Friday, May 23, 2014

and it's hard to dance with the devil on your back, so shake him off, oh whoa-oh

First things, first: Happy Birthday, Mama! I love you so so much.

So, yesterday ended up being a bust, but I'm taking it in stride. The plan was to go in and biopsy some tiny tiny tiny "things" on my liver that looked abnormal. I have known about these spots since the very first CT scan (remind me later to tell you THAT story...) Everyone assured me they were "probably nothing" but as you know, we've heard that before. We decided it would be a good idea to get a better picture of them via MRI as a precaution, but nobody seemed concerned. In the meantime we had to schedule a PET scan of the area as well due to an enlarged lymph node. A PET scan (which I had never heard of before recently) is a scan where they radiate you, and inject you with sugar water because cancer cells love to eat up sugar. Anything cancerous will show up "hot" on the scan. When we got the reports back for the two scans they were a little conflicting. The MRI showed that they looked abnormal, however they didn't come back as "hot" according to the PET scan. What to do?

Dr. D decided to get a second opinion as to whether or not we should go through with the biopsy. A few days later, I got a call asking when we could schedule it, so we booked it for yesterday (May 22). Up until this point I had been assuming that there was nothing to worry about as far as it spreading to other organs, so naturally, scheduling a biopsy made me quite anxious. Mama volunteered to be my chaperone, so we took her up on it since Connor will be taking time off next week so I can get my port. Hallelujah!

We arrived at the facility, and checked in with the reception desk. They gave me a wrist band, and asked me to confirm my birthdate. I've been asked my birthday so many times in the last month that I've started writing it in place of the current date. Whoops! I got the question right, so my prize was more paperwork to fill out! I glanced at it, and the name Malieka C. was written at the top along with the name of another insurer. Ummm.....? I gave mom a look and told her to pray harder. We eventually got the paperwork sorted out.

I changed into a gown, and the nurses tried to start an IV. I set a new personal best of 3 needle sticks in one visit. Sigh... bring on the port! We eventually got that sorted out, and they wheeled me into the procedure room in a hospital bed. They let me walk when I did the lumpectomy, so this felt weird. Like, a confirmation that I'm actually sick. :(

Once I got to the room, we had to start the ceremonial "small talk" with all the doctors, nurses, and other random people that I'm not sure what their function/purpose was. I think I counted 6 different people back there... One of the girls remarked that we were born only a few months apart. The doctor asked me what I do for a living, and I gave my standard, "I'm an Interior Designer. It's not decorating," speech. The doctor then wondered if I had a degree, and if so, where would one get such a degree? I answered, "Yes, I have a degree. It's a Bachelors of Interior Design, which I know sounds fake, but I promise it's real." Then I told him I went to Texas Tech. December 1982 birthday girl piped up, "Oh my friend went there. Were you in school when that hot coach was still playing!?" "Yes I was." "Oooh! He's like a cross between Ryan Gosling and Adam Levine," said Dec. 1982 girl. The doctor was not amused by our takeover of his chosen small talk topic.

So for the biopsy I was to be partially aware, but numbed up, so they could tell me when to hold my breath for the CT scan. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. The doctor explained to me about how loud the "biopsy gun" is, and please try not to be startled. Biopsy GUN!? I'm already startled by the words "biopsy gun"! We started with an ultrasound of my neck because of a "hot spot" that was seen on the PET scan. I got a nice massage from the wand thing while he looked and looked for the spot. He couldn't find anything to biopsy, and said that the thing that showed up on the scan was probably some "migrated thyroid tissue". Apparently that's a thing? Whatever, I was just ecstatic that we were already crossing one biopsy off the list. Next, it was time to check out my liver.

I finagled myself from the aforementioned hospital bed to the CT scanner while wearing a hospital gown, some electrodes, and an IV, so they could look for the spot on my liver. After many minutes of scanning, it was determined that it was too tiny, and too well hidden to get to. (It's so nice and cozy under your lung!) So I flipped over (also not an easy task) and they looked for the spot that was supposedly easier to get to. Unfortunately, this one was even tinier than the spot hanging out under my lung, and too tiny to be able to hit with the biopsy gun. Drat.

The doctor came back out to talk to me, and explain the situation. I was pretty bummed until he said that if I had come in for an MRI because I hurt my back, and the spots were found that way, that they would hardly think twice about them. They would definitely monitor them, but the biopsy was ordered just because spots + cancer diagnosis = extra precautions. So... after all that, I came out with an extra CT scan of an area we already scanned with 3 different methods. Truthfully, I'm not sure why they couldn't have determined it was too hard/too small to reach by looking at the previous scans? Oh well. I'm done wasting my time worrying about things I can't control. We will scan it again in 3 months, and THAT will be THAT.

Needless to say, we got to leave much sooner than we expected. Sidenote: I was apparently so calm during all of the scanning, flipping, and small talk, that the doctor thought I had already been drugged even though I hadn't. I'm not sure if that's a compliment or not... haha. Mama and I got to leave the facility around 1 or 1:30, and had a late lunch at Jason's Deli. We were in Addison, so we were pretty close to the church where Connor and I got married, and the cemetery where my mom's side of the family is buried. It was a great way to end the afternoon by saying hello to Pa, Aunt Jennie, Uncle William, Aunt Barbara, and many many other loved ones.

Frankford Church. Photo Credit: Jennifer Yarbro Photography

Frankford Church. Photo Credit: Jennifer Yarbro Photography

Thanks so much for your continued prayers. We aren't out of the woods yet... but I am up for the challenge!

Stats thus far:

1 lumpectomy
5 ultrasounds
11 attempts to draw blood and/or start an IV
2 CT scans
1 bone scan
2 MRI's
1 PET scan

So if I'm glowing the next time you see me, you'll know why. :)

Love y'all,


  1. Hi stranger :),
    It's been many years since we've chatted but I wanted to thank you for having the courage to write this blog. I cannot imagine what's it's been like, nor the emotions you have gone through, from the moment you found the lump to now. I've read every update and have enjoyed reading all the song suggestions from your readers. You have a beautiful smile and an unwavering spirit, however should you ever feel like your smile may be quivering or your spirit faltering, please know that I am always here to listen or help in any way I can.
    Song suggestions:
    Bonito by Jarabe de Palo - it is in spanish, but it's all about how he thinks everything is beautiful
    Hold On by Alabama Shakes
    U Can't Touch This by MC Hammer
    Magalenha by Sergio Mendes (I have no idea what they're saying, but I love the song)
    Get up Offa That Thing by James Brown
    Rocky Raccoon by The Beatles (bc every playlist should have Rocky Raccoon)
    Sending you lots of positive vibes and thoughts.

  2. I remember that beautiful church and your lovely wedding. What a treat to have been included. Loving you to the other side of this!