Tuesday afternoon is when I received the call from my doctor confirming I had high-grade (moving FAST), invasive (it was going EVERYWHERE) carcinoma...aka IBC. I called Julie my friend from high school that is in residency for radiology-oncology (the part of oncology that does the radiation at the end). Her attending had contacts in Dallas at UT Southwestern and called them Wednesday with my story. My doctors over at UT cleared their Thursday schedule to meet with me for what turned into hours (felt like minutes when I was with them though). My oncologist set up a plan for starting chemo the next Monday (the soonest we could do it based on the other tests that still needed to be run). I had a blood test (a couple indicators of potential cancer spread), liver sonogram (see if they could find any cancer spread to there) and an echocardiogram (see if my heart is strong enough for the chemo) on Friday morning.
Late Friday evening Dr. Unni (my oncologist) called with first good news of the week- all the tests came back normal and didn't show any indication of cancer spread (with the limited checks they could perform now). The rest of the normal protocol scans will take place after I deliver. That will give us actual staging and will let us know exactly how big this battle will be, or if there will even be a battle. I'm just continuing to pray that the doctors will keep wanting to treat me and keep believing it is worth it to keep trying stuff and moving forward. That is why a Stage 3B or C diagnosis would be amazing. (Has anyone ever said that before??)
At the same time that week I had doctors through my OB office/hospital system also moving heaven and earth to get me into their schedules and I met with them for a second opinion. It was very encouraging to hear that they had the exact same plan for treatment. They were all super nice; I especially enjoyed my oncologist at Presbyterian Dallas. I left her on Friday with a lot of hope going into the weekend.
Also at the same time, I was trying my darndest to get into MD Anderson- the leading research institute on cancer in general but also for my specific kind of cancer. They have an IBC clinic that treats over 100 cases a year. I was able to get an appointment with them 2 weeks after diagnosis, which I hear, is very difficult to do. Normally it takes months to get an appointment. I'm thankful for another friend named Rachel that I knew from college that is working there and helped me get connected to the right folks and advocated for me. Next Sunday we will drive to Houston, stay with some of our best friends, and then have an appointment with the IBC clinic director, Dr. Valero. He is one of the leading researchers of IBC and if anyone understands anything about this disease, it is him.
Brad and I are ridiculously thankful for how extremely fast all the nurses, doctors, lab pathologists, coordinators moved last week. Everyone understood the gravity of my situation and the speed at which my cancer moves/is moving and responded appropriately. For that we are so grateful.
We are also really grateful for the seemingly impossible decisions to make - what team to choose, how to bring in MD Anderson, when to start treatments, when to deliver David, what drugs to start off on, to start chemo with or without a baby - were all really easy. Starting at the beginning of the week I didn't know how we would make these potentially life and death decisions, but by the end of the week everything was crystal clear. Some of our friends and family who we told last week were praying for that specifically, and I know that was an answer to that specific prayer. I'm trusting God to continue leading us where he would have us go and do.