The three month scan that took place showed that irritation in my lung had grown. There were at least three spots in there now. Shit! The not so concerning spot had become an issue. The next step was to get set up with the Chest, Infectious Diseases and Critical Care Associates. Dr. Westerly was a fantastic man and he wanted to get to the bottom of this. A CT Guided-Needle biopsy was getting scheduled so we could figure out if it was a fungal infection or the same cervical cancer cells.
The CT Guided-Needle biopsy was performed at Mercy. The procedure was quicker than I thought it would be, however, it was botched. They were concerned with cross-contamination of my biopsy and on top of everything else, I had a lung collapse. This was an extremely trying time for me. I remember after the procedure was done, a nurse had wheeled me in to get a chest x-ray. The one room she took me into wasn’t working correctly so she had me walk across the hall to the next machine. (This didn’t seem like a good plan to me as I was still coming down from the anesthesia). She had me stand up and hold onto the machine in order to get the x-ray. She disappeared behind the lead wall and the next thing I knew was a group of three nurses shouting my name. I had blacked out and fell. I had some nasty bruising. I was unimpressed with the doctor’s bedside manner who had performed the procedure and I was most certainly unimpressed with how things were handled after the procedure.
Dr. Westerly had called me and asked if we could redo the procedure only this time it would be a camera esophageal biopsy. I agreed only if a different doctor could perform the procedure. He agreed to get me one of his best colleagues. We set up a time, the procedure went smoothly and he was able to get the biopsies we needed. (Hurrah!)
I would not get the results until I got back from a trip. This trip had been planned for well over six months. Steven, Jake, Krislyn, Erin, and I were going to New Orleans for Mardi Gras! That would have been early February. I told them all I was going to have the time of my life while we were down there in case I came back to bad news.
February 19, 2016 was a day that I will never forget. My dad and I were at Dr. Westerly’s office and were getting super anxious to get the results. We were making awkward jokes back and forth in order to fill the everlasting time. He walked in and his eyes darted away from me so quickly that I knew it was going to be bad. “It’s cancer, isn’t it?” He said, “Yes Miss Newman, unfortunately they are the same cervical cancer cells.” My dad and I were devastated but I’m so thankful that I wasn’t alone at that appointment. We got out of that building and I broke down. I started making the phone calls necessary. Here we go again…
We, as a family, talked about options and after much consideration I decided to get a second opinion from a different oncologist than the one I had my first time around. That’s when I looked up the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. I requested an appointment with their gynecological oncology team. It was within hours that I heard from them. They asked if I had a cancer diagnosis and we got all of my records including my scans and biopsies to their team.
It was two weeks later, (March 3, 2016) that I got my consultation with Dr. Weroha. I was so incredibly scared as to what he was going to tell me but the thing that amazed me most was that he spent a great deal of time talking to us about my previous experiences and assured my dad and I that we were in the right place. He couldn’t promise to rid the cancer but he was going to do his best. He went over scans, possibilities of different treatments, and even mentioned a clinical trial if I would qualify. (I didn’t end up qualifying for the autoimmune clinical trial due to having colitis).
I felt confident in the treatment he had laid out and was amazed when he personally called to check on me after our appointment. Their staff goes above and beyond for their patients. I knew I was going to be in good hands… (To be continued…)