Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Step in the Right Direction

  Last week I was on my low-iodine diet again for tests.  I had a blood draw on Wednesday and another full-body scan on Friday (I think that's the fourth one I've had so far).  Of course, the diet always is a downer.  It is emotionally difficult as well as physically draining.  My sister-in-law brought dinner for my family one day, and I had a friend or family member take me to each of my 4 different appointments throughout the week...not to mention my sister taking us to my daughter's eye appointment on Thursday.  I know I said thank you to everyone, but I want to say it again.  Thank you so much for your display of love and support toward myself and my family.  Having someone go with me helps keep me calm, and I always enjoy the one-on-one time that seems so hard to get.  Meals to my family are especially helpful when I am on my diet and have no desire to even think about cooking.  I never take these things for granted, and I hope you know how deeply I appreciate each of you.
  I had scheduled an appointment with my oncologist to receive the results of my tests.  Kim planned to take me to that appointment on April 10th.  Things have changed a bit, however.  This morning, my Dr.'s office called to tell me I don't need to come in on the 10th.  The results are back and my scan is clean!  I cried, of course.
  This does not mean that I am cancer free.  I am celebrating like it does, because it really is such good news.  But it's not the same as being in remission.  The scan came back clean, but the blood-work didn't.  My tumor marker is still more than ten times the acceptable level...though even that is close to half of what it was before.  What it does mean is that there are no cancer groups large enough to be detected by the scan.  It means that I do not have to have another treatment any time soon.  It means that we can breathe a bit.  :-)
  I have learned to live with cancer, and go about my day-to-day business as though there is nothing different at all.  I have learned to be at peace with the professional opinion I received that told me not to expect a total eradication, but only hope to control the cancer's growth.  I have even learned to be thankful for cancer because it has taught me so much.  At the same time, the hope never goes away that some day this disease will be completely gone.  I know my Lord is able to heal me, and we have prayed for that healing.  I don't demand it, or claim that He is supposed to heal me, but I know that He can.
  Today I have been granted a portion of that healing.  I will have to have more blood-work done in six months.  At that point, we will either continue to monitor tumor marker levels, or opt for another radioactive iodine treatment.  But today I don't have to worry about that.  Today, my family celebrates.  Today there are tears of joy and a heaviness lifted.  Today there are prayers of thanksgiving and smiles and hugs and an overflow of gratitude that words cannot express.
  I still would appreciate your prayers.  But tonight I encourage you to praise the Lord with me for this gift, this moment of joy.  It is a blessing.  It almost feels like a vacation.  Today, even the unexpected blast of snow cannot dampen my spirits!