Mist.

Immediately following my CT scans I walked over to my oncologists office for a lab draw. I’ve said this before but just to provide background, before every chemo treatment they need to check my “labs”. Labs include, my white blood cells (WBCs), neutrophils, creatinine, and liver function tests, just to name a few. Basically, we need to make sure that I’m stable enough to get chemo. So my WBCs need to not be too high (too high means I’m fighting an infection already); my neutrophils need to be high enough, (if it’s too low my immune system is too weak); my creatinine needs to be low enough (too high means my kidneys are working too hard to filter the chemo out); and my liver function tests need to be within normal limits (too low means the chemo is being too hard on my liver). Any of these numbers not measuring up has the potential to postpone or change the dose of my chemo. All this is to say, we check labs before I get chemo.

The nurse took my blood, no problem (I mean its never a problem, I’ve got excellent veins as CrossFit has helped with vascularity). “I don’t even need the tourniquet!” is a phrase I often hear. I sit twiddling my thumbs in the lab draw chair waiting for my preliminary results (just to make sure I don’t need a neupogen injection to tell my body to produce more neutrophils and make me ready for Tuesdays chemo before I go home). My oncologist pops out of her office. My numbers were all ok, I was a little neutropenic but not too bad. She always checks on my symptoms, how much bleeding am I having in my stool, how is my tingling in my hands and feet, how much cramping and pain have I been having, those kinds of things. After I provide her with favorable answers she replies, “Lets check out the scans, I don’t have the reports from the radiologist but we can still take a look at them.” I can tell she already looked at them is kinda excited as I sit in an empty chair in her office. First, she brings up my last set of scans from November. Every time I see them I get a better idea of the tumors size and orientation and relationship to each other. Then she brings up the new scans, taken only an hour before. I was pretty shocked at how much smaller the tumors seemed. It’s a good sign when my untrained eyes can distinguish differences between the two scans. Heck, one of the tumors was even difficult to see as it was all shadowy. My oncologist agreed, things looked much smaller, we’d have to wait for the radiologist to measure everything but things looked good. “My mom is going to flip!” I tell her. But for me, this is by far the happiest I’ve been at any news I’ve received. You know, when your heart kinda hits the ceiling and you can’t help but smile? That was me. My oncologist was going to wait for the official report to talk to the surgeon at Loma Linda that afternoon and give me a call.

When she called me later she had even more good news! My tumor marker had dropped from 110 before the last dose of chemo to 67 in just two weeks. The radiologist report from the CT scan was back with measurements for my tumors and all the tumors in my liver had shrunk almost 50%. The metastasis in my lymph nodes were both completely gone!  She had spoken with Dr. Reeves, the liver surgeon, (experienced, friendly, within my insurance network, and a complete and specific answer to prayer) and he says it’s time to talk surgery. (!!!) I was scheduled for more chemo Tuesday, as planned, but without the Avastin, the drug I would need to be off for six weeks prior to surgery as it has high risk of bleeding and stuff.

To fully understand how exciting, miraculous and just straight up huge this conversation was, please read the previous post, “Hope”. Then can we take a minute to talk about how ridiculous my God is? Doubt what you want, but this is crazy.

It had been a three month mental and emotional battle, not instantaneous, but that just means it’s a bigger deal. The work that’s been done in my heart has been darker and deeper than the wave of a magic wand. I went from a “stable”, life threatening, aggressive colon cancer, with liver tumors too big to be taken out surgically, that was working its way up to my lungs via metastasis in my lymph nodes and tumor markers not low enough to say that chemo was working well enough … to being a surgical candidate… a “responsive”, curable, aggressive colon cancer with liver tumors small enough to be removed surgically, not spreading anywhere and tumor markers low enough to say that chemo is working. My oncologist grabbed me by the shoulders and looked into my eyes and said, “Amy, you’re going to be cured. You’re going to be my miracle patient!” That took my breath away. Before my scan I had said “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.” Stop it. Shut up. Thats crazy.

