Thursday, July 26 will go down in history as one of the most wretched days of my entire life. That's saying something, because I've had more than my fair share of bad days!
First was a visit to Dr. F, my Plan B oncologist. He confirmed the presence of serous papillary carcinoma (read: $&#;%! cancer) in three different spots in my pelvic region. He went on to say that there is some uncertainty among the medical team if those three spots are the only spots. The harsh truth is that by the time a patient has a third recurrence, their body tends to be filled with cancer. Three different radiologists have looked at my CT film, and they do not entirely agree on what is going on in there.
To that end, I will have a PET scan next week. Hopefully the radioactive material will light up those awful cells and reveal their hiding places.
Dr. F suggested that surgery probably will not be an option. The data for third-time cancer surgeries is limited at best, and any data that is available is probably for women twice my age. Given the location of the known masses, the surgery would be risky for interference with a few organs and their functions.
Chemotherapy is a must, and the sooner I get started, the better. I am looking at a Taxol/carboplatin combination, every 3 weeks for six rounds. The timing here is very important. Each cancerous mass has the ability to double in size in as few as 30 days. 18 weeks of chemo leads us straight into the holidays, at which time there will be another round of scans to determine what, if anything, needs to happen differently.
That's the medical, practical side of this thing. It's dry and it's terrifying...but compared to the terror I felt as I sat across from my little cowboys, it is nothing. First, I gave them the good news: Mom loves you very much and there's nothing you can do about it. Then, the bad news: Mom has new cancer growing in her body.
Immediate panic ensued, especially for Goliath. I had just given life to his worst fear.
The only thing I care to remember about that conversation yesterday is how they all reacted with fierce emotion. They are each so wonderfully unique, so Goliath's breathlessness=Little Middle's hung head=Baby's tears. As much as I detest the bad news that turned life upside down for my sons in that instant, I love that their reaction demonstrates how they love me. If nothing else goes right from here on out, I will remember that they are scared and emotional because I am important to them. It's a terrible, but somewhat comforting, thought.
I answered their questions as best I could, and reminded them what is really important: Cancer doesn't change God. God loves us just as much today as He did yesterday. God isn't surprised, even though we sure are. God knows that we're angry, and He understands. We can make a choice to trust Him or to stay angry.
This morning, on the way to an appointment, Goliath and I cut through the high school parking lot. We rolled down the car windows and started yelling: "I HATE CANCER!" "CANCER STINKS!" Construction workers turned their heads, but we didn't care. We felt better.
Somehow, I will make it okay for my boys to yell. I will encourage them to express their distaste for this horrid disease that has reared its ugly head once again. I will do everything possible to make sure they know that they are THE reasons I will fight, and fight I will. I will tell them and show them that I love them. I WILL NOT DIE. God gave me one life--one chance--to be their mom. The cowboys give me courage.
I am waiting to be able to talk with Dr. B, my Plan A/M.D. Anderson doc. She and Dr. F will put their heads together to make final decisions about treatment. Unless she offers a miracle experimental drug that can only come from MDA, I plan to remain close to home for treatment. I will update early next week as plans are finalized.
I wish I could understand, but I don't. I wish I had a glimpse of the big picture, but it eludes me. What I am sure of is this: He is close. As long as I am able, I will run to Him.