Yesterday was a busy and tiring day – but, all in all, pretty good. The highlight, without a doubt, was the nurse (Angelique) who summarized our little journey and my day perfectly when she said “your case has been rather unusual [referring to the insurance and, at that moment, to the concerns about a good image on echo cardiogram] but it just keeps working out … little miracles …” It’s true. This has been a slightly bumpy road but the Lord has smoothed our path. Isaiah 26:7, “You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them.” Amen. Here are a few of the ways the Lord smoothed our path yesterday or, as Angelique said, performed “little miracles…”
- We went to chemo class and, about ¾ of the way through, Scott handed me his phone and said “listen to this message…” It was our financial contact at Texas Oncology celebrating with us that she’d heard back from insurance and they had removed the first year pre-existing condition clause. THANKS LORD! While we are thankful for the help and answer for our financial needs, it is also a blessing to have one less series of phone calls to make, questions to ask, and mental energy devoted to the unknowns of that unresolved issue. We are thankful!
- Yesterday afternoon, I became quickly discouraged as we began the echo cardiogram. I had been at the hospital all morning and gone back for the first time by myself – I’m learning my way around and Scott had a work appointment. The technician began and, as I’ve heard so many times throughout the last 3 weeks, she said, “you’re nursing?! I’m not sure this is gonna work …” All I knew to do and say was “Lord, please make this work!” as she hooked me up with probes all around my torso and then she said, “well I can see your heart just fine!” Considering I hadn’t nursed Linc since 7am, I wasn’t very hopeful. But God worked it out. And that’s when Angelique said, “your case has been rather unusual … but it keeps working out … little miracles.” My first tears of the day were hearing her Indonesian accent so sweetly describe our situation and to get a glimpse of how God can cause others to see Himself through echo cardiograms, insurance woes, and everything else that lay ahead.
- The last “little miracle” that Angelique and I celebrated together at the end of the day was the scheduling of the port surgery. It had been difficult to get that scheduled and she had heard from Dr. Lamont’s office that he had an opening at 10am on Wednesday but he works out of 3 surgical facilities and she didn’t know which one. With Linc in mind, arrangements for him and going to new places at the crack of dawn sounded like a beat-down. So, as she was telling me about the 3 possibilities and that she’d need me to come back to big Baylor anyways for lab work, my eyes were big and all I said was “oh, Lord, please work this out” and she said [I have no idea if she’s a Believer or not but so very sweet and dear and kind to me], “Well He’s done a lot so far. Please sir?” And within :30, I had a call from big Baylor to begin pre-surgery admittance and I just felt myself sigh with relief when I said “so does this mean Dr. Lamont is doing the surgery at Baylor” and she said yes. When I called Angelique back to tell her, she said it again … “another little miracle.”
It has also turned out that our willingness to participate in the research study has given us the blessing of another nurse. Angelique is such a sweet lady and so attentive. Our oncologist nurse was out of the office yesterday with a sick baby and Angelique followed me to every appointment (not necessarily part of her job but more reflective of her heart for patient care), even insisted on carrying my bag, answered all kinds of questions, and even has asked my permission to attend my surgery on Wednesday. I’ve told her I feel like I have my own little personal nurse!
So, needless to say, the Lord continues to show Himself faithful. And, His perfect love continues to cast out any and all fear. I presumed that the chemo class might be a punch to the gut and reality might be overwhelming but, despite discussing all the side effects and unpleasantness in my body as chemo kills all fast-growing cells (so, not only my cancer but also cells in GI tract, mouth, and skin/hair/nails), I still felt at ease. I turned to Scott and said, “are we really in here?!” It still seems so surreal. How does the girl who doesn’t check any of the boxes on the form about previous surgeries, illness, medications, etc. have cancer in her breast and lymph nodes and feel perfectly fine?! Oh, that reminds me to tell you that I have an answer to a question many have asked but I hadn’t known before … what stage?! My cancer is Stage 2B. I’ve avoided the internet like crazy because know it can be a scary and unreliable source but this was the first thing I’ve looked up (to better understand what that means) and it simply describes the size of my tumor and how far it’s spread.
[If you are interested in more information, the chemo class recommended the sites cancercare.com and cancer.org which is the American Cancer Society’s site. From there, you can learn much more about treatment and the drugs. And, for you medical folks out there who won’t more medical details, my chemo regimen includes the drugs taxol, adramyacin, and cytoxan and there’s more information on cancercare.com about those drugs and side effects.]
On the PINK path, here’s what’s next …
- Wednesday: Port installed (is that the right medical term?! I don’t think so – I’m making my body sound like a car!) and another biopsy on Wednesday. I don’t know what that means for anesthesia – all I know is that they said I’ll be “schnockered” so expect that’s a more serious surgery than I’ve ever had. My only surgery in my life was last year’s c-section for Linc and, while they split my belly open, I was completely awake and remember almost all of it.
- Friday: I’ll check in for lab work at 9:30, see the doctor at 10 (my doctor is still in Vietnam but I’ll see one of her partners) and then infusions begin at 10:45.
- Somewhere between Wednesday and Friday we’ll know if I was selected in the randomization for the research drug. It’s real cute that Angelique is really cheering and hoping I am. I’m truly happy to help with the research and they are so thankful that it truly makes me want to help the research team and, Lord willing, others in the future.
THANK YOU for praying with us about the insurance. I know so many of you expressed care and concern and partnered with us in prayer. He heard us. And He answered.
The only other slight hiccup that I’m asking the Lord to resolve is that, in my urine test yesterday (did I really type urine?! And, for that matter, if I really typed breast over and over?! I guess I’m gonna have to grow up and be a big girl …) there were signs of infection. Angelique sent the sample for further analysis and to see what antibiotic to put me on. She’s baffled because I don’t have any symptoms (pain or temperature) of any sort of bladder or urinary tract infection though my labs indicate otherwise. It’s quite apparent that the chemo is a beating on the body so you have to be pretty healthy to get started – I am hopeful and prayerful that they’ll get answers quickly on Monday with a plan to proceed and that can be cleared up quickly and easily (with another urine sample, I’m sure, that has to be clear of infection) before Wednesday or Friday.
We continue to feel so blessed by the care and support of our friends and family. I can’t thank y’all enough. And, as noted above, God continues to demonstrate his “perfect love that casts out fear” in all the little and big ways He’s got us. I came home yesterday from a walk to find men I don’t know mowing our yard – our friends the Lisles offered to take care of our yard for the next year. However, Scott only agreed to a few months because he said a full year was ‘milking it.’ I, on the other hand, thought a year sounded great:) We’ve continued to be blessed by kind and sweet texts and emails, thoughtful and generous gifts in the mail (like my favorite and ridiculously expensive perfume that arrived yesterday and a neat blanket designed to keep me warm but not restrict my arms because the infusion rooms are notoriously cold), and more offers to help. Mandy and Kristi (co-captains of Team Linc) have offered to coordinate childcare for us but, so far, dear friends (who love Linc and that’s the biggest blessing!) have volunteered before I even had to express the need to Team Linc to check others’ availability! Thanks so much Aunt B, Aunt C, and Auntie Cheryl.
This was a quick entry while Scott and Linc are at Home Depot and now I need to jump in the shower. So, again, not enough time to properly edit so I hope y’all can make sense of my ramblings. Off to another friend’s 40th birthday celebration … Happy Happy Birthday Kristi!