This week has been about as trying as the week I was diagnosed. I am glad I can get the first set of scans behind me and hope and pray this only gets easier as time goes on. I think what made it extra difficult was the timing with everything else going on in my life! My job with Porsche ends on June 14th and as the date gets closer, I hear other co-workers talk about their plans whether that be Atlanta or parting ways with Porsche. I didn't have plans....My life is seriously minute by minute day by day. I hate to live it that way, but I had no idea if the scans were going to give me closure to cancer, like they did Thank God, or if I was back to chemo and fighting for my life. I finally can breath and start to plan my wonderful summer with my family and move forward with this trial in New York and eventually start a job search. Thank you God!!!
So most know, I am pretty routine and look for signs where ever I go and try to go through the same motions each time to ensure a positive outcome of a previous experience. So Saturday was my CT scan....My previous CT was done on a Thursday so that was throwing me off. My last CT I wore Navy shorts and a teal tank top (yes I was a hot mess, I had just been diagnosed and had not slept in days and if you remember, it was one of the hottest days of the year, I remember this) Since I realize now that outfit was probably not the coolest in my ward robe and it is also not that nice out, I opted for a blue shirt and gray yoga pants. Maybe it is the blue that keeps my scans clean, right? Next I drove to the hospital and oddly, I remember where Don and I parked that day last June for my CT so I tried to park in the same location. I do not recall what floor of the parking garage, but I do know the area so I found the same area and parked. After that it was a new experience and I reminded myself that this was not last June so some things can not be re-lived. After my scan I tried to get some information from the tech and as she should, she told me she could not tell me my results. I left and re-played in my head over and over the rest of the weekend if her words held any meaning one way or the other.
Monday morning I went back to the hospital, wearing the same blue shirt and gray yoga pants from Saturday (yes, it was washed) I parked in the same spot as Saturday (2nd floor facing West) and went into the hospital to have my radioactive dye injected for my bone scan. Again last year this scan was done on a Thursday and this was a Monday, yes, I wrestled with this all weekend. After the injection they told me I could leave and that I needed to return at 11:30 for the bone scan. So last year while I waited for my bones to soak up this radioactive matter I ate lunch with Don in the hospital cafeteria and then I went to sit outside because remember my navy shorts and turquoise tank top? Yeah, I was freezing so I went outside. Last year I went out to a serenity garden and prayed and prayed and well prayed. I also read a prayer card given to me from a high school friend who had lost her new born son, Evan. When I left the garden last year, I realized I was in a serenity garden dedicated to angel babies. Yes, I still think that was a sign. So back to this year, after the injection I decided I needed to visit the serenity garden. Unfortunately the prayer card from my friend was destroyed when the car was totalled in October and this was bothering me, but I still can go out and pray before I go to work for 3 hours. I walk outside and the garden is fenced off! I can't enter it because of construction! I panicked! What should I do? I have to go there and pray. So since I could not get in there, I walked to the other side of the gate which was actually inside the parking garage and stood facing the garden and prayed. It was super loud with the construction, but I did not care. I needed to keep my routine.
I come to work and I get a call from the Cancer Center from Maria, she tells me my CT is clean! I literally was sitting at my desk in a sitting fetal position. I don't know if you can picture this, but I was sitting in a chair, knees to my chest, hands tucked under each knee (I don't know if I could even sit this way ever again) I was shaking and crying and I tell Maria that I love her and no matter what the other nurses say, she is my favorite. By the way, I do not know who Maria is, but she just checked off one of my scans.
