Saturday, December 10, 2011

Coming Back to the States

Before coming back to the States, I was also informed that I had rheumatoid arthritis and hepatitis C (people get this from sharing needles / blood transfusions). A drug addict, I am not. Blood transfusion, I have not. At that point I started laughing... Literally. This whole situation seemed like some type of drama from Korean television. Finding out about these other illnesses, actually made me feel better. I just couldn't help but laugh, and I did. Not like some crazy person, but like someone who knows that God knows and is in control. He must have some type of plan in this...

The doctor in Korea told us to get treatment immediately. He said that the thyroid cancer could wait but the breast cancer needed to be treated quickly. My husband and I considered getting treatment in Korea. In the end, I just wanted to get treatment in the states and recover at home. Everything would be a lot easier that way.

The clinic in Korea provided a report of my physical exam. The information is written in Korean but a lot of the information (numbers) can be read by doctors here. A cd was given of the images of my mammogram and endoscopy. We also asked to have the biopsy slides prepared so that we could take them with us. Another biopsy,  I DID NOT want. I was still swollen and bruised up from the initial biopsies.

My parents had been introduced to a retired doctor from the hospital that I wanted to get treatment from. She got me appointments with my oncologist and breast surgeon. We got home on Wednesday and went to fill out forms at the doctors offices on Thursday. We met the doctors on Friday and were so thankful. They were both knowledgeable, competent, and most of all, empathetic to my situation.

The doctors were able to use the mammogram cd, biopsy slides, and information packet, we had brought back. They scheduled an MRI, CT scan, and ultrasound, at the beginning of the following week. An additional MRI was scheduled later that week to focus on some suspicious areas in my spine.

Approximately three weeks after finding out that I had breast and thyroid cancer, I found out that it was more serious than suspected. I found out that it had spread to my spine and that they needed to do a CT guided biopsy. That biopsy confirmed that the cancer in my breast had spread to my spine. I asked what stage of cancer I was. The oncologist and breast surgeon told me that I was stage 4. I actually thought that there was a stage 5 of cancer. It didn't hit me that I was at the highest stage that you could be categorized.

I keep repeating it, but words cannot express what goes through your mind. It really feels like your whole life passes in front of you. For me, two dominant thoughts kept rising to the surface:

                                      1. My children, my husband, my family, my loved ones.

                                      2. Did I make any impact / difference in this world?

1 comment: