to do that.
Wave Three: Anyway, my results… in my liver, I have a recurrence of my Neuroendocrine tumor that was originally found in my pancreas. The short of it is that it has metastasized to my liver. Pretty shitty right? Oh no, it gets “better”.
Wave Four: The biopsy in my thyroid showed that I also have Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma. Thyroid Cancer. A new cancer. On top of the old one. So basically, my previous cancer decided to come out of hiding and brought a friend along for the ride.
Because of this and because of my past with the NET I was referred to a geneticist as this particular cluster of cancer could be caused by a genetic thing called MEN Syndrome, or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasm Syndrome. I will be meeting with the geneticist to get tested for a genetic anomaly and also to see if I will most likely develop more cancers as a result.
Wave Five: Autumn will most likely need to be tested as she now has a 50/50 chance of going through this nightmare.
The same day I found this bullshit out my dad was supposed to get a stress test. I went to Chino after my doctor appointment, because I always go to my parents house on Wednesdays, to give my parents the news and found out that my dad was not given the stress test because they found something wrong in his EKG. He was waiting to hear from his doctor to find out what was happening when I got to their house. I broke the news to my parents after hearing about my dad and then because more worried about what was going on with my dad…
Wave Six: My father is told to see a cardiologist by his doctor. I make him make an appointment right away. He is told he needs an angiogram. If they find blockage that can be fixed with a stent they will do and angioplasty then. If not he will require surgery. Cherie and I take my dad to his angiogram hella early in the morning (it was dark when we left) and took him all the way to San Bernardino for the angiogram. It goes by fairly quickly and we speak to the doctor who performed the procedure. He tells us that one artery is 100% blocked and another is 90% blocked. They are unable to perform an angioplasty because of this but are amazed that his body has somehow performed it’s own bypass and has been able to deliver blood to his heart. As a result of this “natural bypass” his heart looks good and healthy. Something that works in his favor because if this had not happened his heart would have been much much worse.
Wave Seven: We are then told he needs a triple bypass surgery as soon as possible (in this case, two weeks after his angiogram).
Which means this coming Monday, August 25th.
I was hoping that anything relating to my cancer could wait until after my dad’s surgery and subsequent recovery so that I could be there to help my mom out with my dad full time while he recovered. Unfortunately the doctor/surgeon I have performing my treatment for my thyroid has told me that this cannot be so and that I need to have my thyroid addressed as soon as possible. This meant that I needed to schedule my surgery for her first available slot which is three and half weeks after my dad’s bypass surgery.
With all the tests my dad had to endure, all the doctor visits we both have had in the last few weeks, and then preparing for my dad’s surgery (which will be far from my parents house and therefore we have to stay in San Bernardino where the surgery will be performed), preparing for Autumn’s return to school and informing her teachers and the director of her school about my situation, and coordinating schedules with family and friends after my dad’s surgery, I haven’t really had time to process ANY of this. Don’t get me wrong, there have been times I’ve been driving and then the heaviness of all this hits me and I start to cry… or hyperventilate… or just think “what the fuck, man?”. But I’ve been so involved in what’s to happen over the next week that I haven’t really even thought about my treatment for my thyroid and my liver. All I’ve done is schedule tests, surgeries, and doctor’s appointments. But I can’t think of those things right now. I’m trying very hard to keep it together for my parents. I’m trying not to worry too much about my dad’s surgery. I’m trying to figure out when I can be with my parents and when I can be home with my husband and child, who cannot be around my dad for a month after the surgery since we don’t want him to get sick while he is recovering. This will be hard for Autumn, my nieces, and my parents.
I’m overwhelmed. Almost to the point of drowning.
But I can’t. I need to be there for my parents. I need to keep it together for my family. There’s so much to consider, coordinate and worry about. I’m trying really hard to be brave for my dad and for me. I need to just take one day at a time. Jump one hurdle, run to the next one, keep on jumping.
I apologize for a not so short update. I apologize for being are all over the place with my thoughts. I won’t go into anything about my situation until after my dad’s surgery. I’ll go into the specifics of my thing but don’t want to dwell on that until my dad has had his bypass and is on the road to what we hope will be a speedy recovery.
All I ask is for everyone to think good thoughts, pray, send healing vibes, whatever you believe for my dad on Monday. For my mom as she deals with all this. For our family so that we can be strong together.