What just happened! (7/6/17)

What just happened!!!

The date was Friday June 9, 2017, results day, for the CT-scan and biopsy, taken Monday and Tuesday of that week. My friend Sandy had quickly relieved some of my stress a couple weeks ago when she volunteered to accompany me to this appointment. Knowing that I was going to need all the support I could get, I asked my friend Michele if she would also accompany us to Yale. Without hesitation the three of us headed out that morning with confidence that the results would be good and that I would have a typical day of treatment.

We checked into the office and, after blood work and vitals, (typical procedure for my appointments), we returned to the waiting room to check in with the doctor. It got eerily silent in the room, and we could hear footsteps coming toward the room. The research nurse, Courtney, entered the room first without saying a word and then Dr. Silber came around the corner and immediately said how sorry she was. I could tell by the look on her face that I was not going to get the news I wanted to hear today.

The new lump on my chest came back positive for carcinoma. Dr. Silber explained that they were still waiting on the receptor information that tells the doctors a little more about the cancer. I am no longer eligible for the clinical trial I was currently enrolled in. Her hope was that I would be able to start an oral medication that is new on the market, just out of research study.

“Wait a minute, what just happened!” My world has been flipped upside down, yet again. I was numb! The room started spinning. This couldn’t be happening. I am supposed to go to the infusion room now, and get my chemotherapy. I started crying when I realized I wasn’t getting any chemotherapy today, in fact I wasn’t getting any kind of medication. Michele came and sat with me on the exam table and tried to soothe me. I looked at Sandy and could tell she was taking all the information in.

This was not how this appointment was supposed to go! We were all supposed to be happy, and yet all five of us were crying and trying to understand how this happened. Dr. Silber told us she was shocked that the results came back positive as carcinoma. She was beside herself. We finally were able to compose ourselves long enough for Dr. Silber to explain what the next steps would be. She started by telling me that I would be taking a break from all the chemotherapy. This time will allow my body to rid itself of any chemo still in my system and to allow by body to recover from the last seven months of treatment.

On June 23, I will return to see Dr. Silber and will start this new drug. Neither Dr. Silber nor Courtney is able to give much information about the drug at this time. They both described a few positive points to this new drug, which showed promising results of prolonging patients’ lives while in trial. Another pro to this drug is that my hair will grow back! I think I am happiest about the hair growing back than anything else. This drug is in tablet form; therefore I will not have to go to the clinic once a week. Instead I will be able to take the pills right at home and only have to travel to Yale for blood work and doctors appointments.

The anxiety set in immediately. When I arrived home I asked if Michele and Sandy would help me explain these results to my parents. I couldn’t even comprehend any of this myself. Later that evening I had so much anxiety that I just needed to get out of my own head. What better than to go for a bike ride! I went down to Avondale and rode my bike through Watch Hill and went to my favorite place, The Watch Hill Lighthouse. I stood there watching the sunset and listening to the waves crash on my favorite rock. It was exactly what I needed…expend some physical energy and let my mind clear. My world had just been flipped upside down, and I was taking the first step to picking up the pieces again.