Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting

Wonderful Vickie from St Luke's Breast Center called a couple hours ago to inform me that my MRI report was in. She had a happy voice! A flood of relief washed through me. I didn't realize I had been holding my breath waiting for the results of that tests; the test that will tell me if I have cancer anywhere else in my body. Vickie had a happy voice. "Hi Sheri, I just wanted to let you know that your MRI report was in!" I could see her smiling. "I've not seen it myself, but I know it's here. Donna will be calling you with the results the first chance she gets!"

I start crying. The waiting continues.

For those of you who have forgotten, Donna is the one that called to inform me I had breast cancer. I sure look forward to hearing her voice again. I know I've joked a lot throughout this blog, but there is absolutely no joking when I say that I hear Donna's voice in my head sometimes telling me again and again that I have cancer. I wanted to know the results of my MRI, but I didn't want to hear them from Donna.

"Hi, Sheri, it's Donna, I was the one that had to call you last time, too." That voice, that tone, oh God, it's exactly the same as the last time she called. I start trembling before she even says another word. "I'm so sorry I have to call you with this, but your doctors are out of town."

"Just tell me."

"Well, Sheri, to be honest, it's not good. Your scan shows 4 additional areas in your right breast and it appears you do have cancer in two of your lymph nodes on the left side."

"I need you to stop now, I'm sorry." This time I'm alone in the house and I have no choice but to listen to the report. Appointments need to be made quickly now. The planned surgery for the 12th is off. Everything has suddenly been kicked into overdrive. "Ok" I ask her, "just how bad is this?"

"That's not something I can tell you. You'll have to discuss the fine details with your surgeon and oncologist." "I hate my oncologist." I tell her. She let me vent about how much I didn't like Dr. Young. I explained that I was trying to get a new oncologist, but so far that wasn't going well. Donna told me to find someone quickly, and whoever I find I better be happy with them, because I'm going to be seeing them a lot.

Before I hung up the phone with Donna, I asked her to never call me again. She said she didn't want to call me anymore either. Well, that was rude of her to say.

Time for more tears. I sat in my chair with my head in my hands crying until I could hardly breathe. I felt like a kid playing dodge ball: alone on my side, and the other team still has all 50 people remaining, and they're all holding a ball... and looking at me. I felt completely helpless with nowhere to run. My family and friends are all in the stands looking down at me, watching me slowly getting slammed with one ball after another. There is nothing they can do to help me. They have to watch as I start to pick myself up, only to see me turn around and get hit even harder. Unfortunately I can't quit either. My only option is to stand there and attempt to endure each jolt that is thrown my way.

I have to compose myself before I start the phone calls. As always, as soon as I start talking the tears begin to flow. Crap. After calling Tom and my parents, I decide I need to talk to someone else about that report. Poor Vickie. I know I'm driving her crazy, but I call her anyway to see if she has anything else to say about this latest information. She did.

Vickie hadn't seen my MRI report yet, so I told her what Donna told me. Vickie said I was very limited on time now with finding a new oncologist. She told me that what is usually the case was the surgeon decides to hold off on surgery and I will have to start chemotherapy as soon as possible. Because it appears now that both my breasts have cancer and it has spread to my lymph nodes, they can't be positive it isn't spreading elsewhere. Right now the main focus is to kill it with heavy blasts of chemo and then I will be scheduled for a double mastectomy, followed by more chemotherapy and possibly radiation. Awesome. Glad I called. I'm going to have to ask that Vickie no longer be allowed to touch the dodge balls.


  1. Sheri....I want to tell you I feel for you. I know exactly how you feel. Be strong, you have to fight...Stacy

  2. Well, I certainly don't know how you feel (except for your excellent description on the blog). I've never had to experience anything like this. I know you say you've broken down many times, but it sounds to me like you've been justified in the times you've been angry with the docs and it also sounds like you've been stronger than I believe I could be, even if it doesn't seem that way to you. I am so, so sorry to hear all of this. Not as sorry as you are, of course, but I really hate this and wish there were something in the world I could do. I'm sure you do, too. Of course, Steve and I will be praying for you and so will our Sunday School class. Remember that we know you, and we know how strong you can be. That fact and your faith are huge positives in this sucky scenario - and so is Tom, who sounds like a truly great guy. We'll continue to follow your progress in your blog. I've thought about you and prayed for you many times since the last time we were all in Texas, and I'll ramp that up now. As far as the next practical steps go, we'll pray that you get the best medical care possible and that it's clear to you which treatments/options/whatever are best for you. Love, Robyn W.