I haven’t updated in a while because it’s been busier than usual for us this month. This is totally and completely my fault by the way. I had the brilliant idea to take two children under 4, load them up in an RV, travel over 4,000 miles, and brave two snowstorms so that I could check off a bucket list item and see the Grand Canyon.
Y’all. I know. The cancer drugs are CLEARLY affecting my brain and ability to reason.
In hindsight I can see that this was not an ideal situation for someone who is already energy depleted and enjoying the very unglamorous gastro-intestinal side-effects of cancer treatment. Bless my heart. (And if you are a fan of National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation, I know what Cousin Eddie one-liner you are thinking of right now…)
So the good news is that treatment is still going according to plan, and we will have scans on Monday to check my progress. I did have the very uncomfortable privilege of an ESM test a few weeks ago. Basically they hook you up with lots of electrodes and shock the ever loving fire out of you. It’s really awesome. Probably about as much fun as ripping your fingernails off slowly, one by one. I came within a gnat’s hair of ripping the electrodes off, throwing them at Rosemary (the tech) and bolting out the 4th story window clad only in my hospital gown and blue socks. It was that serious, y’all.
Thankfully all those tests came back normal, and they confirmed that neuropathy is due to inflammation in my nerves. They had me stop running on the treadmill about 6 weeks ago, and since then, my neuropathy has been VERY infrequent. (Don’t you just love a doctor who tells you to stop exercising because it’s bad for your health?)
I completed my 11th infusion this week, so only 35 more to go! (Maybe fewer if my scans come back clear next week!) My primary side effect is still fatigue, but I have been dealing with increased nausea and some stomach issues. Nothing debilitating, just minor inconvenience, and a SMALL PRICE to pay for my tumors shrinking.
There are so many suffering from this awful disease, one of whom passed away this week. It was devastating for me. I didn’t know Kara personally but felt like I did through her beautifully written blog (http://www.mundanefaithfulness.com/) and her book, The Hardest Peace (read this book!). I related to her story as a stage IV cancer fighter and young mother. She was faithful and beautiful even in her passing. I encourage you to visit her blog. You will be encouraged and amazed at a life well lived. Full of joy and peace, even facing death. Here is just a snapshot of her story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=13&v=g02BVmlam6k
It’s always unsettling and difficult for me when another stage IV cancer patient loses their battle. It honestly scares me to death. But reading Kara's story has really helped calm my fears. She faced death with so much peace and joy. In her living, suffering and in her dying, Kara spurred others on to live well. To choose joy. That the presence of suffering is not the absence of God’s goodness. And to know that God’s grace WILL meet me in my suffering and WILL BE sufficient for my every need.
And then there are people like Windle, who remind me that life could always be harder. It could always be my child facing this diagnosis. Parents of children with cancer, you are my hero. Every time I walk into the infusion center I thank God that it’s me arriving for treatment and not my children. Will you join me in praying for Windle and his incredible family? He has fought valiantly against cancer for years, and they are having to face some very hard news right now. Check out his story here, narrated by another hero of mine, his mother Tara (http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/Windle).
And last but not least, you people are still blowing my mind with your kindness and generosity. We still routinely get cards and checks in the mail. Many of you text me daily or weekly to see how I’m doing. Asking what I need. Bringing me meals. A few weeks ago I got a message from a girl I’ve never met saying she wanted to donate all of her SkyMiles to me. Two weeks ago I received a $500 check from a church in small town Texas that I’d never heard of. Last week I had an anonymous donor pay for all my pilates classes. (Okay so my doctor says it’s imperative that I still exercise…just not on the treadmill. Shoot!) There are too many blessings to name. Every week uncovers new relationships that bless my life. All of this is evidence that God is with me on this journey, and gives me renewed strength for the journey. How I WISH you could know how much you all mean to me and how you are helping me.
The grace, mercy and kindness of God on my life extended through all of you in this time is just astounding. I am so, so grateful, humbled and amazed at the way people continually give of their time and resources to help my family. I am SO thankful for all of you. You are a huge part of my story.
Please be in prayer for my scans on Monday at 2:15. As much as I expect them to be really good, there is always anxiety that goes along with scans! The last scans showed only a trace left in my lungs, praise the Lord! IF I get the all clear, Dr. S says I’ll continue treatment for a few more months and then we will have a discussion about postponing treatment indefinitely!