Thursday, February 1, 2018

2/1/18 Here we go again

Dear Family and Friends,

I normally only do one blog post per month, but I did want to tell you what was decided after we met with my oncologist on Monday.

It turns out that my tumor marker jumped up 20 points this week to an annoying 67 (should be under 30), confirming our suspicions that the cancer is growing again.  This means that the chemo drug that had been working for me, Taxol, is no longer being effective.  However, I needed to stop Taxol anyway, since it was causing so much nerve pain in my hands and feet.

Thus, I am now on a drug called Topotecan, a chemo drug that shouldn’t hurt my hands and feet as much.  Along with this drug, I will continue to take Avastin, which prevents formation of the small blood vessels that feed the cancer cells.  So we will continue our efforts to attack, kill, and starve the cancer cells.  If that doesn’t sound like full on war, I don’t know what does!

I made it through my first treatment on Tuesday with one migraine and two days of nausea, but today, Thursday, I’m doing a bit better.  I will actually attempt to exercise today and make myself eat healthy foods, even though nothing really sounds too appealing. 

I was sad to read statistics this week about ovarian cancer patients who have failed many drugs and then are given Topotecan.  On average, they live only 51 weeks.  But nine out of ten late-stage ovarian cancer patients are dead at five years, and here I am—not dead!  By God’s grace, I am the one out of ten.  As I have said before, we are not statistics to God, but individuals He created with a lifespan that is entirely in His control.  And we need not worry that we will die one day too soon, or one day too late.  When the gates of Heaven open for me one day, and the Lord takes my hand and takes me there, it will be at exactly the right time.  In the meantime, I treasure the gift of each day and work hard at ordering my days in ways that are meaningful and healthy, balancing times with friends and family and exercise, with times of quiet and rest, with prayer, Bible study, a cup of tea, and a good novel!  “All the days ordained for me were written in your Book before one of them came to be.”  Psalm 139:16

I want to thank you for all your prayers and kindnesses this past week.  I received lovely cards in the mail from Sue, Audrey, Maribeth, and Janet, and a large care package of my favorite chocolate treats from our cousins Rob and Becky in Oregon.  On my actual chemo day Tuesday, I was quite nervous about my first time taking the new chemo drug, as you never know how it will react in your body.  I texted my Bible study friends and they immediately started praying and one of them showed up to visit me at my chemo chair moments later!  And Monday night, with Steve at work while I was sad, emotional, and having a lot to process with the cancer growing and the new drug about to start, Renee came over and she and Daniel had dinner with me, let me cry, and watched Grace and Frankie on TV with me to cheer me up. 

It takes a village to help a person who is battling cancer.  I have the best village in the world.  Thanks be to God, and to all of you!!  I love the poem below, and quote it to myself often.  I hope it will speak to you as well.

Christ Has No Body
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which He looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which He blesses all the world.
Teresa of Avila (1515–1582)



As you know, we love our bunnies, Sunny and Haystack.  So I took this photo with Peter Rabbit for them!  ;-)