May 22, 2008

(There is a message board at CTCA by the cafeteria that patients can write notes on. This is what I wrote!)

Well, Mike and I made it home safely. We left on Thursday, May 15 to visit some friends in Kansas. We stayed there until Sunday and then flew to Chicago from there. Monday morning, I had a MUGA scan, which is a scan to make sure that my heart has not suffered damage due to the chemotherapy. I had to have an IV started, and my veins just seem to get worse and worse. After the first tech looked and couldn't find a usable vein, I was passed off to a second person. They only spot he could find was on the underside of my wrist. For anyone who has had an IV started in that particular spot, you will understand that this hurts more than anywhere else. He was, however, successful on the first try and I was given a nuclear injection before the scan could begin. This particular scan does not take very long and then Mike and I were free the rest of the day. We went back to our hotel and took a nap, then went shopping at the outlet mall that is within walking distance from our hotel. We ate dinner at the hotel restaurant and played lots of Phase 10 that night. Tuesday was my longer day. I had to have a new IV started, this time a vein decided to show up in the back of my hand. I was given another nuclear injection for my bone scan at 9:45. My bone scan would not start until noon. For the scan, you lie on a thin table with your arms at your side. They wrap this thing around you that resembles a blanket but it velcros so that you cannot move your arms. The scan does not take more than a half an hour. They take scans of my whole body, then an extra on my neck, and from each side of my sternum. After that scan, I had to prep for my CT scan. The CT scan was of my head, neck, abdomen, and pelvis. I also had an EKG on my heart.

Wednesday morning, I had my blood work done in the morning and then Mike and I decided to go to the church service in the hospital from 10-11:30. It is led by the pastor who led the "Our Journey of Hope" seminar I attended, and I was excited for Mike to finally get to meet him. I was able to share my testimony to the small group there, and I got a little emotional while I was talking. Saying some of what I have gone through out loud sometimes seems like the words are unreal. As scary as the diagnosis was, the healing has left an even greater impact on me. The message preached was just what I needed before going into my doctors appointment. I met with my doctor and his assistant around 1:00. For the last two years, doctors have suggested that I have a genetic test done to see if I carry the gene mutation that makes certain cancers more probable. I have always prayed about this, and somehow it never worked out so I took that as God saying "not now". Six weeks ago when I was in Chicago, my oncologist wanted to get things going to have this done. My care manager is a really wonderful nurse and she called my insurance company and got them to cover the cost. This time, things seemed to fall into place. So, three weeks ago, I had my blood drawn and it was sent out to be tested. My oncologist told me that from his experience, he would bet that I carried this mutation and that would explain, in part, how I got this disease so young. I learned that this gene is passed down through the mother, which would mean if I had it, my brothers might as well. I have been praying about this a lot the last three weeks. I did not want this to be something that was passed down, nor something that could be passed. I have always felt that this sickness is what it is, and I felt that it was an attack from Satan. I have never wanted to let cancer scare my family, and we are all already well aware of our recent history and encounters with it. That being said, I got the results from this test back as soon as I walked into the doctors office. "No mutation detected." It was negative! I wish I could have reached out and physically hugged God. (so I did it in my mind instead). Round 1: Good news... now for Round 2: The scan results. I was told that the area on my sternum is unchanged from January. This means that no new growth was seen, but is not yet completely healed. My doctor told me that he would not expect to see it entirely healed yet, as this can take years. My neck is still only showing a touch of arthritis, but no cancer. Everything else came back completely clear. So, this is what was decided. I get a chemo break (I have faith that it will be for good!). I am due back in August for repeat scans. I was given a shot that will continue to keep my ovaries from producing the hormones that this cancer seems to love. I am also on a daily oral medication. I was told that in 3 months time, most tumors double in size. Seeing as I don't have anything showing now, even if something showed up in 3 months, it would not be very big and they would start treatment again. However, I am holding onto God's promise of healing and that I have been freed from this. I am now praying for God's touch for complete regrowth of my sternum. I was told that if there are no more cancer cells present there, the bone should continue to repair itself. I believe in what God did for me when He touched me in September. Therefore, I believe that He took the cancer out and I am asking Him now to restore me. During my scans, I prayed over and over "Protect my bones, that not one would be broken. Protect my bones, that not one would be broken." I will continue to pray this and I will expect something unexpected in August. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers. We had beautiful weather and smooth flights. God continues to do amazing things in my life... and oh yeah... my hair is already starting to grow back!

Click here to go back to my updates