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Marcia's story began with going to the ER in Dickinson on Friday, September 1st for a terrible cough. They did a CT scan, saw some strange spots on her lungs and sent her by ambulance to Sanford Health in Bismarck. They did a biopsy of the lungs on Saturday, September 2nd and told us that we wouldn't probably get the results until Tuesday, September 5th. On the afternoon of Sunday, September 3rd, Marcia was told the news that she had cancer. They didn't have the final results from the biopsy but they knew some of the spots were cancer and that the lungs were not the original source. We were all in shock as you can imagine. Marcia has been the rock of our family and especially for my mom, dad and Jolynn so we are all having a hard time understanding "why her". Not that you want it to happen to anyone else but those same thoughts keep running through our minds.
On Monday, September 4th, we met with an oncologist. She is wonderful and Marcia is very comfortable with her. She's passionate, thorough and very smart. She still didn't have the results from the original biopsies of the lungs but she knew that she wanted to move quickly to figure out where the cancer had originated from. Marcia was also complaining of bad headaches so the oncologist scheduled a MRI and thankfully there is no cancer in the brain! That's a win! She then consulted an OBGYN/gynecologist who happens to be one of my best friends from childhood. She was brought in to do a thorough exam of the reproductive organs. The oncologist also wanted a colonoscopy and endoscopy. My good friend, Dr. Miller, arranged for Marcia to have her female exam, colonoscopy and endoscopy all on the same day in the same procedure room. Those procedures took place on Thursday, September 7th. During the female exam, Dr. Miller found a large tumor on Marcia's vaginal wall. She was kind of surprised as the cervix was completely fine. Once she found the tumor on the vaginal wall, she did some large scrapping of the uterus. The colon came back normal as did the bladder and small intestine. More wins! They were unable to do the scope of the esophagus as Marcia's breathing wouldn't allow for it. We still didn't know if the uterus was the source as everything had to be sent to the lab. One thing was for sure was that Marcia's breathing continued to worsen and treatment had to start fast. The lung doctor came by after Marcia's procedure on Thursday and said that the cancer was aggressive and was taking over Marcia's lungs and treatment needed to start right away. He got in touch with the oncologist and Marcia had her first chemo treatment of two very strong drugs at very high doses early Friday morning. She handled her first dose well but her lungs continued to get worse. Thus, she was admitted into ICU on Friday morning. We all were so scared! Why were her lungs not getting better? What did this mean? Wasn't the chemo supposed to work right away? How did this cancer advance so quickly? As Friday went on and the chemo slowly got into Marcia's system, it seemed her breathing was getting better. We are hoping it is because of the chemo! We also found out on Friday, September 8th that the source of the cancer is in the uterus. Typically they don't see uterine cancer advance to the lungs as quickly as this kind has so they are calling it stage four, aggressive and rare. Marcia had a normal female exam a few months ago and the oncologist looked at those records and she said there was no indication that the cancer was present at that time. She said this cancer could have made its presence in the last two weeks to a month as it is very aggressive in nature. Whew! So much to process!
Now it is Saturday, September 9th, Marcia's 40th birthday. The day we were supposed to be having a surprise birthday for her. The blessing of this day was she was released from ICU and sent back to the Oncology floor. The Oncology nurses were so awesome and had Marcia's room decorated for her birthday before she returned. (see the photo in the Gallery) You could tell Marcia felt so much better once she was back on the Oncology floor. Considering the circumstances, I think Saturday was a pretty good day for Marcia. She had lots of visits from family and friends and we tried to make it the best we could. Of course, Marcia would never complain but I hope we were able to make her smile and laugh a bit. She means so much to so many people and that is evident by all of the cards and gifts in her room.
The next step in this journey God has planned for us is for Marcia to meet with a uterine cancer specialist on Thursday, September 14th. Her name is Dr. Bell and she is a Sanford doctor who comes to Bismarck once-a-month from Sioux Falls, SD. We are looking forward to meeting with her to know what the treatment plan will be once Marcia's lungs are healthy again and any other information she may be able to share with us as we fight this terrible disease.
We are a family of Faith and we believe in the power of Prayer! We know Marcia is a fighter and with all of the warriors she has to support her, we will beat this! We will fight and we will not give up! We will find strength in God's Grace and in each other to be strong for Marcia. This is not her time to be the rock. It is our time! Love, hugs and good health to all. Please keep praying for Marcia as we are praying for all of you.