I received the official diagnosis of retroperitoneal leiomyosarcoma on Monday January 21, 2019. That is not where the story begins. I had a few days at the end of November where I was having some severe lower abdominal pain, my doctor ordered a CT scan, the radiologist thought it was a severely enlarged appendix and we were off to the ER. I was admitted to Methodist hospital on a Thursday night, we waited most of the day Friday for surgery and then, just as they were ready to take me into the OR, the surgeon Dr. Denis came and told us he looked carefully at the scan and my appendix was normal. He ordered a pelvic ultrasound, consulted with a gynecologist and the thought was it could be a cystic ovary. Dr. Denis was not convinced and he urged us to see a gyn/oncologist. We called a semi-retired surgeon friend who just" happened" to be at Region's hospital that day, she recommended an gyn/oncologist who "happened" to be doing surgery that day also, within an hour I had an appointment to see Dr. Deanna Teoh.
We met with Dr. Teoh on Wednesday December 12, 2018. After meeting with Dr. Teoh, I was schedule for surgery to remove whatever the mass was - ovary, appendix or something else. It was a 5.4cm something else. Dr. Teoh called me on January 21 with official diagnosis and pathology report, she wanted to consult with some of her colleagues as this is a rare form of cancer and she recommended I have a chest CT as it is common for leiomyosarcoma to metastasize to the lungs. I was able to get the CT done on Tuesday, the results came back all clear. On Wednesday January 23 she called to talk and the consensus was that I should do chemotherapy but we needed to wait until I had healed from surgery.
As we prayed and waited, we were convinced that a meeting with another oncologist in early November, Dr. Bryan Trottier, was not just a chance meeting. We called his office to set up a consultation. Dr. Bryan worked us into his schedule on January 29 and spent an hour talking with us. He was thoroughly familiar with my history and had researched my diagnosis so was well prepared with a plan he recommended to us. Both David and I liked Dr. Bryan immediately and were very comfortable discussing both the physical and emotional concerns. We spent the next week praying about which MD we should go with, there were pluses and minuses but both were excellent choices.
I had my follow up with Dr. Teoh on February 6. She had read Dr. Bryans notes. As we discussed our thoughts she proposed that they would both follow me! We didn't have to choose! Dr. Bryan will be overseeing my chemotherapy and then they will both look at the follow up scans.
God has gone before me in so many ways leading up to this. He led us to amazing MDs , I was able to get appointments in a timely manner at a busy time of the year, there were minor things to rearrange beforehand and He gave us a few peaceful days of relaxation on the north shore of Lake Superior before we needed to start our new normal. Sometimes I feel like I am looking into a black hole of knowing but not knowing what to expect. I know God is with me - in Psalm 139 David writes "you hem me in behind and before" God is ahead of me and behind, I am surrounded by a God who loves me!