Everyone has celebration markers in their life—significant events that we pen and record as part of our personal history—big birthdays, graduations, births, weddings, driver’s licenses, report cards. We even have smaller markers that reveal changes in our lives—like the penned marks on my pantry wall showing the boys’ heights each year. Wow-does that show significant change. Next week I celebrate a big marker in my life—my 50th birthday. I certainly never thought I would share my 50th with cancer and chemotherapy. In fact, my plan was to be in Uganda with my whole family and my Uganda team and my Ugandan brothers and sisters, and then spend four days in London. But those weren’t the plans that were in store. God is allowing me to endure this new trial and I will embrace it with faith and strength, which only comes from Him.
This has been a crazy cancer/chemo week! I had chemo on Monday and it was a party! Jilane took me, Greg came by with my images for the doctor to see, Leah took the last shift and brought me home, and Darlene and Molly dropped by (which is a whole story in itself!). You are only supposed to have one visitor, but my nurse was so sweet. She told me that next week she would have a table and chairs for the PARTY! The cancer/chemo culture is incredibly loving. I have met a new friend Ron, who has chemo on the same days as I do—he is a hoot. His faith, family, and terrific sense of humor will get him through his own cancer trial. When I arrive, the nurses greet me with hugs and always comment on my jewelry and clothes (gotta be a fashionista even with chemo—it really helps!). The love and optimism in the infusion center gives so much hope.
I had minimal side effects while the pump was in--Danielle took me to disconnect on Wednesday and I was pretty tired yesterday and today--plus raw throat and chapped hands which is all part of the side effects.
Today Greg and I had our appointment with my oncologist to discuss the images and the next steps. You won't believe how amazing these results are—
Here are some pretty awesome “celebration markers”:
The most important one is my "cancer marker counts"---my original counts were 53 and now my counts are 7! Yes, seven. And a "normal person without cancer" has a cancer marker of FOUR! My doctor says this is incredibly awesome news and he still calls me his rock star patient.
The second thing is that my liver tumors are significantly reduced, but the liver specialist/surgeon wants me to stay on chemo for at least two more rounds (one month) to optimize chemo since it is working so well. Then he will look at images again and decide with the colon surgeon on surgery.
Things to note--they want me to sleep more and lighten my schedule a bit. My white blood cell counts are low, but that is just because chemo is working. Since I have been exercising (running) five days a week still, they want me to lighten that and power walk instead. Everything else they said is going great, but now that I am in round six of chemo, they said that my body is going to weaken more and I will be more tired, so I need to take advantage of rest.
Friends,will you join me in celebrating all the markers of life? Embrace them and pen them in your hearts.