Hope.

Currently I’m in the waiting room “sipping” my banana barium solution for my third CT scan. The good news is, they were able to schedule my scan for the morning, which means I don’t have to die of thirst or starvation this time. I mean, I still haven’t had anything to eat or drink yet today but it’s only coffee and breakfast. I’m merely postponing it. I’ll pretend I’m having a disgusting banana chalk chemical smoothie for breakfast instead. I checked in, got my patient ID band, signed the consent forms, and now I’m waiting. The Price is Right is blaring on the TV in the corner of the room. The artwork on the walls is multicultural and obnoxious. But I can tune that all out.Yum. Contrast.

I’m kind of excited. What will my scans show? In my mind these are turning point scans. They have the potential to show that the masses in my liver are small enough to be taken out and next stop is to schedule a follow up appointment with the surgeon to see what he thinks about them.

I’ve met the initial goal of three months of chemo. Because of avastin, the fifth chemo drug they added three rounds ago, I’m going in Tuesday, January 2nd, to start the new year right with my seventh round of chemo. After that, depending on what the scans and surgeons say, I might get a break to let my body recover for surgery.

I’m sick of chemo. My head is still ready to take it on but I’m finding my body is over it! I get these involuntary visceral reactions like Pavlov’s dogs. I was watching a movie with a hospital scene where the character was dancing with an IV pole and I got super nauseous. When I think about chemo I get nauseous. When I think about my doctors office I get nauseous. The nausea this last time felt worse, more constant and harder to control with my medications. Chemo is like a flu with a hangover that doesn’t get better as the day goes on, in fact, it gets worse and even more, it gets worse as the week goes on. My mind is like, “Let’s do this! Beat this cancer!! Whatever it takes we’re down!” And my body is like “Wait. Wait. Give me a minute. Wait. I just remembered we don’t want this.” Kinda like when you get a pedicure and they’re scrubbing the bottom of your feet and you have your leg stretched out for them but at the same time your pulling away, almost involuntarily, from the tickling pressure. I hate visceral irrational reactions to things. I want to tell my body to get a grip but then my heart feels so sorry for me and I get an emotional dread. My heart says “Oh Im so sorry! Things in your life are supposed to be so different! How disappointing and sad this is! Let’s just cry.” It’s like my mind alone understands what needs to be done here and my heart and body are teaming up against it. Every week my body and my heart get stronger and louder. This is an example of where being stubborn is a good quality. Not to mention the three years of crossfit training my mind to push past my perceived limits and push my body to do more than it feels it’s able. (Ugh I love CrossFit!!) Mindset is huge but I’m convinced it’s people’s prayers that keep me strong and able to stand against how I “feel”.

Faith is tough. My definition of faith is taking as fact that which is unperceived by the senses. Also know as, believing the invisible is as real as the visible, and believing in things that are even contradicted by what we see, touch, taste, smell, hear and feel. That takes mindset!

Currently the facts are these:

-My tumor markers are maybe somewhere below 100 (the last lab draw before my last round of chemo they were at 110). The surgeon said he wouldn’t even consider surgery for me till it was below 50.

-The masses in my liver are too big to be surgically resected and will most likely require a two staged surgery to prevent me from liver failure and death.

Where I’m challenged is to stand in faith on some things I feel are true despite the current facts. I’m believing my scans will say things are ready for surgery. I’m believing that my tumor markers will be within range for the surgeon to say I’m ready for surgery. I’m believing I’ll have one surgery, not two, in mid to late February (even though part of me wants two surgeries cause that’s way more badass). The thing that’s scary is that faith requires hope, and where there’s hope there’s room for disappointment. I hate disappointment. I structure a lot of things in my life to prevent disappointment. I’ve looked at treatment of this cancer as work to be done. There is no disappointment in work, it’s just a measured effort. But to hope for, even bank on, things outside of my control, placing my heart in a position to be disappointed is scary. Even more, to not just believe these things in my secret heart but put them out there where other people can see my disappointment is scary for me.

These are things that tune out bad artwork and “The Price is Right” and banana chalk chemical smoothie. These are things bigger than me and I’m so glad I am surrounded by people who hold me up in prayer and hope with me.

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