I was not diagnosed with breast cancer. I was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive form of cancer called Small Cell Neuroendocrine. I was diagnosed the day after my 4th daughter was born. She is the reason I am here to tell my story. During my pregnancy my doctor had found a polyp on my cervix. At the time we didn’t think anything of it. It was the size of her fingernail on her pinky. I was 22 weeks pregnant at the time. It was a rough pregnancy. The worst out of all 4. Everyone thought it was due to my age (39) and the fact that I had 3 other children at home. I was told I needed more rest. On June 24th, my daughter was born 2 weeks early. At that time my OBGYN removed the polyp and sent it off to the lab. The next day I was in my room with my 3 other children when the doctor walked in. The look on her face was a telling story. She had to give me the bad news and here I was with all 4 of my girls. She told me that the biopsy came back as cancer. I did not ask many questions at that time because my girls were in the room with me. I knew it was not a good diagnosis due to the manner in which all the nurses and doctors were caring for me. I had to wait 2 weeks before I could be seen by an Oncologist. I will never forget that day for as long as I alive.
My husband, our newborn daughter and I were sitting in the doctor’s private office when she entered. She read my results and explained to us that I was diagnosed with Small Cell Neuroendocrine. I had no idea what she was telling me. It did not sink in at first. I figured they would perform a hysterectomy and I would be on my way. She sat and looked at me-she knew that I was not comprehending what she was telling me. I finally looked at her and said “this is bad, really bad isn’t it?” She had told me yes. I began to shake and could not believe what I was hearing. It is sad to say, but much like so many other women my first question to my doctor was “am I going to lose my hair?” Looking back on that, I am embarrassed. The doctors office had everything set up for me. I was given a list of appointments and procedures for the next week. The hardest part was getting my family together to tell them the news. I had a 14 yr old, a 10 yr old, a 3 yr old, and a two week old infant to care for. How was I ever going to do this. It was a whirl wind. The next day I was at the hospital for my first procedure was a CT Scan, then I was on to having surgery to insert my port, and finally chemo began. I didn’t have any time to comprehend what was happening to me. I never asked what my chances of survival were but my husband has since told me that I was not expected to make it. There isn’t much research and information on my cancer. I had a team of doctors all working together behind the scenes discussing what the appropriate treatment would be. I ended up going in for chemo 3 day in a row in which I was given a different type of chemo each day. I was then given a 2 1/2 week break before the treatments would begin again. After 3 months of chemo my radiation began. I would undergo 6 weeks of radiation in which my treatments were daily with a break on the weekends. During this time I underwent a weekly internal radiation treatment. Rods were inserted into my body and the radiation was given internally. I had four of these treatments. Now my chemo treatments were weekly with only one treatment given. My last leg of treatments went back to the chemo 3 days in a row with my 2 1/2 week break. During this time-no one could have ever prepared myself or my husband for what was going to happen to our lives. I could never imagine being as sick and weak as I was. My husband and mother were my caregivers.
I was a very lucky person as the two of them were amazing. During the last week of radiation I over dosed on all the chemo and radiation in my system. I nearly died. My husband had to carry me as I could not walk. There was nothing left of me. It was the first time that I honestly thought I was going to die. I asked my husband to make sure I didn’t fall asleep that night because I was afraid I was not going to wake up ever again. It was a tough journey for my entire family. It is sad to say but there is a 5 month period in my life in which I do not remember anything. It is a blur and I feel I missed out so much on my kids. My 10 year old was diagnosed with Type I diabetes 3 months before my diagnosis and our newborn had reflux. It was one of the most stressful periods in my marriage and life. I had the best doctors, nurses, caregivers, family and friends anyone could ask for. They all carried me and my family through this difficult time. I am thankful to be here today.