On August 5, we returned to M.D. Anderson to meet with Kristin to learn the results of the pathology report. It was as we expected: cancer was identified in the cells tested. But the best news was that it was in the earliest stage and contained to one area, which was entirely removed. For this particular cancer hurdle, I am finished with treatment, except for follow-up pelvic exams every 6 months for a couple years “just to make sure” that it doesn’t reoccur. What a wonderful outcome!
But ... back to the cat scan report taken pre-surgery by another lab. The oncologist had requested that a copy be provided to M.D. Anderson pre-treatment. She now would like to revisit the lung results, which showed a small deviation since the previous lung scan was taken in 2015 in Illinois. (This is why you keep copies yourself of reports). Kristin said they would like to do another cat scan, to compare to the other two scans, and to have the results interpreted by their own radiologist and physicians to rule out any concerns they might have. We scheduled that for later this month.
I’m not worried so much as I am relieved to actually have medical professionals monitoring my health. My primary doc didn’t even mention any of the results of the cat scan (and there were six radiologist impressions of note). In fact, I had to advocate for myself to get the initial referral to an ob/gyn (she wanted me to see a urologist, which would have been a waste of time). Two weeks after the request from me was made, the referral still had not been received by my gynecologist. I was getting panicked at the time we were losing for diagnosis. Since I’d seen that doctor before, I called directly and he told me not to worry about the referral, he’d see me immediately anyway. I’m now in the process of switching primary medical provider no to Baptist Health. I think I came very close to missing that cancer diagnosis, which the ob/gyn made. So advocate for yourself, ladies!
I also have an appointment with a Baptist rheumatologist to help explain granules detected in my spleen on the cat scan. The radiologist identified granulamatous disease. Again, the primary doc didn’t bother to mention it. My (medical professional) daughter Summer is the one who, after reviewing the report, insisted I get that referral for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Given all these outcomes, Michelle at M.D. Anderson called me this week to say that the team felt I would benefit from genetics testing and counselings. Yes, thank you! I’d like to know in advance if I should change my diet or lifestyle in any way to ensure a better outcome and less problems going forward. I greatly appreciate this opportunity. I will, of course, also share the results with my children, which would be the biggest benefit, if there is information that could help them navigate their own future health challenges.
For now, hopefully the cancer journal is closing and the “proper medical care” chapter of my life will begin. I can’t say enough how much I am grateful for the holistic treatment I’ve received from M.D. Anderson and my faith that God gave me the gift of early detection … and the will to advocate for the best future possible. I hope the same for all of you as well.