A few days ago I got a call from my doctors asking me to come in ASAP to start chemotherapy. Chemo. The dreaded poison that I’ve been able to avoid all this time. I barely heard the words as they came through the telephone with urgency. The next few days I prayed, begged God for discernment and wisdom, I asked Him to help me decide what to do. Here I am at the end of my options, more tumors creeping in and growing every day. I know that I don’t have a lot of time left, well, I don’t know that for sure, but I do know I’m at the end of what I as a human can do for this cancer. Chemotherapy is a terrifying concept. The idea of nearly killing yourself to live, all the suffering I’ve seen it bring, the pain, the hair loss, the whole thing, and yet so many people have been healed from it. The few days after I got the call my heart was in turmoil. Do I want to try yet another thing that “might” work and yet fail me again? Do I want to spend what little time I may have left being miserable and poisoned? Do I want to just skip it all and live out the rest of my days as best I can? These are the questions that wrestled around in my heart and mind.
Yesterday I met with my doctors. Man I have been blessed with an incredible team. To see a dozen brilliant, scientific minds enter the room and shed tears over my case, I mean I’m a person to them, they care about me and they care about saving my life. That’s just outstanding to me. Anyway they reviewed my CT results with me. It’s scary. I have 20 or so tumors, one of them is pushing my windpipe so hard that it’s out of place. One of them is pushing against my ear drum so my hearing goes in and out. But nothing has breached any important organs, so that’s a blessing. But it’s not looking good. We have no idea what to expect next with this cancer. Will it invade my windpipe? Will it creep into my brain? It’s so hard not to let those thoughts rule over my mind. Like if someone told you that your’e going to get in a fatal car wreck in the near future but they don’t tell you when. Man how do you live with that!? I have to choose to trust God’s plan and His timing. I have to give that to Him and let Him rule rather than be controlled by fear.
ANYWAY, so after we discussed the CT results and had a heavy conversation about how serious it is, they discussed chemo with me again. Essentially this is the deal. Chemo will not cure me. It hasn’t had long term success with Merkel patients. BUT the hope is that it will shrink the tumors to buy us some time to find another therapy. They are working hard on testing all different tissue samples and I have one the the BEST doctors doing extensive research to find out what is wrong with my immune system. So IF chemo works to shrink my tumors in the short term, then they might have an opportunity to try one last thing. A lab in New York is testing some of my tumors to see if I have a mutation that another drug might combat. Those results will take about 3 weeks. So right now, the prayer is that 1. chemo will shrink my tumors, and 2. that they will have some amazing discovery that will lead us to a new drug option. Obviously you and I both understand that if chemo doesn’t shrink my tumors, I’m running out of time. And that’s the harsh reality of it you guys. But don’t lose heart, that just means I’m closer to a heavenly paradise!
In the meantime, I received my 2nd dose of chemo today and so far I am tolerating it well. I have some serious fatigue, a bit of nausea, and a major lack of appetite but other than that I’m okay. Next week is supposed to be the hard week. My white blood count will be very low, I have to be super careful and watchful for any infection, and, I will most likely lose my hair.
Hair and I have had some tough times during this battle. I’m not going to feel bad or apologize that I am really devastated to lose my hair. It’s a comfort to me, it makes me feel feminine and pretty, it disguises some of my really ugly tumors, and I am scared to let it go. Mom and I are going to go try on wigs tomorrow and I can already feel that the Lord is helping me and giving me strength to accept this new battle in my war with cancer. If you have tips on wigs or head wraps or scarves, let me know!
Thank you for being such amazing prayer warriors, and please never stop praying. Love you guys.