What a wonderful Easter we had celebrating our Savior’s victory over death and sin! This Easter was extra special as Eric had the privilege of baptizing his Dad, Larry, on Sunday night! Here is a link for those that couldn’t be there: http://indianolarbc.org/sermons. You can hear Larry’s salvation testimony and Eric’s challenging sermon on what defines us. Is Christ’s resurrection THE Defining Moment in your life? Do you wake up each morning saying, “He is risen!”? Because He is risen, I don’t have to fear death! I am set free from the grip of sin! Larry used to fear death before He was saved on December 9th, 2012. Now that fear has been removed and replaced with peace and joy in our risen Savior! What an amazing difference God has made in Larry’s life! We were SO blessed to be able to share this special day with him and so many family and friends! I am so thankful for each day that God gives me to wake up and say, “He is risen!”
On the medical side of things, the time came for us to make some difficult decisions this week. We are thankful for the way God had prepared us for this time. We explored all of our options when the lump developed on the right side of my chest back in February, so we had all the information on our options ready to think and pray about.
This week a suspicious area has developed on my left side continuing around to my back. It is 20cm long x 8 cm tall. The area appears like a rash, but the skin is very tough and thickened. There are no lumps that we can feel at this time. We don’t have confirmation, but the doctors believe this is more cancer. This is the same way my cancer recurrence showed itself this past September. First, it appeared like a rash and then developed lumps under the skin. So given this history, we were very concerned with the area and how fast it appeared and spread and wanted to be very proactive in our plan of attack.
Of our remaining options, we chose to try the chemotherapy drug Herceptin rather than delivering baby Asher now. After much thought, prayer, and seeking peace from God in our decision, this seemed to be the clear choice that would be best for Asher and attack the cancer for me. We are thankful that we are now 33 weeks along and if the cancer does not respond to the Herceptin or Asher starts to show distress, we can go ahead and deliver him and he will survive. We still hope to reach 36 weeks before delivering, so baby Asher will hopefully not have to go to the NICU or have any problems. That’s only 3 weeks away!!!
While Herceptin is not officially approved for moms carrying a baby, all the research our oncologists and OB have done indicates the baby will be fine if I am given Herceptin at this time. There are NO ill effects for the babies in any cases they found of moms given Herceptin after the first trimester. After much research and consulting with other specialists, all our doctors confirmed that they agreed with our decision, so this really affirmed to us that this is God’s leading at this time. We are so thankful that we can claim and see God fulfill His promise of Proverbs 3:5-6 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 shall direct your paths.”
I received my first dose of Herceptin on Tuesday, and we are rejoicing in the progress we saw today! Our oncologist described the rash area well with the phrase “not as angry looking”. It is still about the same size, but we can see a difference even from yesterday! The skin is less red and softer/less tough! Praise the Lord for this healing and answer to prayer! The Herceptin is specifically designed to attack only the cancer cells that have the specific protein that HER2 positive cancer exibits. It does not attack all fast growing cells as most other chemotherapy does, so shouldn’t have as many side effects either! I have been extremely fatigued the last couple of days with some headaches, but have not noticed any other side effects so far. I am continuing with my Taxotere chemo as well, so had my regular weekly dose today. I will receive more Herceptin again on Tuesdays for the next 2 weeks.
On Wednesday we saw baby Asher and he cooperated wonderfully with everything they wanted to see on the ultrasound and is progressing right on target! We will check in on his growth and progress again on April 15th with another Biophysical Profile (ultrasound). Continue to pray for his growth and progress so he will be ready for delivery at 36 weeks and that the new chemo will not have any ill effects on him. We are so thankful for the awesome protection God has built into the placenta to keep baby Asher safe from all that is going on in my body. God designed our bodies in such amazing ways that could never have developed just by accident. What an amazing Creator we have!
Thank you all for your fervent prayers! We know that God is hearing and answering in so many ways. We can’t thank you enough for all your prayers, love, and support! God is supplying our every need as we prepare for baby Asher’s arrival!!!