When you continue your journey there may be much mist and cloud. Perhaps it may even seem as though everything you have seen and been promised was just a dream, or the work of your own imagination. But you have seen reality and the mist which seems to swallow it up is the illusion. Always go forward along the path of obedience as far as you know it until I intervene, even if it seems to be leading you where you fear I could never mean you to go.” (Hinds Feet on High Places, Hurnard)

I stumbled upon this highlighted passage in a book I read in college. How cute right? Little college Amy, so innocent, no idea how deep that quote could go in her heart and become true in her life. I’m tearing up typing this because even though I’ve been sitting with this news for a week I hadn’t really processed it. To be honest, I still don’t think I have. But whats real? I love a God who trades openly in the currency of the impossible. I’m lucky that I get to have this be my tangible reality. He’s not scared by my anxieties, insecurities, doubts, or shortcomings. Guys, this is really good news. What’s even better is He’s not just unafraid he loves me and knows how to support me and surround me with people in a way that only the language of my heart knows how to speak. Thats so crazy cool. How many people get to watch the finger of God write such clear messages across their life and heart?

I wish I could say everything is better now but the battle for my heart, hope and sanity still rages. I still cried my way through chemo on Tuesday. Meaning my body and heart were like “Please, Amy, no!” and made my eyes leak all day. Which sucks because I’m convinced one of the drugs makes tears burn my eyes like acid. Tuesday was one of the worst chemo days to date. I got more good news though, my tumor markers were down to 45, aka it dropped the amount it normally does in a week in only three days. I can only assume with such light and good news, chemo effects will be darker and I walked out in a severe lightheaded, nausea fog that made the nurse concerned. My parents got the flu so I evacuated their house to my house to hunker down into an illness free bubble. I was pretty worried I’d hate it but its been fine, nice even. Great, I’m still healthy. I haven’t gotten sick since my first day of chemo. But my immune system is still weak and with surgery on the horizon I can not afford to get sick! So no CrossFit for me? No going to work next week either? This whole “super severe worst flu we’ve seen in years” season is really cramping my style. I hate being smart and making adult responsible decisions. I just want to go work out and lift weights with my friends! CrossFit is such a heart breaker!!

Still standing on faith for one surgery not two. When my oncologist talked to my surgeon on Friday he still said he wanted to do two surgeries. I don’t blame him. Two staged surgery is safer, I wont be as likely to die. First surgery get the tumor out of my colon and take out the lobe of my liver with the three smaller tumors, then let my liver regenerate and stabilize and go back in for the huge tumor in my the other lobe of my liver, the riskier surgery. But I don’t want two surgeries! I want to have surgery, recover and get back to life!! But hey, well see what he says on Tuesday…

10 thoughts on “Mist.

  1. What wonderful news Amy! Praise the Lord. Will be fiercely praying for the right surgical plan for you and protection from the flu and all the other nasty bugs out there right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am speechless…which you know is not my norm! That song we have sung together so many years comes to mind. To know Him to know Him is the cry of my heart…I stand in prayer with many always knowing we would see miracles come out of this nightmare. I love you dear little sister.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amy dear what great news. We who are praying are rejoicing as we see Him work in you and for you. You are letting your light shine through this and we are all being blessed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “WOW…” to you from the east coast, Amy girl! What a journey, what a GOD! Breathtaking to revel with you all in His merciful, answered prayers. We all will continue to pray and rejoice as He brings you all the way THROUGH (my definition of which is “In one side and OUT the other!”) Hurray for LIFE! Hurray for the King of Life! Bless His Holy Name!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This post provides me with much hope as my husband starts his first chemo session this Wednesday.
    I’m not sure if you have received my email… his story is much like yours.
    I look forward to reading your posts and that things are going so well ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Cora! No I didn’t receive your email but I am certainly happy that anything in my story can bring you hope! Please don’t hesitate to let me know if I can support you and your husband in anyway. Questions whatever you need.

      Like

  6. Wonderful, wonderful news, Amy!!! We praise the Lord for His amazing intervention. Thank you for continuing to blog about all of this. Love, Chenning

    Liked by 1 person

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