Sabrina Riggs Flippin off Cancer

First post: Jun 13, 2016 Latest post: Aug 16, 2016
Welcome to our CaringBridge site. We've created it to keep friends and family updated. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when it matters most.

So, Sabrina asked me to help her keep this up.  She doesn't know this, but I have been keeping sort of a journal of my own since we got the news about all this last month.  I figured this would be a good place to fill in some of the blanks.

So here it is... from the beginning.... or I guess the beginning when I came in....
On May 5th, I was on my way to work and Sabrina called me to tell me that Dr. Hansen had sent her for a CT scan and had called her and told her that he wanted her to come in the next day and to bring me with her.  About a million things ran through my mind all night.  In hindsight... I should have gone home.  But she told me to stay at work, that it was probably nothing.  I should have gone home.  I can only imagine what must have been going through her mind all night alone.
The next morning, May 6th, we went to see Dr. Hansen.  He did not beat around the bush... all I really remember is "2" mass", "left lung", "setting up referrals for next week".
I also remember on the ride home Sabrina saying "This is gonna be expensive".  That was and still is the last thing I am worried about.  
It was very long weekend.  Zack was still up at school and planning to come home the following Tuesday.  It was hard not to tell him right away but that is not something we would ever tell him over the phone so we kept it to ourselves.  I pretty much cried like a baby every time Sabrina was more than 5 feet away from me that weekend.

On Tuesday May 10th we went for a PET scan first thing and were told to go straight to the heart/lung specialist after.  We met with Dr. Akbarov (Thoracic surgeon).  Dr. A (everyone calls him that) explained that based on what he was seeing, it was "likely" that the mass was cancerous.  That wasn't a huge blow, because we had pretty much prepared ourselves for that news by then.  He also explained that the tumor is in the "root" of her lung so a partial removal of her lung was not possible.  They would need to remove her entire left lung if that was the course of action that they were going to take.  I have since learned that removing an entire lung is not as completely terrible as it sounds.  But hearing it that day kind of scared the crap out of me.  Dr. A also explained that they needed to do a biopsy to determine what type of cancer it was and that would determine the treatment.

Dr. A explained that he was going to set up a PET scan and would be presenting Sabrina's case to the "Tumor Board" on the following morning, and setting us up for a biopsy.  We liked Dr. A a lot.  He looked Sabrina right in the eye and said "don't think this is the end of the road for you".  He and his staff were great.

On Friday May 13 we met with Dr. Banerjee, the Doc who would be handling the biopsy.  Dr. Banerjee was really great.  He explained everything and was very compassionate.  They did a PFT (Pulmonary Function Test) to measure her lung function and the result was good.  He scheduled the biopsy for the following Monday morning.  He explained that because of the location of the tumor he wasn't positive that he would be able to get at hit by doing a bronchoscopy.  If he was not able to get at it... they would have to do the biopsy surgically.

On Monday May 20, we went for the biopsy.  Dr. Banergee was able to get at it without having to do surgery.  So that was great news!  
A few days later, we went back to Dr. A.  He explained that the biopsy came back and confirmed it was cancer.  He said that it is small cell carcinoma.  He said that it is the more aggressive type but that it responds well to Chemo and Radiation.  So at this point surgery was not the best option.

From there we went to see Dr. Charles (Chemo oncologist) and Dr. Doline (Radiation oncologist).  We really liked them both a lot and after meeting with them felt very comfortable and confident in her team of doctors and treatment.

With their approval, we took a few days and went down to Florida to relax on the beach and do some fishing.  Had a great time.  Got rested and refreshed and came back home ready to get in the fight.

To explain the name of the page...... most of you know... Bri is a summer time girl.  She loves the beach and hates wearing shoes in the summer.  She decided her way to tell cancer to go to hell... was to wear a different pair of flip flops to each treatment appointment.  She told me and her sisters about it and we ran with it.  Family and friends, Zack and Lauren, so many people that love and care about her have sent her more flip flops than I thought existed.  Her awesome friends at work and her sister have or are having made shirts that say "Flipping off Cancer".  I love it, because it is SO Sabrina!
Thanks to everyone for the love and support.  Keep the positive vibes coming!  Love you all!


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