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Sep 29, 2018 Latest post:
Oct 9, 2020
Welcome to my CaringBridge website. I am using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. I will do my best to update daily. This all started back in July when I had my physical with my PCP. She asked me the normal question..."how do you feel Sonja?" I thought for a few minutes about a couple aches and pains I was having. I wasn't sure if worth mentioning but a couple things were concerning me. I've been in healthcare for 19 years. I was aware that some of my aches and pains may not be normal. She performed normal tests including breast exam. I also do my own. Never question for lumps! Fast forward a week later....I'm sitting in a cardiology office waiting for a cardiologist to speak to me. The only time I've ever had a face to face with a cardiologist is when I worked on the cancer unit, ICU, Emergency room while taking care of patients, but not for myself. I was so nervous to meet Dr. Dillon. I hear a knock at the door and in comes the room a tall man. He said "Sonja, what brings you in today?" I tell him. He said "I am going to do a bunch of cardiac testing but if all normal, I think it could be a lung issue and you will have to see your PCP. He assured me he would take good care of me. Fast forward a week....I go in and I was hooked up to an echocardiogram. Then I completed a stress test and had another echocardiogram. When that was all done, the nurse attached a holter monitor to my body. (Heart monitor) I was to wear this continually for 48 hours. I completed the 48 hours and waited for all the results. I was told by Dr. Dillon my heart was strong like steel and he had no concerns for cardiac issues. I slept on his words for a couple days. I was concerned that maybe I was crazy. Maybe it was anxiety? My mind made me think crazy tjings. I couldn't understand what the next step would even look like. I picked up my cell phone the next day, on my lunch break and called my pcps office. I spoke to a nurse. I asked her if she could ask my doctor to order a chest x-ray. The nurse said I needed to be seen first before this could be ordered. Being in the profession, I understood what she was saying, however, I wasn't really having actual breathing issue symptoms. I don't want to bash anyone but this woman made me almost argue with her to get what i needed, a note to my PCP to order a chest x-ray. Dr. Dillon made me feel like this could be the issue to some of my symptoms. Fast forward two days later. I'm in the radiology department at Dartmouth in Concord getting my chest x-ray done. Everyone from the receptionist to the X-ray tech was lovely!! Fast forward a couple days later, I get results. I find out there is something seen (appears to be a mass on my right lung). This was told to me on a Friday late afternoon. I would like to say I wasn't nervous but I was. In a couple days I hear from my PCP. She is sweet, letting me know she ordered a CT scan of my lungs and not to worry as if this is not a mass they could be seeing a "rib ending". Of course I worry. Who wouldn't. During this entire process, though, I did stay positive. Many times I found myself saying out loud "everything happens for a reason" Fast forward a couple days, I go back to the radiology department at Dartmouth for a CT scan of my lungs. The two techs that administered the IV contrast and who performed the test were unbelievably wonderful. They were so compassionate. Everyone I have been dealing with (other than getting my results- I will not speak about details as it wasn't good and I can't focus on the negative parts) up until this point, almost acted as if they knew me and what was going on in my body I didn't know. I believe people are put in our lives for a reason and so far, I've loved the direct care I've been given. I had to wait quite a few days for the results of the CT scan. I was again anxious but more than when I waited for chest x-ray. Waiting stinks. I don't hear anything and by now it's a Friday afternoon (I called throughout the day). I called my pcps office and again was given the run around. Why is it so hard to get results?!?! I ask every person I speak too at this time that question. After insisting on speaking to two managers, I speak to a male. He actually said "what's up? You're looking for results? What's your name and date of birth?" I start crying. I tell him everything he needs. He pauses and reads me results. He says my lungs are clear but it appears I have a mass in my right breast and he could give no other details other than my PCP would order a mammogram and ultrasound of my right breast on Monday. I couldn't believe I had to wait another two days. I have never had either test done before but at this time the test didn't worry me. Please remember I am 35 and mammograms are not usually started until the age of 40. I wait the weekend. Again worried a little, but trying to stay positive. On Monday I get a call to set up a mammogram and ultrasound of my right breast. I'm told appointment time would be about an hour. I go to my scheduled appointment back at radiology Dartmouth. Again everyone was fantastic. They all Treated me with compassion. I had the mammogram on both my breasts. The tech then reviewed images with the radiologist. The tech came back apologizing and saying more pictures are needed. After 25 pictures and two ultrasounds, three masses are now found in my right breast and I'm told deep in the breast tissue. I was told by the radiologist right then and there when I sat up on the table, "it doesn't look good." She's a very nice and extremely intelligent doctor but very cut and dry. I am just sitting in a cool, dark ultrasound room as she tells me this news. I begin uncontrollably crying. I ask her what the next step is. All I could hear was her say "you have to have these biopsied next week." She explains to me that she feels I only have a 5% chance of this not being cancer. I instantly cried a little more telling her I am married with a little three year old girl who is my world. I explained to her (feeling scared and alone) that I have patients to take care of, my family, my work family, all my friends to help. She assures me I shouldn't think about anything until the biopsy. Ha! Easier said than done. Fast forward to the following Tuesday. I go into work and leave early. I didn't sleep the night before. I was honestly a wreck but somehow kept smiling and telling myself I may be part of the 5%. I went in for the biopsies. I can't begin to tell everyone how awesome Dr abbis was. He and I were meeting for the fist time this day. He met with me, my husband and my mom. He hugged us all and his assistant (also phenomenal) brought me to a bright procedure room. He performed the biopsies. He was as gentle as he could be. He was my angel that day!!!! Dr. Abbis was not supposed to perform my procedure but the doc who was had to be out. Dr. Abbis traveled up from Nashua to Concord to do biopsies. I swear my loved ones above made this happen. I couldn't ask for a more loving person to work on me. He tells me at the end that he will call me with results on Thursday September 27th. I went to work to keep my mind busy. Unfortunately all I could do was sweat waiting for the results. All my family and friends who knew what was going on was texting me asking if I had updates. At 445 pm (two nights ago) I got a call from Dr. Abbis. He explains to me the results. He diagnosed me with invasive right breast cancer. He said the cancer has broken through the breast wall and surgeon and oncologist will need/want to operate fast and start cancer treatment/s I can't even begin to tell anyone how I felt hearing this news. All the words he was saying was totally taking my breath away. I was at work when I got the news. I couldn't have been at a better place. I was surrounded by many caring healthcare professionals who care about me a lot. I have been trying to be positive since this so real news was given to me. I know I'm in for a road of surgery coming up soon I'm sure and a road of cancer treatments. I'm scared to death but I have so many people on my side. Every minute for me changes emotionally. One second I'm okay and then another second Im shocked and sad. I feel like my loved ones above made me have totally irrelevant symptoms to get down to the real issue. Dr. Abbis said in 5 more years, when a routine mammogram would have been ordered, I would have potentially been full of cancer. Everything happens for a reason. I'm glad it's me going through this and not you, reading this. I will stay strong! I meet with a surgeon Tuesday at 9 am. I'll know more about what surgery entails and what my cancer treatments look like hopefully then. I appreciate you passing my story on. I also thank you all for your thoughts, love and prayers through this unexpected time in my life ❤