Medical Update ~ 09/27/17

Today was a challenging day.  I met with the oncologist to discuss chemo as part of my treatment plan.  The oncologist explained there were 3 additional invasions discovered during surgery, so there were actually 4 isolated invasions in the breast tissue.  To review - my diagnosis is Ductal Carcinoma in situ (DCIS) with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.  All 4 of the invasions are HER2+ (aggressive) and hormone negative (recurrent).  My oncologist walked us through the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCM) guidelines for treatment of this type of aggressive, recurrent cancer - chemo and radiation. The good news is God had already moved the mountain in my heart opposing chemo, and rested me in a place of acceptance.  While my initial prayers focused on not having to have chemo as part of my treatment, after hearing I had multiple invasions, He moved me to a place of understanding that chemo is a necessary part of my treatment.  If there were 4 invasions in the sample they took, there could be more.  I knew by the time I walked into her office today that a systemic approach like chemo needed to be part of my treatment plan to ensure any other micro invasions that have been missed are caught and that the cancer doesn't spread.

My chemo regimen will last one year, with Herceptin for the entire year and Taxol for 12 weeks.  The worst side effects for Herceptin includes possible diminished heart function.  Before they begin the chemo treatment they will do a baseline echocardiogram to determine my heart function.  They will repeat the echo every 3 months to watch heart function.  The Herceptin will be stopped if there is a 10% decrease in heart function.  They will give my heart time to recover - if it does, I will resume chemo.  If not, I will not be able to continue the medication due to the long term effects to my heart.  The Taxol is a cytotoxin, so it carries the typical chemo symptoms - fatigue, nausea, muscle ache, flu-like symptoms. Taxol will also impact my white blood cell count, so I have to do my best to avoid being around germs.  Unfortunately, all this means I will not be able to teach for the 12 weeks I will be on the Taxol.  The radiation will follow the Taxol, so I will most likely be out of work for 16 weeks.

The biggest surprise today was the timing.  I thought I would have some time to prepare for the chemo.  Since I was originally told my radiation would begin in October, I was under the impression that chemo would begin after the radiation.  I was wrong.  Because of the aggressive nature of my cancer, they want to start on chemo immediately.  I need to have a port surgically implanted for the chemo treatments, but they want that to happen fairly quickly.  My oncologist suggested I begin chemo in 10 days.  10 days.  Woah. My head is still spinning. I have the echocardiogram scheduled for October 5th; still waiting on the surgical date for the port.  As soon as the port is placed, I will begin chemo. 

This whole diagnosis has felt like I'm in a tailspin.  I still wake up most days completely floored by the fact that I have cancer.  It hits me over and over again, every morning I open my eyes.  But I remain thankful that He is sovereign over everything.  Though I continued to be surprised every time I walk into a doctor's office these days, none of this is a surprise to my God.  He knew all of this was going to happen, and He already knows how it's all going to end.  That brings me an incredible amount of peace and strength.  And though I continue to receive difficult news, He continues to show up in the big and little details.  I know He is in this diagnosis.  Again, it was affirmed today that they caught this at the earliest possible moment, but the greatest praise today was that I was told the chance of recurrence for women who undergo this type of chemo as their treatment is only 2-3%.    

I'm going to be okay.  I have a difficult road to walk before I get there, but it was reassuring to hear today that I'm going to be okay.  My heart is so sad to hear I only have a few more days with my students - they are such a delightful distraction from all that is difficult in this trial.  But even in the transition, God has blessed me with the peace to know they will be well taken care of in my absence.  

Thank you to all of you who have encouraged me in this journey.  I have been blown away at the support I have received from dear friends and people I hardly know.  You strengthen me.  A special thank you to those of you who stand as my prayer warriors - I covet your prayers and thank you for the peace and strength you bring me through those prayers.  It brings me such peace to know so many of you are walking this path with me.

Press on ~ you are loved πŸ’—


Comments

  1. We will miss you terribly while you are away but will be beside you in prayer and support. This is a massive amount to take in. I can only imagine the questions in your mind. Be strong, my friend.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your prayers, my friend! I know they are why I remain at peace through this. Take care of those kiddos for me - remind they how much they are loved!! I will miss Olive-U so much :)

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  2. Thank you for this blog! I have been fighting gastric cancer for 2 years! I had 6 months of aggressive chemo which didn’t work and surgery to remove my stomach. My cancer just returned in my bladder so now I am stage 4 gastric cancer! I refused chemo all summer so I could enjoy myself, but I just started on Taxol and cyramza last week! They say it won cure me, so I Am on palliative Care and then hospice..Trusting God for a miracle! Your blog really encourages and keeps me focus on the Lord!! Thank you and you will be in my prayers.... Love Patti Roberts
    Ps I have something I would like to send you that Will bless you during your treatments=} If you couldn’t contact me I can get your info and get it to you ASAP=} God Bless!!

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    Replies
    1. My email is patticakes49@yahoo.com

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    2. Hi Patti ~
      Thank you for sharing your story with me. You are not alone, my friend. Keep Him close to you at all times. Praying that our Father in heaven strengthens and comforts you as you walk this difficult path, and that He rids your body of all cancer. I'm wearing a t-shirt today to remind me, "and if not, He is still good" because we need to remind ourselves that even in the not, He has something beautiful for you. Even when it doesn't seem like there could possibly be any good in this, you can have complete confidence that there is because He promises it. Romans 8:28 tells us: "and we know that for those who love God ALL things work together for good." That doesn't say sometimes or some people, His promise is for ALL things. Even cancer. And the God who created this universe and you doesn't lie. Hugs to you, my new friend.

      My email is theresafowler@comcast.net - feel free to email me.

      Press on ~ you are loved.

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    3. Teresa my dear cousin. Your strength and fortitude are amazing. I am facing adversity and my issue pales in comparison to your diagnosis. God is driving. He has a plan, time frame, and resolution. Although he never seems to be on my time line. My self will tends to get in the way of my spirituality. With that being said. I could feel the spirit running through me while reading your posts. God is never far. Remember the past equals depression, the future equals anxiety. Stay where your feet are planted in the moment. Teresa you and your family are always in prayers. You are never far from my thoughts. Sending you positive energy and lots of love always. Do not hesitate to ask if you need anything. Love JJ

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    4. Hey JJ ☺️ Thank you so much for your words of encouragement! One of the things I’ve most appreciated in this struggle is when people remind me I’m not alone ~ your words matter to me😘. Thank you!
      You are loved, cuzπŸ’—.

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  3. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all. PSALM 34:19

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  5. Thanks for sharing this article here about the CANCER. Your article is very useful for those who are looking for Cancer Treatment in Bangalore.

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