Once at the hospital I was given pain meds immediately. It was decided they would do a contrast CT scan. So I drank that chalky drink. Which actually tasted good because I was so thirsty. They injected me with dye and did the scan.
I go back to my little ER room and I wait for the results. At 5:00 a nurse came in the room with a phone. She hands it to me. It's the on call surgeon. He introduces himself and says they found a 4mm mass in my abdomen. He had been going over the scans at home for 45 minutes on the phone with a colleague. They both decided exploratory surgery in the morning was the best option.
The next morning the surgeon did one more scan before wheeling me off to surgery. He made an incision from my sternum all the way down just past my belly button. At first he didn't see the mass. Then, as he took my insides out one by one, there it was. Behind everything. A mass the size of my fist. A mass I have since named Diesel.
Removing Diesel was not an option. There were so many arteries and veins intertwined. Taking a biopsy was even difficult given there was also tons of necrotic (dead) tissue. The surgeon stapled me shut and went to talk to my husband.
When I woke up I was in a new hospital room and Joe was next to me. Seeing his bloodshot eyes I immediately got a sinking feeling in my stomach. He saw I was awake and told me the news. They were testing me for cancer. The mass is inopperable. They think it grew pretty quickly. I then became aware of the tears running down my face. I couldn't move though. I could feel the staples down most of my torso. It hurt to breath. There was a tube going up my nose, down my throat, into my stomach draining it. I remember my limbs feeling like concrete, hard to move also. In my hand I had a button to press every few minutes if I was in pain. It would feed medicine into my I.V. to give me relief.
I stayed in the hospital a total of 7 days. I didn't get to have any liquids until day 6, solids finally on day 7. I guess my insides were so disrupted they wanted to give them a rest.
I was blessed with visitors, flowers, and gifts. It was a great distraction for me because I was so scared. I am still in awe of how many came forward to offer their services and help. I say blessed because so many never find out the influence they've had on people until they have passed on. I found out when I needed it the most.
2 different labs came back with pathology on Diesel. They suspect no cancer but tissue is abnormal. They do know that the tumor is made up of necrotic tissue, fatty tissue, inflamed tissue, normal lymph nodes, inflamed lymph nodes, veins, and arteries.
I am in pain because Diesel is still insde my abdomen. It's still a challenge to sit upright for a long period of time or bend down to pick things up. I've had a few follow up appointments with the surgeon and his solution for not knowing what is growing inside me is to keep tossing pain killers at me. Hearing this my Rheumatologist was floored. She immediately made an appointment with one of Harvards top surgeons for a second opinion. I go on Monday. I also have to wait to go back on any of my RA meds until Cancer is 100% ruled out. So we hurry up and wait...