Thursday, November 3, 2016

Scan News

Hi, guys. So we have an update on my scans from last week. The news isn't perfect, but it's not worse case scenario either. The radiologist who read the scans reported 3 new nodules on each lung. The nodules are so small that Boston is calling the scans inconclusive. It's possible the nodules are inflammation, but at this point they are too small to biopsy so we can't yet know for sure. 

They want us to wait 3 months to rescan unless I start having symptoms (persistent cough, nausea, pain, etc..) which would mean we would get rescanned immediately. When we talked to Dr. Sullivan yesterday morning, he was very optimistic. My blood work looks great, the nodules are tiny, and I feel well! He couldn't promise it wasn't cancer, but he did say that most of the nodules were not classically formed, meaning they weren't all solid/tumor like. He said things look good, and unless I start having symptoms, we should assume the best. 

Of course, we wish the scans were completely clear, and we didn't have to wait three months to know more. But. We have played this waiting game before, and we have the benefit of experience. It is just another opportunity to trust God, to remember His faithfulness towards us, and to keep living life knowing that there is not a person, circumstance or disease that can thwart God's will for my life. 

We have been thinking about and praying about this news and what it could mean since we heard the preliminary report last Friday. And though it was hard, hard news to process, we were reminded of all God has done for us since I was first diagnosed. So many answered prayers, so much grace for the journey. He has sustained us all through this journey. 

There will be some hard days ahead, no doubt. Waiting on news like this is not easy, but I have a track record of the goodness and faithfulness of God to fall back on in the moments of fear and uncertainty. Our God is trustworthy, and he is faithful, and above all, He is good. 

So that's where I am standing. By His grace I can rely on Him for the strength to live without fear of the unknown. I will rely on Him to give me everything I need in this waiting period. 

Please keep us in your prayers - that at the next rescan, my lungs would be all clear, and that I would remain healthy and symptom free in the meantime. Thank you so much for your love and support. I am so grateful for all you have done to love and support us!

Psalm 27:
I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Updates - Still Clear!

Hi friends!

I have a few fun updates for you. First things first- I just had another round of clear scans and a great check up in Boston. My levels are perfect, and by all accounts I am healthy and feeling extremely well. Praise the Lord! I am so thankful for each good report.

So this is a pretty special week for me...This week I am celebrating 6 months out of treatment and one year cancer free. Tomorrow I will celebrate my No Evidence of Disease anniversary by running in the #MIMGARR (Great American River Run) half marathon in Memphis, TN. 13.1 miles- one mile for each month I was in treatment, and one mile less than months I was given to live in August of 2014.

I think back to that day not so long ago in August 2014 when we got the phone call that turned our world upside down. I remember feeling crushed under the weight of the news - like someone suddenly sucked all the energy out of my body. The angst of dealing with a poor prognosis and fighting to get into a clinical trial. The 2, sometimes 3 trips a month to Boston for cancer treatment for 13 months. Battling for a sense of normalcy in a time of chaos. One exhausted foot in front of the other.

And although it was certainly a challenging time, it was also a time cloaked in the grace of God. When all the hospitals told us the clinical trials we needed were full, even in Boston, a "hidden" spot that no one seemed to know about miraculously opened over the weekend after my Friday consultation. He cared for and protected my baby girls by way of grandparents, other family members, and friends. He gave us unbelievable friends and strangers that selflessly gave of their time, energy and finances to shore us up and encourage us. I'm beyond grateful. Y'all- I just don't believe I would be here today without your prayers and support. I'm so thankful for you all.

I can't wait to cross the finish line tomorrow and celebrate all that God has done to bring me to this point. Until then, I'm off to catch a plane and carb load. 😉 Have an amazing Friday!!!

 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.

-Hebrews 12:1 from the Message

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Taking a Break from Treatment

Dear friends,

I want to start by thanking you one million times over for your prayers for my friend Molly, whom I wrote about on the last blog post. Molly is now in heaven, free from pain and suffering, her beautiful life still inspiring me and countless others. I also want to thank you for your prayers for us as we had to decide next steps for treatment. I know the unwavering peace I've had since we met with my medical team is due to your faithful prayers on our behalf.

