Peace, where did you go?

For those of you faithful prayer warriors, you may have noticed that I was supposed to get my test results last week and I never gave you any update. One of my goals during my bout with cancer, was that I would not succumb to fear of sharing of my story. I failed at my goal this week. There are particular people I do not want to know what is going on in my life right now. I just don’t. I want to curl up in a ball and take a really long nap. I don’t even really want to know my own story right now. Mainly, because I don’t know. Ultimately, this is NOT God’s best for me, so it is time to share.

Roy and I went in pretty blindly on Monday, March 17th to meet with my oncologist. I kept telling people leading up to my appointment that I wasn’t certain if what I was feeling was peace or apathy. I kept telling people apathy and they kept telling me peace. It was apathy. Unfortunately, we did not get the results we thought we would hear. The mass near my heart has grown. When I started chemo in February 2013 the lymph node near my heart was 5.4 cm wide. After chemo it shrunk to 3.0 cm and my oncologist was pleased with that result. He told us that scar tissue is normal following treatment. It is much like inflating a balloon. After you blow it up the first time, it just never really goes back to the same size. (That must explain what happened to my abdomen following two pregnancies.) My most recent PET scan shows that the mass/node has grown to 4.3 cm and is showing “low grade activity”. Dr. Stone gave me two options. 1) Wait 3 months and then do another PET scan. 2) Do a biopsy on the mass to see if it is lymphoma or scar tissue or some other anomaly. Seriously? Do you know me? Wait? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Wait to see if a mass near my heart continues to grow? Who chooses that? Clearly, I didn’t.

Once I chose door #2 we began asking some questions. What is the course of treatment if the lymphoma is back? Answer: A stronger, harsher chemo plus a bone marrow transplant. How would the transplant work? Answer: I would be my own donor. That was good news… That was all I really needed to know. My thoughts began racing. I just started growing my hair back. What will we tell the boys? How will this impact our daily life? God got us through this last time, He hasn’t changed, He will be faithful to do it again. Again? I don’t want to do it again! I don’t want to ask for help? I don’t want to drain my family, friends, and community. If it is not lymphoma, what is growing? Why couldn’t it be a mass somewhere other than near my heart?  On and on and on they went? ? ? ? ?

Now we play the ridiculously annoying waiting game. I am working with a cardiologist to schedule the biopsy. Despite amazing technological advances, the left hand refuses to speak to the right hand. I had my PET scan done with one business, I mean medical facility, and the cardiologists works for the other business, I mean health provider. I almost drove 2 hours to pick up my PET scan DVD to drive it to the cardiologist 45 minutes away to make life easier… Oh, I would then drive 2.5 hours home. Easier, I know… As I type this entry, it reminds me of my “Cancer Sucks” blog. I feel like I am whining and frustrated. I am. I am so frustrated. The “why?” doesn’t matter. If this is God’s plan, for me to re-enter this journey, then I will gladly go forth. I don’t mind for me. I just don’t want it for Roy. I don’t want it for Jake. I don’t want it for Matt. I don’t want it for anyone else who cares for me and my family. Roy said it perfectly, “Brandee, I just want to live life with you. I want to stop fighting death with you.” I melted.

Comeback

I have loved feeling the sun on my skin and not being worried that I would get a severe, instant sunburn from my chemo. I have loved playing with my boys. I have loved cooking meals and eating with my family. I have loved having enough energy to simply live. I have loved Jesus. I still do. That will not change. Why would it? He has been so incredibly faithful to me and my family. He deserves everything I can give Him, and what I cannot. There is more to my journey. There is more to your journey. Would you pray for peace during our time of waiting? “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.” John 14:27

Tick Tock Goes the Clock

It has been 6 months since my last scan. I can’t hardly believe it. Tomorrow, Roy and I will head to Greeley for the follow-up PET scan that is required post-treatement. I am not worried about the results. Good, bad or ugly, God will take care of it. He did it before and He will do it again. We are hopeful for a clear scan, but it will be a week before we know the results. I still don’t like the actual scan – holding still while going into a tube is not my idea of fun. It makes me think of a coffin and I have a whole lot of life ahead of me.

The hard thing to bear is that this is taking such a toll on my little Jake. Jake falls asleep quickly and easily. After we shared with the boys that I would be headed into the doctor tomorrow, it simply put Jake in a tale spin. We are not sure why this is harder for him now. Is he more aware of what cancer did to our family? Is he scared of the results? Does he even understand what he has already faced? Is he worried we will face again? All I know is that I can love him despite his fear. I crawled (in a very ackward, very uncomfortable way) up onto his top bunk simply to hold him. We had laid the boys down, but he was upset and called me back downstairs. Jake couldn’t stop crying. He was trying to be strong, but he simply was “going to miss his mommy time.” He needed one last “big hug” before he said he could fall asleep. In tears I headed back upstairs. For the first time in his six little years of life, he cracked his door open an hour and a half past his bedtime so he could find me and crawl into my arms. On a different day I may have been annoyed or frustrated or worried that he wasn’t getting enough sleep. Tonight I wanted to hold him as much as he wanted to be held. I wanted to take away his pain and worry and tell him everything was going to be alright. Is it? Probably. But there is no guarantee. The one thing I know is that just as Jake found comfort in my arms, I find comfort in Jesus’ arms. He holds me in my sadness and fear with such peace and comfort that I too will sleep sound tonight.