Today, I met with my oncologist and I received the news every cancer patient can’t wait to hear: You are in remission! Woohoo!!! I can’t even explain the jubilation I felt. I can officially call myself a survivor! I wanted to jump up and down and dance around the room. August 3rd will become like a new birthday because it truly is a new start on life with a very different perspective than I once had.
And then the rest of the news comes, and I realize I still have a long, painful road in front of me as I recover from cancer. It doesn’t seem fair. It isn’t fair. But life isn’t fair. I could wallow in self-pity, or be grateful my journey continues. I think I’ll pick a life of thanksgiving.
So here’s how the next few months shape up:
Thursday – I’m going to get a plantar wart I developed while undergoing chemo surgical removed from my foot. Another “tattoo with a better story”. Well, at least another scar with another story.
Date to be determined in August – get my port flushed. I’ll have to do this every 2 months for as long as I have to keep my port. Because my cancer was extremely fast growing and aggressive, I’ll probably have to keep it for another year. Doctors have been known to change their minds though.
August 28 – I’ll have surgery to reinsert a new expander on my left side. (Pending insurance approval)
September 1 – I’ll start on an estrogen blocker that is basically a low dose of chemo in pill form. I’ll be on this for five years.
Oct. 19 – time to flush my port again.
Nov. 13 – I’ll have a STIM test done to see if my adrenal glands are beginning to produce cortisol on their own again. Please pray for this number to be close to at least 20, so I can taper completely off steroids again.
Nov. 17 – I’ll have blood work done to ensure everything is staying steady. All my markers will also be tested too. I don’t really understand what a tumor marker is or what marker tests for other types of cancer, but you medical folks all might. I’ll also have another CT scan to check on the 3 “spots” found on the scan done a couple of weeks ago. No one is worried about any of these spots, but once you have cancer all “spots” are marked and checked on.
Nov. 20 – I’ll see my endocronologist for my follow up to determine if I can get off steroids & just carry an emergency dose with me.
Nov. 23 – I’ll see Dr. Krekow again. If all is well, I’ll move to six month appointments for the next five years.
Dec. – flush my port again
Dec. 18 – If all goes as planned, I’ll have my expanders removed and my implants put in. What a way to end 2015!
My journey has entered a moment of celebration I am going to enjoy and cherish, but I’m not naive. The journey is far from over and the valleys will still exist, but my husband, kids, family & friends make a support system that is grand and they will keep me strong until the very end. Above it all, I believe God holds me close. He has a plan for my life, and I have faith that His ways are better than mine could ever be.
So I leave all prayer warriors with this final request:
- Praise God for His favor over my life
- Ask my cortisol levels rebound.
- Ask all my surgeries go well
- Ask I stay in remission
- Pray for my body to release all the toxins caused by chemo, so the swelling/inflammation will go down. It’s very painful and uncomfortable.
- Pray for strength and energy
- Pray for Courage to Conquer Cancer and Courage Conquering Cancer, so my journey will not be in vain but be a blessing to those who must follow in my footsteps.