A couple of weeks ago, I turned 27! While I love celebrating my birthday, this year I was a little bit anxious about the week because I had a CT scan on Monday and a doctor’s appointment on Thursday. It had been 6 months since my last scan and although everything was clear then, I can’t help but worry every single time I have to do this again. I’m not sure if it’s all in my head or if other people would agree, but the whole day after my CT scan I just don’t feel well. Maybe it’s nerves or maybe it’s the 2 ginormous cups of barium you have to drink and the iodine that they inject into your body!
Anyways, my birthday was Tuesday and I wasn’t about to let it ruin my day. Neither were those who care about me! I honestly have the best coworkers I could ever ask for! My boss brought me Starbucks and brownies, another coworker brought bagels, and then we went to lunch together at one of my favorite places! Some of my patients brought me sweet gifts also! 🙂 Then after work, my parents and sister came to OKC to take me to dinner, shopping, and they even brought a cake! I am one lucky girl! Even though I feel like 27 sounds a lot older than 26, it’s starting out to be a great year already!
So my appointment to meet with Dr. Armor was scheduled for Thursday at 1pm. I had blocked my schedule at work from 12-3pm, thinking that I would be back as soon as my appointment was over to see my last two patients for the day. I had informed my coworkers that I would be back as well, unless for some reason an unforeseen circumstance arose. So I went to lunch with a couple coworkers and then headed off to my appointment, where I would meet my parents and sister. Yes, they still go with me to every appointment and for that I am so thankful, especially on this occasion. I had lab work done before they arrived and then we waited to see the doctor.
There is a strange feeling that you get while waiting to see your oncologist that I can’t explain. It’s a feeling that only other cancer survivors understand. It’s an anxious, fearful, hopeful but scared kinda feeling. While I trust 100% that God is going to take care of me whatever the outcome may be, I still can’t help but feel this way every single time. I could tell from the moment Dr. Armor entered the room that something was different this time. He usually walks in and the first thing he says is “everything looks good, CT scan is clear yet again!” But he didn’t this time. He asked me the normal “how have you been feeling” questions and did his usual physical exam before pulling up the radiology report and telling me “you have two swollen lymph nodes in your chest.” Something you never want to hear after having Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
I knew not to panic until I knew where we were going from here but there were a million questions that immediately flooded my mind. However, there was a glitch in the whole question answering process. You see, he wasn’t able to answer my questions yet because he wanted to compare this CT scan to my previous CT scan 6 months ago. But the hard part was that the two scans were at different hospitals in different towns, an hour apart. So in order to do this, my parents had to drive to Stillwater that afternoon, pick up my old CT scan, and then bring it to Edmond the next morning for the radiologist to compare results. The plan was that if the CT scan from 6 months ago showed the same swollen lymph nodes, they would consider them stable as long as they were not growing and scan again 3 months from now. However, if they were new or had grown since my last CT scan, my doctor would want to perform surgery and do a biopsy on them. Needless to say, Thursday evening was a long night for my entire family. I made the choice to stay in Edmond so I could get some stuff done but that was hard to do when all I could think about was the unknown. I was scared. What if I had to go through all of this all over again? Why would it have come back when the odds for reoccurrence were so small? I did a lot of praying that night.
The next morning, my dad met me at the hospital where I work at 8am. He had my previous 2 CT scans in hand and we hand delivered them to the radiology department. Unfortunately, they were busy that morning and not able to read them right away which is understandable. However, it did prolong our anxiety just a little bit! My sweet father sat in my waiting room until 11:30 that morning while I treated patients so that he could be there when they called with the results.
Let me just say that God is good, yet again! The radiologist called right as we had left for lunch to tell me that the two swollen lymph nodes were present on my CT scan 6 months ago and that he didn’t think they were any reason for concern. He said that they had not grown at all, and if anything they might have shrunk a little since the last time. This was excellent news! We made many phone calls and heard lots of tears of joy that day! God had heard our prayers once again.
While it’s not fun AT ALL to receive news like this the week of your birthday, it puts things in perspective. I am reminded on a daily basis just how blessed I truly am! I am still loving my job and enjoying hanging out with my friends here in OKC! I started a women’s bible study this past semester that meets once a week and am blessed by those ladies as well! I have also had a roommate for the past 6 weeks! Will’s niece, who will be a sophomore at OU this fall, decided to take some summer classes and has been staying in my guest bedroom! It has been so nice to have some company! I will definitely miss her when she goes home for the rest of the summer next week!
Tomorrow is my mother’s birthday! I haven’t seen them in a week and can’t wait to celebrate with her this weekend! She is so special to me and I can’t imagine life without her! We have lots to be thankful for! Speaking of blessings, our family grew by two little feet last week! My cousin Courtney, who is 11 months older than me, gave birth to a precious little baby boy named Luke on June 16! My mother’s family is all girls so it will be fun to spoil a little boy! I get to meet him next weekend and I can hardly wait! Please continue to pray for my friend Kristi, whom I talked about in my previous blog post. She is still fighting, but not doing well. Thanks for your continued prayers and I will update again after my CT scan in 3 months, if not before! God bless you all!