I woke up this morning, incredibly thankful for many things. This holiday is a great reminder each year of how much more thankful I should be throughout the year and not just during this season. I am constantly telling my kids to “be thankful” ; yet I need the reminder daily as well.
This morning though, I am thankful for so many things! Thankful I got 8 hours of sleep last night, thankful for the toys that are strewn about my house indicating the presence of 3 wonderful children, thankful that I came through the first round of this new chemo treatment with the grace of the Lord. His hand is most certainly upon this all.
For a quick recap as to where we are…back in May, I completed chemotherapy and was deemed in remission. My numbers (Hcg) had responded very well to the treatment and we were able to move through the necessary treatment in less time that was initially expected, so for that, we were incredibly thankful. I took the summer to simply recover, spend time with my family, be there for my kids like I hadn’t been able to the last 6 months, and return to physical activity in general. In the fall, I went back to work 1 day per week, which was another huge place of gratefulness with how understanding, supportive, and flexible my entire office has been through all of this. At this point, I was just following up with my Dr. every 3 months and having monthly lab draws to check my Hcg level.
In September, my Hcg level was different than it had been the previous 4 months. It is supposed to be 5 or less and it was exactly 5. We had it redrawn and it came back at 6. The plan was to continue monitoring, but to increase to weekly lab draws rather than monthly. The number continued to climb each week, but not yet at an alarming rate. Therefore, my Dr. ordered a full body CT scan, brain MRI, and ultrasound which all came back clear. The numbers continued to go up, so I also got a Lumbar Puncture and a PET scan. Again, all clear. The final straw came Friday, November 11. The lab came back and my number had jumped from 71 to now 204. The tripling of this number forced my Dr. to start me back on chemo, considering this to be a resistant group of cells that had remained, but not been detectable at the end of May, but since that point had the time to grow to a detectable level. Therefore I would resume chemo the following week, get a Port put back in, and continue until the numbers were down to less than 5 again. The chemo schedule would be the same, with the addition of a new drug that is stronger and therefore comes with a much greater risk of side effects.
At the moment of that news, I began a rapid move through the 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). By Monday morning, I was somewhere in depression, moving into acceptance. I went in on that Thursday, got a PICC line in the morning and went straight to admitting after that. So, that is where we are currently. I finished my first round (each round of chemo is 2 weeks long and consists of 1 inpatient admission and 1 outpatient treatment) yesterday evening. We are in this and our God is good.
Each round, we have a theme verse. The first is this:
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. *Hebrews 12:1-2*