Some of you who know our family personally may have heard that we've had a bit of a scary time with our current pregnancy, but only a small handful of people know the details. Sean and I wanted to have more information before we shared too much. Yesterday we had resolution on the major issue and I thought it might be a good thing to write about, in case anyone else out there ever finds themselves in a similar situation. In 2007, a mass was found on my right kidney. I can't remember how they found it. Heck, I can't remember what I had for dinner last night. The important detail is that they found it and they weren't sure what it was. The surgeon I consulted with was pretty sure it was a tumor called an angiomyolipoma (AML for future reference to save my fingers), which is a benign mass made up of blood (angio), muscle (myo) and fat (lipoma). However, it was in an atypical shape and tricky location, so he wasn't completely sure.
To add another level of concern, AMLs also have a way of growing exponentially more in pregnant women and present a risk of rupture and hemorrhage. You can tell this could be very very ugly. Mom and baby could both be at serious risk. And we were seriously considering trying to start a family, so this freaked us out.
Because of the circumstances, we made the decision to have it removed, and in May of that year, I had open kidney surgery and they removed the tumor and part of my kidney. The resulting scar (around 8-10") would be great fodder for fun party stories if I were a less modest dresser. The recovery period was rough.
In July 2009, our beautiful baby girl was born, happy, healthy and with a completely uneventful pregnancy.
Cut to 2011. We were overjoyed to learn that we were expecting baby number 2, and scheduled a confirming ultrasound at 7 weeks. We went in and saw the heartbeat and our sweet new baby. Everything was looking great.
However, about a week later, the midwives call.
The baby looks perfectly healthy, but a mass was found on my right kidney, and the radiologist is certain it's an AML.
This is where we stopped breathing.
I knew what this meant. I knew the dangers of the AML and pregnancy. My mind spiraled out of control. I could lose the baby. My life could be in jeopardy if this thing got too big. I'd probably require a C-section and it's entirely possible they'll take the kidney and the baby in one fell swoop (yes, it's possible to do that).
Google is the devil. I read about every horrible possible outcome and became increasingly nervous. I was incredibly sleep deprived from my insomnia that I couldn't even pray normally.
Then I stopped searching and waited. We waited 5 weeks for the appointment with the surgeon. And yesterday was that appointment.
After waiting 90 full minutes to see the doctors (why can't people CALL YOU when they're running that late?), I met with the surgeon and a resident, both of whom agreed with "99.99% certainly" that the mass that was found was not a new tumor, but the residual effects of the 2007 surgery. When they removed the section of kidney the first time, they used some fat to basically bandage up the area and prevent bleeding (Lesson: I will almost always show an AML on ultrasounds because of this.). I do need to get a follow-up CT scan after the baby is born just to be 100% certain, but it definitely looks like we're in the clear for another healthy and uneventful pregnancy.
And this is where we started to breathe again.
Sean and I couldn't be more overjoyed about the news. He's usually a guys of few words, but the look of relief in his eyes spoke volumes. He kept hugging me and I realized that we both had a lot of unspoken fears about this that were finally dissipating.
So that's our story, and I hope that it helps even one person who's searching Google for information only to have most information scare the daylights out of them. Thanks to everyone who has prayed for us, either knowing the details or not. We can't even begin to tell you how thankful we are for you.
And I promise the next post will be funny. :)