for some reason, i feel like this is day 1. the day everything is changing. the day of the unknown. the day of waiting. the first day.
even though this has been going on for months, it started today.
so some history for those that don't know.....
back in july 2010 i started having an unknown clicking in my chest. it was near my sternum on the right side, and would click with my breathing. sometimes it was as much as cracking your knuckle, other days it was a flutter. sometimes it would last a couple hours, sometimes it would a few breaths. but it was always in sync with my breathing. crackling on inhale, crackling on exhale. i was weirder out at first, then became used to it. so did my husband, sometimes you could hear it. i had everyone feel it when it would happen just so they would know i'm not crazy.
i didn't feel like it was something i needed to head to the doctor for. i talked to several people, and no one was concerned. i talked to my chiropracter, and she spoke with a doctor. so i wasn't being irresponsible. it was just my cool little chest cracker.
i started cosmetology school in september, and 3 days in i came down with a bad cold. i was so proud of myself for not missing school, and making it through. you see i normally would love to lay in bed and recover. just as i started feeling better i came down with the same exact bad cold. same exact symptoms. i cried. i made it through the first one, and was so physically/emotionally drained i didn't feel i could do it again.
i decided i needed to go to the doctor. so i headed to the local zoom care, in portland. cheap, and fast. i needed cheap, since i have no insurance. the "doctor" (i don't know their official title, but its not doctor) told me i had bronchitis brought on by a secondary infection. whatever that means, i was happy to have a diagnosis, and a treatment plan. and of course with bronchitis, is a very pleasant (not!) cough. but nevertheless i was excited to get my antibiotics. i missed a few days of school and recovered in bed.
the cough never went away, but i heard that you can have a lingering cough after bronchitis. so i figured i had this lingering cough. and some exhaustion. the cough was bad, bad enough that i have developed a wicked six-pack (yes!) crunches are out, coughing is in!
a month went by and my cough was no better. a girl at my school suggested i might have pneumonia, she was just diagnosed with it and my symptoms sounded similar to hers. back to zoom care! they didn't think i had pneumonia, but sent me for a chest x-ray (luckily) and it showed pneumonia. so we went on to another antibiotic. symptoms were supposed to start getting better a few days after starting, so i gave it 4-5 just to be safe. no better. so i called into zoom care and they wanted to see me again. yay, more money to the system!
they wanted to see me again because i almost passed out in the shower, and my legs turned a pretty shade of purple while i was in there. so i went back in, legs of course were no longer purple, that only lasted a few seconds. they put me on a heavy duty antibiotic to get rid of the pneumonia. they said 24-48 hrs i should start to feel better.
i wasn't. at this point i was still bed ridden. getting up to go to the bathroom was like running a marathon. brushing my teeth would make me gag, and drain me of energy. don't even get me started on showering, the thought of it would make me cry. i could shampoo my hair and barely rinse our conditioner before i would have to lie down and draw a bath. which my loving husband would assist me the whole time.
this wasn't normal. i felt like a child. i felt invalid. i couldn't even get myself a glass of water. i had all of my meals brought to me. which is all in thanks to nolan, he has taken amazing care of me. i had to take a leave of absence from school. so 2 weeks before christmas, we decided 'what the heck' lets go home for a long christmas. so we packed up our things (or, well, nolan did) and got on the road.
the first night at home (my parents) i kept waking up and trying to roll over. except i would have shooting pains every time i tried to turn. so i would try the other side to no avail. so i would make myself go back to sleep. i kept waking up, and kept dreaming. i was dreaming that i woke nolan up and asked him to call 911 (which i actually almost did) finally it got to the point that i was in such immense pain i couldn't breathe. so i started crying (i have a little fear of not being able to breathe) and nolan woke up. between my chest pain and crying i could only get sips of air. so after 10min, he was able to calm me down to where i wasn't sobbing anymore, making it easier to breathe.
my parents suggested i go to the ER, but i didn't want to get ahead of myself. plus i despise three rivers ER. it was 6am, and i thought maybe my sister-in-law would have an idea of what was going on. my reasoning? because she is my chiropractor and is a wealth of knowledge. i met her at her office, and she recommended i see a doctor at her practice.
he asked me to go get an x-ray and come back to the office for a 10am appt. the pneumonia was still there. and it seemed that i had pleurisy, a painful chest thingy. he gave me vicodin, and ibuprofen. normally pneumonia lingers in the chest after antibiotics.
