On Thursday, February 9th Nicole was diagnosed with Choriocarcinoma- a fast growing cancer that occurs in a woman's uterus. It has spread to her liver, pancreas, and spleen and there is a spot in her right lung. Her organs are bleeding and her liver is twice the normal size.
Backing up, Nicole was in a ton of pain during this past pregnancy. Her rib and back pain were often excruciating and nothing seemed to bring much relief. Our amazing family and delivery doctor, Dr. Newman, decided it would be best to induce Nicole at 39 weeks because her body was just "done". The induction and delivery went well and on January 19th, we were blessed with a beautiful and healthy little girl, Ella Grace.
We assumed Nicole would begin to recover after delivery, but instead she began to decline even more over the next two weeks. During the night of February 1st, Nicole developed a fever and even worse belly pain and we were instructed to go to the ER the next morning. We went and she was soon admitted, with no one really knowing what was going on.
This began a whirlwind of 7 hospital rooms in 8 days, multiple teams of doctors and specialists all trying to figure out what was going on, and poor Nicole wondering what in the world was wrong with her. A lot of blood was found in her abdomen, with multiple organs bleeding. Her hemoglobin was very low and after the first blood transfusion, it was even lower. Where the heck did the blood go? Apparently right into her poor, swollen belly. After multiple transfusions, medications, and constant monitoring in the ICU, she seemed to be getting better and it was assumed she'd get to go home in a few days. No one was sure of the cause, but the symptoms were being treated and outpatient tests would be done in the following weeks/months. Nicole had amazing care during this time and one OB doctor, Dr. Long, in particular took a special interest and would text me updates in the middle of the night, letting me know how her labs were going. After a few days in ICU, Nicole was moved into the OB Special Care unit and got to see baby Ella for a couple hours- the first time in a few days.
And then she got worse. Again. She needed more blood and was moved to another step-down unit. At 7 AM the next morning I got a text from Dr. Long saying that he knew what it was. And then he called me and told me she had cancer. And then Dr. Newman called us and told us she had stage 4 cancer and that it had spread to multiple organs. What the heck do you do with that!? We cried. And we cried out to God. And we cried some more until our stupid eyes hurt so bad it didn't make sense. And then, just to make sure, we cried some frickin more.
And then begin a series of decisions regarding Nicole's care. Should she go to a bigger hospital? If so, which one? Some of the doctors were sure that Nicole had Choriocarcinoma, but some wanted a biopsy for confirmation. Did Nicole need another procedure, if it wan't going to change the diagnosis, or the treatment? It's a funny and scary thing to be surrounded by brilliant doctors who have forgotten more medical knowledge than I'll ever know, yet ultimately having the full weight of these decisions resting solely on my shoulders. So I cried out to God for wisdom, I called Drs. Newman and Long, and I talked with friends and family. And doctors here at Sparrow reached out to doctors who have seen more of this rare cancer, doctors at U of M and the Cleveland Clinic. One doctor, so I've heard, has even written a book(s) on this disease.
We stayed at Sparrow. And we're praying like crazy that God works a miracle and heals my beautiful wife.