Sharks. I have always been afraid of sharks. Friends like to poke fun at this fact (photo editing compliments of Mark Hanson from earlier this summer) but when it's "Shark Week" even flipping by the channel has my palms sweating. About a month and a half ago this irrational fear has taken a back seat to a new reality. Lung cancer?! To say we were surprised is a bit of an understatement. But. I cannot thank God enough for my calm and compassionate doctors, OUT OF THIS WORLD FAMILY AND FRIENDS, and an unwavering sense of comfort and contentment from the Holy Spirit that I wouldn't have thought possible.
Here is a quick summary/timeline: Did I have symptoms? Yes. Did I have any ideas my symptoms were related? No. I would say late 2018 I noticed I was very bloated (bless my darling children who kept asking if I was having another baby), I started to have adult acne and some intermittent GI issues. That was in addition to the occasional tightening feeling in my chest, sort of wheezy cough and trouble catching my breath as I went up stairs. I would have never figured these things as related. Turns out those are the exact symptoms of carcinoid. Anyways, I was mostly healthy, training for a half marathon and trying to manage our 5 kids. I finally chalked it all up to a new age and stage (hello 30's!) and the toll of having 5 young children. It was in June that I started to have asthma like coughing fits at night. Mason insisted I go to the doctor and one very astute Dr. James Ebben correctly diagnosed me as having a middle sinus infection. He was concerned I might have pneumonia so he ordered a chest x ray. No pneumonia but a shady looking spot on my lung. Dr. Ebben and the radiologist ordered a CT scan. I had it July 3rd, the day after we returned from visiting my parents out in Colorado. That afternoon Dr. Ebben told me that I had a tumor in my lower right lobe of my right lung. He felt it was most likely a carcinoid tumor, a very treatable form of cancer that has a good prognosis. Mason and I met with a couple of surgeons and ultimately decided to go to Mayo in Rochester for one last opinion. That was July 22nd and 23rd, the day before he was to start football training camp. We both felt we were being very thorough and had surgery scheduled to remove the bottom lobe of my right lung in Grafton, WI on July 29th. On July 23rd our morning went a little differently than planned. It was at that time that I learned the scans revealed a massive blood clot that required immediate action as well several tumors on my liver. The first words out of my thoracic surgeon's mouth was "Young lady, God has his hand on you. You are very fortunate we found this". I couldn't agree with him more. Had they operated without knowledge of the clot I most likely would have had a provoked incident meaning pulmonary embolism or worse. Needless to say I am grateful to Mayo's ultra thorough approach. The plan? Get on blood thinners and wait a month to stabilize the clot. That brings us to now. August 26th; repeat CT scans of chest, abdomen and pelvis. August 27th; biopsy of tumors on my liver. August 29th; get the results of my biopsy. August 30th; if liver tumors are benign get rid of that lower lobe of my right lung, a few lymph nodes and call it a day. I will remain on blood thinners until declared cancer free with my next scans being 3 months from now.
Not what I thought I would be doing right about now but I know I am right where I need to be, doing exactly what I need to be doing. The hope I have in Christ, the loving care of my family and friends, I have so much more than I need, truly an abundance. I am grateful and feel so close to you all right now, thank you for being your sparkly and wonderful selves!
In case you have questions...https://www.carcinoid.orghttps://www.verywellhealth.com/most-common-type-of-lung-cancer-in-non-smokers-2248873https://www.healthline.com/health-news/why-are-these-women-facing-advanced-lung-cancer-111214#1
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want." Psalm 23