Holding Off Treatment

Yesterday I arrived at the cancer center for my herceptin and cyberknife treatment. (A quick refresher: herceptin focuses on a protein in my cells. That protein, HER2, was present in my tumor. The idea is to kill off that protein in my body. In doing so, it has been proven to reduce risk of recurrence by 15%.) It is a year long treatment which I’ve been having every three weeks since last November, and I’ve been counting down the months, now the weeks, until this is over. “Soon,” I thought, “will be the last one, and I will be done with treatment.” I have held onto Thanksgiving and Christmas as my freedom celebrations to come.

I thought wrong. It seems the herceptin has damaged my heart, so they are holding off on treatment for now. For now. Those words hung in the air like humidity on a 100 degree southern summer day. My world reeled as I tried to grasp what this meant.

For those of you wondering what kind of damage… in rare cases, herceptin can cause congestive heart failure. That is why I was having periodic heart scans to monitor whether or not damage was occurring. Well, it occurred. The doctor said I would probably not feel anything from it, that there was a drop in my scan, but to be on the safe side they didn’t want to do any more treatment for a while. In six weeks they will do another heart scan to see if my heart has strengthened. If so, then they will start treatment back up again. If not… well, I’m still uncertain of the if not.

My sweet friend, Barb, was with me yesterday, and I am so thankful she was; I needed her eyes to see beyond my circumstances. To see beyond the fear of my heart weakening and the frustration of my life returning to limbo for a while. “Isn’t God good?” she smiled, “Years ago they may not have known to check your heart. Now, they can stop before any further damage is done.” I needed to have her reminder that God is in these details.

Through the night my thoughts were frenetic as I tried to grasp and answer the questions that swirled through my mind. Everything from, “What if I don’t get to finish treatment? What does this mean for future recurrence?” To, “Does this mean I won’t be able to go amusement parks and ride on roller coasters with my kids?”

I thought of the line from one of our favorite Caedmon’s Call songs, Hold The Light. “Jacob wrestled the angel, but I’m too tired to fight.” That is how it feels right now. I cried all afternoon yesterday, not even sure what emotions I was having or how to even process the discouragement and disappointment. I’m still in the place of wrestling this morning. The thing is, this could be the end of treatment. If my heart remains damaged, they won’t continue, so it all may be over. It’s the not knowing that causes me to struggle.

And once again I’m holding my open hands to the Lord saying, “Take everything. In surrendering all I am surrendering my treatment, my future, my questions to You.” And He is able. In all His wisdom, glory, strength, grace and compassion, He hasn’t made a single mistake yet. And He’s not going to make one now.

He holds my heart in His hands… in more ways than one.

7 responses to “Holding Off Treatment”

  1. Dearest Ang,

    I’m praying for you right now that God may comfort you and hold you close to HIM. You are right, God makes no mistakes nor will He ever, and it is that promise that is to be kept close to your heart. May God’s Love shower over you and your family today! I love you dear, sister in Christ!

    Love,
    Becky

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  2. Angie,

    Since I got your email yesterday afternoon my heart has been aching with yours. Do you know the old hymn, Day by Day?

    Day by day, and with each passing moment,
    Strength I find to meet my trials here;
    Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
    I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
    He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
    Gives unto each day what He deems best,
    Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure,
    Mingling toil with peace and rest.

    Every day the Lord Himself is near me,
    With a special mercy for each hour;
    All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,
    He whose name is Counsellor and Pow’r.
    The protection of His child and treasure
    Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
    “As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,”
    This the pledge to me He made.

    Help me then, in every tribulation,
    So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
    That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation,
    Offered me within Thy holy Word.
    Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
    E’er to take, as from a father’s hand,
    One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
    Till with Christ the Lord I stand.

    Longing for heaven this week more than ever! I love you.

    Moni K

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  3. Dear Angie,
    Praying for you…It sounds like they caught the damage before anything major occurred and that you had almost all of your HER2 treatments as well. You are growing so strong through this…though I know we feel so weak during the times we are being strenghtened. Know you are not alone. The body is with you and so is the Lord.

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  4. My precious Angie,

    Romans 8:28and 29, a tremendous promise and the outcome is beyond out imagination.

    He will cause this all to work together for your good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose and for those whom He foreknew He also predestined them to be conformed to the image of His Son. He will glory Himself in us and us in Him.

    Let’s walk together in this and encourage each other to take each step walking in Christ and growing up into Him even His head. May the hearing of His word fill us with hope. May the God of hope fill us with joy and peace in believing that we will dwell in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Knitted together in love my sweet one,
    Judie Young

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  5. Praying for you Angie. Isn’t it wonderful how God can provide those little miracles for us when we need them…just like your friend. Know that you have many more friends out here that are thinking of you.

    I hope you get to go to your game this weekend. I hope you go and can put this on the back burner for a just a few hours.

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  6. “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” ~Psalm 84:11

    I am praying for you, dearest Angie. It is true that He makes no mistakes. All of life He holds in His faithful hands. I love you, and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers!

    ~Sarah

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  7. I am praying for you!

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