Follow up.

Wouldn’t it be great if I could just type the words, “and she lived happily ever after, for a very long time. The end.” and that be true. My eyes even tear up at the idea of this as my reality. I’m stubbornly clinging to this hope but unfortunately, it isn’t true yet.

You may remember, I said in a previous post that cancer has always felt like a bad dream so cancer free was even more foreign because the bad dream seemed to have resolved but I hadn’t woken up. Since my surgery and drawn out recovery, I’ve been practicing as much mental discipline as I could muster into believing I was cured and wouldn’t have any more cancer. I decided the millimeter lung nodules were not going to be cancer and resigned not to give them any of my energy by worrying about them. With this mindset, I boldly strode into a CT scan three weeks ago, not worried about finding anything because I was determined my hope and my mental commitment to being cancer free would triumph. My mom was worried though. It was my first scan after surgery. My first scan after four months with no chemo, the longest I’d been off chemo since getting diagnosed a year and a half ago. Four months is a perfect window for new cancer to grow big enough to show up. I drank my cleaning fluid contrast and got my CT scan like clockwork. The first of five monitoring scans that would happen over the next two years.

Peter Pan Donuts in Brooklyn
Wearing my favorite winter garb.
Local brews and garlic fries.

The next day, I left for a long overdue visit to NYC to visit my best friend and her seven month old daughter that I had never met. After two days of my favorite foods, drinks and NYC activities, I text my oncologist for results. Reading her reply was like a punch in the gut. Some suspicious nodules had grown in my lung. They weren’t “new” nodules. At the back of my mind there had been two slow growing lung nodules that in my crusade to stay cancer free I had thought dismissively about. Not for the first time, nor I’m sure for the last, my head and heart spiraled. I had skipped right over the “what if’s” and straight into hopelessness. My poor friends, suddenly I was distracted and melancholy and crying in the hallway outside their apartment late at night talking on the phone to my mom. Things got dark folks. I was sure I was going to have to postpone my life all over again. Not go back to work, stop coaching, more heavy dose chemo, cancel my upcoming vacation, constant nausea, another surgery, more pain, more hospitals, failed treatments, frustrated doctors, never be cancer free, be abandoned by God, everyone would give up, I would give up, the cancer would spread to my brain and then within five years I’d lose the fight and die.

This is the scary story that’s waiting in the shadows to capture my heart and force itself into my reality. I don’t understand how anyone can have cancer and not know Jesus. People always tell me how strong I am. Let me put those rumors to rest, guys, it’s not me. This depression, and fear, and pain, and shit circumstances are too much for me! He is the only one big enough to over power my scary story and say what’s true. I need to say it again, for myself, He has nothing but good intentions for me and no matter how dark my circumstances are it doesn’t change who He is or how much He loves me. I had this thought last weekend, maybe I’m going through this so that God can say, even in the most hopeless and darkest paths in life, He doesn’t just still loves us and want good things for us, but He is in it with us. If people who know Him and love Him never experienced this level of darkness could I say or believe that this isn’t too much for Him? Could I say with absolute assurance that He can walk through the worst life throws at you with you? Could I tell you I know that He wants to make the most depressing and fearful things in my life something good? I think sometimes people have horrible things happen so that we can find out whether what God says about Himself is actually true. I can tell you with certainty, He is not a God of talk and empty promises. Everyone has their own version of my scary story, I just want to tell you there’s an alternative if you want it. I hope that you can see these things about God are really true when you look at the darkness of my life. By some miracle I can not only remain sane and happy but I can appear strong. Somehow I am always rescued from those dark thought spirals, though I never quite now how it happens.

My oncologist ordered a PET scan straight away. She wasn’t discouraged like I was by these lung nodules. Yes, they are chemo resistant. Meaning, the 9 months of chemo I had, which had shrunk and killed all my other cancer, hadn’t gotten rid of these nodules. If you look at my previous scans you can see these nodules, they were only one millimeter, but they were there. Now they are four and five millimeters. Last week I was injected with that damn radioactive isotope again. Sure enough, the two nodules glowed, positive for cancer. Next step, meeting with my radiation oncologist to discuss radiation. Let’s see how this goes and what the implications will be.

This is the canister the radioactive isotope vial comes in to reduce radioactive exposure. Very science fiction.

The fight still rages, guys, I’m so grateful you’re in it with me!

10 thoughts on “Follow up.

  1. Amy… I have been following you for a little while now. I am very sorry to hear that your, what I like to call “spidey juice” turned up positive. I will never get used to seeing someone inject me with a syringe protected my a lead covering while being suited up like they are walking into Chernobyl, thinking “Are you sure this is ok to put into my artery “? About a year and a half ago, while visiting family in Colorado to put my father in law into hospice, I was diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Carcinoma. Within three weeks I was in the hospital having them resect 2 1/2 feet of my small and large colon. And then spent the next 20 days in the hospital. The ensuing recovery and treatments was enough to break anyone as you are quite aware. I will forever have biannual CT scans and tests and this type has a 95% reoccurrence rate. But if this trial has done anything for me on the positive it has forced me to re-examine my life. Before I was working 60-70 hours a week, I was stressed out all the time. My wonderful wife and I were growing apart. Any I would say is was directionless. I now appreciate each day more than I ever have, I don’t sweat the small stuff, I am more thankful for the blessings God has put in my life. And at least unlike my mother and sister, I have a cancer that I can fight. And fight I will… I wish you will continue to as well!! Best wishes.

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  2. Yes we’re in it with you Amy, we’re right here, standing with you & praying for your life!🙏🙏 We love you. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

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  3. Why He chose you of all people to allow this to happen to, I don’t know. You are fighting a battle on behalf of many. There are definitely much larger victories echoing in the cosmos by your strength. We stand with you Amy.

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  4. We are in for the long haul with you Amy! We can fight the fight of faith and win because our God says, “no weapon formed against us will prevail.” We are believing Gods word is true. We are knowing He never fails and His love never fails. We see you are wrapped in His love and care, we will go forward every step with you; praying and believing this is part of the “ all things working together for good “ for Amy because she is loved by the Living God❤️

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  5. You have given God glory even for your strength! Some will understand this…some will not. Your family stands with you daily in prayer. Keep sharing your story as your faith is giving us all courage to face our worst fears. According to the foreknowledge of God from all eternity He knew those who would accept his mercy. He foresaw the certain affinity between the elect One and those who would cleave to Him by faith. I love you little sister

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  6. Thanks for your authenticity and vulnerability here. Your words (Could I tell you I know that He wants to make the most depressing and fearful things in my life something good?) are much needed reminder to me of some things I know God wants me to hear right now with my own diagnosis. I’ll be on team #amystrong for however long this takes.

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  7. Your life right now speaks to the complicated reality that you can love and worship a God while questioning, doubting, struggling through it all and ultimately choosing to have faith and courage to believe His promises. Even when your hope is broken, you credit our God for all the unknown it is doing behind the scenes-within the scenes and quite possibly after the scenes. Saying you are strong doesn’t take away from it coming from God but for me, I just believe it more…that God has got you through this, he surely hasn’t left you. We love you and we never leave you in this scary story.

    Chris

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  8. You are so loved and that’s important. I can’t even imagine what you’re going through. My other PT friend who is your age had her cancer return and she is battling the same issues. You are both my heroes and I am sending lots of love and positive prayers .

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