Its been two weeks since a treatment and here we are on Monday again, but I don't have to go!!!! I've hardly let myself breathe, for fear that its not real but as we've gotten further away from that last time, I've been slowly letting my breath out. Pheeewww!
This week we visited Sloan Kettering in NYC and as we were sitting in the waiting room I kept glancing toward the closed door labeled "Chemotherapy Suite". Aside from the fact that it sent waves of nausea over me, I just kept thinking, I couldn't do number nine...I don't have another treatment in me. And I realized, with much thankfulness and awe that God's all-sufficient grace was enough to cover me through the eight rounds that I did. And SO many prayers carried me.
We met with the same surgeon and the oncologist that we saw back in October, whose second-opinion we've been following and they helped affirm that we did indeed get through the hard part. That was good to hear!
The surgeon confirmed that the tumor has been responsive to the treatments, although that was not even the primary goal of the chemotherapy (the primary goal was to “mop up” other fragments of cancer in various parts of my body and to keep the tumor from dividing and conquering). Additionally, she spoke more positively about final outcomes than she had when we first saw her.
The oncologist said things looked good and to continue the course we had planned, which is to begin radiation with chemo sometime in March. I like Plan A's! She went over all the side-effects I'd experienced with treatments and commented on how much hair I still have. Only Shaun and the girls have noticed, but I lost about half of my hair. Since I'm not good at "doing" hair, I've never really appreciated my thick hair...but I do now!
The day was the result of lots of answered prayers! I was so thankful again for the great care I’ve received. The surgeon and oncologist I met with are the best of the best, and so close to home. Along with being professional, knowledgeable and skilled, they are both warm and caring….what a blessing to be under their watch and have them accessible!
Although I didn't realize it until after, I was pretty anxious about the visit to Sloan and what news we might hear. For the first time, I was wishing I hadn't chosen to make my story public. I was wishing I hadn't volunteered to be a spokesperson for "the cancer journey". If it was bad news we were getting, I wanted to be able pull it in and hide out with it. I wanted to not own up to the fact that I took more fear than faith into that appointment. I wanted to protect God's name if the results were not favorable.
But really? This is His story. And its not all about me and its not all up to me. I don't have to carry the burden of writing the story....this isn't all dependent on me. He's writing a beautiful story and its got His extravagant love for me written all over it.
He loves me when I trust Him completely and He loves me when I have doubts and fears and questions. I was struck this week with how big God is, that He controls the universe, yet, as we sang in church yesterday, He is mindful of me.
Do you like how I just slipped that in? "In church yesterday", as if it hasn't been four months since I was there. :) Yes! This week I got the all-clear to re-enter public life and it feels SO GOOD!!
The kids are tickled as well. Everywhere we went this week, they kept exclaiming, Mom, you're coming WITH us! Mom, why are you coming in to drop us off? Because I can!! I watched both the girls and Shaun play basketball and watched R compete in a track meet. After four months of hibernation, or "house arrest", if you will, its been great to be out!!
I know this post is already long, but I've got one more NYC story to share. My sister drove and we dealt with traffic the whole way....expected, but maybe not so much mid-morning in the middle of the week. Anyway, we finally got super close to our destination, so she dropped me off so she could park but not make me late. I checked into the building, only to discover it was the wrong one! I was at the breast cancer building on 66th Street but I needed to be at Sloan's other building on 54th Street. No problem, it was a nice day for a walk. Except that it turned into a walk/run.
This is where you won't believe the story unless you know my history with getting lost. I found 54th Street no problem, and I know that one side of the street has even numbers, one has odd. I also know that if you go one direction the numbers go up and if you go in the opposite direction the numbers go down. Even armed with this information, I could not find #160. Amazing but true.
After running up and down the street like a crazy woman several times, stopping to ask people if they know of the building, pulling it up on my phone GPS (which was useless because it told me to head southeast....I don't do anything but right and left), I finally arrived...frazzled, blotchy-red, sweating profusely and completely amazed at the level of my ineptitude with directions.
We're so happy to have the first and hardest phase behind us. We're incredibly grateful for all of you who have stuck with us over these past four months. There's been so much love and support and we're so thankful for community.
The waiting rooms at Sloan are equipped with basic refreshments. Good thing....we were in the building for 5.5 hours and all but .5 of that was waiting.
It was a hard day on both of us, but Amy had to deal with my anxiousness and frazzlement. It was a 14-hour day and she never complained once. I'm so thankful for her love and support.