huh?

Mark and I met with Dr. Campbell today expecting two things–finding out where the cancer was growing since my blood counts were up and learning what medicine I would be switching to. I was waiting to learn just how fast the rest of my hair would fall out and just how awful the side effects of whatever aggressive new medicine would be.

But neither happened. Instead we learned that the imaging I underwent last week showed no evidence that the cancer is on the move. My bones are “grossly stable” (sounds funny to me), my liver is stable, and the nodules in my lungs have had very minor growth over the last year. I feel as though my mouth dropped open more and more as our meeting went on. I felt like saying “Huh?”

So, what is causing the tumor markers to sound the alarm? Basically, we don’t know. Dr. Campbell suspects it may be the pleural fluid I’ve been dealing with since spring. Each time my markers were taken, it was before getting drained. We’ll take tumor markers again tomorrow just to see if they were effected by the drain I had last week.

As for medicine, he is taking me off the Epirubicen, not because he didn’t think it worked, but because there is a lifetime dose maximum before the medicine threatens the heart. I had the same med 8 years ago, so I’ve had close to my lifetime max. He’s also switching my orals meds, taking out the one I’m on that gives me night sweats and a voracious appetite and putting in one he believes will be even more effective controlling the fluid. I’m extremely willing to let that one go.

Essentially, the meeting today could not have been better. The med switch could not leave me more optimistic that my hair will start filling in, my energy will return, and a few pounds will go back where they came from. I will admit that I had absolutely no hope that this would be the outcome of our meeting today. People would say that they were hoping and praying for a good outcome from the tests and meeting today and I’m afraid I was rather dismissive as if a good outcome were not possible.

Perhaps this is why my former pastor’s words ring so true to me so often. Years ago she had said to me, “Remember, if you can’t keep the faith, let the faith keep you.” Recently I heard another sermon with essentially the same message.

It has been getting very hard to keep the faith. Thanks for keeping me. I am, as always, so grateful.