Saturday, February 15, 2014

And Then There Was Cancer

I apologize for my lengthy absence here at the blog. We actually had a few month period of pretty normal life. :) In the past few months we enjoyed the holidays with family, celebrated Jacob's second birthday and did many fun things as a family. I will get to posting updated pictures of the kids soon.

On January 23 I went to the Cleveland Clinic to have a mole removed. I'd shown the mole to my Primary Care Physician a few different times and he was not concerned. I was. So finally I called around locally to find out when I could get in to see a dermatologist. It was a three month wait. I wanted it looked at immediately so I called the Cleveland Clinic on January 21st and had an appointment for the 23rd.

The doctor was very sweet, she removed the mole and said it was likely nothing to lose sleep over but she would send it out for testing just for peace of mind. We went on with our weekend and I didn't think much else about it.

Monday morning, January 27th, I had just gotten the big kids started on school work and the little ones were having a snack while I got myself a cup of coffee. Our home phone rang and I didn't get to it in time, then immediately after that my cell phone rang. I saw that it was a Cleveland number and answered. I barely remember anything else that happened after that. The Doctor herself was on the phone, which I knew wasn't good. She said that the biopsy came back as malignant melanoma and that I would need to be scheduled as soon as possible to see a surgeon to have the area excised and due to the depth of the tumor I would need a sentinel node biopsy. I remember just nodding my head and saying ok, ok, ok, meanwhile just wanting to get off the phone so I could bawl.

I got off the phone, took a deep breath and collected myself. I was to wait on a call from the Clinic's Melanoma Clinic at the Taussig Cancer Center. I just became a cancer patient. I called my dad and that might have been the hardest part of all of it. I manned phone calls for setting up more appointments and waited for Howard to get home.

Howard called on his way home and I was still so stunned, all I could muster was "I have cancer" over the phone. He said, "ok. We'll deal with this. I will be right home. It is going to be ok." I walked around in a fog for a few days as I incessantly Googled melanoma statistics. (I should NOT have done that)

A few days later I got my wits about me, got my face back into my Bible and decided....that since none of us are promised tomorrow, I'd take it a day at a time and do all I could to take care of my body and help it beat this thing. I've switched to a primarily plant based diet, complete with supplements, juice and smoothies. I've lost 12 pounds and am exercising every day. When fear creeps in, I get that Bible back out and remind myself that He is where my help comes from. I feel better physically, emotionally and spiritually than I have in a while. I think I've been in autopilot for a while and this has snapped me out of that.

On January 30th I saw my new doctor at the Taussig Cancer center. Until this date, the genetics office was by far the most heartbreaking place I'd ever had to sit in, a cancer center beats that. Just looking around I could not believe this is where I was. We met with the doctor, he was very positive and upbeat but realistic. It is a scary cancer. It is the leading cause of cancer death in people my age, but he reminded me that I am not a statistic so to quit Googling. We scheduled surgery. He explained that I am currently, because of the characteristics of my tumor, a stage 2B melanoma patient which on the continuum is still better than many. We have yet to test my lymph nodes yet. That will be done the day of surgery. If there is no cancer found in the lymph nodes, odds are quite good, although we will still have to be vigilant because melanoma is a SNEAKY cancer and comes back frequently. Clear lymph nodes is what we are praying for.

My surgery is scheduled for Monday, February 17th. I will have lymph node mapping first to detect which lymph node the area of cancer is draining into, then I will go into surgery where they will excise a large portion of my arm flesh to be sure they get ALL cancer cells and I will have a few lymph nodes removed for testing. Recovery will likely be a little tough since I am a homeschooling mom of FIVE, but we can do this. Our friends and family have stepped up and been such a blessing. We feel peace about what is to come, knowing that God is in control and that He will equip us for whatever comes. If you wouldn't mind praying for all of us, we'd be so grateful. Please pray for clean lymph nodes, smooth recovery and for Howard as he takes on more responsibility, our family and friends who will be stepping in, and for our kids as this is a lot for them too. Please also pray for the doctors as they treat me and help me to get rid of this cancer, I feel good about the Cleveland Clinic and the doctors there and am confident they will help me to overcome this obstacle.

"For nothing is impossible with God" Luke 1:37

"With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall." Psalm 18:29

"He will have no fear of bad news, his heart is steadfast trusting in the Lord." Psalm 112:7


Maryellen said...

Will pray for you. Thank God you were persistent and insisted on getting it checked. Please keep us posted on your progress and how we can specifically pray for you and your sweet family.
God is ABLE.

melissa78 said...

I will be praying for you!!! I wish you a speedy recovery!

Jenn @Treasuring Lifes Blessings said...

Oh goodness I am so sorry!! I will be praying for you that all goes smoothly & you get a clean bill of health!

This Oregon Girl said...

Praying for you and your family. God will give you the strength you need.

Allison said...

That's just what happened to my sister - the dermatologist removed a spot, saying she really didn't think it was anything; and if anything a basal cell carcinoma. Turned out it was a melanoma - and she had the same result as you - clean margins and lymph nodes clear. I'm red-headed and fair-skinned so it's really scary that even the dermatologists can't tell what is actually melanoma for these early stage spots.

Lauren said...

Oh my! We will be praying for you!!