How about a quick history lesson on my cancer.

March 2011
diagnosed with stage 3c ovarian cancer; surgery removed all but very small pieces from the peritoneal wall and a small spot on my liver

September 2011
completed 6 rounds of platinum-based chemo (a.k.a. the best there is for ovarian cancer)

September 2011
discovered there was absolutely no change in my cancer after chemo; resumed chemo

January 2012
after a day in the hospital and gall bladder attack, CT scan shows that cancer appears to be calcified/dead and we suspend chemo on a month-to-month basis

May 2012
big surgery and 7 day hospital stay for gall bladder; cancer biopsied and found to still be active

July 2012-December 2012 

January 2013
CT scan shows there is still no change in cancer

(I should get some kind of reward for being able to condense the last 2 years down to just this short list.)

So after hearing my latest CT scan news and that Dr. W wanted to see me in person, I definitely went to worst case scenario in my head. Despite feeling pretty emotionally stable over the last 2 weeks, the kids were devastated, and we cried alot of tears together. Brian and I had some very frank discussions about what our family's future looks like. It was hard.

But when Dr. W met us at the door (literally) with a smile on his face and proceeded to tell us that the cancer continues to look calcified; there is absolutely no new growth; and that he recommends I continue on this "chemo holiday," I felt the knot inside my stomach start to unravel.

This is not remission or NED (no evidence of disease) as is the more common term these days. But it is a reprieve and is probably the most positive news I could hope for. Dr. W mentioned many times how unusual my case has been so far. Ovarian cancer is typically very aggressive, especially when platinum-based chemo has not worked. No growth in nearly 2 years is fairly remarkable. 

So we're going to enjoy a little time off. I will have monthly blood work and if the CA125 stays stable, then a CT scan every 3 months. If my CA125 number starts to double, then "all bets are off." And let's not forget that while they are small fluctuations, my CA125 has gone up 2 months in a row. If/when my CA125 starts to double, the next chemo I have will be easier in terms of day-to-day side effects, but it does have some more serious side effects for my body (not to mention it will make me bald again).

I also want to point out that Dr. W told us specifically that if I were his wife, he would be recommending a break. He says my body needs this time to heal and that I should enjoy myself. As he said that, I remembered how he rubbed my shoulder and told me to enjoy my Christmas break back in December (as I cried because my CA125 had gone up). I've tortured myself with the thought that he was encouraging me so strongly to enjoy my holiday because he thought it would be my last Christmas. 

I'm telling you, controlling fear is not easy.

So this morning I'm having a second cup of coffee (I try to just have one but have failed miserably the last couple of weeks), take a few hours to catch up on some scrapping, jump into carpooling, and fix supper for my family (along with a few extra members tonight).

After running errands yesterday morning (and before my doctor's appointment so I guess you could call it stress eating), Brian and I went to The Perch (a crepery in Green Hills for my local friends) and had a lemon sugar crepe. Oh. My. Stars.
Lemon sugar crepe


Karen said…
I can't. stop. smiling. reading this! You are the picture of grace... I doubt you see it in yourself the way others can... It's true, though. You have been through so much. I can't say how excited I am for you. As you know, I have spent my fair share of time around cancer, and I agree that your case is remarkable in a very good and beautiful way! My favorite part was just your description of what today looks like after yesterday's news. :-) (((HUGS)))
Vicki Bridges said…
So happy for you Melissa and I know how important this is. Today is all we have. Going through a bit of this with my son and leaning on the Lord's strength.
Brenna said…
I am so thrilled for you and your sweet family, Melissa! May God continue to bless you all with peace and joy and strength and comfort. Hugs to you~
VinGirl said…
So glad to hear this news, and that you can hopefully breathe easier for a while. I can't imagine how hard the past couple of months have been for you, and you deserve this break for your body and mind. I continue to think of you and your family every day.

Vicky said…
Sweet tears of relief! You and Kristina Braverman both with good news is almost more than I can take! I scrutinize every manner of everything from my poor onc- facial expressions, tone of voice, actual words said and even the ones not said...

Enjoy the sweetness of life- crepes are a great way to start just that! Love to you and the kiddos!
Melissa , continued prayers and HOPE for you. The news of a break sounds good and do try to enjoy some down time.
Melissa , continued prayers and HOPE for you. The news of a break sounds good and do try to enjoy some down time.
Heather said…
So very happy that you get to take a break! Praying for peace so you can enjoy this time. I think your case has been "remarkable" because of all the prayer warriors you have behind you. Rest assured, those prayers will continue!
Julie said…
Oh Melissa!!! I know we don't "know" each other but I have been praying for you! So very encouraged by this report, yay!!!
I'm shedding a few very, very HAPPY tears for you right now. I'm giggling and smiling reading this...and I think I may just skip out the door in a few minutes when I do school pick-up. Embrace this time... remember your word for the year! Hugs, friend. Big, fat, celebratory hugs!!!
Souns like good news to me!
Renee T. said…
Such happy news!!!!
Krista said…
I like Vicky said it - Sweet tears of relief! Praying this break lasts nice and long.
Joan B said…
So good to hear!! And I agree with the Kristina Bravermon comment. :) Lots of love to you and your family!!
Anonymous said…
Seriously yay!
Amy said…
I'm still smiling over your news!!!
Joanna B said…
A break sounds like good news to me! Prayers and hugs to you!!

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