When I was young and life was much simpler I remember listening to Cher singing in her deep gravelly voice “ If I could turn back time”. If only I could. All I’d ask for would be 14 days. (This was written on 10/10/17) Two short weeks ago I had this feeling of excitement and hope for what the future held for me for this last stretch, the final 30 years (1/3) of my life. I had mustered up enough courage to write a profile on a dating site and was texting with three men online. All three wanted to meet me for coffee the same week. Yikes! Now this is from a woman who has not dated since my youngest was in fourth grade...and that daughter turned 30 years old last month. I chose Bachelor Number Three, and we agreed to meet at Starbucks on Thursday. I whipped into action. I tried on (almost) everything in my closet, got a mani-pedi, made an appointment for a cut and color and even had my face waxed (for the first time) to remove those soft white hairs that appeared out of nowhere back in my fifties.
Tuesday night I didnt sleep a wink, excruciating pain in hips, back and chest. I had fallen a month earlier in my home and was going to PT for pain in several areas since the fall. I assumed the fall had caused the pain and that exercise and PT would take care of it. Next day, at the urging of my physical therapist (she thought chest pain=possible heart attack) I called to get in with my primary doctor. I turned down an appointment that day because it conflicted with my hair appointment, which I thought I just HAD to have before my blind date. I promised to come in on Friday.
Priorities?!? Hair-Date-Heart Attack??????
Friday, only eleven days ago. Saw my doctor. My heart rate was the only thing that seemed abnormal, 50 bpm, so she planned to send me home on a Holter monitor and steroids to alleviate some of the pain. My gut told me that it wasn’t heart pain I was experiencing. I asked her to check my lungs because I was having a hard time breathing deeply and it felt like the chest pain was more associated with breathing than my heart. Really painful to take a good breath. She sent me for an x-ray of chest. Thus, the whirlwind began, forcing my brain into autopilot, turning the world into a roller coaster and my life upside down. Chest x-ray showed large tumor in left lung. Sent immediately to hospital across the street, blood work and Thoracic CT with dye. CT showed 6 cm tumor in left lung, many 2-4 mm nodules in right.
Monday. Met pulmonologist, Dr. Knoepke, who explained CT results. My head was drifting in the clouds. I heard nothing .
Wednesday. Lung needle biopsy. Took three samples, first two were “necrotic tissue-black and mushy, like putting a straw into a potato with rotten spots” . Third try was a charm. It was tissue that could be tested, but showed positive for cancer. The results though, were inconclusive for which type of cancer.
Friday. Primary doctor. Explained results from lung biopsy.
Monday. PET Scan, MRI of Brain. Tests showed Stage Four Lung Cancer, inoperable, spread to lymph nodes, metastasized to right hip, lumbar spine (seven and eight), seven tumors in the brain.
Tuesday (today). Met Radiology oncologist, Dr. Nisi. Wants to start radiation on my (whole) brain on Monday. Will wait for the results of further testing to begin treating bone cancer to shrink tumors and hopefully alleviate pain.
Wednesday (tomorrow). Meet with primary doctor, my brother will come along to help me hear and better understand what is happening to me. My brain is a whirlwind, I can’t stop it from twirling. Then back to the hospital for more testing. Biopsy number two at North Memorial, going into the operating room and hoping for a good sample this time.
Friday. Meet oncologist, Dr. Rob
Hoping the whirlwind slows down soon.
I keep thinking this is a bad nightmare and hoping to wake up soon.
To be continued...
PS Bachelor Number Three never showed up. His loss.