…like spending your second anniversary with your boo at your 7th round of chemo with a drip of benadryl that makes you sleep the afternoon away followed by the side effects of a steroid that keeps you up until 2:30am. Fun times. And, since we didn’t think post-chemo was the most fun night for a fun dinner we postponed our celebrating til tonight. But that fun dinner never came. Maybe Scott got tired of being the nurse and wanted a little of his own attention?! Or, maybe in the pursuit of ‘oneness,’ he has sympathy queasiness and wanted to log some hours of his own in the bathroom?! All I know is that he came home earlier than I expected from the gym this morning and before I could get from the bedroom door to the living room, he was already on the couch. And he stayed there until this afternoon. When he managed to get himself to our bedroom for another nap. And, later, back to the couch to sleep the rest of the evening away. He’s finally rallied a little bit to at least watch the American Idol results while I work on this overdue update on our ever-evolving PINK world. Oh, and how could I forget?! Today, I also went to the doctor with Linc because in one of my Mom of the Year moments I had failed to note the signs of infection on his leg from a bug bite. But thanks to friends at lunch (another shout out for FBA), I realized it warranted a call to the pediatrician which sent me directly to their office. More fun times. So, in honor of our second anniversary, I’ve had chemo. My husband has a stomach bug. And my baby has an infection in his leg. Can we have a do-over?!
But, all in all, we continue to be in good spirits and, as far as chemo and cancer go, still infinitely better than we expected. However, as time goes on in our weekly routine of cancer + family + life + work, keeping in step with Scott and staying on the same team amidst everything else has gotten harder. That reality was on my mind and heart in addition to our anniversary so, in my ‘extra time’ until 2:30 last night, I prayed for my third year as a wife. I pray that I’ll LOVE better, PRAY more, and speak less. At our wedding, Wes (our friend/pastor who married us) taught and challenged us to “love your neighbor as yourself” but I’m afraid I still love me a lot more than I love Scott! And, I want to pray more – for Scott and for me and for us. And, lastly, I want to speak less – from the wise words of James , I want to be slow to speak, slow to anger, and quick to hear. I did pretty well toward that end today – but it’s only 1 day of 365 and it is pretty easy to love well, pray more, and speak less when your boo is asleep:) Here’s to another good day tomorrow! And for those of you that are praying for us, I’d love your prayers for the health of our marriage as well as the health of my body.
Here are some other updates since my last post. I’m sorry for the delay for those of you who check frequently. I didn’t intend to let over a week pass but somehow it happened. Thanks to those of you who sent texts or emails to check in and remind me you’re praying. I continue to marvel at the power of prayer and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. We are so thankful for both!
So, for updates …
1. After last week’s chemo, the bathroom showed increased signs of hair loss. Scott came in the bathroom with hair everywhere and said, ‘it’s happening …’ I decided to go ahead and cut my hair shorter. It’s a little weird but so far I’m pleased with the decision. At least now when I see hair in every nook and cranny of my house (like in the dishwasher soap compartment tonight or on my keyboard as I just looked down or in Linc’s fist as he easily and painlessly pulled it out at the doctor’s office), it’s short and not long. Much better.
2. I got preliminary results back on the genetic testing. There are a couple of components to the test but on the main thing they’re testing for – to determine if I have a mutated gene that would explain why I have cancer – it was negative. Theoretically this is good news because that gene would affect a sister or a daughter. But, since I have neither, I’m not yet sure what I think about the news. I think I was hoping for an explanation of why, at 39, with never an overnight stay in a hospital until Lincoln was born, I have cancer. It’s just so odd to have felt like I had the most boring medical history ever with Linc’s delivery as my only surgery and only 2 lame broken bones – my nose and a finger (both from basketball and in both cases I was well past the age that I should still be breaking bones from playing sports!). And, if I did have the gene, it would make surgery decisions much more clear and straightforward. As it is, assuming nothing changes from the preliminary results of genetic testing, the decision about lumpectomy, mastectomy, or double mastectomy will be a bit more complicated.
3. As noted above, I still feel so much better than I’ve expected. So much so that sometimes I wonder if the drugs are working as they’re supposed to. I know that cancer-fighting drugs kill all the fast-growing cells in your body which is why the side effects usually affect the hair, skin, GI tract, and in the case of this particular drug, nerve endings (often causing neuropathy or nerve ending damage in fingers and toes). But, my side effects have been so much less than expected that I can’t help but wonder if it’s killing what it’s supposed to be killing. Hmm…
4. And probably related to the last point, I definitely don’t think the lump is getting smaller. Now, I know, we’re only about a 4th of the way through the chemo so maybe that’s unrealistic but I think it feels bigger. And when the doctor measured it in her office (not via MRI but by touch with a measuring device), she understood my concern. We all agreed that, compared to when I was first in her office and was nursing at the time, we can feel it more easily and detect the borders better so maybe that’s the only difference. But Scott and I had always described it as the size of a marble. And the doctor agreed it wasn’t a marble anymore – she described it as a pecan. I don’t think I’m yet worried about that but I’m curious and will be interested to see what she thinks at our next visit. We see her on every third chemo visit which will be 2 more weeks. If she has reason to think it’s actually still growing, it was clear that we would immediately change course of action. To what?! I have no idea. But she said we’d do something different. But, for now, we stay the course which is 9 more weeks on this drug and then 8 weeks of another and then surgery. We continue to be very thankful that breast cancer is so treatable and with such success. There are so many stories of folks with other types of cancer that don’t have the same consensus in the medical community about how to treat or the same success rates. We are thankful that we are confident in our doctor and that many women have gone before me with great success. Since my diagnosis, I’ve heard countless stories of women with breast cancer – and all have been survivors.
5. At our last appointment we heard good and interesting news about the experimental drug I’m on (administered in addition to the ‘standard of care’ drug each week). My doctor had been to a meeting on the Saturday before (side note: her spending her Saturday at meetings about investigative drugs sure was impressive to Scott and me!) and the drug is getting good results and she thinks their research efforts and processes are really outstanding. So it was fun for us to hear that and be glad we’re a part of their study and have the benefit of the drug.
The weekend ahead has some highlights because I’m doing 2 fun things that, when they were originally scheduled weeks ago, I accepted with limited expectation that I’d feel good enough to do them. Tomorrow, I’m off to a friend’s farm with other women who serve in our Bible study in South Dallas. And, on Saturday night, going to a dear FBA friend’s birthday dinner. His tradition is that instead of us buying the birthday boy’s dinner, he treats all of his guests … so fun and so generous! I’m honored to be included and excited I feel up for it.
Again, we’ve had another week with more joy and peace than pain and suffering and I find myself immensely grateful. Thanks for praying the prayers He’s answering!