I’ve put off writing this update mostly because I’ve been too busy to sit down and focus on it.
Also, it’s kind of fun to ignore reality while I have the chance.
Brian and I met with Dr. C, my oncologist at Vanderbilt Monday morning, and she confirmed what we had suspected – not only do I have several new spots, but the old spots are growing. These spots are widespread throughout my abdominal cavity, including bladder and liver. A lymph node is also a little suspect. She was quick to reassure us that I do not have liver cancer, bladder cancer, etc. etc. My ovarian cancer has simply spread to the lining of these areas.
Obviously, still not good news.
We initially thought I would wait to start my new treatment plan until the new year. I really, really wanted to get past the holidays. I could tell that although waiting probably wasn't her first choice for me, Dr. C told us many times this was a reasonable request. But as we talked throughout the day, Brian and I both acknowledged that the main reasons for waiting until January were (1) we did not want to give up the Thanksgiving and Christmas trips we have planned and (2) work and church were both very busy during the first couple weeks of December.
I think mid-day we both realized that we need to get back in Fight Cancer mode and refocus our energy on doing whatever necessary to ensure that I stick around on this earth to serve and love on my little family as long as possible. Everything else is secondary. So right now I am tentatively scheduled to resume treatment Tuesday, Dec. 2. This gives us our Thanksgiving trip to visit Brian’s family and then I will hopefully feel well enough by Christmas to travel to Illinois to spend the holidays with my family.
Doxil is Dr. C’s drug of choice, which is a once-a-month chemotherapy and many patients tolerate it very well. This should most definitely not be a repeat of some of my earlier, tougher treatments. Crossing our fingers anyway. I am also pursuing clinical trials.
Oh, and I get to keep my hair, which is clearly the most important thing.
My boss and co-workers have been incredibly supportive, and I am hopeful that I will be able to continue working. We’re going to approach these next few months with cautious optimism regarding my ability to function, continue working, loving on my family, pushing cancer out of my body.
I have never wanted to sound like a little Pollyanna or a sunshine and rainbows kind of girl. Mostly, because I am not that girl. But I have to say, I feel good. I feel positive. I feel grateful for options. The shakiness and tears that were close to the surface for several days after the initial news from Vanderbilt 11 days ago has very easily been replaced by simply gratitude for all the good things going on in my life along with an inner strength that is helping me focus on here and now.
Because Jen Hatmaker (who I love) can pretty much always say something in a more more profound (and generally funnier way) than anyone else, I am pasting below her recent Facebook status regarding her mom’s cancer diagnosis.
I always wondered how I would feel about God if one of my main people got really sick. What would I think about Him if, say, my mom gets cancer? I am here to tell you that this isn't the conundrum I thought it might be: God is still good and He still loves us. I just know that. I suspected I would know it but you can't be sure about your beliefs when all is well.
I got up early today and sat with God awhile to see how I felt about Him.
I determined after a bit that I loved Him, mainly because He loves me so well, but even the Bible said we love God because He first loved us, so I think He'll take it.
Isn't it good to know? That okay, here we are, we have cancer, we have surgeons and oncologists and this is OUR BEST AND ONLY MOM and we don't know how this is going to go, but God feels as true and good as He ever did when no one was sick. It doesn't all disintegrate. The anchor holds like we hoped it would.
Don't be too terribly afraid of life, dear ones. God loves us and is for us in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, as long as we all shall live.
My anchor is holding. The truth that God loves me and is with me is the same now as it was 11 days ago.