Our story begins late evening on Friday February 19. I awoke to Peter gently touching my arm as he was trying to get my attention. "Erika" he said, "I have a lot of pressure in my chest, and I can't move." As I sat up and tried to understand what was happening, it became very clear to me that Peter was in trouble and needed immediate medical attention. I kept calm, and asked what I could do for him; get an aspirin? glass of water? In past years, we had taken Peter to the ER twice for concerns with chest pain. Both times, he was released after numerous Cardiac tests confirmed his heart was healthy. Naturally, he had hesitations deciding if this was worthy of an ER visit, or if the culprit was what doctors had diagnosed in the past - acid reflux.
But this was different. Peter was clenching his chest, in visible pain. Finally, I asked if I should make "the call". As someone who tends to drag her heels on decisions, I had already silently decided I wasn't going to be that person who reflected back on an emergency situation with, "if only I had called for help 5 minutes earlier." But saying it out loud made it even more real and scary.
I dialed 911, and within minutes there was a flood of strangers in my home.
Since that day, and numerous tests, scans, and blood work, we know Peter's heart is healthy. Unfortunately, a mass was discovered inside his lung and its pressing up against his heart. A PET scan revealed this mass, and two other spots have a metabolic process to them. Which simply means they could be inflammation, infection, or cancer.
He was in for a bronchoscopy, which is a procedure where they look inside the lungs and biopsy such masses and lymph nodes to determine if they are cancerous. We received both good and bad news from this test. The two smaller spots were biopsied and showed no traces of cancerous cells. The bad news is they could not reach the larger mass to biopsy without putting Peter at risk for injury to his lung or heart. So we are still in the dark on that.
Coming out of the bronchoscopy, Peter suffered pneumothorax, or a partial collapsed lung. He was in an extreme amount of pain, and admitted back to the hospital last Thursday (March 3rd). Sunday morning he was healthy enough to go home. We had been putting the wheels in motion to get a second opinion at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester over the weekend with the help of Peter's good friend, and my new friend, Paul Stalboerger. Fist appointment was Monday morning.
What we know: Peter needs surgery to remove this mass. It's still unknown if its cancerous, but either way, it doesn't belong in his body and needs to come out. Peter has been dealing with pain in his chest, coughing and other symptoms on a daily basis. We've been successful at getting him on an expedited timeframe to one of the world's best hospitals. And continue to hope for surgery in the coming days.
I'll be sending updates via this Caring Bridge website instead of Facebook now. Please know that we've been reading each and every post, text, email, private message, etc. that everyone has been sending. Your love, support and prayers mean more than you will ever realize. It lifts Peter's spirits and keeps me and my support network going. We can't respond to them all simply because of the juggling act of managing Peter's numerous doctor appointments, one toddler, one third grader, keeping up with Maddie's achievements (new job and elected dance line captain next season!!!), Timmy's Spring training for the Cyclones in FL, Lexi's ever-changing challenges with Taidyn (who spent over a week in hospitalization) and my dad, who recently broke his hip and moved to transitional care in St. Cloud.
PLEASE know, that we feel your love and support. As his story unfolds, we'll be sharing the news here.