Some battles I can see coming. Others are a surprise. My latest surprise came at the end of January in the form of a pain in my upper abdomen. I showed my lifelong friend, (and RN,) Maggie where it hurt and she suggested going to have my gallbladder checked. I did and the surgeon scheduled a sonogram for the following week so he could see what we were dealing with. The sonogram was painless and the lady doing it was really pleasant and time passed quickly. Nothing alarming, nothing different from past sonograms except she wasn't checking on a baby. (Whew)
The next day my doctor called to say my gallbladder was fine but there was a pretty big tumor attached to my liver. He suspected it was a heptacellular adenoma, a benign liver tumor that is fairly common. Well. Let's stop there and all agree that I'm not normal and stuff that goes on around here isn't common. I laughed and told the doctor I'm glad I'm not crazy and that something was weird in my stomach. He scheduled a CTA and MRI for that week and I prepped for surgery. Surgery was February 1st and most of the details are foggy thanks to the miracle of drugs.
One detail is clear as can be. My surgeon came into the room and said we needed to talk. The tumor, (I'd show a picture of it but don't want to gross anybody out,) tested positive for melanoma. He went on to say lots of other things but that's pretty much all any of us heard.
That day I decided that I wasn't going to read about what it all meant or let myself "go there," to that place that nobody chooses to go. I nearly caved at one point to read about it until my new oncologist came in the next day. Everything shifted when I met him. He is very positive, very hopeful and likely smarter than everybody I know. (No offense.) He told me the game plan and it's already in motion. Immunotherapy is what I'm doing to give my immune system a big boost to fight melanoma. It is different from chemo or radiation, fewer side effects and there is lots of really good data about treating melanoma and increasing life span. My outlook is hopeful. I've had a brain MRI and PET scan and both were clear.
I'm still processing everything and for the most part have felt very peaceful. Yesterday I told mom that if everybody could hear my doctor talk about my treatment nobody would worry too much about me. So I'm asking you to pray with me, absolutely! I've been so busy working on my house and getting the kids settled that I've been MIA...but writing and staying in touch this way has always been therapeutic so I think it'll be a natural part of this process. It may be a fight but I believe that it's one I can win. Plus I believe that even though I wonder what in the world God is thinking in the midst of this that He is aware and sees me. That is where any of my true peace comes from.
I'm sitting in the room having my first treatment right now and I feel totally normal. There are people all around me that are receiving treatments in bright bags labeled CHEMO and my bag is clear. I'm thankful.