That's right. No more chemotherapy for this girl. But this isn't a celebration or a graduation. Chemotherapy is doing much more harm than good. At this point, the side-effects are more of a threat to my body than the possibility of metastasized cancer. (Read that again. It's hard to believe that's possible, but it's true.)
For two weeks, Tony and I have prayerfully considered the options given to us after my last hospitalization: stop chemo or try a new drug combination. We wanted to know we did all we possibly could to kill the cancer and prevent metastasis. We also couldn't see how I could make it through another round of chemo and the likelihood of another hospitalization with even more severe side-effects. At my "decision" appointment yesterday, my oncologist was clearly uncomfortable continuing chemotherapy. We had our answer.
No time for tears on the loss of a treatment I never wanted in the first place. No time for second-guessing. God was very much a part of this decision, and we believe He has brought us to this crossroads. So we're ready to adjust the battle plan and fight hard with hormone blockers, nutrition, and surgery.
Honestly, I'm a bit relieved. I was terrified of more chemo. My third infusion was supposed to happen yesterday after my doctor's appointment. When we pulled out of the driveway in the morning, I took a long look at my house. I was afraid with another round of chemo I might not make it home. I cried in the waiting room. I didn't want another infusion. I didn't think I could stand it! And God intervened with mercy and provided a clear answer -- You don't have to do this anymore. I'm leading you in a new direction, and when you're healed, there will be no doubt Who saved your life.
Tony and I are completely at peace and very happy with our decision. So let's get started on our new prayer requests! They are important and a few are urgent:
1. The lesions on my scalp were diagnosed as a rare skin condition called Sweet's Syndrome (caused by chemo). I'm still in significant scalp pain even though most of the lesions are gone. I need a medication called Dapsone (and possibly Prednisone) to heal, but I need blood work at the dermatologist to clear me for the medication. Please pray this happens TODAY so I can start the medication before the weekend. Pray also for complete healing, which is entirely likely.
2. I will have a brain MRI on Sept. 11 to make sure it hasn't progressed to Neuro-Sweet's Syndrome. I've had some vision and hearing loss so my oncologist is ordering the MRI as a precaution. Pray for no brain involvement and quick, complete healing of all symptoms.
3. It will be several weeks before my strength returns. Pray for rest and low stress -- and God help me, some fun. I need to feel better and get back to the things that fuel my spirit. Weakness and misery don't suit me at all.
4. When Sweet's Syndrome is finally gone, I'll be able to have a PET scan to look for metastasis. Pray for no metastasis!
Although stopping chemo feels a little like a failure, surely it's not. It's a change in plans. God is not surprised. His power to heal me remains unchanged. And I will FINALLY start to feel better. I'm so thankful for that... And MY HAIR WILL GROW! (There's always a bright side. Wink.) I am still very much on a path to being cancer free. Don't grow weary in the fight. We will be victorious!
Strong and smiling,
Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise. - Jeremiah 17:14