As some of you know, I (April) went through my usual rigmarole of scans last week. Shots of dye, drinks of contrast, and CT machines provide my doctors with data about the current state of my breast cancer tumors. Peter and I went into these scans expecting some dramatic or at least definitive results. After having punched my tumors with the full power of my chemo drugs, we thought the scans would report that my tumors had shrunk. Sadly, that was not the case. But my scans weren’t without some good news either. There does not appear to be any new growth in my tumors. The cancer cells also seem more inactive. This is positive news for sure.
My chemotherapy (Abraxane) has done as much as it can do to fight back my tumors. Now, we move into a maintenance mode. The goal is to stay on my current treatment as long as possible. Until those nasty cancer cells start growing again, we will use the chemo to hold them back. My doctors project the chemo will be effective for about three to six more months. When the cancer morphs and starts growing again, then we will discuss and decide on a new treatment plan.
For now, I will continue to use the Abraxane in a decreased dose. Instead of three weeks on, one week off, I will transition to taking chemo every other week. This has the benefit of less time in the Infusion Center as well as less side effects per week/month.
Chemotherapy has proven to be brutal at times for me. In addition to losing all my hair, eyebrows and eyelashes, there are the occasional fever and chills after the infusion, the constant stomach pains, the decreased appetite, the intense fatigue, and the neuropathy (losing feeling in my fingers and toes). Some days these side effects are more than an annoyance and completely disruptive to my life. There is only so much that a person can push through. Over the last few weeks, I reach that point. Hopefully, a reduction in the Abraxane will increase my quality of life while still holding my cancer at bay.
How Are We Doing?
We walk a tightrope between the good and the bad. We remain hopeful in our God and continue to learn what it means to trust and rely on Him one day at a time. Yet we continue to grieve this incurable disease that has taken up residency in our lives. We can’t ignore the ways that it affects our day-to-day lives.
While we see the good news in these recent scans, we can’t help but still shed tears because the cancer is still in my body. If we could will it away in our own strength, we certainly would have by now! Instead, I’m told my scans are increasingly difficult to read and interpret due to the scarring nature of the disease on my insides.
So I try to focus on the positive aspects of less chemo in the coming days. Still, I know that I will dread Infusion Center building each time I pull into its parking lot.
The idea of better days ahead does not mean easy days. Forcing myself to eat my meals and struggling with the pain in my fingers while fixing my girls’ hair each morning may not go away.
As thankful as I am for the makeup that enables me to draw on eyebrows, the flash lashes that replace my own and wigs that are stylish and complimentary, I miss my own hair and know I’m not getting it back anytime soon. I sometimes feel like cancer has taken away my youth and a sense of who I am, especially when I look in the mirror first thing in the morning.
On this tightrope that we find ourselves, I can confidently say that God has kept us from falling to the ground. We sway from side to side, but He is always there is steady us again. Our faith is not great and our emotions are tumultuous, but our God is good, powerful, and true. He loves me, Peter, Luke, Lily and Lacey. We are learning that His mercies really are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness!
How to Pray:
Please pray for God to heal me, to push back the cancer and to bless my treatments. Nothing is impossible with God.
Pray that I will have the strength that I need each day to endure side effects and to accomplish the tasks that are before me, especially caring for the needs of my family.
Pray that we will experience the mercies of God afresh and that we will know the joy and peace of Christ even on the bad days.
Pray that God will increase our love for our three kiddos. Under the best of circumstances, parenting is no easy feat (much less in the midst of scans and trips to the infusion center).
Pray that God would redeem our three children. Of late some have expressed an increased interest in the gospel.
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