So, if you know me, you know I am a high-functioning anxiety sufferer. I can be freaking out in my head and cool as a cucumber on the outside. Its my modus operandi. Needless to say, this year, since May in particular, my anxiety has been THROUGH THE ROOF. As I am prone to catastrophizing, I decided to get established with a PCP, since mine left like three years ago, and get a physical and a clean bill of health so I can focus on Brian and the kids.
As I was perusing new PCP’s I saw a Brazilian APN. She had a kind face and I felt a connection because Brian lived in Brazil for two years serving his mission. I could get in to see her the next week so I did. I met her, I LOVE her. She was everything I had hoped for and more. She listened, she empathized, she did NOT think I was crazy for asking her to rule out cancer for me. She said it was completely normal for me to have these fears because of all we were going through. I left with an order for labs and a lot of reassurance.
My labs came back all normal except for some slightly elevated liver enzymes and anemia, which I had been battling since my pregnancy with Elliot. She said not to worry, we could recheck in a month. We checked again and my liver enzymes were higher this time, so only for my peace of mind, she ordered an abdominal ultrasound. That showed a small “something” on my liver, most likely a benign hemangioma. Once again, my lovely APN offered an MRI, at my convenience, and just for my peace of mind. She was not concerned.
Fast forward to last week. I had the MRI Thursday, and I downloaded my report Friday. I was in Target getting together the last pieces of outfits for our family pictures when I read the report:
“Impression: 3 heterogeneously enhancing left renal masses and a heterogeneously enhancing liver mass highly suspicious for malignancy/metastatic disease. Tissue sampling recommended for further evaluation.”
Wait…WHAT? I have read enough of Brian’s MRI’s to know that contrast enhancing masses are bad news. I sat down in the make up aisle in Target, and shakily dialed my mom. I couldn’t get the words out. I couldn’t call Brian because he was so sick that day. My mom called my dad and he came to meet me. Then I did finally call Brian. His mom took the kids and my mom picked him up to meet me at the doctor where they fit me in at the end of the day.
I used the only connections I have and I called a nephrologist I know to ask what to do. He put me on his schedule for Tuesday so he could get into my chart. God bless this man. He made phone calls and got interventional radiology and hematology/oncology involved. By the time I left my doctor’s appointment, everyone had seen my scan and I will be having a biopsy Monday or Tuesday. I’m hoping for Monday but the IR doctor needs to do it CT guided and that takes a little longer to schedule.
My doctor called me Saturday and said she knows I have a lot on my plate. She said she understands I have a lot of family support and asked that I let them into my family circle because they intend to help me like we are all family. I am so grateful once again for my nursing education, the connections I have made, the friendships I have and the many knowledgeable nurses I can call on. I’m grateful for our church family and the ways they have lifted us up throughout these trials. I’m grateful for my friends near and far who have reached out. And I am beyond grateful to our families who have stepped in to care for my children this weekend while my mind is in turmoil and Brian was in the hospital. I could not survive any of this without them.
I am scared to death at what I am facing. What are the chances that two people in their thirties who don’t drink and are never smokers in overall good health could be stricken with advanced cancer? I can’t understand this. This doesn’t make sense on any level. Why would God finally bless us with the family we desired for so long only to let it be torn apart. I am in a crisis of health and faith.
I can only pray that whatever befalls me can be fixed. That I can survive and watch my children grow up. We have only just begun to come to terms with the reality that Brian may not be afforded that luxury. I pray for the sake of my children that I can be ok at least until they have less need of me.
Please keep us in your prayers. Including our dear families who are suffering right along with us.