Up to now...
Here's where we are... On Tuesday Phoebe went to the "lady doctor" for a routine checkup. The doctor panicked and sent her across town to an oncologist... who panicked... and sent her to the hospital. After every test they could think of, a dozen blood draws and a night without any sleep we got the bad news on Wednesday. Cervical cancer. About 5cm in size.
She was upset. duh. I was upset. We made the difficult mom and dad phone calls. Her mom flew in from CO immediately and is staying here in town (which is awesome!). Her dad was in town by accident and so was already at the hospital. Her other dad is dealing with some health issues of his own, but is here in spirit. Her aunt came and stayed for hours with us in the hospital. My folks are nearby and are ready to do anything they can. Our families are fantastic.
We are lucky to be in a city with one of the best hospitals in the world. The Cleveland Clinic's outpatient cancer treatment center also happens to be right in our neighborhood (win!). The treatment plan is still under construction, but the basics are: five weeks radiation and chemotherapy. The radiation will include targeted external radiation and then, as the cancer shrinks, some amount of implanted radiation therapy... which I guess involves getting a little metal radioactive "pill" to sit right on the tumor for a period of time. We met with the radiation doctor already, he spent quite a bit of time explaining the process and the side effects. He was very good and made us both feel much better about that part of all this.
There is still one more test she has to do tomorrow which will determine conclusively if the cancer has spread. The MRI and CT scans she has already taken both indicate that it has NOT spread, but this last test (a PET scan) is designed to specifically target cancer and will show anything else that we might need to worry about. At some point after this test they will "stage" the cancer and determine for sure the course of treatment.
The PET scan is ridiculously expensive. The insurance company wanted to think about it for seven days. I called them and explained how that wasn't going to happen and eventually got a direct number for their radiology guy which I forwarded to the NP at the oncologists' office... who then got the test approved. I assume this will not be the last discussion I have with the insurance company.
If this all goes well she will begin treatment on Monday.
She is really doing pretty great. Having friends and family around has helped already and I'm sure will be a lot of what gets her through this. We are both very hopeful about the outcome. She is otherwise in great health and very good spirits.
I have already promised to buy her a Sammy Hagar wig if her hair falls out.