Mar 03, 2014 - 2:28 pm
This past weekend my little angel, the child whose birth forced the discovery of my own illness, lost a tooth. Many of my acquaintances may not understand the significance but I know the folks here on this board will.
During my c-section the attending surgeon to my OBGYN felt a node beneath the uterus. She called for an oncological surgeon who took a biopsy. CEA was drawn that day as well as a CT was performed while I was in the hospital recovering from my surgery. Seven days later (on my 39th birthday) I had a colonscopy and received the results of all those tests simultaneously. I had Stage IV colon cancer with 5 liver mets spread over my liver, the largest being 5 cm. An oncologist I saw that week told me I had 22-2 months to live. I was crushed. I adored my husband and my three children (5, 3 and newborn). I sought another opinion at Memorial Sloan Kettering. I was fortunate to come under the care of a brilliant oncologist there and between her and two amazing surgeons I came to be NED in February 2009, 3 1/2 months after Katie's birth.
I continued systemic as well as HAI chemotherapies until November 2009. At that point my treatments stopped and we went into watch mode. I had CT scans every 3 months the first 2 years, every 4 months the second 2 years and every 6 months the fifth year.
And so here I am. Katie is 5 years and 3 months and lost a front tooth. I register her for kindegarten at the end of this month. She has a wit and humor to rival many adults and I find myself laughing out loud at least twice a day from things she says. To say I have been blessed would be an understatement. I have lost many friends online and in "the real world" since my diagnosis, people who fought as hard as me, who had the same surgeries as me, who had the same exact doctors at me. I am not sure what made the difference for me but I promised myself I would always post on important milestones like this to offer hope to others who have not travelled as far in their journey.
I am so grateful for my 5 year NED remission and I give thanks to my superb doctors, to my family for their loving support, and to my husband's employer who provided us with healthcare and an environment in which my husband could feel comfortable leaving work early everyday for a year without fear of losing his job. I am grateful for every day that I get to wake up and see my children's faces, hear their stories, see them sleeping soundly in the night. And, I thank God for bringing my Katie angel, for it was the conception of this little girl that saved my life. She was the little one we hadn't planned but somehow came to be despite two levels of "protection" and a month that included only 1 day of loving (thanks to two other little ones in our bed). She is my literal angel.