April’s Cancer Update: November 2021

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. 

What’s Next  

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.

Contact Info

EMAIL US AT: BIBLEFIGHTER@GMAIL.COM 

SNAIL-MAIL: P.O. BOX 637/ AMISSVILLE, VA 20106

CALL US AT: 540-937-6159.

SUPPORT US AT GOFUNDME.COM: APRIL WITKOWSKI MEDICAL FUND

SUPPORT US AT PAYPAL: ID: PAWitkowski

Witkowski Memo: Amissville Start Date

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I will preach my first sermon as the Senior Pastor of Amissville Baptist Church on April 22, 2018. On that day, I will kick off our study in 2 Timothy, working through each phrase and verse found in the text to expand and deepen our knowledge of the one true God. I look forward to seeing all my ABC family that day and warmly welcome all in the area to come worship with us!

As we continue to pack boxes, to switch around official documents, and to ready for the arrival of our baby, we want to thank both our First Baptist Church Eastman family and our ABC family for all that they have done.

April and I have been deeply blessed by the multitude of compliments, encouragements, and hugs that are being showered upon us and upon our kids by our FBCE family. You have loved us well through this transition, doing above and beyond what we could have anticipated. We thank God for you and for all the many memories that we have formed together while doing Easter Egg hunts, watching toddlers, leading VBS, fellowshipping together, and teaching together. God is good!

fcb64785-f132-497f-b1ae-4d58b1ad9535While April and I leave our FBCE family with full hearts, we enter into this transition period with great excitement, looking forward to developing bonds with our ABC church family. We are especially thankful for Dr. John L. Lindsay Sadler and for the Elders of ABC. They have diligently worked and sacrificed to lay down the foundation for ABCs future, a future full of gospel hope and godly expectation! April and I look forward to working with the Elders, Deacons, and members of ABC to build up and to expand upon their fruitful labors.

When April and I look around our house and see that our living room resembles a storage unit, our hearts fill with joy. We know that God is leading us to ABC. He led each member of the search team to my resume before they met to discuss potential candidates. He made April’s and my path to ABC clear and direct, including the unanimous call. God has been good, gracious, and faithful throughout this process. He had done far more than we could have ever hoped for! And April and I know he will do far more than we could ever anticipate or hope for when we arrive in Amissville.

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As we wait for that day, we find our hearts increasingly encouraged by and drawn to our new church family. The leaders of ABC and many, many others have been faithfully loving us from afar. They have helped us find doctors, places to rent, office furniture, phone numbers, and so much more. We praise God for you and cannot wait see you face-to-face!

Counting Down The Days,

Peter and April Witkowski