Oh, it’s been a while.
Here’s a short update from me if you don’t want to read a long blog-post that I’ve crafted, stopped, crafted again and just now am finishing:
- At the end of July, I was originally scheduled to have cancerous lung nodules removed; however, some last minute scans had shown that the tumors had grown, and surgery was no longer an option.
- Came back to the “chemotherapy drawing board,” if you will, and I knew intuitively that I wanted to return back to a chemotherapy regiment that I had done when I was 18/19 years old, a freshman in college.
- I have now had 2 cycles or rounds of this chemotherapy regiment, and a CT scan of my chest proved that after 1 cycle alone that the chemotherapy is working and shrinking the lung nodules! Praise God!
- About a week ago, I decided to finally and purposefully pursue my idea of transforming my blog into a book. Since self-publishing and fighting cancer are both separately expensive in themselves, I started a Kickstarter to campaign for funding. Currently, I have 71% pledged funds for my self-publishing project!!! Please check out my project and progress if you get the chance. I appreciate any support—financial or word of mouth—that you may choose to do to promote my journey towards self-publishing. You all are so amazing of my family and I, diligently praying, supporting and thinking of us!
On the last day of July, I anticipated waking up with new scars underneath my left arm, a sideways crescent moon alongside my left rib cage, shortness of breath and pain.
On the last day of July, I anticipated going to the hospital for lung surgery to remove the small nodules that we knew of.
The last day of July was a Monday, the beginning of a new week, a beginning of recovery.
Those plans changed and disappeared before my eyes, like a magic trick, just days before my surgery date. (oh, medial mysteries!)
You see, it’s really true: cancer grows and changes and spreads quickly, in an instant.
My life changes and transforms in an instant.
I am the dog at the end of cancer’s leash. I am following its lead it feels often.
Scans before my surgery revealed that the cancer nodules in my lungs had grown. Finding out that they had grown over such a short period of time—less than a month—was, to put it honestly, devastating.
I was mentally prepared for the new scars to come, the new aches and pains that I had never experienced before, for recovery, for being tired.
I was prepared for removal, destruction. Not for growth.
I knew I didn’t want to be in agony for long over deciding a new treatment route. I also new that I didn’t want to return back to clinical trial land. I wasn’t in the mental space to start new doctor relationships, new medicines, new hospital. I wanted some sort of stability in the midst of my cells constant changing.
Josh and my dad were there in the room with the consult with Dr. Nick and Stacey, while my mother was on speaker phone, at home with the dogs. In the past, Josh has been around for the waiting game of scans, getting bloodwork done, and many other appointments of mine. But this appointment was the first time he was there for the conversations, the conversations that are branded black into your memory, the black-and-white truth are snapshots in your mind’s album. These the conversations where you completely remember of the words said, and not just the words you remember but also where you were sitting, what you were wearing, the expression on people’s faces…
I was prepared for this kind of conversation. The black-and-white truths of where I am at in my cancer journey are indeed scary. Dr. Nick hands me a list of numerous possible drugs and treatment options, and in the cancer world that is not the best thing. Having a list of many drugs to choose from does not mean that they are all great options; it means there are no options left. Scanning the names, trying to pronounce the names… which drugs do you choose and how do you choose which ones to dig deeply into your bone and blood to plant into your body and pray they work?
I will tell you a secret:
For some time, since the beginning of this year, around the time I was about to be kicked off my clinical trial, I knew in my heart and mind that I would return back to old chemo drugs I’ve had in the past, when I was a freshman in college. For some reason the Spirit seemed to just let me know ahead of time that those drugs will come back into my life at some point, and I swear I felt different nerve-endings and cells rejoice and sing with the thoughts of returning to these drugs. They were almost pleading with me, asking me, telling me that these are the medicines and drugs they needed, and my body knew it. (It’s amazing sometimes what your body tells you, if you simply listen.)
Your body will tell you what it needs most of the time, if you only just listen, I am realizing more and more.
So I listened. And doing so shortened the agony of deciding what drug to choose this time, making pros and cons of each, looking up more information on the internet about the risk factors or the statistics.
On the last day of July, instead of rolling into surgery, I returned back to the day infusion clinic and smiled with joy at the nurses eager to see me, missing them after a month+ of being chemotherapy free. And as I returned every day that week, receiving chemotherapy as my 9-5 job, I felt immense peace.
Peace. Peace. Peace. Peace.
Once that needle was inserted into my port, the chemo key unlocked my chest. I swear, I felt it do so. And as the chemo key opened up my chest and flowed through my chest walls and lungs, all I felt that week was peace, that I knew I was doing the right thing for my body for once, it felt. That maybe, just maybe, these drugs were what my body has needed all along.
So, I finished my first chemo round during the first week of August, and since then I have been on a 2 week chemo free break. I’ll tell you, it sounds crazy and strange, but I much prefer going in for chemo every day for 5 days straight and then having 2 weeks off instead of my old schedule: 1 day of chemo per week for 3 weeks in a row. Having 2 weeks of no chemo compacting onto itself in my body is so much more doable for me personally.
This past week though has been, admittedly, a lot! Every day feeling pain in my chest, sometimes coughing after laughing, makes me look down and wonder what is going on in there? I questioned and wondered and then angst and became terrified of all the action I felt within my chest walls, that I asked for a chest CT scan sooner than when my doctor had planned and anticipated.
That battle I was feeling within my chest WAS VICTORY! The chemotherapy is working! The lung nodules are shrinking smaller and smaller in millimeter sizes.
So now I am continuing on this treatment path, taking in chemotherapy for 5 days at a time, with much more confidence and assurance that this is what my body needs. And it is indeed still hard to remember that at times when I am exhausted from being exhausted, waking up at 4am because I’ve had crazy insomnia. The chemotherapy side effects wax and wane with each week. With each push of the drug, I know that something within me is happening, and that the Lord still wants to keep me here for His purposes.
Help me to see those purposes and reasons Lord as I go back to another chemo week tomorrow.
Help me to continue to find that peace that You promise and long to give me.
Help my family and I rest and recover in You.