The week of May 26th 2014, I received the results of my bone marrow exam, the good news was the cancer didn’t spread into my bones. On that same visit myself and Dr. Raffia spoke a bit more about all the things that cancer can do to your body and how it would change my life forever. Dr. Raffia was aware that I had 1 child, at the time Mackenzie was 1 month shy of her second birthday. He explained to me that I may not be able to have anymore children after treatment, because chemotherapy will damage my eggs, which will affect my fertility.
On May 28th my next appointment was for an echocardiogram, this exam is a heart ultrasound, it is a visual display of your heart which is used to diagnosis or monitor heart disease. Good news was, I didn’t have heart disease.
On May 29th 2014 I was scheduled to have a Pet-CT Scan. This exam was my final exam in order for my physician to have an accurate staging. The Pet-CT Scan is a high tech radiology exam, my test was ordered with contrast. Contrast (dye) is used to see the image of your internal system more clearly. The bone marrow exam was to see if the cancer had spread into my bones and the Pet-CT Scan was to see where the cancer had spread inside of my body.
The contrast agent was a little over 8 ounces and very disgusting. It took me about 15 mins to drink it down with a straight face. The nurse placed me in a room and then gave me an injection. After the injection was given to me, I then waited about 60 mins after to proceed to have my Pet-CT performed.
The room was beyond freezing and my nervousness didn’t help the situation. I have never been this scared in my life. The nurse proceeded with my exam placing me inside of a huge full body scanner. I closed my eyes for about 5 mins, when I opened them all I saw was a wall, just a few inches from my face and I heard loud bangs. I told the nurse to let me out of there and I started to shake, I now realized that I was claustrophobic. The nurse explained to me that I needed to hurry up and complete the exam, which would take approximately 30 mins to finish. So I went back in, but I cried the entire time, I knew that it was something I had to do, but I didn’t want to finish it. All I could do was take deep breaths, close my eyes and think about my daughters smile. That’s what got me through that exam. When being strong is your only option, that is the option.
The following week, I received my results and had discovered that the cancer had spread from my entire neck line to my entire abdomen area. I had swollen lymph nodes growing as fast as they wanted to and the only thing that could stop them was chemotherapy treatment. I was now in stage 2 of my cancer diagnosis and treatment needed to start asap before I approached stage 3.
My chemotherapy treatment required me to have 12 rounds of chemo over a course of 6 months (twice a month for 6 months) followed by another Pet-CT Scan. Sounds like a walk in the park right? Well let me tell you, this was the longest 6 months of my life.