A series of unfortunate events

So apparently God must think I'm a good storyteller since lately I've been given lots of material!

It all started with a girls trip to NYC, one of my best friends was coming to town and in true "live like you were dying" fashion I couldn't resist the 4 hour drive to see her!  My knee had been bothering me before that but we planned a trip the week before Memorial Day to go to OH and was planning on getting checked then (MRI scheduled June 5th for it now).  Anyway, Saturday we did lots of walking, enough where eventually I broke off from the group to go back to the hotel and take a timeout for several hours before dinner.  We go to dinner then out afterwards and I had the most un eventful fall.  I, no joke, was just standing talking to a bunch of people when I got nudged from behind unexpectedly, maybe muscle fatigue from earlier didn't help and my leg muscles aren't what they used to be but I fell and I instantly knew my bone(s) broke.  The random people I talked to from the looks of my fall didn't understand how they could break but I assured them I couldn't get up without assistance and weight bearing wasn't an option.  Luckily our hotel was across the street and they had a wheelchair which was helpful, got some Ibuprofen, ice, and pillows under my leg and we were off to bed. Morning comes and my cankles in full swing, I devise a plan.  So I wheelchair to the car (which I thankfully valeted), crawl in, decide I'll fill up in New Jersey since they pump for you, and keep on trekking home to Ithaca until MY BATTERY LIGHT COMES ON! What the heck. Call Dennis. My phone beeps at me.  In all the commotion the night before we forgot to charge my "blueberry". Dennis says drive as far as I can, turn my phone off to save juice and don't turn the car off.  54 miles to home MY CAR SHUTS DOWN.  CRAP.  Where am I? I call AAA and Dennis giving them very little direction as to where I am annnnd my phone dies.  CRAP! Time goes by, not sure how long because I had no way of telling and Dennis saves the day and finds me!  Anyway, I make the tow truck follow me to the convenient care and lo and behold it's quickly apparent that I have broken my tibia in two places and fibula in one...  This is in my last cast.... 

Now when securing Dr. Joyce as my doctor again for this surgery, I asked him if this was complicated enough for him.  His physician assistant tells me casually "Oh we'll do anything for our tumor patients, we'd even remove a ganglion cyst."  Wheels started turning and I asked if they'd remove the mole on my shoulder, it wasn't big, but it felt a little raised, developed a small scab on it and seemed to hurt sometimes.  He looked confused for a second, I quickly said never mind it's no big deal, and he started typing instructions for removing the lesion on my shoulder. I tried to remove it when we lived in Beverly Hills but the guy didn't take a proper sample and left some cells behind for it to grow back.  At the time though, the cells were non cancerous.  Nothing to worry about.

So yesterday I get the call that the lesion is melanoma, that they had gotten all the tumor but there was some talk when they presented my case to the tumor board that morning that there is more that needs to be done and I need to meet with a melanoma specialist after I see them tomorrow. Crap.

So this morning we go get X-rays, take my splint off, check out my sutures (they rubbed my leg around the sutures with alcohol swabs and it felt soooo good! Free scratches!) looked at the X-rays and the doctor decided I wasn't ready for the air boot yet and decided to recast me.  **Side note, they had me in the pediatric casting unit bc it was closer to their office which resulted in my sweet homemade striped cast in Lily's favorite colors that was the envy of a fellow castee in the elevator on the way out who didn't get the same sweet attention** Then he started talking about my bones and my fall.  He related my bones to balsa wood and said he's going to need to run a scan of my bone density, you know with all the 60 year olds (his words).  He said that the break is just a result of disuse (months before finding it that I was limping, the months after I wasn't allowed to weight bear and my limited ability after that, my words).  This is the same problem astronauts have after being in zero gravity.  So we finished by making some appts for June 5th and then we decide from there what's next. (MRI of my knee, Remove cast, X-ray ankle, consult with Dr.)

My current scar, that's just liquid skin over that hasn't fallen off yet.

On to the melanoma, after Dr. Joyce we saw Dr. Gastman and after meeting him I am confident that I once again was put into the perfect hands.  My melanoma was .82 mm deep, after 1 mm things start to get grim, but with it being .82 we have lots of hope for a positive outcome.  What gives me comfort is that Dr. Joyce has all ready taken out the complete tumor, it's just now that we know what it is there are certain things that need to be done to make sure it doesn't reoccur in the same spot and also to check and see if it has spread.  So, ANOTHER surgery will be done where an extra cm around the perimeter of my mole will be cut out of each side then closed.  They will also be injecting dye where the mole was and tracing it back to the lymph nodes that filter that area (this is called sentinel lymph node biopsy).  Once they identify which lymph nodes the cancer likely traveled to, they will biopsy them while I'm under and send them out to a lab that can find as little as a single cell of melanoma, no false positives or negatives. Pretty amazing. If after several days we get back that none of the lymph nodes had any cancerous cells then we celebrate! I'd be in the clear for the spot it was found and would just have to see a dermatologist every 3 months to get checked as more spots can pop up but can be remedied if caught quickly.  If it did spread then that opens a can of worms where we have to look at heart/lungs/liver etc. but that's where we are at.  The doctor also mentioned he's going to send a biopsy to some specialized lab also that does DNA mapping/genetic testing to get more information about my risks and see if they can predict how a tumor of this sort might behave if spread.  Surgery has not been scheduled yet as they wanted to wait a little bit for my levels to normalize before putting me under again.  I see a general dermatologist next Tuesday who will perform a full body check and run some sort of artificial intelligence that examines each spot and can see things undetectable to the human eye (pretty cool again) and then it can tell next time if there has been any changes from the picture from this time. Which to me is super comforting because if caught early enough, melanoma can just be some scars.  

All that's left is to get a blood clot and test positive for Lyme and I'd feel like I got thrown everything possible.  Ok that's not true, but just sayin...

So once again we are in a little bit of a limbo, a crazy waiting game to see how much more struggles ahead.  It seems never ending.  Prayers are needed.  Life is crazy.  I'm definitely not looking forward to trying to crutch with fresh wounds under my arm, time to bust out that walker!  I've got quite a way to go with my bones and hopefully not as long with my skin but time will tell.  My kids are really missing New York and our friends (and Dennis).  We're hoping to get back once all tests and surgeries and scans are done and rehab there uneventfully.  Until then, we will enjoy the quality time with family and friends here that we've been given.  Everything happens for a reason and I just have to be grateful that I broke my leg so that my series of unfortunate events led me to getting my mole removed and on the path to healing.  Thank God.  I know I've said this before but it's worth mentioning again that due to everyone's generosity several months ago (and a change in health care) we are blessed to be financially secure at this time and we are so thankful to not have that added stress.  We do welcome visitors and prayers (and cupcakes?! :) and prayers.  If you read this far, I'm sorry, I guess I'm not that great of a storyteller.


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