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A Week to Remember

Read Path and Personality to see how we got here. Or just start at the beginning.
Once we left the surgeon’s office, it felt like the longest week ever began. Yet somehow with a holiday, in reality it was a short week just packed full of constantly changing information, appointments for both the baby and I, meeting new doctors, seeing my current doctors, and trying so hard to get an understanding of options available. Oh and just go about our daily business as best we could. My husband and I came out on the other side emotionally and physically exhausted, yet I know I was unable to sleep.

Our afternoon wasn’t over yet, next immediate stop was the OB-GYN office. While we were en route, Dr. OB-GYN had already spoken to the surgeon. These doctors were on their game. When the rest of the world was at least mentally if not physically checked out for the first long holiday weekend of summer by 4 o’clock on a Friday, they were quite literally there for me. We were again assured that baby girl was fine. My pregnancy was the picture of health. We discussed chemo during pregnancy, if that was the path suggested. She recommended a local place to get a wig. She helped us with how to tell our daughter. I was extremely upset about not being able to breastfeed. She reassured me that while we all hear “Breast is Best”, having a mommy around for years and doing what I needed to do was by far a priority and breastfeeding may not be a reality.

The best advice she gave me was about telling others. There will be much about this in later posts. I promise. And about the time I was That Girl who skipped my own baby sprinkle.

She spent hours with us that day. She reassured me that the optimism from the surgeon was not her “blowing smoke”. As I would have expected, the surgeon is not one who does that.

We left the office with a long weekend ahead and started to prepare for a baby in fast forward. We went on a field trip with our daughter. We called people we had to tell. We kept appointments about home improvement projects that now seemed very low on the priority list. We smiled and pretended everything was ok for all those outside the inner circle. My mom took me out to get things we still hadn’t gotten since we thought we still had over a month or so weeks until her arrival. I nearly threw up in the middle of the baby crap box store wondering if I would ever see her wear a six month outfit I held in my hands. My dad and husband dug out from the basement and put together those things that had been put away after our first daughter outgrew them. I nested. I grieved the loss of the enjoyment of this time. I hugged my daughter and held her.

In the midst of it all, our pediatrician called to check on me. She suggested a book. She listened. She thought I sounded great. She let me know her office would do whatever we needed for the kids. She told me to call if I needed anything.

Once the rest of the world returned from the long weekend of celebration, we kept going. First stop was back at Maternal Fetal Medicine for my weekly check up. My OB-GYN had gotten a specific doctor from that office on the team after another doctor wasn’t playing nicely with the rest of the team. Apparently “gals like myself” overreact when the baby should remain the priority. Luckily, there were “gals like myself” who decided that this was not an either/or situation, but a balancing act, and they circled around and lifted me up and out of that mess. In the midst of the weekly test, they called with the pathology. I was alone in a room for the first time facing any of this by myself. I cried. I called my husband and asked him to get there as soon as he could. It wasn’t the “one we would pick if we had a choice”, but it wasn’t the worst case scenario either. That Baby Girl decided to be breach at this point to throw c-sections into the discussion. We discussed timing, induction, blood counts, lung development, clinical trials, and chemo in pregnancy.

A point of discussion kept coming back to balancing when to start my treatments and when That Baby should be born. There are concerns about lung development when babies are born early. There are guidelines that under typical circumstances babies are not to be induced before thirty-nine weeks. These weren’t typical circumstances so some of Those Doctors wanted to wait until 36, 37, and some even 38 weeks. We left Maternal Fetal Medicine without an exact answer that day. However, we were told about a clinical trial that I could potentially be enrolled in. The study examines the benefit of steroid injections for babies when given to the mothers between 34 and 36 weeks of pregnancy when the baby is going to be born in that time period. There is a lot of timing involved in when the shots are given and the specifics of when the baby is born.

Later in the week, I met with genetics alone to go over the initial information. We discussed family I’ve never met and those that are genetic but not family. We went back later in the week to go over the genetics counseling, risks, and what it would all mean if I chose to have the testing done. I qualified for a rather inclusive panel given my age. We asked our questions. I gave the information my dad had been able to piece together from the lesser known relatives. There was a lot of distant breast cancer and it got pretty close to my branch of the tree. Yet, it seemed to miss. They drew the blood.

We met with the medical oncologist. He went over options. We asked about consulting with a family friend from a well known comprehensive cancer center. We had a plan. We had a path. It would all change by the end of the week. The plan was baby first, body scan, port, chemo, surgery, radiation.

It would all start soon. I should stop working as soon as I could get it wrapped up. I was losing weight. I was not sleeping. I kept going. We saw the OB-GYN again at the end of the week. We scheduled my induction. The doctor who referred me to have the lump checked would be on call that day and would, in theory, deliver That Baby. Baby girl was both healthy and cooperating and for the first time since my world had flipped upside down, she was upside down. Things were literally falling into place.

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Comments

  1. Very inspiring and looking forward to more posts. Especially the big party one.

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  2. I am so sorry to hear you have been going through this. I think it’s amazing you are writing it all down through. I didn’t go through anything like this, but I found it therapeutic to write it all down. I hope you are finding the same thing

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    • Thanks, Jen! I know from reading your blog some of what you have been through. Thinking about how you shared your journey, and others who do the same, and in turn help others was in my mind when I started contemplating how to go about this. It is very therapeutic at times and a good record for the girls to have someday since I am sure there will be parts That Guy and I have forgotten by the time they start to understand in full.

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Trackbacks

  1. […] the week to remember, I had to start sharing with those at work who needed to know sooner than later. I was lucky enough […]

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