A short while ago, I received a voicemail from the Ottawa Hospital – not something new, seeing as I’m a frequent flyer there. It was a message from Dr. Sundaresan’s office asking to book a consult appointment. DR. SUNDARESAN is the HEAD OF THORACIC SURGERY at the Ottawa Hospital and I was going to have a consult with him!!!! *Cue the ugly cry!
I completely broke down and cried tears of joy! He was going to meet with me to discuss the POSSIBILITY of surgery – something that I have dreamed about for over a year! When I was first diagnosed in Edmonton, I was told that I would not live past a year. (Thankfully, shortly thereafter, I stepped in Dr. Laurie’s office). I was so overwhelmed with the possibility of surgery, I couldn’t keep it together! (Since Day 1, my goal has always been to have surgery. With the high recurrence in lung cancer, I have always wanted it “out” and for it to “never come back”)
After the incredibly tense and nerve-racking wait for the appointment to see the surgeon, Dax, my Mom, Jack and myself met with Dr. Sundaresan. He began the meeting by “congratulating me on all that I had accomplished over the past year” (talk about a nice man!). He proceeded to tell me that he felt that the time for surgery was NOW! This was due to the drastic reduction in volume of cancer over the past year thanks to my targeted therapies (Xalkori & Lorlatinib – THANK YOU PFIZER!)!!!!!!
HE’S GOING TO OPERATE TO TRY AND REMOVE THE REMAINING CANCER!!!!!
I started crying so hard as he drew a diagram of the surgical plan, that he thought he was scaring me. I reassured him that I was not scared at all but just so completely overcome with joy! I could not believe that I was actually having this conversation with this incredible surgeon and that this day had come! I had dreamt about this moment every single day for the past year. My dream last year was to see my son’s 1st Birthday and now I am able to dream of many, many more!
The plan is to have a lobectomy (either one or two of the lobes in my right lung removed) however, the surgeon will not 100% know what he will have to do until he’s inside. He may have to do a pneumonectomy (entire right lung removal) if need be. If I didn’t have lung cancer, I would probably be terrified, but it’s crazy how your perspective can change. I am just so unbelievably grateful for this chance and the possibility of one day being NED!
I had many tests that I had to pass to qualify for surgery since seeing him last and I am so grateful and relieved that they all went well (PET, CT, Pulmonary Function Test, VQ Lung Scan). I just received a phone call this afternoon and received the date!
THE SURGERY IS BOOKED FOR JUNE 28th!!
I was SO excited after receiving this call, I dropped my phone and accidentally smashed the screen! (haha!). Being able to laugh it off and continue on with my amazing day is just an example of the perspective that I’ve gained since my diagnosis.
I am so grateful for everyone that has helped me get to where I am today. It is certainly thanks to the amazing staff at the Ottawa Cancer Centre that I have made it this far! I am so grateful for their incredible dedication to their work. Each time I step into their offices, I am in awe of their passion and dedication to medicine and to helping others.
I know that stepping into Dr. Scott Laurie’s office was the best decision of my medical treatment. He has provided me with such extraordinary care over the past 13 months and continues to do so every day. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for him and I don’t think that I will ever be able to thank him enough (as much as I try).
I am also so grateful for:
Dr. Sudhir Sundaresan for believing in me.
My wonderful husband Dax, who has been so unbelievably supportive and I know that with him and Jack by my side, anything is possible.
My Mom (my best friend), my Dad and brother, Matt – thank you for filling each day with laughter and for your endless love and care. We are a pretty amazing team.
I want to say a HUGE thank you to each and every one of you who has supported me since my diagnosis and helped me get to where I am today. I am incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by so much kindness, love and generosity. It truly takes a village and I am forever grateful. Thank you!
ONE YEAR OF HOSPITAL VISTS (ALMOST 150 DAYS!)
1 year ago this dream was impossible.
6 months ago it “might” be a possibility if “all of the stars aligned”.
Today my dream has come true and it’s nothing short of a miracle (combined with an unbelievably amazing oncologist and team).
Here’s to a successful surgery & continuing to defy the odds and always having hope because anything is possible.
Soon to be One 1/2 Lung Lizzie xo