So I thought I had it all planned out, but God reminded me yesterday that He is in control and my job is to trust Him and leave the planning to Him. So I THOUGHT I’d have a lumpectomy on May 31, heal for 4 week, go on vacation the week of July 4, and then have 33 days of radiation. I knew there were 3 things that could mean I would also need chemo and was prepared for that, but I NEVER anticipated what I would find out yesterday.
Yesterday we spent the day at Duke Cancer Institute. Our day started with a super sweet lady who not only drew my blood, but noticed my bracelet that has the Lord’s Prayer on it. Her desk had scripture and quotes around it and she told me she would pray for me and to trust God.....a complete stranger that God placed in my path yesterday.
Our next encounter was to check in for 3 appointments. The patient ahead of us was irritated over something and I couldn’t help, but overhear as the receptionist “took it” and never missed a beat. She pleasantly checked me in for each of the 3 appointments and ran each co-pay separately and apologized for it taking so long (it wasn’t long at all), but explained she was doing it this way in case we didn’t get to see all 3 doctors and with this she could easily refund us for any appointments we didn’t keep.
Before we could sit down to sign papers a nurse called my name and took us back. She took all my vitals, got us set up in a room where we spent the next 4.5 hours, and went over all my medical history. When we discussed Caroline, she sat back in disbelief...Type 1 diabetes and Guillian Barre Syndrome in the same year. We told her what awesome kids we have and that Caroline was a trooper and would get her license today.
Dr. Gregory Georgiade and his nurse were the first to visit us. I say visit because honestly, they all made it feel like a visit rather than an appointment. He had done his homework. He chatted about our beautiful part of the state and apologized for us having to leave that beautiful part of the state to come spend the day at Duke. He told me I was in charge and wanted to know how I wanted to proceed. He gave me lots of options, but I opted to let him tell me what he knew and then ask questions. He knew the whole story from memory back to when I found the lump in September. When he got to the end he told me long before I arrived (May 3 I’ve since discovered), he and his team had reread my MRI and found another spot in the same breast. His recommendation was to biopsy this spot before doing anything else. He said at this point I was guilty until proven innocent and he hoped I would not be double guilty...meaning two spots with cancer. After some conversation and questions, we decided to go ahead and have him get the biopsy set up. At this point, we had pretty much made a decision that I would have my surgery at Duke. This doctor is not only a breast cancer surgeon, but also a plastic surgeon.
The next doctor we saw was Dr. Rachel Blitzblau, a radiation oncologist. She was awesome! She went over everything and discussed options and possibilities. She explained in detail how the radiation works. She answered a ton of questions we had and really put us at ease when she told us we didn’t have to make any of these decisions at this point. While she was in with us, we discovered an appointment had been made my biopsy for the day we are planning to leave for our 25th anniversary trip. She immediately told us to go and she would get it changed. She did! This morning I received a message that my appointment is on a different day. She said life comes first and they would do everything in their power to work around our lives. Our discussions with her, of course, made us second guess every medical decision we’ve made. She let us talk and even discussed Dennis colon cancer and she asked what was done and assured us we had done the right thing. She explained how colon cancer was a lot more cut and dry than breast cancer and made us feel really good about all the decisions we had made.
Finally, we saw Dr. Gretchen Gimmick, an oncologist. We spent a lot of time talking about the newest tests and how decisions are made for treatment. We talked about what would mean I would need chemo and what would mean I would not and how the bottom line was doing what was best for me and life. She explained how we needed to wait for the biopsy before we could make any decisions and then post surgery there would be more decisions to make based on the results of multiple things. She told us about a test we had never heard of and shared the research and how it was used with people my age to help decide if chemo would be worthwhile. Like the other two doctors, she was incredibly knowledgeable and compassionate.
I have had amazing care everywhere we have been. Every single person I have met both here and in Durham have been fabulous. At this point, all I know for sure is I have a biopsy scheduled at Duke week after next. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy celebrating Caroline’s 16th birthday and honeymoon in Jamaica with my hubby for our 25th anniversary. We had planned to take this trip in late summer or a fall weekend, but decided we wanted to take it now before all this gets started. Oh, and I’ll also go to work and take care of the day to day normal stuff.
I thought I was prepared for yesterday. I thought it was simply a second opinion and that, at most, I’d do my surgery at Duke. I never considered I’d leave with an appointment for another biopsy. God’s pretty cool like that reminding us that He is in control and our plans mean nothing. We sure have felt His presence. I know He will do some awesome things through this journey. So very blessed and thankful.