When I began my cancer journey in April 2013, I had no idea what lie ahead. I did not have much time to think it through. Within days, the whirlwind began. On Tuesday April 23, my internist sent me for blood work and PER Scans. I was sent to the head of oncology at the Cancer Therapy and Research Center (CTRC). He informed me the PET scans revealed I had stage four lung cancer. His treatment plan included radiation and chemo therapy.
I met with the radiologist I would be assigned to. She told me about the Tumor Board scheduled to meet that afternoon and my tumor was on the agenda. A young surgeon suggested he cold remove the tumor using a process Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS) if the surrounding lymph notes were clear. I was fortunate that 38 nodes tested clear and he was able to remove the upper right lobe.
I was confident God put me in the care of some of the best physicians, nurses, and staff that were also very caring. Here is a snapshot of medical events that took place during this whirlwind from April 30 to December 19, 2013:
Multiple MRI’s, PET scans, and CAT Scans; dozens of blood tests and X-rays; 2 lung surgeries: one to remove the upper right lobe and another to pull up the remaining part of the right lung that collapsed (it didn’t work); two rigid bronchoscopes to repair a hole in the bronchial (did not work); the chest tube from surgery fell out and urgent care doctor had to put another in; dental specialist repaired infected cuts in mouth made during bronchoscopes; right ring finger treatment for staph infection; admitted to ICU for dehydration and pain management; a complete head mask was made for me, many MRI’s and CT’s taken; this was prep for brain radiation due to falls and resulted in grand maul seizures in the emergency room; Larry was told to notify next of kin and on 19 December 2013, my oncologist told us I had 2 weeks maybe a couple of months if I was lucky.
I felt so blessed at this point. My friends were coming out of the woodwork. The power of prayer was so strong I could feel it. God let me know that HE was going to grant my request that I would have time to get personal family needs taken care of.
During all this, we were building a much smaller house so we could “downsize”. Trying to move was a very draining project but I had unbelievable assistance came from friends. They unselfishly gave so much time to us by packing, hauling, unpacking, and hanging pictures. All done with lots of laughs and love and every picture was hung “perfectly”.
My biggest concern from the beginning was that I was letting down my best friend and the person I love the most, my husband Larry. I asked God to please give me time to help Larry get through his health difficulties and to help get all of our finances in order including my funeral.
He heard me! I celebrated my first birthday on December 19, 2014!
So I am back to the journey and in early June, to the surgeon.