We met with Dr. Sullivan in late December to determine our course of action following my unexpected exit of the clinical trial in mid-November. As it turns out, between my November and December visits, Bristol Meyers decided to reopen the trial to complete responders (there are only two Complete Trial Responders in the U.S. that I am aware of, and both of us are patients at Mass Gen). So, we were given 3 options moving forward: continue treatment on the trial, take just the Opdivo infusions (one of the drugs I've been taking in the trial and now FDA approved) somewhere closer to home, or take a break and continue to be monitored closely.

We went into our meeting and discussed all options at length. Knowing the ferocity of the disease and its statical likelihood of recurrence, we have always wanted to take the most aggressive treatment approach available. That has always been the game plan, and I was certain we would continue treatment in some form after leaving the trial in November. However, there is no scientific evidence to support that continuing treatment after an all clear/NED report will prolong remission. So, after lengthy discussions and advice from my medical team and a lot of prayer, we have decided to take a break from treatment and just be monitored very closely at Mass General moving forward. This is not the decision I was anticipating we would reach, and we didn’t decide the day we met with our team to discuss my options. But Vic and I both left that meeting feeling like it absolutely made the most sense to take a break, and after praying about it for a few more days we made the decision final. I felt complete peace with the decision and have not looked back.

Being off of treatment has been a gift. I cannot explain how freeing it has been to not make the trek from Mississippi to Boston (a minimum of) every 14 days. From October 2014-December 2015, I went to Boston 35 times. (WHAT? I know. I can’t even.) My body is just now realizing how taxing treatment + travel has been. I continue to feel better each day, and it is thrilling. I had completely forgotten what it felt like to feel good! I even started running (read: jogging) again. Of course, being off of treatment is a little like taking the training wheels off of your bike. It’s nerve-wracking at first and you feel a little wobbly your first few rides. I’m doing my best to not let every little fever or ache freak me out, and luckily I have sisters to help with that. A few weeks ago I was experiencing a pretty intense pain just under my right lung when I was running (jogging) on the treadmill. I convinced myself the cancer had returned and called my sister, a nurse, in a panic. She calmly reminded me, “Meredith that’s not cancer. That’s called being out of shape.”  #SoThere'sThat


Lately I’ve been reflecting on the past year, and the bleakness of my diagnosis, and I am again overwhelmed at the goodness of God and how He has orchestrated my healing. I’m amazed at how the Creator of the universe comes down in such a personal way to each of us. How He meets us in our pain, bears our burden, and gives the grace we need to walk through the most difficult of circumstances. I think about how so many of you, known and unknown, have helped carry us through this season of hard. The way you have cared for us is miraculous and humbling beyond belief. You make me want to do better, love bigger and give more.

So now that I’m officially off of treatment and enjoying NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE (#jazzhands), I have the opportunity to choose to trust God’s plan for my life and mentally live in the right-now instead of the what-ifs. Easier said than done, for sure. We are aware that the odds of remaining NED are statistically not in our favor, but I know that God’s plan trumps any statistic. I am resting in the fact that when I submit to His purpose for me, I am safe. Whatever “safe” looks like, I know that if it’s in Him, then it’s good. (I just need lots of help fulfilling my end of the bargain - submitting.)

So here’s our plan moving forward. We are actually staying in the trial for monitoring purposes, just stopping treatment. This way, they can continue to use my labs to help researchers learn more about the disease, drugs, and hopefully a cure. After my next round of scans on Feb 16 and Boston appointment on Feb 24, I will only have to travel to Boston every 3 months for scan reviews, labs, checkups, etc. Should there ever be a recurrence of the disease, all treatment options are open to me. I can jump right back onto the trial drugs, or pursue any other treatment option. Emily or I will post scan results here on the blog after the 16th, and my precious friend Caneel will post to the Facebook page ( for those of you who prefer to follow our updates there.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your love and prayers. I am overwhelmed and humbled by your love and kindness, and I thank God for every one of you.

With love and hope,