Not the most original blog post title, I will grant you. But it’s clear. I have a cancer update for you!
First, let me say thank you. Those words feel woefully inadequate. We are blown away by our incredible community who lavished provision on us during the past couple of months. Thank you for the cards, calls, texts, emails, flowers, sweet treats, meals, and even the shampoo (more on that later!).
I will never be able to send enough thank you notes to express how grateful we all are. The baby was playing with two friends last week and he came home and ask, “Mom, are you cancer free?” “YES!,” I replied (a little sad our communication wasn’t clearer)! “That’s what I thought,” he said smiling, “I told T and P when they asked and they cheered!”
The fact that we have elementary school boys cheering about God’s miracle provision just makes me smile and cry at the same time.
Before I share a little more, let me just say my journey won’t look like anyone else’s. I know that everyone’s cancer journey is totally different and I have so many friends that have very different stories. Double mastectomies, prolonged chemotherapy treatments, recurrences within the year, clinical trials, etc. I hope I know better how to care and love those battling this disease now, but my story looks different.
On February 1st, I laid out five prayer requests. Audacious but we have so many people praying. SO MANY – thank you! In fact, I made a map for the kids to show them how many states had someone praying for my cancer fight. (See map picture above! If you have been praying in a location that isn’t marked, would you drop me a comment? The kids and I have loved watching God’s coverage from coast to coast (and beyond)!)
I’m just going to lay out every single request and how God has answered!
Number 1 – clean COVID test. As you know, my entire family got COVID in January! Y’all, it is INSANE I did not get it. I stayed in the house with them the whole time. I tested on February 2nd and THAT NIGHT we got the negative test result back. It’s honestly a miracle. MDA would have canceled the surgery if it was positive. And what we didn’t know then, is it likely would have bene rescheduled for a couple of weeks out WHEN THE WINTERPOCALYPSE hit Houston! Thank you for praying for this.
Number 2 – the surgery on Thursday. The surgery went beautifully. First of all, Bray dropped me off at 7 am so I didn’t have to wait around all day with no food and water. The surgery started a little after 9 am and they were calling him to pick me up at 1:30.
The surgery was two parts. First, the oncological surgeon removed the tumor and my sentinel lymph nodes. The initial lab reports showed clean margins and no cancer in the lymph nodes but they had to be sent off to evaluate. Then, the plastic surgeon cut tissue out of my left breast and placed it in my right breast to even them out. In addition to cutting the center of the breasts, they also cut the underneath to “lift” them. Then they inserted a drain on my right side to drain fluids from my right breast to prevent infection.
Number 3 – Smooth recovery. It was as smooth as a moderately painful surgery can be. Mine was FAR LESS painful than my friends who have gone through mastectomies and multiple drains.
I was in discomfort the first week. The drain especially made it hard to get around or sleep. I have to wear a bra for six weeks and the pressure against the incisions hurt. Plus I couldn’t shower or wash my hair that first week without feeling like I would pass out.
However, the recovery went as it was supposed to with no complications. No infections. No extended drains because of fluid build up. And no clotting. All mercies over mercies.
Number 4 – The test results. Here is where I need you to SIT DOWN! The preliminary results were good. Then last week my oncological surgeon told me that they cleanly extracted the tumor without any remaining cancer (1.3 cm, stage 1 as they estimated). Further, the sentinel lymph nodes were completely clear; one of the two results we needed in order to avoid a course of chemotherapy.
But then, something I didn’t even know to pray for. My oncologist told me via video visit on Monday that 50% of the tumor was non-invasive. If you’ve been following my cancer posts, initially I was diagnosed with DCIS – an invasive ductal carcinoma. Half of it WASN’T EVEN INVASIVE. They never treat noninvasive cancer with chemo.
We’re not done. They have sent off the tumor for genomic testing. The oncologist said though that she believes the need for chemo is low. So much so that I’ve gone ahead and had my visit with radiation. The doctor will do a CT scan and mark me up on Wednesday in order to set out my treatment plan and I should begin a course of radiation the week of March 1st (three weeks of radiation of the right breast with a fourth week of a “booster” where the tumor was). Radiation side effects are fatigue and possible skin burn. I would certainly love continued prayers for the genomic test results and the radiation treatments.
Number 5 – A late add. My best friend’s arrival.
Ha – you prayed too hard!! If you followed us on the socials, you saw she arrived and then SHE STAYED. More on that sweet visit later this week, but Kristin and her daughter got in on February 11th. We had a very cold but fun visit down to Galveston for the weekend.
Then the polar vortex trapped all of Texas where they were with no power or water. Instead of flying out on Monday, she flew out on THURSDAY!
I loved having her but wished the conditions were more hospitable. And her family may never let her leave again! We’ve decided after our last couple of trips with weather calamity, we’re only traveling in April or October and then only to Florida!
There were so many other miracles that you can’t even see in this report. For example, on the 11th MDA canceled my 12th appointment to remove my drain. I was a wreck. Completely crying and melting down and leaving very sad sack messages with the MDA nurses. They fixed it and got me in even earlier in the day. Had I not gotten that drain out, I would have been stuck with it another entire week because of the weather closures.
Big and small, God COVERED US! You covered us! We are so overwhelmingly thankful.