On a typical Thursday I would generally have 3 or 4 meetings to fill my busy day. A day that seemed packed full of things to do, with not nearly enough hours to safeguard completion. Now I find myself waking every morning with a few precious milliseconds before reality sets in, before I remember that I have cancer, then it all comes crashing like a titan wave.
This Thursday happened to be far from typical, as I had my first Oncology appointment since my initial introduction with my treating Doctor in the hospital. Attempting to fall asleep the night prior was futile. I felt as though I was 8 years old again on Christmas Eve, awaiting Santa Claus to arrive with presents. But instead of opening cabbage patch dolls and a Barbie dream house, I was waiting to unwrap my unavoidable future relationship with chemotherapy. Thursday was the fateful day where the plans would start in motion with regards to my pet-scan, chemo port operation and then eventually my chemo treatments. It all became a little more real, as prior to this not so typical Thursday, chemo was just a distant thought, an unfriendly, yet obligatory “thing” that I had to do in the future.
Upon meeting with my Oncologist, she immediately went into business mode, after kindly telling me how well I was looking since the last time she had seen me. The first question of the hour was regarding the stimulation/IVF and if I was on the medication to begin that process. Confused by the disconnects between she and my Fertility Doctor, I advised her that we had been waiting on this particular appointment before we were able to move forward with anything IVF related. This was the determining appointment where the time line of proceedings to take place would finally come cooperatively together.
Apprehensively, the Doctor informed me that in good conscious she would not “allow” me to get pregnant for at least two years to follow my chemotherapy. Not shocked by the news, I knew that pregnancy would be something that would not take place in the immediate future for Steve and I. However, I was not prepared for what the Doctor said next. “Surrogacy”, she murmured. Immediately the tears welled up in my eyes, until I was no longer able to gracefully contain them. What happened to being a perfectly young, capable and usually healthy woman, per the Fertility Doctor? Why was the tune now changing, did they know something I did not? My breathing became more demanding and my thoughts out of focus.
The Doctor quickly moved on, as her participation in my treatment is not so much the IVF and baby talk, but the chemotherapy and cancer chatter. Elucidating that colon cancer has 5 stages, 0-4, mine reached the supreme level of threat within the disease and the vilest prognosis. Due to the fact that I had not exhibited symptoms to detect the cancer before it had metastasized, chemotherapy treatments are a must and chemo is expected to be administered once every two weeks, for approximately six months.
Centered on my pet-scan results, this may all be adjusted and changed based on the evidence of any cancer cells that the scan may detect. Per the Oncologist, it takes thousands of cancer cells to showcase one infinitesimal spot on the scan itself. That said, additional measures are taken in addition to the scan through means of conjoint tests to ensure that the cancerous cells are uncovered. Fortunately, the Doctor was able to answer a bustle of our pressing questions, which somehow did not seem to ease my mind, even still.
Enlightened that although I may go through chemotherapy for approximately 6 months, it is highly possible that through scans thereafter, I may be cleared with the possibility that cancer cells could turn up again. While the Doctor did not have any concrete test results whilst our discussion on this not so average Thursday, I found myself dejected and doleful. Perhaps I was grasping to those few milliseconds in the morning before reality strikes and the notion of my cancerous state kicks in. I’m not sure what I was expecting to hear out of the appointment, maybe a miracle. Imaginably, to walk into the Doctor’s office and be told that there has been a terrible mistake and this is not the outcome.
So, in the meantime, I will move forward with gearing up for my pet-scan and then inevitably the results to come, followed by the chemo port implantation and then chemo itself. For a Thursday that I so eagerly awaited, I precipitously wanted to revert back to an unaware state of mind during those milliseconds of the morning where my cancerous comprehension was unabridged.
Timeline of events:
- Monday, 07/29/2013: Pet Scan
- Week of 07/29/2013-08/10/2013: IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) stimulation, 10-14 day process for medication, then extraction.
- Week of 08/11/2013: Chemo port procedure (outpatient)
- Week of 08/19/2013: Possible beginning to chemotherapy treatments
Until next time…