At 11:30 I reported back to the hospital for the actual bone scan. I could not for the life of me find a parking space on the 2nd floor facing West so I went to the 3rd floor and faced west. Don met me there for support. Now just a little background, since December my back aches at different times of the day. Nothing that causes too much pain, but enough for me to notice it. Of course it has always been in the back of my head, what if this is cancer. But it was also in my head that I lift a 20+ pound child several times a day, I do yoga, I run (yes run) and try to squeeze in as much cleaning as I can. Not to mention it could be stress, it could be aging, it could be chemo residual stuck in joints....Several other things that a normal person would consider, but I have thought recently, what if. When we walked into the Nuclear Med waiting room, the tech Carl came to get me. Immediately I recognize him! He was the same tech as last time! HOORAY! This has to mean good news, plus last year after my scan he told me "although I am not a Doctor I do not see anything to worry about". He told me this only after he gave me the technical response that he could not disclose the results to him and I basically looked at him and burst into tears and told him my horrible story.... I have a new born and 4 year old at home, you will tell me my results today! So he did. So I lay down on the table and he asks if I have had a bone scan before and I tell him yes, all the while I'm smiling because I think I get my answers today because he told me last year. So I lay down and the scan goes as usual and after I ask Carl for my results. He tells me over and over he can not tell me. I tell him I have never liked Christmas because I don't like surprises, he won't budge. I tell him I have 2 young children at home that need me....Nothing. I then start asking him would it take longer if there was something wrong, NOTHING! Man Carl, I thought we were buds. Nothing. So I leave there a little defeated.
Monday night Don and I headed to another hospital location at 9:15 for my brain MRI. I have never been to this location so I have no routine to follow. All along I have not been that fearful of the brain MRI because I think to myself if there was something wrong, I would surely know. My only concern here was that my eye sight is horrible. It surely couldn't have anything to do with me aging, having a baby, having 16 rounds of chemo. So we go in to the scan and the tech tells Don that I will be in the scan for about 45 minutes. Off the tech and I go for the scan. So I lay on a table and they enclose my head in a cage looking thing. He tells me to lay there as still as possible and to close my eyes because any sudden movement can cause the test to take longer. So I lay there and the damn MRI noises start up. I mentioned this after my breast MRI, but I can not believe there is not a better system than a stupid MRI. I laid there and said about a million Hail Mary's. I also realized the noises of the machine sound like the beginning of a Black Eye Peas song! They imaged me for about 45 minutes and then injected more dye and scanned another 15 minutes. By the end I was exhausted. Not only was it almost 11 at night but also because of the noise, I didn't even try to break this tech for answers. I just wanted to go home and sleep.
Yesterday I went to work and knew to be expecting a call because the Cancer Center told me Monday they would call after they knew the results. So knowing I was going to get a phone call, it was stressful. Finally around 10, a nurse called me and said my bone scan was CLEAN! I then asked if she had my brain MRI since it was so late so she checked and sure enough CLEAN TOO!! YIPPPEE!! I went out and celebrated with my staff and I think told everyone I came into contact with. including 2 gentlemen at our office to pick up boxes for us! Later in the day I received a call from another nurse with the same news. I told her I had already been notified, but who cares, since it was just a 2nd confirmation that my scans were clean!
Today I met with Dr. Hantel and we went over the trial in New York. He supports me and the decision to move forward with this so I will call the coordinator in New York tomorrow and set up my first meeting to go out and sign the consent and start the process of sending all of my tests, specimens, scans, etc. to their location to pre-qualify me for the trial. Once I am approved and in the trial, I will need to travel to New York every other week for appointments until my body reaches the right levels, then I will be expected to travel once a month and eventually every 6 months. One more test is standing in the way, I have to have DNA extracted so they can study a gene. I'm making the call tomorrow, but I am hoping my insurance will cover this. If they don't, I hope it is not that expensive of a test. I know my initial genetic test was covered, but that was because of my age at diagnoses, I am not sure how the insurance will react since it is for a trial, but we shall see! It feels good to finally be back in the drivers seat of making decisions with my life! For the past year I had to take a back seat and do as I was told. It was very hard for me!
I appreciate all of the prayers and support this past week. Now that they are behind me, I feel such a relief! Thank you all for helping me through them!
Lastly a quote that showed up at just the right time on Monday when I was at the hospital:
"Surrender to what is
Let go of what was.
Have faith in what will be."