A lot has happened since my last update. It took me a little longer than normal to bounce back from my last “hard” dose of chemo in September. I finally started feeling more energetic and not wearing out so easily about 4 weeks later. I am so enjoying being more active and doing more activities together with my family and friends!
At the same time, I found another new suspicious lump on my left lower chest area. (This new lump was very similar to my 2nd bout of cancer found last September on my right chest area.) After showing it to my oncologist, I was sent for scans again to check things out. These scans did not show anything to be concerned about as far as cancer goes, but they found 2 blood clots, one in my leg and one in my lung! i had barely gotten back home from the hospital where the scans were done when I got the call to go back to the hospital ASAP. I was put on blood thinners to get rid of the clots and prevent them in the future. I was taking a pill and getting shots of blood thinners until they could get my INR levels into the therapeutic range of 2-3. (That just means your blood will clot in 2-3 seconds, instead of the normal 1 second.) Thankfully, God had protected me in allowing these clots to be caught early on this scan so we could take care of them before anything serious happened. Since I was not having any side effects from the clots and my vitals were all normal, they were able to send me home the next day. Thankfully my wonderful husband Eric was willing to keep giving me the shots 2 times a day, so I could go home. (He is working on his honorary nursing degree with all the medical issues he’s helped me with. )
I thought that was enough excitement for one week, so I waited until the next Friday to add some more. I had my INR level checked along with my normal weekly blood work, and found out my INR was at a critical level: 6.5! Yikes! I think every medical professional I saw that day asked if I was bleeding anywhere and said not to touch knives. Thankfully God was once again watching over me and I didn’t have any accidents that would cause bleeding during this critical time!
I was given Vitamin K to counteract the blood thinners and taken off the blood thinners until I returned to the normal therapeutic range. I was able to get it back down to 2.0 again by Tuesday in time for my outpatient surgery biopsy to remove the suspicious area and determine what it was. The results show that it is cancer once again. In the time during all this testing and dealing with the blood clots, I found another small suspicious spot on my upper left chest area, that is most likely the same thing, as well as seeing the skin area that developed while I was pregnant back in April begin to thicken and redden once again. All these areas are just outside the radiation field from my first bout with cancer. (From March 2011-April 2012, I received chemo, had a double mastectomy, received more chemo, and then finished treatments with 6 1/2 weeks of daily radiation on my left chest area.)
So for the third time in a little less than 3 years we have heard the confirmation that I indeed have cancer. God has not finished using us in the cancer world yet. We know He has a plan in all of this, even though we do not understand what it is at this point. God has shown Himself faithful once again over this past month in the constant reminder of His promises to those who trust in Him.
Romans 8:28 says “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” We have seen over and over again these last 3 years how God can work things together for good. We have a precious perfect little 6 month old miracle in our little Asher! My cancer has miraculously not metastasized to any other part of my body. God has given me the support and strength I need to walk this journey each minute of each day. What amazing blessings He bestows on those who trust in Him!
God has also given me the privilege to share my story to help and encourage others in many ways, including through this blog. Last week I was able to share my story with a video crew that my oncologist is using to put together videos for a special website for those newly diagnosed with cancer. It will share information on what to expect as you choose and begin treatments, as well as sharing the stories of other cancer survivors telling their experiences in order to help others. I was able to share my unique experience of being pregnant while battling cancer and the story of how my faith in God has gotten me through my journey so far. (I will share the link once my video clips are edited and uploaded.) I am so thankful for the opportunities to share how my amazing God has helped me find joy and peace amid these difficult circumstances. I pray others are encouraged and turn to Christ in their time of need.
I was able to meet with my radiation oncologist on Friday and we determined that we will begin my new course of treatment with 3 weeks of daily radiation to the 2 new spots. The cancer has not come back in my previously radiated area, so this seems to be an effective pursuit in my case. We are waiting on all the cancer markers to come back still to determine which chemotherapy options we will pursue after radiation.
This week I have an appointment to get my 7 stitches removed from my biopsy surgery and then a radiation planning session. If my incision is healed up well enough, we plan to begin radiation the following week.
Thank you once again for your continued love, support, and prayers as we continue on this cancer journey. I could not do this without all of you! Pray with me that through the power of the Holy Spirit I can live out what Paul wrote in Philippians 1: 18-21:
“Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”