Today I am starting with rain, as it feels like a torrential downpour.
When she said the words “the chemo has stopped working”, I had already been crying. I knew. I knew when the intern had come in and tried to put the positive light on things. He said the cancer hasn’t grown and that is a good thing. Yes, yes it is, but I knew something was very very wrong. I knew that by treatment 4 nearly all the cancer should be gone. With my mom by my side we waited. Waited for the big guns to come in and give it to us straight, and she did. Dr. Avani said those words, and I wasn’t shocked. I had already known. Sometimes you just know. I had just the week before texted my mother and told her that something was wrong. That I saw the lung x-ray and it wasn’t good. I saw how much cancer was still there and I knew it wasn’t good. I knew I should be seeing little to no cancer by now. So, again, I wasn’t shocked. I had hoped I was wrong, but I had already known. What I didn’t know was that she would stop chemo all together. You see there is no point in having chemotherapy when it isn’t killing the cancer. Plan of action now, wait to be called by my doctors office to be told that a new lung biopsy is scheduled. Dr. Avani wants to see if we are really dealing with Peripheral Large T-Cell (NH) Lymphoma. She also wants to rule out me having 2 different types of cancer at once. (With my luck, it is not out of the question.) Upon having this surgery then I get to wait some more. I get to wait for my little fleshy cancerous growth to get dissected and played with and looked at on a molecular level, at which point a name will be given to it. While I wait, I will hope, and pray that this aggressive cancer doesn’t grow inside me. Then I wait. I wait for the Dr.s to decide what my treatment will be to combat my cancer. Then I wait. I wait to see if the chemo (this time) is working. Then I wait to make sure it continues to work. I wait… I wait to be told whether or not I will even make it to the stem-cell level of treatment. I wait to be told whether I will live or die.
There is a blessing in all this, many actually. The first of which is I will get to see my daughter Angel hand the reigns of her youth group on. I will get to see Amy one of the most charismatic young woman I have ever met receive that crown, from Angel. I will get to see my other daughter Cheyenne, get one step closer to receiving that same honor. I was going to have to miss this, but I will get to see it all now. I will get to turn 34 without an IV coming from my chest. I will get to spend a couple weeks feeling normal. I will get to wake up free of pain and nausea. I will get more time with my kids, and friends, and family. There are many things I can be grateful for. Maybe this is God’s way of saying, hey I know it’s been hard, so here have a little break. I am choosing to linger on that thought.
This may seem like a weird sunshine, but it is good to know I am not crazy. I thought I was crazy for thinking something was wrong. I am not a doctor. I never went to school to read x-rays. I should not have a clue as to what I am looking at. The problem is, I ask a lot of questions. I research everything. I like to know as much as I can. Knowledge is power, but ignorance is bliss. I single handedly destroy my bliss, because I would rather be knowledgeable. I had asked to see my first x-rays. I knew the whispy clouds enveloping my lungs were not supposed to be there. So, my sunshine is really in knowing myself. I would rather understand and know the facts, and then really focus on tangible positives.
There are other treatments. This is a sunshine. I will be in the next couple days contacting whoever will be willing to talk to me. I have been hearing about DNA tests that tell you what chemo will work best for you. I will be talking to several people that I have found that have made it to stem-cell treatment level and see what treatment worked for them. I will be my own advocate. While I know the doctors are truly trying to make me well, I also know God has given me this inherent knowledge of knowing when I need to step in and advocate for myself. I am going to be praying that he lead me in the right direction.
I have sunshine because my rain really changes nothing. I am here on earth as God’s child. None of us know how long we have. Driving home with my mother in the fog last night I reminded myself that I really didn’t know if we would make it home okay. I didn’t know if that would be our end. I just need to try and spend each day remembering this is not “my” time on earth, it is “His” time. I just hope I am spending it the way He wants.
I’m going to avoid the gruesomeness of vomit, poop, and urine. Instead I am going to tell one of the stories in my life that make me smile every time I think about it. Cheyenne and Angel are in the kitchen washing dishes together. At the time they are both about 12. Cheyenne turns to me and says “Mom, I can’t get this off”, she is elbow deep in warm sudsy water scrubbing a pot. Something must be said about Cheyenne. She is the sweetest child, combine this with her developmental delays and you will find yourself wanting to do things for her. When she first came to our home at the age of 9 she still could not even brush her own hair. This was not because she couldn’t, it was because it was just so easy to do it for her. I had to train myself not to give into that. I, even though, it was much easier and faster to do things for her, realized I was really doing nothing for her. I was hindering her. I was saying you are not capable, let me do it for you. I had to empower her, not hinder her. So by the age of 12, we had gotten to dishes. When she turned and said “I can’t get this off”, my first instinct was to scrub it off myself. I stopped myself. “Just use a little elbow grease Cheyenne, you can do it,” I replied. I left the room, and it was shortly after when I came back in that I found Cheyenne under the cupboards, reading cleaning bottles. I knew right then and started laughing and asked “What are you doing Cheyenne?”.
“I’m looking for elbow grease.” Diligent to a fault, and concrete as they come, I still smile. Yes, it is cute that she went searching for elbow grease, but what makes my heart smile is that she didn’t give up. She didn’t say she can’t again, she trusted that she could. I need to take a lesson from her and TRUST I can get through this too.