Welcome to my new blog!
Facebook and other social media have been great places for quick updates but I wanted a place to share experiences and insights into what’s going on in my “new” life. To catch everyone up I’ll share the story of how we came to this point in our lives, if you’ve already heard it… feel free to skip this post!
On Sunday March 24 our lives changed, like a lot. It was a pretty normal day – kids had plans, David was taking them shopping for a new basketball net. I was at home working on plans for the upcoming wedding season when the heartburn started. It’s not unusual for me to get heartburn, I’ve had IBS and digestive issues for a long time an when you combine that with my issues with anxiety/depression over the years, my gut to brain relationship was all sorts of complicated. I popped a few tums and laid down in my bed. The second I laid down I felt like someone was sitting on my chest. After moving and adjusting and still not feeling better I got up and used the restroom…. to spare you too many details, my mind started running wild. “What if I’m having a heart attack? Here I am in the restroom feeling like I have to go, but nothing is happening. Elvis died of a heart attack while in the restroom.” And that’s when the shortness of breath set in – I was panicking. I just didn’t know it yet.
I called David and asked him to come home – I knew something wasn’t right but couldn’t explain to him what it was. After calling Brian (my emergency medicine PA brother) he convinced David to take me to the ER. The one great thing about visiting the ER with chest pain and shortness of breath is that they get you RIGHT in. No triage, no paperwork… instant bed. The kind nurses and doctors at OPR got to work right away with an echocardiogram, blood work and evaluations. After a short amount of time the amazing Ashley (my assigned Nurse Practitioner) visited and said my blood work was a little weird so they were going to get a CT scan just to be certain that everything looked OK in my chest.
One thing to explain about me is that I truly am a hypochondriac. I’m such a hypochondriac that I once googled “symptoms of hypochondria”. I remember as they were just about to roll me into the CT scan briefly thinking “this is either where I get over my constant health fears OR this is where my life is about to change forever.”
About a half hour later, we got the answer. As David, my mom and I were sitting and chatting about all the things they thought it could be (my mom was suspicious of gallbladder problems) the room filled up pretty quickly. The attending doctor sat down and explained that he had viewed the CT scan which showed my lungs, heart and liver and he was very concerned. I’m not sure of how he got from point A to point B here but the next word I remember hearing was “CANCER”. “We suspect these are tumors and we don’t think they started there” . He wanted to get another CT scan right away aimed lower toward my intestines. Once again I wheeled in, once again I held my breath and when I returned to the room he confirmed what we all pretty much knew at that point but were hoping against…. I had a large mass in my colon and it had spread to my lungs and liver. I have Stage IV Colon Cancer.