Ok so at this point I probably have never been more nervous in my life..(later on I will realize that I experience this type of nervousness every two and a half months for organ scans)..I remember sitting in the waiting room and praying silently please let it be good news, not even knowing how bad the news could actually be!! My friend Cristina stayed late that day just to see me but looking back I know she was there to help me cope with the news I was about to hear.
We were finally called in and first the Dr. examined my back and under arm stitches for infection, then he takes out his file and this part is a little fuzzy..because I think my mind just shut down. I could hear the pain in his kind voice saying the Cancer is aggressive and has already spread to my lymph nodes... I hear stage III Metastatic Melanoma or worse depending on if it spread to other vital organs...another surgery ASAP, full lymph node dissection, long recovery...Chemotherapy and treatment options(slim to none)...Interferon(type of chemo) only option available...possibly no childbirth...life expectancy statistics...my moms crying voice...Joe's terrified face and me just staring at the wall hearing but not feeling.. tears are trickling but I am just numb.. I am in a far off place and I don't want to come back to the reality that was happening in that small little room. The doctor could not even stand to see the pain that was filling our hearts and immediately sent in for Cristina(my angel). She hugged me tight and calmly explained to us what our next step would be. Full body PET scan was scheduled right away and a meeting with a treatment Oncologist to discuss Interferon.
Ok so now once the news had "sort of" sunk in I came across another extremely tough part about having the Big C.. how do you tell people. Now remember before this point I thought it was only stage1 and I would have a minor surgery and that would be the end of it..so I had decided it was easier to just keep this whole cancer stuff to myself and my immediate family. But now that was pretty much impossible.
First I started with my job, I had already told my principal and two of my very close and amazing coworkers about the first ordeal. But now I have to not only tell my principal that I would not be returning to work until next Sept. but I had to tell my kids. How do you explain something like this to 8yr olds.. well you don't! You tell them in your bravest teacher voice that you will be having surgery on your arm(not a lie) and that you will be fine but you will not be able to return to school until next year simple right? I could have never expected the enormous list of question these kids had..those little minds are smarter and more aware then you think but their hugs ooh those loving hugs thats what finally put a smile on my face. Next was to tell the rest of my co-workers and the children's parents. My principal who I have to say was and still is extremely supportive decided to send out a letter to the teachers and parents explaining my whole situation so I wouldn't have to tell everyone myself. That worked out great you couldn't even imagine the outpouring of kindness and support I received from EVERYONE at my school! No questions, no strange stares.. just heartfelt cards and letters of pray and well wishes. The parents of my class also later got together and all donated money to help with my medical expenses, now these are in no way wealthy people, so this was truly the nicest gift of thoughtfulness I could have received. AND my partner teacher stepped up to the plate like no other, I don't know what I would have done without her help. She truly did everything for me at school and left me with only myself to worry about.. Jody I love you to pieces!
Next came my best friends and what friends they turned out to be!! First I told my friend Jen and I am thankful to this day that I did. Now if anyone knows Jen you know the first thing she did was make a list..lol! Was I at the best Dr., did I get second options, what was she going to do to help(mind you she was living in London!!) I was still numb and couldn't yet talk about any of this so I referred her to my "manager," MY AMAZING MOM! And together they took control and made sure I had to best of the best(later on that). Jen I am honestly where I am today because of you and I cannot thank you enough. I immediately had Jen tell my other best friend Tracy because I just couldn't say the words to her out loud. Tracy knowing me more than anyone else was absolutely wonderful, she let me be and worked her magic on the sidelines helping Jen and my mom. Next was Tara.. of course she got the news via a BBM lol, and she said the words I needed to hear not.. oh I am so sorry to hear(FYI that is not a good response) but she said wow that SUCKS lets go get a beer and decide how we are going to kick cancer in the you know what! Then was my best friend Diana whom I hadn't spoken to in awhile but despite that she got in her car and drove over an hour to be at my doorstep the second she heard. She was there to keep my spirits high and spend some quality time with me, making sure I was never alone in any of this!
SO I would like to take this time to thank all of my amazing family and friends who knew the right things to do and say when I couldn't find the strength yet in me to do it for myself. A special thanks to my sister, my parents, and my now fiance Joe.. without your unconditional love at the hardest time in my life I would still be that frighten numb shell of a girl stuck in that small cold room!! Jessica please never stop holding my pinky ; ) I LOVE YOU ALL!
Next blog will continue this long and hardest second month of my journey.. my meeting with Dr. Gilda the good witch!!