I had hoped to write to you all about how wonderful the last few weeks have been since getting over my morning sickness! I have not felt nauseated since I hit the halfway point in my pregnancy. It has felt so wonderful to feel almost normal again other than the fatigue from the chemotherapy. I still wear out very easily and have to take naps, but have had a “little” more energy and have felt good! (It’s amazing how much better you feel when you are not nauseated every single day!) It has been wonderful to get out to different church and community events and meetings with our family, travel to share our story of God’s faithfulness through cancer at a banquet near Des Moines, IA, celebrate Faith’s 10th birthday, take care of my husband and family more (especially as more minor illness has gone through some of us) and join with my husband in the planning part of our ministry again!!! God is so good! We have enjoyed many blessings in so many ways and through so many people in the past few weeks.
Being able to go out and celebrate Faith’s birthday, we used some of the many of the gift cards and certificates we have received. We started the day at the zoo with our family pass given to us and our family loved it despite the coldness of the day. It is amazing to see all the wonderful creatures God made for us to enjoy. We are thankful for many inside activities in various buildings to explore at our zoo! Next, we took the kids shopping with some of their Christmas money and some birthday certificates we had received from a toy store. They had a blast exploring the toy store and picking out some fun items to spend their money on. (Their new legos, playdough toys, and kids computer have provided them with hours of entertainment and fun, while letting mommy rest when needed!) We then took the kids to enjoy some bounce time at a local bouce center with various giant blowup bounce activities. The kids had so much fun and were so excited to use the certificates we had been waiting to use for months!
We ended the day with a dinner out to Faith’s choice of a nice restaurant. We had a certificate given to us from the Bennington Community’s Fundraiser for our family in December for a free entree and it was also kid’s night that night, so should have been a fairly inexpensive and delicious dinner at a very nice restaurant. Faith loved getting to sit on a saddle while being wished happy birthday by the staff and the entire restaurant. 🙂 When it was time for our bill to come, we received word that the manager had taken care of not only our free entree, but our entire bill for dinner for all five of us! What a blessing!!! (Thank you to the wonderful people at Texas Roadhouse!) We were able to enjoy an amazing day and make wonderful memories as a family thanks to so many loving and generous people, because of God’s provision in our lives. (Yes, I was extremely tired by the time we got home, but it was well worth the time spent making memories with my amazing family!)
Well, in the past week, the cancer has reared its ugly head once again. I had some redness develop in a couple small spots in my right chest area which I thought could be just some mild skin irritation in the healing process of my incisions from my three surgeries in the Fall. In the past week they developed into little bumps that I showed to my surgeon on Wednesday. He examined then and found a lump that is probably 3-4cm long as well as a few surrounding bumpy areas. This is not good as it has developed into this in about a week’s time, while on my weekly chemotherapy treatments! My doctor’s are VERY concerned.
We prayed for God’s clear guidance and wisdom as we looked to what our next step would be to treat this new development. (Thank you all who have faithfully prayed for us and sent so many words and verses of encouragement!) As I began my day on Friday by waking up early to the baby kicking and playing around in my tummy 🙂 , I took the time to pray and meditate on God’s word and He brought His promise in Proverbs 3:5-6 to my mind once again:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him
and He will direct your paths.”
We got the kids off to school and Ethan off to a friend’s house for the day and headed to my appointment with my oncologist to discuss my treatment options. We discussed the possibility of surgery to remove the area, but this is not an option at this time with the skin streched so tight there from my previous three surgeries in the Fall. There would not be enough skin to close up the wound area. If the wound wasn’t healed, I would face infection and other risks and I wouldn’t have chemo as an option then either to fight any remaining cancer cells in my body.
We then discussed my chemotherapy options. There is only one other type of chemotherapy that is approved safe for my baby that we haven’t used yet this time around, so we went ahead and added a full three weeks dose of Cytoxan to the regular weekly dose of my Adriamycin on Friday. We are hoping and praying the cancer will respond to this treatment and shrink in the time until I am able to deliver our precious little baby boy. We are so thankful for God’s answer to our prayer in clearly showing us this next step to take in this battle with cancer!
If the cancer does not respond to this treatment, we will have to make some very tough choices in the weeks ahead. We discussed a few options that would be risky for our little guy, but may be necessary to keep the cancer from growing and spreading in the coming weeks. As all my wonderful, caring doctor’s have now said, “This baby needs his mom!” Some of our options to explore include 1) trying to take the baby early if he is developed enough, 2) trying radiation treatments while pregnant (which is not typically done because of possible side effects to the baby, but has been done in rare cases while sheilding the baby), or 3) trying a type of chemo specific to fighting my HER2 positive breast cancer even though it is not an approved safe chemo for pregnancies with the hope that it will not affect our baby. None of these options are an ideal or easy solution, so we’ll have to weigh the risks to me or to the baby and try to take the necessary steps to fight this cancer. We are trusting and praying that God will give us clear direction once again if it comes to taking that next risky step.
We are once again facing overwhelming circumstances that we cannot stand up under on our own. We covet your prayers and support and look to God for the strength He gives to stand on His promises. “I can do all things through Christ who give me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) Whatever lies ahead, we know Christ’s strength will take us through it! We once again have the awesome opportunity to live out our faith in our sovereign and loving God. Pray for those that need the hope of Christ that will be touched by seeing God’s faithfulness in our lives. Pray that we will stand firm and faithful in our testimony and witness to those around us and boldly speak the truth of God’s saving grace! Our hope doesn’t lie in this world, but our hope is in the Lord! Do you have this hope today? I John 5:11-13 says:
“And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life”