Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Christmas Miracle! Part One: the phone call...

A Christmas Miracle occurred on Monday. Well, maybe not a miracle, but a faint glimmer of hope was granted - something I have prayed for incessantly during the last 5 or so months.

As I wrote in a previous blog post, my biopsy results were still not below 10% and having a baby myself wasn't looking like the best viable option. At the end of my appointment, Dr. R said that he would consult with some of his colleagues at the Mayo Clinic and would contact me sometime before Christmas to share the information.

At 3:00PM on Monday as we were headed to the early Christmas Eve service at our church, I came to the realization that I was not going to hear from Dr. R.

In my mind I rationalized the following three reasons as to why I had not received this very anticipated phone call:

1. Maybe the Mayo doctors Dr. R was going to consult with were on vacation for Christmas and he hadn't been able to get in touch with them.

2. Maybe the information the doctors had shared was not favorable for women with SMM/MGUS who wanted to have babies and he didn't want to give me bad news right before Christmas.

3. Maybe he simply forgot and/or didn't have time to call me.

Reason #3 I highly doubted. But, since it was getting later and later on Christmas Eve day I couldn't quite be sure.

The Christmas Eve service was nice. I love, love, love when everyone holds their lit candles and we sing 'Silent Night'. And, Stephen Gostowski (kicker for the Patriots!) was sitting with his family right in front of us! Very exciting for my husband. Luckily for me, he played it cool. :)

Around 4:00PM when the service ended I realized I had a voicemail but no missed call (patchy cell service, apparently). Of course, it was from Dr. R. He left his pager number and he said that he had gotten great feedback from his colleagues and I could either call him back if I got the message or speak with him later in the week. I quickly called the beeper service and they said that they would page him.

After I made the call we went right to my aunt's Christmas Eve party. I anxiously downed my first Red Rudolph martini and after about a half hour or so I figured he wouldn't call me back. But, I mean, he has a family too, it's Christmas Eve, and it was after 5:00PM! No hard feelings. 

Then, suddenly my phone started ringing; it was a Boston area number that I didn't recognize! Woooohooo. I answered and Dr. R said that he had just gotten home. I think he was calling from his land line, ha.

We chatted for about 10 minutes. His colleagues at Mayo agreed that his concerns regarding pregnancy were well placed and it was very important that we did our "due diligence"  in terms of the biopsies, MRI, etc. Dr. R said is is going to order some additional tests on my biopsy to see if the cells express the estrogen receptor. If they stain positive, then adoption and surrogacy would probably be a better option for me. If they are negative, it will really be a matter of weighing the risk vs. benefit, because, in his words, "We really don't know for sure."

He said the doctors shared some "anecdotal" cases at Mayo where patients with "smoldering disease" have, "been okay and had successful pregnancies." Not entirely sure what "okay" means. If I were to become pregnant I would be monitored very, very carefully. He said that my husband and I will have to weigh the benefit vs. risk (benefit = having a baby, risk = disease progression) and make a decision. He said that his primary duty is to my welfare which is why pregnancy is such a concern, but the prognosis of myeloma is improving all the time. He said the disease may worsen but even if things do worsen I could potentially still have 15-20 years of survival after having a baby. He said that 10 years ago people would have been much more cautious. Pending the additional plasma cell testing, and praying that it is negative he said, "We can try with our eyes wide open and see what happens." Still not 100% sure how I feel about everything.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas! :)