Tuesday, April 21, 2015

4/21/15 I'm still here!

Dear friends and family,

Gabrielle here.  I'm sorry it has taken me so long to do a blog post!  Our computer was dying and I finally have a new one!  

Let's start right off with the wonderful news.  My March 6th ovarian cancer scan was CLEAR!  Thanks be to God for the gift of more cancer-free days ahead.  I will be seeing my oncologist every two months and my next scan will be in July.

However, the past few months have not been without some health challenges.  Since January I have been treated for near daily migraine headaches that began after my mom died October.  I am on a drug called Topamax that has stopped the headaches completely!  Next week I see the neurologist and we will discuss weaning off the drug now and seeing if the headaches will stay away.  Please pray that they will.

Next, after that great cancer scan, I headed off to Palm Springs with my childhood best friend, Renee, to celebrate.  Our daughter Renee is named after Palm Springs Renee!  Well, we were three days into our trip and off exploring Joshua Tree National Park when I experienced severe pain in my lower left abdomen.  It intensified until the next morning at which time I could barely move without crying.  I called Steve and he sent us off to the ER, where we spent eight hours learning that I had diverticulitis with a micro perforation in my colon where the infection was.  I was put on two strong antibiotics and a clear liquid diet.  But that night, I popped a pain pill and off we went to watch a professional tennis tournament we had tickets for.  I got to be chauffeured around in a wheelchair!  If there is one thing I've learned through cancer it is to keep living your life through it and squeeze out as much joy from each day as possible.  On my plane flight home, I noticed that one of my three diamonds was missing from my wedding ring.  So if you are going to Palm Springs in the near future, keep an eye out and you might find a treasure!

I tell you about the diverticulitis because it had a very serious consequence on my future cancer treatment.  My oncologist told us that now that I've had a micro perforation, I am no longer a candidate for the cancer prevention drug, Avastin, that I had been taking every three weeks.  Avastin can cause horrible, life-threatening perforations in 1.7% of the patients who take it so I am now off the list.  The Scripture verse God brought immediately to my mind when I got this scary news is Psalm 20:7 "Some trust in chariots and some in horses but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."  When you are in a battle, you can either trust your equipment or the One who is stronger than all the equipment and your foes combined.  We are trusting God to keep my cancer from growing back without Avastin.  Please pray and trust Him with us.

Once the diverticulitis was gone, along came a little urinary tract infection.  I had gotten to day 7 of the antibiotic, my last pill, when the doctor's office called and said "Oops--we forgot to get back to you to say the strain of your infection that the lab cultured needs a different antibiotic, so now you need another week's worth." Every morning I'm drinking yogurt smoothies to replenish my poor stomach's probiotics!

Lastly, over the last month my legs were aching like crazy.  And not only aching, they were shaking a bit and unsteady on stairs.  I saw my rheumatologist and my Lupus is back.  So he just finished a  mercifully short, three-day high dose steroid pulse and I am feeling SO much better!  In fact, I have had four mile walks each of the last three days!  

All of the minor health issues I've suffered in the last few months pale in comparison to cancer, but when you experience pain for any reason (physical, emotional, etc.) it's still suffering and it's hard.  Whatever ways, large or small, that you might be suffering right now, I am going to pause and say a prayer for you as soon as I hit "post" on this blog post.  Because I get it.  And I wish you relief, joy, peace, and hope ASAP! 

Love and blessings,

P.S.  Steve and I are in Cannon Beach right now watching the wind, rain, and waves pound the sand.  Beautiful.  Here are a couple photos of us from this morning's walk!  The little blue jellyfish are called velellas.  They are like little sailboats that float on top of the ocean and land all over the beach.  Gorgeous.