It was not a surprise. When the nurse called to arrange todays appointment she said, “Dr. Saroha wants to review your MRI results and talk treatment options.” Nothing we talked about today took me by surprise. Now we have a plan.
My MRI shows a “normal size liver with twenty metastases.” The good news is that back in 2016 when this journey started my liver was “enlarged with innumerable metastases.” We are making progress. The not so good news is that there are signs of active cancer in multiple metastases. One spot in particular has “grown significantly.” Not the best news, not the worst news.
Realistically we are right about where my oncologist expected us to be. When he decided it was time for me to take a break from chemo I asked, “How long will this break last?” He told me to expect a break that lasted anywhere from a few weeks to a year. I was blessed with a little more than a full year chemo free. Things are progressing pretty much according to his expectations.
Listening to Dr. Saroha and making plans everything seemed so matter of fact. I remember the last time we were making these plans. There was anxiety, fear, a sense of the world spinning totally out of control. Today it felt calculated, matter of fact, almost emotionless as we were objectively planning the best way to attack this illness alive inside me.
Nancy and I know what to expect. Fridays will mean blood work and an oncologist appointment. The following Monday will mean chemo all morning long. Tuesday and Wednesday of that week I will feel weak and tired. Thursday morning I will begin to feel more like myself. Pace yourself, recover, repeat twelve times.
I had hoped to be able to undergo radiation treatment instead of another round of chemotherapy. That is not to be. Radiation treats a very localized spot. As my liver has twenty metastases radiation therapy is not an option.
Chemotherapy will most likely start in the middle of February. We could “push it off” for a while longer (March or April) to get a few more weeks treatment free. I did not see the point. We all knew that eventually treatment would be necessary. I voted to get it started now so we could have it completed sooner.
The cocktail of drugs will be different this time. We are removing the drug that caused neuropathy! The side effects of the drugs we will be using sound uncomfortable but should all be manageable with medication. This is your tip that it could be time to invest in Imodium. J
Last time we traveled this road my body responded amazingly well to the treatments. I am hopeful to have the same experience this time. Dr. Saroha is quick to point out that there is no guarantee that my body will respond to this round of treatment as it did the last. My goal is to push through the treatment and then get another year long break from treatment. Dr. Saroha agreed it is a good goal.
The odd thing is that I had just reached a place where I was thinking less about cancer and more about life. When I went through chemo the first time I put a schedule on my office door that let people know when to expect me in the office. It had my chemo days, doctor visits and recovery days built into it. For the past year I looked at that schedule each time I went into my office. As I slowly regained strength and became more like myself I left it there as a reminder of where I had come from. Just a few weeks ago I looked at it and thought, “this is ridiculous, you need to get rid of all the chemo references on this schedule and adjust this to the way you are living.” I pulled it off my office door and put it on my desk to adjust and correct. If I can find it under the piles of papers I will be able to pull it out and just post it anew.
How is your spirit?
I am okay. Nancy and I did a good job walking through chemo last time. She is a great partner. We will adjust schedules, change work patterns and move through this next season.
I really felt the presence and power of God in my life as I went through this last time. I am hopeful that I will be as open to hear from Abba Father this time. God is good…even when the numbers are heading in the wrong direction.
I took tonight off. We had a service at church tonight. I just wanted to go home, be with my family and spend a quiet night at home. I did not want to answer lots of questions or be with people tonight. Tomorrow we will step into a new stage of this journey and with the Spirits strength and guidance we will walk it well. Pray for us.
Special giftIn the midst of all the crazy today God granted me a wonderful gift. There is a special little girl who I had the privilege of dedicating a year or so ago. She has grown up so fast. I used to be able to pick her up and carry her wherever I wanted to go. The older she has become the more discerning her taste. She has learned she does not necessarily care for me. 🙂
Over the past few weeks I have been on a mission to win her over. I bring snacks to the church basketball game and we steal a moment or two together. This afternoon her mom and dad were working around church. They asked if I would watch her for a few minutes. We played with hula hoops, covered my office floor with stuffed animals from the prize box, and took long walks through the church. We spent over forty minutes together.
As I was packing up to leave for the day I heard someone walking toward my office. Looking up I saw that it was my “new friend.” She was just coming down to say, “hello.” (or steal a hula hoop)
In the midst of an uncertain and unsettling day she was a source of joy and laughter.