…and they are GOOD!
My CT scan this week was a momentous one. I had a scan three months ago that showed some promising signs that my current treatment regiment was shrinking the tumors in my lungs. It was the first scan in over a year when there was less cancer in my body than the previous scan. I’ve continued the same regiment since the last scan — nine additional weeks of regular poisoning — and while I was optimistic this scan was going to also show good results my batting average hasn’t been good on these.
Well, I caught a break. A substantial break by my perspective.
The scan showed that there are no new tumors in my body, that several tumors in my lungs and one in my tongue had fully resolved, and that the two remaining tumors in my lungs were mildly smaller than they were 9 weeks ago.
The poison was efficacious. Finally!! Hallelujah!
The prayers and faith have worked this entire time. Their efficacy have never been in question. That isn’t tied to getting a positive outcome or seeing a tumor dissipate or “mildly shrink”. The collective outpouring of faith from all of you healed me, and continues to heal me daily, from lots of things. Primarily it healed my vision of God’s plan for me and my willingness to accept whatever that is. Camilla’s faith and that if my kids has been the most precious and visible to me. And I know so many others have exercised similar faith.
But now we’ve got the drugs that are working. The modern miracle of medicine combined with the eternal miracle of God’s grace are working.
And that really pumps me up.
To say we are excited about the news would be accurate. But to say we are grateful is the ultimate understatement.
I’m by no means out of the woods. I have metastatic head and neck cancer. Don’t look up my odds of beating this thing entirely because it’s worse than my high school batting average and that wasn’t good either. But to receive this type of scan result is a gift of time. The future is still uncertain and who knows how this will play out and how long this type of response will last. At some point my body will probably spring another leak and we will have to deal with that when and if that day arrives.
But that day isn’t today, and it’s not going to be tomorrow.
We’ve been given an additional allotment of time and that is a precious gift. I refuse to get complacent with today and finding joy and happiness in the present. But now I feel like I can make plans for the summer. We can think about where we want to spend Thanksgiving and probably Christmas and not feel like that is a wasteful endeavor. We are booking the Newport Beach house in October. I need to think about what to get Camilla for her birthday in June and our 12th anniversary in December. How incredible is that?!?!
I don’t know how to articulate to you how exhilarating that feels.
So my next steps will be to continue on a weekly infusion of an immunotherapy drug called Erbitux. I’ve been doing erbitux alongside the chemo drugs for the past 18 weeks. Side effects are relatively mild and I can remain on this drug indefinitely. We will scan every 12 weeks and stay on this plan until something changes in the scan. Erbitux has shown to keep cancer in check over extended periods of time and so the goal here is to keep the tumors small and to prevent new ones from sprouting. My body has taken about all the chemo it can for the time being so this will hopefully provide me a prolonged window to heal and maybe put on a few pounds. What I weigh right now is about what I weighed in 8th grade! 😳
I won’t dampen the spirits in the post by posting about an upcoming surgery I have scheduled, but that will be a separate post in a few weeks to describe what I’ll be doing in March.
Tonight we Fly the W.
Tonight we kneel in deep gratitude.