The first time I was pregnant, I happily shared the news with everyone I knew only weeks into the pregnancy. Then I had a miscarriage. Having a miscarriage was sad enough on its own, having to share the sad news with everyone who knew about my pregnancy made it even more difficult. That’s kind of how I feel right now.
When the biopsy came back negative for cancer, I was so glad to finally have good news to share instead of bad I couldn’t pound out my message quickly enough. Now, I keep starting and stopping trying to figure out how to share my latest update without making it sound worse than it is. Here goes…
Last Friday while I was having my chemo infusion, my radiologist called. The conversation was kind of a blur because it hit me out of the blue, but the gist of it was that the doctors had concerns the negative biopsy might have been a false negative. He said I should have another CT scan in a month to see if the tumor grows. If it does, we’ll know it’s cancer. It was a true kick in the gut that felt like winning the lottery one day and then finding out your winning ticket was a fake the next. I was stunned and saddened, but most of all I was mad. I chose to have the biopsy despite the risks because I wanted to know for sure whether or not the tumor in my lung was cancer. Now I was learning that I went through all the risk and pain of the biopsy for no reason at all.
Thankfully, minutes after I received that call, my friend and colleague Maria Cornelius showed up for her semi-annual infusion. What a tremendous help it was to have my friend in the chair right next to me! Maria listened as I vented my frustration and helped me process the news. I don’t believe it was an accident that she was there that day.
At Maria’s suggestion, I planned to talk to Dr. Gharavi. Before I mentioned to anyone that I wanted to see the doctor, he came back to chat. He sounded very positive and said that even if it does turn out to be cancer, not that much will change in my treatment. In his words: “I have no plans to change your chemo, because you’re tolerating it well and it is working. If this tumor is cancer, we can just zap it with radiation like we did the other one and keep going like we have been.”
I felt better after talking to Dr. Gharavi, but I was still mad. So I called the doctor’s office that performed the biopsy and said I wanted a good explanation as to what went wrong. The doctor who performed the biopsy called Wednesday afternoon. He said that what he saw when he did the biopsy looked like metastatic cancer. “If the result were positive, I would have known I did my job and moved on,” he said. “But that negative result just kept bothering me. So much so, I called another doctor from my vacation and had him look at what I was seeing. He agreed with me that we couldn’t trust the negative result. It would have been a lot easier to not say anything, but that wouldn’t have been the best thing for you.”
I’ve always said I’d rather have the truth knock me in the forehead than be told lies intended to make me feel better. This latest scenario was a true test of whether that’s the case, and I can honestly say that it is. I’m glad the doctor raised a flag and said we need to keep watching this tumor.
I’m a very logical person, making decisions of what to do based on risk versus reward and trying to find the positive by looking at pros versus cons. To that end, here’s why my news is still positive:
I had a biopsy (which was very risky and fairly painful) for no reason.
My lung didn’t collapse and I didn’t have any bleeding problems as a result of the biopsy.
The doctor who performed the biopsy cared enough about my health to make himself look bad by saying the results of his biopsy couldn’t be trusted.
It seems quite probable that I have another cancerous tumor in my right lung.
The stereotactic radiation (which can be completed in only five treatments and causes very few side effects) completely obliterated the other tumor in my lung, so we have every reason to believe that it will do the same for this one.
There’s no cancer showing up anywhere else, which means that the chemo regimen we’re doing is working fairly well.
When I published my last journal entry that closed with the song Great is Thy Faithfulness, I said “Lord, that would be true even if the biopsy didn’t come back negative.” I meant it then, and I mean it now when I say He is faithful. I don’t understand why I had to go through the tremendous ups and downs of this latest biopsy, but I do trust God and know that He is in control.
“Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart rejoices in Him, Because we trust in His holy name.” Psalm 33:20-21
I have a CT scan scheduled for May 16 to see if the tumor is growing and will post an update as soon as I have news.
As always, I thank you for caring. I feel your love and prayers every day!