Today I went in for my chemo treatment. It had been a quiet three weeks without setting foot in the cancer center. At my last visit we learned the tumor markers had dropped in half, and each week my blood numbers are dropping but not anything drastic. It was enough that she didn’t feel the need to see me for blood work each week between treatments. It was a respite for my mind to hear that all that I’m doing with chemo and diet changes, etc. is having such a positive effect.
This morning we discussed my side effects and the cumulative nature of chemo. I’m seeing more side effects including splitting fingernails (so painful!) and neuropathy as well as the fatigue and achy muscles and joints which are lasting longer each cycle. She said because of my tumor markers dropping, we have a bit more “play” in the way we schedule my chemo. We considered two options: continue on the three-week cycle and lower my dosage or move to a four-week cycle and stay on the same dosage. After looking at the calendar, we chose the four-week cycle so that I wouldn’t have chemo in the middle of the Christmas holidays. So my treatment today got moved to next week. I am so thankful for her heart for my family and me.
The downside of today’s visit is that I have been having consistent, localized headaches. While she was quick to let me know that 28% of people on my chemo have headaches, she is scheduling me for a head CT to be sure there is no tumor.
Deep breath, y’all.
I am sad. I am scared.
But I am thankful for a doctor who is so proactive and works to catch things quickly and give me the peace of mind I need.
As I left the cancer center with my dad (he’s the ultimate chemo buddy!) this morning, we talked about what this all meant. And I was reminded again of how God is so obviously in this.
Bri and I have often told people, “Our no is no and our yes is maybe.” It’s just the reality of where we live, and we knew that several “plans” for this coming weekend were in the “very maybe” category. It looked like Brian and the kids would be doing the Christmas parade (two of mine are in it) without me, that he might be doing a Christmas party without me, that my ticket to the JMU game on Saturday would sit on the counter and they would all go without me. Chemo has created such a nebulous lifestyle for us. But now, there is a hopeful expectation that I’ll get to go. I am grateful.
And as I contacted my close friends and family to let them know what was going on and coming down the pipeline, I was beyond encouraged by the constancy of their friendship, of their faithfulness to groan with me, weep with me, and pray for me. “Eyes on Jesus together” has become my theme. It’s where I must live and where they so consistently lead me.
My dear Bethy called as soon as she heard the news and we shared hearts. She pushed me to remember my “spiritual chemo”–that God has so saturated every part of my being with His love, and that will never change.
Truth is, we continue to struggle to take in the extensive nature of living with metastatic cancer… the neverendingness of it all. That is the part that can be so disheartening and overwhelming. To live with death so palpably in my body… to always wonder if it has exploded/spread… to always be receiving some form of treatment… it is all so very much to take in. We are exhausted in every way.
But at the same time, we have no doubt of His love for us, His faithfulness to us. We see it every day in how much He has given us in this life.
So, we fear, yes.
But we laugh. We love.
We look to Jesus. Together.
I am waiting for them to call me with my head CT appointment… hopefully it will be this week. Thank y’all for your faithful love and prayers.