It has definitely been a year. A year of new beginnings, a year of ugly painful diagnosis, a year of heartbreak, a year of loss.....its just been a year.
In Jan of 2023, My niece and great niece came to live with us. When I picked them up that day, I felt like I was helping them, little did I know God was setting a plan in motion. I had no idea how much I would need them. The further we got into 2023, the more I just didn't feel good. I knew something was off. I chalked it up to Lupus or after effects of the stroke I had Aug 17,2022. I was tired. More than tired, i felt absolutely drained. This doctor sent me to that doctor and that doctor ran more tests and then sent me to yet another doctor who ran more tests. All the while I was steady having a period. I know TMI but its valid. Every single day since December 10, 2022. My hemoglobin steady dropping. The hematologist told me that the very low end of normal with barely surviving is 11... mine was 6-7 most of the year. I felt like I was barely holding on. I would get iron infusions and blood transfusions and I would feel better for a couple days. Then we were right back to where we started and I needed another infusion or transfusion. I have had more of those this year than I care to count.
In April one of the tests that I had done was a biopsy of what I had always been told was a fibroid tumor. But since my scan in 2022 showed only 1 there was concern when my scan in 2023 showed 3. So that was cause for a biopsy just to make sure it was truly just a fibroid. I never heard anything back so in my mind all was fine. Cause if it wasn't they would call, right? WRONG! I go for my follow up on July 3rd and the gynecologist proceeds to tell me that my biopsy was abnormal but inconclusive. But in her 30some years of experience she was sure that it was cancerous. Of course that was said off the record and never put into my official record. Now I understand why. She put me on an oral steroidal chemo drug used to treat womb cancer and scheduled me for a laproscopic hysterectomy on Oct 26 (I think was the original date). Not once was anything said about doing another biopsy or sending me to an oncologist.
Fast forward as I am taking this medicine, Ia steadily gaining weight, bleeding heavier, vomiting every single day, and it's getting harder and harder to breathe. On October 2nd I woke up and told my husband that I couldn't catch my breath and it was super painful on the right side. So off to the emergency room we went. Test after test after scans. They said we are admitting you. So off to ICU I went. Changed up some of my meds and called it a day. The next day I went home on some muscle relaxers with no real explanation as to what was truly going on but was told to follow up with my GYN ASAP. I went home and the following Tuesday I was in the office with her being told the biopsy that I had done in the hospital had come back as Uterine Leiomyosarcoma. And not only were there 3 tumors now there were 5. And since July the original 3 had over doubled in size. The following Thursday I was in the office with an Oncologist. Now I am no longer a candidate for laparoscopic surgery . My tumors are so big that they would have to be dissected to remove them laparoscopically. But the catch is with the type of cancer I have they are positive that if they are cut inside my body the cancer will immediately spread. Um no thank you! He was livid that I wasn't immediately sent to him in July for follow up biopsies and treatment planning. He also immediately took me off of the Steroidal Chemo medicine. He said that was what was causing me to retain fluid and to gain so much weight.
Oh and let's top this all off with I have now developed a heart murmur as an adult. And with my difficulty breathing because of the 60 lb weight gain since July let's just be on the safe side and add a cardiologist to the mix. I was in his office the very next day. This was seeming to escalate quickly for me and I didn't like it.
The cardiologist wants to do an Echocardiogram and a Heart Catherization, Wrench in the mix. My deductible still wasn't met (crazy at this point with all the tests, treatments and doctors. I would have to pay over $1000 just for the Echo, at this point I hadn't gotten the estimate for the Heart Cath. Mind you we have to pay everything out of pocket up to $6000 before insurance will touch it. Gotta love health care.
As we are trying to get all of this taken care of, I woke up at 3am one morning and again couldn't catch my breath and was in some serious pain on my right side. I tried to blow it off while waiting for my husband to go to work but by about 9 am I couldn't stand it anymore. I ended up taking myself to the ER and then calling him when I got there. Yes I know I am stubborn. I just didn't want anyone to worry about me. They ran a whole bunch of tests and thought I might have been having a heart attack. My blood work was super abnormal and my heart enzymes were elevated and rising. So do you wanna guess where I went? Straight back to the lovely ICU. This time my present for Halloween day was an Echo and a Heart Cath. Both of which came back normal. Turns out I do have a heart. So they put me on a IV diuretic and within hours I could breath, Y'all i lost 21lbs in the next 2 weeks.
Fluid on your heart aint no joke. So back to the oncologist I go because now I have been cleared by the cardiologist to have the surgery. We discuss the surgery and the treatment and he tells me what to expect. They will cut me from just above my belly button to my pubic bone to remove all things reproductive and hopefully all things cancer. Surgery was scheduled for December 6, 2023.
Surgery is done. Dr comes out and tells my husband and my niece that he is 98% sure that he got it all. Now we wait and we pray. at my Jan 18 appt we will schedule scans just to be on the safe side to make sure he doesn't see anything else. But I fully believe that he got it all.
Every day is a brand new day and Every day I feel a little better. I can honestly say this has truly been a year. One that I am glad is finally over.
Every year I pray at the end of the year for a word to focus on. My word for 2024 is HEALING! I AM SO READY FOR THIS!