Since my last post, we met with my oncologist; he likes to check in and see how my side effects after each treatment are. They also do bloodwork to check my white blood cell count and a few other things to make sure my body is strong enough for the next treatment. Both he and my nurse/navigator seemed very surprised that I had such mild side effects and when I told him my largest tumor is all but gone, he seemed cautiously surprised but didn’t say much. I don’t think he is one to give “false hope” and is not easily excitable but my nurse was shocked and surprised.
We also received the report from the bone scan and the genetic testing. The bone scan showed absolutely nothing. My oncologist explained that this sometimes happens where nothing shows up initially but after a few chemo treatments, something will show up where the bone is healing from treatment. I will have another full body bone scan and full body PET scan after my 3rd treatment and then again after my last treatment so we can see how the cancer is responding. He did caution that if we see activity in many spots on my bones at the next scan, it will be disappointing to him because that will indicate the cancer was more widespread than just the hip. However, I know my God is bigger than ANY amount or spread. Honestly, I am grateful that the spot on my hip can’t really be biopsied now because thats a painful procedure and one that, if done improperly, could cause even more metastesis.
My genetic test came back with one positive for a mutation in the CHK2 gene. Mutations in this gene raised my risk for breast cancer from something like 7% in the average caucasian to 37% in my lifetime. This mutation, coupled with a medication I took (which tripled my risk of breast cancer and I only found out AFTER I was diagnosed), are probably the two biggest factors contributing to my cancer at my age. I will post more on that medication at a later date.
Through all this, God has been covering me with His peace and filling me with His joy. I don’t worry about the future; I enjoy the present. He has made it clear me that if He was finished with me here on earth, he would and could take me in an instant. One day, shortly after my diagnosis, I was having a really rough day. We were driving on the highway to the other side of the island and my mind was just plagued with the “what if’s” and I asked God for peace or just some reassurance. As we drove up the mountain, it started raining. We were going the speed limit or just under and from the passenger seat I saw the brake lights ahead but Josiah couldn’t. I cautioned him and he slowed when all of a sudden the truck in front of us locked up their brakes and the truck behind us locked up theirs. I looked over at the lane next to us and saw it was open so I told Josiah “clear right” and he moved over just before we would have been sandwiched. Right after that happened, in my mind I could tell that God was clearly saying, “I’ve got you, trust me! If I wanted to call you home, I could’ve done it right then and there.”
My tone has change to not only trusting God but PRAISING him throughout the day; something I’ve never really done. I wake up with praise songs or Bible verses in my head and find them running through my head during the day. During my bone scan, I had complete peace and just laid there singing “Ever Be” in my head and humming it, along with praising God for whatever came to my mind.
Since that day, I find myself praising God throughout the day. I can’t adequately explain how much more close I feel to God, how much deeper the peace and joy I have is. It’s like I’ve uncovered something that once was strange and mysterious but now it has become familiar and almost second nature. I find myself reading and writing out the psalms quite often. I have one journal that I just write Bible verses out as people share them or I find them and they speak to me. There is something about writing them out instead of simply reading them that resonates with me.
Tomorrow I go in for my second round of chemo. I am not nervous or anxious. My bald head will confidently go into that room covered by God’s peace, mercy, grace, and assurance. I hope to be a light to those who are there and make that day COUNT. God has been so gracious in his healing in just the first round. I pray his grace continues and that he uses the chemo, my nutrition, and supplements to continue to kill the cancer while protecting my healthy cells. Oh how I long and pray for the day when there are better options for treatment.
In closing, to whomever reads this, as found in Numbers 6:24-26, “The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.
It is my prayer that God would use this to speak to others, to give you hope, to draw you closer to Him or near to Him if you don’t yet know Him.