Anniversary.

A year ago, September 21, I got my diagnosis. After months of abdominal pain and bleeding I woke up in the middle of my colonoscopy to see a massive tumor and know it was cancer. I was told I had inoperable stage IV colon cancer.

I have discovered treasures of darkness. I’ve gone into deep darkness of the soul over and over. But I’ve learned how deep true friends will go with you. I’m learning how to see hope and love in pitch darkness. I’m finding the faith to not seek rescue from God but find refuge with God, letting him comfort me in it more than delivering me from it. I’m trying to see past circumstances to stay fixed on the character of God when I don’t recognize Him. I’ve found that worry and “what if’s” never really prepare you for the bad they only rob you of right now good.

I’ll be reflecting on this more… what are my “takeaways from the worst year of your life”? I will continue to declare Gods truth over myself even in my pain, and discomfort and sadness. I won’t be called a victim when The cross and His resurrection declares me a victor! The hope and good news I have is so much better and bigger than the darkness and loss.

To update you all, I’ve been taking chemo pills for… two months already? I get an infusion of Avastin once every three weeks, take chemo pills (Xeloda) for two weeks and then have a week off. Each cycle is three weeks (if that makes sense). It’s been… ok. Not as much of a respite as I had hoped. So much better than hard core chemo and the chemo pump, but no walk in the Park. Where chemo before knocked me on my butt for five days and then let me climb out of my chemo cave to feel good for a week, chemo pills leave me feeling mediocre constantly. I’m nauseous always, but it’s very mild. I’m consistently more tired than my good weeks during hard core chemo, I just don’t have energy. This makes my workouts more inconsistent. I’ve developed Foot Hand Syndrome (different from Foot Hand Mouth Disease). It’s cause by toxicity from the chemo pills, they think the chemo leaks out of the capillaries into the soft tissue on the bottoms of your feet and palms of your hands. This makes them bright red, hot, tingly, and progresses to dry, cracking, pealing, and burning sensations. It feels like walking on hot asphalt barefoot. I’ve had several days of limping and/or being too uncomfortable to walk. The other down side to chemo pills is I have a once a week episode of horrrrrrriiiible diarrhea. Mostly horrible because the intestinal cramps are so painful that I throw up and get lightheaded. It only lasts like six to eight hours though, not for days at a time. I still prefer it to hard core chemo even though the subtle feeling bad constantly is more demoralizing.

Pushing through all this to try and have normalcy has been increasingly difficult. Not being able to do things with friends or in the gym has been really disheartening. I’ve had several episodes of tears over “just wanting to be a normal girl”. I’m almost to the point where I can go back to work, do workouts as prescribed but then I’m struck with horrible cramps or can’t walk because my feet hurt. Until this week, I’ve had no concrete plan of how long I would need to take the chemo pills. It was a cycle by cycle basis. My body has been responding progressively worse to the chemo, side effects are becoming more debilitating and with quicker onset each cycle. My body has been telling me louder and louder, “we need a break!”.

I had another CT scan to check up on my cancer. There were a lot of questions. Had it spread on lighter dose chemo? Were there new tumors in my liver or colon? Was it growing in my lymph nodes? Did it grow in my lungs? This scan would determine if chemo pills were effective for managing my disease. Was radiation still appropriate? Could I go off chemo and have my colostomy reversed soon?

I didn’t get my barium smoothie this time. It was worse. The tech said “let’s have you take this solution, it visualizes the bowels better. Tastes worse than the barium smoothie but it’s lemon flavored”. Well, it tasted like cleaning fluid, no joke or exaggeration, literally soapy. It tasted like lemon cleaners smell, not lemon flavored. I had this thought of, “someone made a mistake, this is cleaning fluid, I’m poisoning myself”, but then acknowledged that they would know right away during the scan if the contrast didn’t work and could call poison control so I was probably safe.

The scan showed that seven months after my surgery there were still no new tumors in my colon or my liver. This is great news, as both the colon and liver have high tumor recurrence rates. All of my lymph nodes were still normal sized, meaning no measurable cancer. But one of the suspicious nodules in my lung had grown another millimeter. Last November it was two millimeters, July it was five millimeters and is now six millimeters. It’s still tiny! Not bad news, per say. Not the best news but no new tumors and treatable lung nodules is great in my book. This means we can plan.

Currently the plan is to revisit the possibility of radiation and get a biopsy of that nodule to be certain whether it’s cancer or not. If radiation doesn’t blast them enough I can have surgery to take out a wedge of my lung and get rid of it that way. Two treatment options, so treatable!

So I’m in a good space. Tired, sad, wanting to be past this, but still anchored to hope and truths bigger than my circumstances.

I want to leave you with something. There’s this great song by Ellie Holcomb, “Find You Here” that is just so good! Here’s the lyrics,

“It’s not the news that any of us hoped that we would hear

It’s not the road we would have chosen, no

The only thing that we can see is darkness up ahead

But you’re asking us to lay our worry down and sing a song instead

CHORUS:

And I didn’t know I’d find You here,

In the middle of my deepest fear

But You are drawing near

You are overwhelming me with peace

So I’ll lift my voice and sing

You’re gonna carry us through everything

And You are drawing near

You’re overwhelming all my fears with peace

You say that I should come to you with everything I need

You’re asking me to thank You even when the pain is deep

You promise that You’ll come and meet us on the road ahead

And no matter what the fear says, You give me a reason to be glad

Here in the middle of the lonely night

Here in the middle of the losing fight

You’re here in the middle of the deep regret

Here when the healing hasn’t happened yet

Here in the middle of the desert place

Here in the middle when I cannot see Your face

Here in the middle with Your outstretched arms

You can see my pain and it breaks Your heart

Rejoice, Rejoice

Don’t have to worry bout a single thing

Cause You are overwhelming me with peace

Don’t have to worry bout a single thing

You’re gonna carry us through everything

Overwhelming peace”

This is my real.

4 thoughts on “Anniversary.

  1. You are so precious to me and so valued (edifying) are the words of experience you wrote today. In my pressing on with God… I don’t have to understand, I only need the peace you speak of.Thank you for being so brave in sharing. I will find your song and sing with you little sister. We’re pressing on the upward way…new heights we’re gaining everyday!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is from someone who loves you and from my mate who can’t remember his own Grandkids names; he never forgets you in our prayers. You are laying up massive treasures in heaven and you are glorifying our God each day. We are with you each step of the way. 🙏🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I know it isn’t easy, but stay positive. On July 31 2018 I was disgnosed with stage IV colon cancer travelling to my kidney, liver and ovaries. Aftee two cycles of chemo, the same cycles you are on, my cancer count has dropped from 1600 to 66. I’m not out of the woods yet, but I’m positive. Stay positive, I’ll keep you in my thoughts.

    Like

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