Update: I’m making progress!

Tomorrow is my 4th chemo treatment – wow.  Hard to believe I’m this far in this portion of my treatment, but I’m thankful to have done as well as I have.  So far my body has responded quite well to the chemo; both in the way my cancer is responding and my side effects. Prior to starting my treatment the doctors and nurses tell you all of the possible side effects you could experience and I’m happy to report that mine have been mild by comparison. The worst part is the nausea and fatigue – it’s sort of like if morning sickness and a terrible hangover had a baby, that’d be my chemo aftermath. Fun times! But fortunately for me, my medical team is very committed to minimizing this as much as possible and so with each chemo treatment and different anti-nausea concoction the severity of it all is improving. Going back to the infusion center post chemo for IV fluids and nausea meds seems to do the trick, and so that’ll be my MO for the next rounds.

Life has started to feel a little more back to normal. The holidays are over, I’m back to work (from home), somehow my tastebuds that seemed destroyed with my first chemo treatment have mostly returned to normal, my will to cook and clean is back (why?!? lol) and as a family we’ve started focusing on things that are not cancer related. Home improvements, vacations, family goals, career goals; things that my mind had no room for upon my initial diagnosis have once again gained space – and that is a nice and normal feeling to have. My feelings of peace and confidence in God’s plan for this season remain. I’ve got days of blah, but the days of hopefulness are greater. Thank you, Jesus!

Medical update: Recently I met with my breast surgeon who did an ultrasound of both the area where my breast cancer was and my lymph node that biopsied positive for cancer. In my breast, aside from a very small area that may be remnants of my tumor (but too small to measure) and the metal clip she inserted during the biopsy, she saw nothing else. My lymph node also showed improvement having shrunk from 2.6 cm to 1.3 cm (so the prayers and chemo are working on this sucker too!!).  This was the first time I had seen her since starting chemo, so she was super pleased (and astonished) with the way the cancer has responded to the treatment. I told her we had praying that bad boy away.

One issue I have had through all this is my port; it got infected over Christmas and was removed shortly after. I had to receive my 3rd chemo treatment via IV (which was not as pain free as through the port). Last Monday they attempted to place a new one on the other side of my chest, but the surgeon, upon examining my old port site, discovered it had not fully healed and he was worried that it may become infected again. He said he did not feel comfortable risking an infection to my new port and therefore postponed the surgery. I am now scheduled to have the new port placed tomorrow morning, prior to my chemo treatment, assuming the surgeon is comfortable with condition my old port site. It is still not fully healed, so I’m unsure how this will go.

Despite the dramatic positive response my tumors have had to the treatment, we will press forward with the initial aggressive plan of attack, however, there have been a few modifications. As it stands, my last chemo will be March 2nd. They will give me a month to recover and then my mastectomy will be the first week of April. Initially I was supposed to begin reconstruction at the same time as my mastectomy, but now, due to the extent of the radiation necessary because of where the cancer has spread, reconstruction will be delayed 6 to 12 months. After my surgery in April, they will let me recover another month and then I’ll begin 33 rounds of radiation (I’ll be receiving radiation every week day for 33 days) in May. Finishing up in mid to late June, this should be my final cancer treatment!! Except for targeted therapy infusions every week week… and hormone blocker pills for 10 years… well, let’s just say it’ll be the final “hard” treatment. Hallelujah!!

For my praying friends, here are our specific praises and prayer requests:

  • Praise that my lymph node is shrinking!
  • Praise that my side effects are not severe!
  • Pray for my old port site to heal to allow my new port to be placed
  • Pray for me and my family’s continued peace and confidence in God through this season
  • Pray for my complete healing

I continue to be humbled by this whole experience. By so many things – by the outpouring of prayers, messages, calls, cards, gifts, help, food, an amazing husband, so many friends and family that care so much about me. I’m humbled by co-workers who surprised me with a “pink day” video in my honor (video here – mascara alert). I’m humbled by what big things God has already done in me – both physically and mentally. How He’s prepared me by my strengthening my walk with him over the last few years to get me ready to fight this thing with Him. How He’s taken away my fear and my anxiety almost completely. It is truly amazing. I continue to be excited for what He’s got in store for me, but until that is revealed, I plan to keep giving Him all the Glory, and keep my eyes on Him to get see me through this.

Not sure how many of you are familiar with the Bible app, but you can bookmark verses. Through these last few months I’ve been bookmarking several verses that speak to me about this journey. Somehow prior to my cancer diagnosis (like back in October 2016) I had accidentally bookmarked a verse, John 9:3. In my quiet time each morning as I read through my intentional bookmarks, I’d get annoyed that I had this one “mistake” in there- surely not relevant to what I wanted to be feeding myself with. Apparently I hadn’t actually read (or absorbed) the verse prior to my petty annoyance… but a few weeks ago I did. Wow.

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Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” John 9:3 

Love,
Jess