Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How it all started....

Hello internet! This is my first open blog. I plan to use this site to document what I'm going through, to give myself time for introspection, to hopefully help others that may be going through the same in the future, and (of course) to keep my friends and family updated. I have received an amazing number of calls, texts, messages, emails, and overall support from friends and family. Thank you all!

HOW IT ALL STARTED (written on 6/4/2013)

It all started with chest pain. After nursing my daughter for her first year, I finally weaned her off completely around 13 months. I gave myself a little time to get ready, and then I started going to the gym to a very fun class with friends (dance/ballet combined with cardio). I thought I had hurt myself at the gym, and tried to take it easy. A couple of weeks passed and the pain was getting worse, especially at night. My daughter and husband had a cold, and when I started coughing, the sharp, stabbing pain in my chest was unbearable.

The next day, after going to work and dealing with some meetings I thought were urgent (funny to look back at it now), I went to a nearby Urgent Care facility that I had liked in the past. After confirming that my lungs were clear (which is important since I'm an asthmatic), the doctor asked me if I had a couple of extra minutes, that he had decided to do a chest X-ray "just in case".   When it came back as abnormal (it looked like the area around my heart was swollen), he sent me to get a CT scan. The scary part is that he made it clear he wanted it scheduled that same day. I cannot begin to express how thankful I am to this doctor, for taking the extra step and wonder what else could be going on, for listening, and for possibly saving my life.  I called my husband, who picked up our toddler from daycare and met up with me at the imaging lab. It wasn't a big deal, we got to walk around with the little one, everyone smiling and talking to her. I heard I would get a call that night if they found a blood clot. Also, the doctor gave me antibiotics and prednisone (a steriod I frequently get when a bad cold is messing with my lungs).

A day later, we found out I have a large mass (10x7x6cm) above my heart, and seems to be preventing left lung from fully inflating. I was referred to a cardio thoracic surgeon (scary to think about even calling one of those up!)

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and I've seen 2 thoracic surgeons, both of which think I will need open chest surgery, and a biopsy. While the doctors have explained that there's a chance that I might have cancer, they have reassured us that the expectation for successful treatment at this time is 100%. As one surgeon put it: "this is bad news, but it's not terrible news".  We also saw my pulmonologist, who sat down and gave us a lot of "for medical professionals" printouts detailing anterior mediastinal masses, possible causes, and possible ways of dealing with them.  She also went back and got my last chest xray (from 2007) and showed it to us and explained why it looked perfectly normal.  I feel very lucky to have a great team of doctors looking out for us.

Yesterday, my husband and I spent most of the day at UCLA where I had a CT guided biopsy. It was more complicated than we initially assumed, but things went well.

Now we wait... I'm going to call surgeon's appointment tomorrow (2 days after procedure) to see if they have any info.

I've been incredibly grateful for all the texts, emails, phone calls, and Facebook messages I have received. I also know a lot of people have been praying for me and my family, hoping that we have the best possible outcome.

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31 year old navigating life with husband and almost-2-years-old daughter :)