Giving Life My All

Giving all of myself to everything in my life… God, my family, my health, my mind. This is my story… my ups and downs, struggles and triumphs.

One Step Closer…

on November 1, 2016

It’s been a little over a week since I returned from NYC to see my doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  I loved returning to the city as an adult, with an apartment to stay at within the city.  I think I saw more of the city in my one week there than I did in several years of living just an hour and a half away.  Greg traveled with me, and my mom drove down from CT to meet us.  We stayed on the Upper East Side in a family member’s apartment.  We took the Subway everywhere… we saw (almost) everything…… Times Square, Rockefeller Center, One World Trade Center, the 9/11 memorial, Wall Street, Grand Central and two Broadway musicals… all the tourist-y things of course…. but we rode the subway like regular New Yorkers.  I love the city.  Next trip, we plan on seeing the things we didn’t get a chance to see this last time around… Battery Park, Central Park and maybe the Upper West Side.

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View from the apartment

 

Of course, our trip out to the city wasn’t just for fun.  Like I said, some of my doctors are there and I was scheduled for my first MRI and CT Scans since the surgery.  We didn’t know what to expect, what results we would find but I had faith that everything would be okay because it is all in God’s hands and it’s part of His plans for me.  So I had my MRI and CT Scans of my chest and abdomen on Monday the 17th.  The follow-up to review the scans was the following day with my Urologist.  When they say Sloan Kettering is one of the best cancer centers in the world, they aren’t lying… and of course, my family made sure that I had one of the best doctors at Sloan Kettering.  Best Cancer Center plus one of the best Urologists at that Cancer Center equals sitting around and waiting for your appointment for 2+ hours.  Our appointment was at 2 and we didn’t actually walk in to sit down with my doctor until 4:30.  They have so many patients that they try to see every single day that they know they will run late with appointments every single day…. and that is 100% okay with me.  All of us are there for the same reason… we have cancer.  Some are farther along in their journey… some are at the end… some are just starting.  Why be impatient with the doctors there and the amount of time they want to dedicate to each patient?  They are all trying to help us… trying to cure us… trying to be sensitive to the emotions that come with a cancer diagnosis.  So MSK, it’s just fine with me if I have to wait 2 hours to see my doctor… I understand… and I appreciate the time and dedication you all have for your patients.

So back to the results… Tuesday the 18th.  I knew the scans weren’t clear from the moment my doctor started talking.   I could tell from his demeanor that there was something he was concerned about.  After trying to make us feel comfortable for a couple of minutes, he got down to the letting us see the actual scans.  They found a very small (5 mm) spot in one of my lungs and a shadowy “suspicious” area in the Psoas muscle that was located behind the kidney that was removed.  They aren’t sure what either spot is, but since I already have a cancer diagnosis, they have to be wary of it.  My doctor assured me that people walk around every day with “suspicious” spots and are completely fine…. the only difference is that since I have cancer, they take extra precautions.  They have moved me to a Medical Oncologist at MSK who will be able to help treat me from here forward.  On Thursday morning, we ordered a rushed brain scan to make sure my brain was clear before I flew back home to Indiana.  I’ve been having headaches for years… migraines and tension headaches that can last anywhere from a couple of hours to several days.  So…knowing that I have cancer, obviously, I was a bit concerned that the cancer may have metastasized to my brain which was causing the headaches.  Results came back on Monday after I returned home and (praise God) the scan was completely clear… absolutely no concerns there!  The huge weight lifted off of my shoulders after hearing the news was massive!  It made me feel like I was normal again… with normal headaches like everyone else.

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Enjoying some time in Times Square

So… what do these results mean?  What are the next steps?  In short… more waiting.  I head back to the city on November 28th for another chest/abdomen/pelvic CT and MRI Scan.  They are going to be checking to see if either spot has changed in the past month.  They will likely biopsy the Psoas muscle to make sure the cancer didn’t spread there, and they will measure the size of the spot in my lung.  If either shows possible signs of cancer, they will start me on an immunotherapy drug.  No chemo… no radiation… no surgery…. just a pill I will have to take every day.  The doctors also mentioned that this is something I will have to monitor and manage for the rest of my life by taking some sort of immunotherapy drug while getting regular scans.  Seems like a small price to pay for having cancer.

We’re back home in Indiana now… returning back to normal life.  We just celebrated Halloween and we’re getting ready for Thanksgiving in less than a month.  I’m attempting to get back in shape but it is proving way more difficult than I thought it would be.  The Psoas muscle seems to be acting up, affecting the hip flexor on my left side… making it near impossible to do any strenuous activities and hindering me from getting back into running.  For any fellow REFIT attendees at Amy and Kelly’s class who would be shocked to hear me saying this… make no mistake, I am pushing myself beyond my limits in class.  I should probably be taking it way easier than I do but it’s so hard for me to do that with something I love so much.  I’m just praying now that I start feeling some relief in this muscle soon so that I can enjoy a REFIT Instructor Convention next weekend in Waco, TX.

I’m trying to enjoy life while I wait…. the little moments with my boys… the big holidays celebrated as family… the alone time shared with my husband we seemed to rarely have before my diagnosis… the church services and messages that are building up my character and continuing to give me hope for the future.  I’m soaking it all in… not taking anything for granted and trying to smile and find joy in the mundane.

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7 responses to “One Step Closer…

  1. Danielle says:

    Cheryl, thank you for sharing your journey. Hugs.

    Like

    • bamullins says:

      You are brave through He who heals and loves you.
      I pray the next scans are so clear they can’t explain where those suspicious spots went and give God the glory! Sounds like you have a good relationship and peace with God. Continue to enjoy life and know you’re being prayed for!

      Like

  2. Joanna Kreyling says:

    Love you Cheryl! We continue to pray for you as you go through this.

    Like

  3. Judy Krating says:

    Cheryl you are a very brave woman . We know that you are in Gods hands . I continue to pray for you everyday. If there is anything we can do please let us know

    Like

  4. Judy Krating says:

    Cheryl you are a very brave woman. You have showed tremendous faith in all that you are going through. Will continue to keep you in my prayers .

    Like

  5. Sarah Auddino says:

    An inspiration to us all Beautiful Cheryl, prayers for you and your family continue with love 🙏❤️

    Like

  6. Jenn Jump says:

    Thanks for sharing! Continually keeping you and your family in prayer!

    Like

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