Monday, February 24, 2014

Cancer Spreading

Last week was not a good one. The effects of chemo felt particularly awful. The next day started getting better but then my neck became very sore and tender, right near the area where I had had the lump. My neck has not been an issue. The tumor seemed to melt away quickly in the beginning and hasn't been a problem since, but I couldn't ignore this new tenderness. I called into my nurse to let her know about it and ask what I should do. I was waiting for her to speak to the doctor and call me back. As time passed I felt increasing worse, not in my neck but my stomach felt horrible. I called again and added this new symptom. They wanted to see me. I went in the next day and they couldn't tell anything from the blood work so they sent me in for a CT scan. Rather than just scan my neck I suggested he do a full scan since we were only a few weeks away from my scheduled scan anyway, so they did. The scan showed that my tumors are growing and the cancer has spread. They saw several tumors in my abdomen around my intestines, not in an organ. There was a fuzzy area in my neck that they think is nothing but aren't 100% sure. My doctor was definitely more concerned with the new tumors than he was with the growth of the old ones. Treatment needs to change so we are stopping the folfiri and going to the next and final chemo option called regorafenib.
Several months ago my daughter posted the following on her Facebook. I was so impressed by her ability to put into words such a vivid discription of her feelings (and the feelings of all of us) that I wanted to share it here.

"Bad days are expected. It's what you prepare for when you first hear "cancer". It's sort of like standing at the edge of a cliff with a blindfold on. You know you're at the edge but to look would be too scary. When you stand there long enough, you get used to the idea of being at the edge of a cliff. Then the wind gets a little stronger and pushes you, and you hear rocks fall as your balance slips, your stomach sinks, and all the scary feelings come back." -Valerie

Along the way we have experienced good days and bad, blessings, miracles and hard things to handle. It is human of us to have fear and anxiety when things are not good. To use Valerie’s analogy of the cliff, it is clear that at some point we must go over the cliff. We see that going over the cliff is going to bring pain and suffering and our fear and anxiety build. But if we know where to turn for peace we can feel peace even in the middle of our trials. There are several things that bring me peace. 1) Knowing that I have friends and family to help, comfort and lean on during these times. 2) Knowing that there are many on the other side who love us and watch over us as well. 3) Knowing that my Savior, Jesus Christ, is aware of me and loves me and His sacrifice made it possible for me to be forgiven of my sins, have peace in my heart, be able to return to Him, and with His help I can bear all things. Knowing these things helps me to see the cliff a little differently. I think when the time comes, we will find ourselves not falling but being carried by angels and placed gently on the other side.