Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Next Steps

I must say, this rare type of cancer that seems to have plagued me had everyone scratching there heads in Colorado. The oncologist said he wasn't too sure what the next step should be, so he left me at the time with no true answers. He stated he would contact the radiologist who read the imaging to see what he thought could be done and maybe by doing a biopsy somehow. His answer and demeanor left me feeling very unsure I wanted to have this guy treating me ongoing. I promptly called my parents when I left and got back in my car. When talking with my mom, she wasn't very excited about his response either and asked me to call later that day when I got home from work, so we hung up and I returned to work answering more questions from my co-workers.

I'm sure by now you probably get the sense that this whole thing was an extremely frustrating time. It was very easy to become upset, sad, frustrated, depressed, angry, caustic, etc. with everyone and everything around me. Yet, it was much more difficult to remain positive and upbeat and trusting in the Lord. The fear of the unknown is deeply rooted within me and even the most seasoned and learned believers I know must struggle with giving in to these types of feelings. It is all too easy to react this way. But I digress...

City of Hope Helford building with the surgery
center, radiology and patient wards.
When I had been at work for a short time, I received a call from my grandparents. They told me to get all of my tests and imaging together and overnight those to them. They were going to see a doctor at the City of Hope and wanted to present my case to them. So, I gathered up everything I could and sent my grandparents everything I had. I didn't know what good this was going to do, but at least it was going to be a second opinion and we could go from there.

In the early 1980's, my grandmothers sister had died from cancer which had spread from her previous breast cancer. Soon after, my grandmother found out she had breast cancer too and found a doctor at this research hospital in Los Angeles County, City of Hope, to treat her. After a successful treatment, my grandma went on for a couple of years before she then was diagnosed with lymphoma. She was again treated at City of Hope. I am pleased to say my grandma is still with us today. At 86 years of age, she is still cancer free through her treatments at City of Hope.

So, now all these years later, my family was able to get me an appointment with a leading oncologist. I made quick trip plans to fly to California and took my work computer with me so I could still manage my work load while gone. My family and I traveled an hour to City of Hope to go through a few other tests and meet with the oncologist. As my parents and I met with this doctor, we got the feeling that he was very familiar with what needed to be done to determine the best course of treatment. He didn't waiver, he didn't say he didn't know what would be best,  he just suggested we go ahead with a needle biopsy. But, he wanted this to be done through the radiologist using CT imaging guiding him to an exact spot as not to interrupt too much other tissue. We felt good about this, scheduled the appointment and went home knowing we had a direction to go with a competent doctor.

As the day approached, I was a little nervous as I had never had a biopsy before and didn't know what to expect. As I was filling out all of the paperwork and answering all of the necessary pre-biopsy questions, my nerves faded some, but no completely. The nurse I was with was very nice and was explaining everything that would take place with the radiologist coming in and explaining the entire procedure to me.

This all seemed routine and everything seemed to run smoothly, even in meeting the radiologist before we started the procedure. He came in, introduced himself, sat down and started reviewing who he thought he was going to work on. He began explaining he procedure, "So, we will take a scan of the area, send a line through your groin and up the vein to the lung..."

"TO THE LUNG? My tumor in is my hip! Why do you need to go to the lung?" Talk about fear!... More on this next time.

Does fear have a hold on you in a specific situation? Do you find it hard to give your feelings to the Lord and ask Him for help in your situation?

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from You will perish; You destroy all who are unfaithful to You. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds." Psalm 73:26-28 (NIV)

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