“You have cancer…”

These words were spoken to me on Monday, April 1st & my life changed forever.  How did I go from wanting a 3rd child to this life changing sentence?!

Back in August I talked about adding to our family & in December I wrote that we had decided to start the IVF process in January.  A doctor at my fertility clinic found fluid in my uterus during a routine ultrasound in January, they drained it & said I could go ahead with an IVF cycle but I just didn’t feel comfortable starting a cycle without talking to my doctor first.  When I did see her on January 30th, she told me that there was placental tissue in my uterus & that a D&C would be needed to “clean” everything out.  So, in I went for a D&C on February 20th.  I was still feeling OK about my health at this point.  I just thought maybe a little tissue was leftover after I had Sophie & that once it was out we could move forward with trying to get pregnant again.

The 1st sign of trouble came on February 27th, a week after my D&C.  My doctor called to tell me that the pathology came back abnormal, but not too worry.  She was going to send everything to the tumor board at Woman & Infants Hospital & sent me for a pelvic/abdomen CT scan.  The tumor board would then meet on my case with the CT scan results & pathology.  Leading up to my appointment with my oncologist on February 7th I was feeling nervous & worried, but I didn’t have any information at that point so I tried to keep my worry in check.  At the appointment my oncologist told me that I had some kind of mass about the size of a grape in my uterus, but all the doctors & pathologists were unsure of what exactly it was.  Not very comforting let me tell you.  I wanted to know what was going on in my body.  I wanted to know what the next steps would be.  I wanted to know something, anything.  We did talk about 2 ways of taking care of the mass…  If it was benign I could have a resection & the mass would be cut out, but I would still be able to get pregnant since they would only cut out a small part of my uterus.  If it was cancerous I would need a hysterectomy.  The doctors though it was a Trophoblastic Disease & were still under the impression that it would come back as benign.  Trophoblastic Disease is so rare that there are only 3 centers in the US that deal with this diagnosis, thankfully one was at Dana Farber.

So, up we went to Boston to talk to a specialist.  He had my CT scan results, my pathology & I also went for a MRI before this appointment for an even more detailed look.  By the time we had our appointment on February 20th, the pathologists at Dana Farber still hadn’t reviewed the tissue slides & the doctor was only able to base his opinion on the results of the CT scan, MRI & blood work.  At this point he thought everything looked normal & the mass was going to be benign.  After that appointment I was feeling a little bit better about the whole situation.  I was thinking everything was going to be OK because he thought everything would be OK.  For about a week & a half I was comfortable thinking about having another baby, I felt good about things.  I didn’t think I had cancer.  I’m young, I feel healthy, I still want to have more babies…I don’t have cancer.

On April 1st my husband took the day off & we had a family day at Mystic Aquarium.  A normal & healthy family of four enjoying a fun day together.  When we got in the car for the ride home I got the phone call that would change my life.  The specialist we had seen called & told me that I had cancer, a Placental Site Trophoblastic Tumor.  I had cancer?!?  What?!?  I was shocked, even though I knew it was a possibility I was still shocked when I heard the word CANCER.  There I sat with my 2 little girls in their car seats & my husband sitting next to me…I gave him the phone because I couldn’t even talk through the tears.  My silent tears, since I didn’t want my girls to see or hear me upset.  I felt like my life was turned upside down in a moment.  Where do I go from here?!?

 

I’m going to make this a series of posts since there it is too much for one.  Stay tuned for more…

{Part 1 ~ “You have cancer…”}  {Part 2 ~ After my cancer diagnosis…}  {Part 3 ~  Cancer, Hysterectomy & Recovery…}

Comments

  1. says

    Heather, thanks for sharing. I know it was life-changing news and I’m so incredibly sorry that a 3rd baby is not a possibility now. You are such a force of positivity and while i know it hurts inside, I’m glad you have a path to head down–one that has a light shining brightly over it. Always thinking of you and keep that smile going, b/c it’s a quality that will get you through it. Extra hugs to you and those little girlies of yours. XO

  2. mel says

    Heather, I can only imagine how terrifying this was to hear. Thanks for telling this story! I am so sorry such a wonderful person has to hear these horrible words! You will are strong and cancer has nothing on you. Thinking about you all the time.

  3. Chris says

    Heather I love that you are willing to share your story! A huge “THANK YOU” because I know that its hard to share. Had my very own scare with breast cancer, now I have to be checked every 6 months.

  4. Audrey - Mom Generations says

    You are so brave and this posting is beyond powerful. You are in my thoughts and my prayers. xo

  5. says

    Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart with us, Heather. I’m so sorry that you can’t have a third child. But I hope you know that you are a source of inspiration …a warrior …to all of us. We are rooting for you all the way.

  6. says

    Every time I read about your story I tear up. I just can not even imagine how you are feeling. You always have a smile on your face and are such a wonderful mom. You are one brave Mama for sharing your story. Thinking of you! XO

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