The pain in my side started two months ago. Still hurting a bit from my surgery on my right side, the pain started to radiate down to my hip. My plastic surgeon recommended I stopped doing everything: no twisting, lifting, pulling, pushing, etc. Happy to comply, after about two weeks, my muscle on my side stopped hurting enough that I could tell that the pain was not radiating down...but was starting on my side and radiating up.
The doctor's appointments started then. One and then two, in the same week. Both doctor's ordered ultrasounds, each a different type. One doctor was convinced that I had colon cancer, the next a gallstone. I got an appointment fairly quickly and had an ultrasound two weeks ago Friday. My primary care doctor called me while I was on vacation with my family in Tahoe. He had seen something on my liver in the ultra sound and I needed a CT scan. At this point, I was in quite a bit of pain. However, the excitement of vacation was a great distraction and the pain was bearable. We drove home from Tahoe on Friday and took Harrison to a soccer tournament Saturday. By Sunday morning, I was in so much pain that I could not fathom getting through the day. I took myself to the ER, where they did my CT scan, gave me something for pain and referred me to oncology.
I called in sick to work on Monday. Steve and I met with my oncologist, Dr. Sweet who confirmed with the ER doctor had told me, I had cancer in my liver. Dr. Sweet showed us five-six spots on my liver, one was as big as a golf ball, but flat. He ordered a liver biopsy for Wednesday to confirm his assumption and determine which the tumors type. He assumed it was triple negative, like my breast cancer. He assumed it was metastatic cancer. Not good news.
I conferenced with my supervisors at work throughout the week, working only on Tuesday and Thursday. We agreed that I would not disclose my cancer's return until I knew my course of treatment. I was happy not to talk about it at work. To keep this secret. I knew I had to leave my job for a while and wanted to preserve my last days of normalcy.
On Friday, I saw Dr. Sweet again. At that point, all Dr. Sweet knew was that the tumors were cancer, as confirmed by the biopsy. So, we talked about a plan for treatment on the assumption that it is the metastatic breast cancer and triple negative. The reality of the situation is that this cancer is not curable. The goal of treatment will be to slow the pace of the cancer's growth by any means possible. That being said, after discussing several options, I opted to start chemotherapy on Monday. I am starting Taxol, every week, three weeks on, one week off.
Since this has all happened so fast, I thought I would start with this option, while allowing myself time to research clinical trials, other drugs and alternative therapies. I have changed my diet considerably, cutting out refined sugars and animal fats, adding flax, lots of Vitamin C and E and increasing my intake of fruits and vegetables.
How are we doing? We are completely overwhelmed. The kids are each handling this in their own way. Maddie talks about it; Harrison does not. Steve is hanging in there. He starts teaching again tomorrow, as he is on a year-round schedule. That combined with my new battle is a lot for him to handle. However, I know that he will be the rock star that he always has been once we get into our new routine.
I am sure I am leaving out a lot of things in this entry. I am tired but now that my colleagues know what is going on, I wanted to post the gist the recent happenings. I am trying to stay positive. Trying to be normal, enjoying special moments. I will work a couple more days this week at best and then will be home to focus my energies on this fight. And I know I will need all of the energy that I can muster.