I am feeling much, much better since stopping chemo at the end of July. Kind of like the real “me” has been swimming to the surface a little more each day. After my most recent PET scan, I realize that I’ll be using my restored vigor to engage in yet another fight.
The latest scan showed three very small but very active tumors in three lymph nodes. Because of the location of the tumors, radiation is not an option. I’ll be starting aggressive chemo on Tuesday, Oct. 18. The doctor is still determining the exact treatment plan, but right now it looks like I’ll be following a regimen very similar to what I had when I first started chemo – including the much hated chemo pump and accompany fanny pack. It’s tough stuff, I’ll not lie, but at least I’ll feel much better starting it now than I did back then.
I love the saying “There’s always, always something to be thankful for.” With that in mind, I’m thankful that:
1. I’m feeling strong. The break from chemo has been just enough for me to get back in “fighting shape.” If I would have had to start strong chemo feeling as depleted as I was, it would have been very difficult to bear.
2. The insurance company approved the PET scan that found the tumors. My doctors were pleasantly surprised when my health insurance agreed to the more expensive PET scan. Had we been forced to go with a CT scan, the tumors may have been missed because they’re so small. Because we found them early, treatment should be much more effective.
3. During my break from chemo, we uncovered a colonization of bacteria in my left sinus. I am now using a concoction of medicines in my nose that are already helping tremendously. Had I not stopped chemo, I wouldn’t have been as determined to get to the bottom of what turned out to be a pretty serious sinus problem. When that clears up, I’ll feel even better.
4. I’ve often said I’d rather have a shorter time of feeling rotten than a very long time of feeling pretty bad. Even though this chemo will be hard to endure, I’m hoping it can knock this cancer back to the point that I can truly enjoy a chemo-free life – at least for a while.
While teaching my weekly Bible Study the morning before I got my test results, I said, “I don’t know why this stuck out to me, but the thing I noticed most was how the disciples worried about feeding a crowd of 4,000 even though they had already seen Jesus miraculously feed 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish. We need to remember what He’s done for us.” Clearly, that message was for me.
It was shocking to get bad news from the doctor, but I quickly remembered my lesson and had more courage. I remember what God has done for me these nearly seven years, and I trust Him completely. With His help and your prayers, I know I can do this.
Still believing and battle ready,
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”