Something I didn't put in the blog (but did send out in emails) is the news that my pathological (not crazy!) response to the chemotherapy is considered to be "rare" and "uncommon." You see, when I met with my oncologist on September 18, I asked her, "Is it normal for a tumor to be cancer-free following chemotherapy?"
Her response was, "No, it's not normal for your kind of cancer (hormone positive, her2 negative). Only 6 - 8% of women with your type of cancer have a 100% response like you did. We always expect a partial response, but not a complete response."
I looked her straight in the eye and said, "I'm claiming the God-factor on this one, then."
I have no idea if my doctor is a believer or not but her response was, "I think that's a good idea."
To be living in a cancer-free world again in the middle of the pink month of October (also known as Pinktober) is an unusual experience. I won't go off on my thoughts about Pinktober and pinkwashing (most of you know how I feel!), so I'll say that I often feel overwhelmed in awe over what has been done in my life.
As I've often said, I don't understand God's ways. I'm doing a lot of studying right now on various topics and am hopefully, pursuing God's ways with all my heart, mind, body and soul even if I don't understand them.
I've been living a month of everyday life and I've been enjoying it quite a bit! The area had its first autumn rains last week and I marveled at the sounds of raindrops hitting leaves outside my window. It's been seven years since I've heard that sound! While we did get rain where we lived in China, we simply didn't live near any trees to hear natural sounds like that. We lived in a cement jungle.
I've been cooking, cleaning, organizing and reading. All things I enjoy. (Well, I don't really enjoy the cleaning, but I do like the instant results it provides.)
My legs and my lungs are beginning to agree with each other in my exercises. I'm making progress and today, managed to run 3/4 of a mile before I walked a quarter. Considering that when I started back up in August, I couldn't even run a tenth of mile, this 3/4 is quite a measurable improvement for me! After I walked a quarter, I then alternated running and walking for a total of two miles. My short term goal is to run the full two miles and to then increase it to three miles.
I go to the high school track three times a week and I bike two or three days a week. I thought biking would be easier than it is! However, I'm enjoying the variety.
The kids are doing well. They still comment about missing their life in China (I do, too), but are adding that they are enjoying their life here as well. The adjustment is ongoing and it will take quite some time. There are things here that we simply don't understand at a core level yet.
I return to "Cancer-land" on Thursday, the 18th, when I have my first radiation treatment. I was successful in transferring everything to a medical center closer to my home, so I will not be going to San Francisco every day for the next six weeks. I am a bit disappointed that these treatments did not begin earlier as now this means I won't be finished until the week after Thanksgiving. I will have to have radiation on Thanksgiving Day! Perhaps I should just bring the turkey with me and have them zap it as well!
However, this is the start of the final third of the physical treatments. I will be finished on November 29 and will then start a hormonal treatment to suppress the hormones that fueled the cancer to begin with. I'll write more about that later as I learn more about it.
I'll close on that note. I'm an ordinary woman, living in extraordinary grace given by a God who can't be contained. I have much for which to be grateful!