So here’s what I knew. I had a huge tumor in my chest. The tumor invaded my superior vena cava and completely blocked it while making its way into 80% of the right atrium of my heart.
There’s a tumor in my heart.
After I received the results of the x-ray, I called Brother and Sister to let them know that something was going on. My parents were in Italy at the time. They were about two weeks into their three-week trip. Brother and Sister assured me that everything was going to be ok, but when the CT scan results were in we all knew that nothing was ok. At the time, Brother was interviewing for a job. He offered to fly to us when he was done. I didn’t think it was necessary. But, the moment I hung up with him after reading the results of the CT scan, I knew we couldn’t be alone. I quickly called back and choked out please come, we need help. I called Sister to tell her the news to. I didn’t know it at the time, but Brother and Sister were talking too. They decided that they would both come. And they did. In less than 24 hours Sister had arrived a four or five hours later Brother arrived. I was so relieved to see them. Please don’t leave us alone. We need you. We need help with Little Man. I have a tumor in my heart.
The world changed when they arrived. It hit me that something was really happening. The spinning stopped and this new information finally weighed down on me. I saw it in their eyes. There really is a tumor. There really is a tumor blocking my superior vena cava. There really is a tumor in my heart. I looked in the mirror and I saw someone who had eyes that were puffy and red from crying, with a face that was puffy and swollen from lack of blood flow. This person looked sick and she was me.
With Brother watching Little Man and DH and Sister watching me, I faced the next test, a fine needles biopsy to properly diagnosing the tumor. I laid in the hospital bed with DH holding my hand while the radiologist consented me. A nurse appeared. The same one that was there for my CT scan the previous day. I was so happy to see a warm and familiar smiling face that I started to cry. She said, don’t cry, don’t cry. You’re going to be ok. I’ll be with you the whole time. And that’s all I wanted. Someone to be with me the whole time. Please don’t leave me. I have a tumor in my heart.
Your chest isn’t meant to be punctured with needles. And, I’m not talking about acupuncture, although I probably could have benefitted from a session. I laid down on a cold table which moved in and out of a CT scanner. First the doctor needed to figure out exactly where the tumor was, then he needed to figure out how he was going to get the biopsy. Once that was all sorted out, he inserted a thing tube through my chest, between my ribs and rested it against the tumor. Then he used a tool that was about as long as a yard stick, which he stuck through the tube into my chest and into the tumor. Every time he squeezed the trigger on this dagger, it made a loud cracking or popping noise, which indicated that it had grabbed a piece of tumor tissue. He did this 12 times, taking 12 biopsies. I was cold. I couldn’t stand the noise the dagger made. Afterwards, I asked the nurse what color the tissue looked like. She paused before she answered and said pink. I think she was lying. I envision the tumor being dark grey or black. Maybe speckled. Definitely ugly.
While I had a dagger in my chest, Sister was on the phone to Italy telling my parents that they needed to come home now because their youngest, their baby, had a tumor in her chest. By the time this was all done all I could think about was getting into bed. I needed my bed, with it’s soft comforter and fluffy pillows. I needed to curl up. I needed to cry. I needed to wake up the next morning and see that this was just a terrible terrible dream. The weight, oh the weight of it all was too much to bear.