2 weeks later, i'm still coughing up a storm. so they send me back for another x-ray. the x-ray looks exactly the same as the previous one. which is concerning. so the dr suggests i see a lung specialist. which didn't happen right away because of the holidays and some confusion between dr's offices.
they ask me to go get a CT (cha-ching!) to have for the specialist. to give him a better look at what is going on. which gets delayed because i am a self-pay patient, and they are not cheap.
which leads me to today, day 1.
i go for the CT, and less than a hour later i get a call asking if i can come in to discuss results. i already know its bad. they don't call you a hour after you have a CT. especially so close to the end of the day (i got the call at 4:30pm) i know its not good.
i'm already with my mom and husband, so we all head over to see what's going on. they take us back, and we are all cracking jokes and trying to stay positive. yet the MA seemed so somber, i thought maybe she wasn't having a good day. little did i know.
the dr comes in and my memory is a little hazy about this section. he has the most amazing bedside manner. and what i hear is that i have a mass in my chest, and it looks like it might be lymphoma. i start crying, my mom starts crying. nolan is so strong for me at this point. the dr continues saying this is a form of cancer, but that it is treatable. if you want a cancer, this is a good one to have.
all i hear is cancer. cancer. cancer.
i have cancer.
my mind is out of control. i think about my husband. i think about our life. our future. our future children. what will this do to him? what if he has to live without me? i don't want to hurt him like this. this is why my memory is fuzzy.
the dr says that IF it is lymphoma, i have a long hard journey ahead of me. we talk a little about chemo and radiation. he shows us the CT, and the mass. and when he said mass, i didn't realize he meant MASSIVE. it's huge! i can't even describe it.
we go back in the room, and my dad shows up. we talk some more about where to go from here. we start with a blood test at the hospital (which they must have thought i was a pin-cushion!) and then we do a biopsy. we talk about different types of biopsy, where to biopsy, the risks of a biopsy. but that is where we start.
i've had my blood test a few hours ago, waiting to hear on the biopsy.
i had a good cry at the dr's office in a little room with my husband. i've had family and friends pour out prayer over us.
i'm curious about what's next
but the odd thing? i'm okay.
a little weird right?
i am at such peace, that it only can come from God. my husband is at peace. this doesn't mean we didn't cry, or we weren't scared. we are just at peace.
we have been laughing, cracking jokes. having tender moments intermixed with laughter. it feels so good to laugh. it feels so good to look into his eyes and say 'i love you.' it has brought us closer, it sounds so cliche, but i feel my heart growing for him.
so this is where i am at. the unknown. it will take weeks to figure out what is exactly going on. but it is a peaceful unknown. i know that whatever comes is not my will, but His. and i find such comfort in that! i may not be saying that if i'm going through chemo ;-)
and i am thankful. i have amazing people in my life! amazing! i have the best family. i have the best friends. i have people in my life that i know were strategically placed. nurses, former cancer patients, husbands of former cancer patients. i have a wealth of knowledge surrounding me. and i am thankful.
i am thankful veronica is in my life, her knowledge and intelligence is a blessing. she is the best nursing student ever! i have my grandmother that battled a form of lymphoma/breast cancer and she beat it. i have awesome Godly counsel. i have shawn who is going to be one of my husbands go-to guys, his wife just battled cancer. i have the tardieu's who i know will give us wisdom and advice. i have my AMAZING family that doesn't want to leave my side, and they all want to fly/drive to me. i have so many people that i cannot even name them all. and they are all in my life for a reason. how could i not be happy??
my plan is to document this journey. the good, the bad, and the ugly. pride out the door. even tell you how much weight i've lost (gasp!) maybe even post the unflattering photos of me. if that is what this comes to. let everyone see into life as a possible cancer patient.