Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Doing Battle, Week 3

How can it feel like so much happened this week and also not nearly enough?  Let me start back at last Monday where I left off.

In the morning on Monday, Aiden and I drove out to see my brother and company, who live in Rhode Island.  I've been there enough times that I should know my way, but the GPS has taken me so many different ways over the years that I'm still not confident, so I always turn on directions for the hour drive.

In that time, I received about five phone calls...offices confirming appointments, someone checking on an insurance something, and the one I was most waiting for, the results of the CT Scan and MRI from Thursday.

All this while, in between phone calls, Aiden is in the back telling me about plankton and coral reefs and which animals use the holes that woodpeckers make and getting exasperated because the phone keeps interrupting him and I keep missing my turn because I am a distracted driver.  I wasn't sure I would ever get there.

But we did!  :)  And on the way the surgeon called to say that the chest scan was CLEAR and the MRI supported what they had seen with the other scans, meaning the course of action we had set forth (the chemo and radiation) was right on target.  Also, the tumor is a T2 (in a range of 0-4).  Really good news!

On Tuesday, we were at the radiologist where I got lined up on the table in preparation for the radiation treatments to come.  I got three very small tattoos and the whole thing was quite painless.

From there we went upstairs to meet with the oncologist for the first time.  He is a character!  His information seemed pretty straight forward and I liked that the first round of chemo would be in pill form, taken at home and I would just need to check in once a week for a blood draw.  I say "just" like its no big deal, but in reality I'm a bit of a sissy about needles.  So far in this process I think I've had six needle sticks between blood and IVs and every one of the techs has complained about my small veins.  I suspect that soon I will get used to it and I'll laugh at myself for ever making a big deal out of it.

Where was I before I got started on needles?  (What world do I live in, by the way??)  Oh yes.  The oncologist.

We asked him about running me the Marine Corp marathon that I signed up for in February and have been training for since June.  He admitted that I was his first patient to ask about running a marathon, and while he supports my efforts to stay active and exercise through treatment, he discouraged me from attempting the marathon while in treatment.

When we got in the car, we got the wheels in motion for me to run the Hartford Marathon, which was that coming Saturday.  I would have been heart-broken to have trained all those months, working towards a very specific goal and then not be able to do my "training victory lap".  I thought it was so cool of God to arrange it so that there would be a race available, right in my own back yard, that would work.

Based on standard practice and at the nudging of our doctors, we chose to get a second opinion.  Amazingly, we live within easy driving distance of two of the top four cancer centers in the nation.  What a gift!  We decided on Sloan Kettering in New York City because they have surgeons who work very specifically with my type of cancer.

We used a generous gift to stay the night in the city and take in a show and dinner.  It was really good to get the time together and some of it even seemed normal.

The next morning we walked to Sloan, getting there 50 minutes early, just in case.  In the end, we were there 10-4 and to make that six-hour-visit and this getting-to-be-long-blog-post story short, we  talked with the surgeon, had more testing done and then met with an oncologist.  The end result is we've decided to switch the order of the treatments around, so instead of beginning with the chemo/radiation, we will start killing the cancer with heavy-duty chemo, beginning later this week or early next.

We believe in this new path and are so thankful to feel like we have the best people working on our behalf.  And God just continues to orchestrate things like the marathon and the Sloan visit and the support we feel by the hour to show us that He is working for our good.

I have been receiving some beautiful, heartfelt cards.  I laughed at a line in this one from Avery, I will never forget this time.  No truer words were ever spoken.  :)  Shaun and I have wondered aloud if one of our kids will end up being a doctor after all of this.  If nothing else, I pray that they would learn and know compassion and, within their depths, know that God is their refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble...and that He is faithful and can be trusted.


LuAnn said...

Continuing my prayers for you friend. Keep the faith and your positive attitude.

Amy said...

I LOVE that printable at the end. You guys are the best example to show your kids how to walk through the fire clinging to Jesus. I'm still sad you have to walk through the fire, though. ~ Thank for God's provision in your care. ....and do my eyes deceive me, or do you have a 3/4 length sleeve shirt on in NYC????

The Bug said...

This journey has been so blessing-filled - I'm glad you're sharing the journey!

Brent Grosvenor said...

Thank you Lisa for your beautiful example and testimony... your trust in the Lord and faithfulness to Him. Our prayers continue to go up on your half. "standing in the gap." Love you all.