As of yesterday, I have lived knowing I have cancer for one year. In some ways, it feels like that year has been 10 years long, and in other ways, it feels like I got diagnosed just yesterday. I spent my morning yesterday reading my blog entries from beginning to end. I have never ever gone back to read a single one of them before yesterday. After I publish, I never go back, I always just look forward and don't want to reminise. But yesterday, I felt compelled to go back a reread all of it. It was actually a great reminder to see where we were, where we've come, and all that we have conquered. It was good for me to go back and see how much my body has been through in one year and how much my heart and spirit have grown. It was good to go back and see how sick I was in comparison to how good I feel right now. It was good to remember some of the hard days and how much stronger we are because of them.
After reminiscing, it was time to face another blow yesterday afternoon. We got to mark our one year date with another oncology appointment, ironically I was put in the room I was diagnosed in - this is the first time I have been in that room since that day. I had my PET scan last week, and yesterday we got results. Unfortunately, it was more bad news with a bit of good news. The bad news is the cancer has spread to my aortic lymph nodes (these are just above my cervix). The fact that it has metastasized means it is not stopping, it is not giving in, it is continuing to grow. It is still relatively small and contained to a central location in my body, but it is spreading. Our small slice of good news is that the primary tumor has shrunk slightly and the area of cancerous lymph nodes prior to surgery appears to be clear. It's also good that it has not metastasized to other parts of my body. But none the less, it has spread. So now what? We've been asking ourselves this for the past 24 hours and have not come to any conclusions yet. There are hundreds of questions that we do not have answers for. Did the cancer spread before my surgery and more importantly before I started my new drugs/supplements? No one on earth knows. Did my primary tumor shrink because of my new drugs/supplements? No one knows. Would my cancer have spread more if I hadn't changed my diet? No one knows. My doctors offered another round of chemo to attack the cancer that is still in me. They have assured me that it won't cure me, but it could stabilize the cancer for a period of time. But I also know I will be sick on chemo. However, it is a different kind, and I would only have it administered once every 21 days instead of every week. I felt absolutely no pressure to start this immediately. My team of doctors and nurses know I'm feeling great right now, and they have left the decision to do chemo or not, up to me. I can start whenever I choose, if I choose. The other option is to continue with what I've been doing (dietary changes/supplements) and give this a bit more time to work. When I was in the hospital, I knew for sure I did not want to do chemo. I have surprised myself by seriously considering starting again in the last 12 hours. I feel that if I do chemo while the cancer is still small, I may have a better chance at getting it stabalized. But in the same breath, I feel really good right now. Maybe it's worth giving my current plan a few more months. I know this is my decision, and there is no right or wrong answer. So I've decided to be contimplative for the next week or so, and I'm hoping that at some point I'll know for sure what I'm supposed to do. I continue to believe that God is the only one that really knows what has gone on in my body and the time frame of each occurrence, and He will give me wisdom for how to move forward. So that covers the physical facts of where cancer is in my body to date.
Emotionally, we are sad. We are frustrated, but not completely devastated. Yes we had hoped for good news, and only good news. But it's not the worst news. Yes it's sad to be reminded that in some ways the cancer is growing and winning, but slowly. Slowly means more time for me....more time to love my girls, love my husband and invest into all the people I love around me. It was a reminder AGAIN that everyday of health is such a precious gift. I'm carrying on, doing things I love (writing, teaching, reading, cooking) and carrying on with plans. I was looking forward to speaking at a Women's event in November and these results will not change that. I have lots to say right now to anyone who wants to listen, and it somehow gives this last year some validity - to think I could influence women to make good life/spiritual choices through the lessons I have learned. Our hope remains in God, and in His ultimate plan for me and our family. The results from yesterday don't change the plans He has for me. Yes, I wonder why He has chosen another hard phase for me, but I will move forward in His love and by His grace. Please don't be afraid to call, e-mail, text or talk to us. We may be a bit sad over this round of news for a little while, but it is your love and support that helps us move forward. Living normal life is what helps us cope.