Each month, I have several blood tests done to check basics, electrolytes, minerals, etc. A tumor marker test is also done with this blood draw. Ideally, all the "regular" stuff should be normal and a tumor marker number should fall with successful treatment. In my case, my tumor markers are steadily rising.
The medical team has said that they don't quite know how to classify me. They've said that with the amount of disease in my bones that I should be in pain. I'm not. They've said that I don't complain of much, something that is a bit unusual for someone in my circumstances. They say that I'm cheerful, but realistic, never coming in with questions of "Will this cure me?" but with "What's the reality of this treatment?"
I'm responding well to the current treatment. I feel good, but my tumor markers are rising. My white blood cell counts are falling, but my red blood cell counts and my platelet counts are fine. Those are the ones that should be impacted by bone mets. My calcium levels are falling (common for bone mets) and I need to increase my supplement level. My potassium levels are below normal again, so I need to add that to my daily regimen.
I have my quarterly scans scheduled for July 15.
The kids and my trip to the Yosemite area got cancelled due to the fires in the region. We are grateful that no one was injured in the fire and that property loss was minimal.
We'll leave for Mississippi next week.
Writing through Leviticus is going slowly, but I am enjoying it. It makes me glad that I didn't live in that era of history, though. The first five chapters address "accidental" sin and sacrifices for atonement. I fear I'd be offering a sacrifice every day due to concerns over accidental sin.
I've been working on several projects, as well as participating in a weekly Bible study on David. My life is full.
I do have strange "dreams" or "sensations" fairly often. I don't consider myself to be a very anxious person, but anxiety does show up in my sleep. For years, I had pretty standard anxiety dreams (having to take a final exam for a college class I never took and out-of-control water overflowing roads, etc.). Since being diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer, though, my dreams have taken a new direction.
They are usually along the lines of waking up knowing that something isn't completed. I'll wake up VERY abruptly with the sensation of needing to get something done, but that I have no idea what it is.
The other night, I dreamed that I was supposed to pick up a speaker for an event, but that I was sleeping instead. My son was trying to wake me up and it took a long time for him to do so (This is in the dream, not real life.). In the dream, I finally woke up and he told me that hte speaker was at my door and that she brought the event to me. I have no idea what the event was.
I woke up in real life, experiencing the same very intense feeling that there is something I'm supposed to do . . . but I have no idea what it is. I'm interpreting these dreams as the understanding that my life will most likely be cut short by this disease and that there *will* be things I won't get to do.
A new dream or "sensation" has joined these dreams. Lately, I've been waking up a couple of hours after falling asleep and almost being startled with the fact that I'm not dead. It's almost a jolt . . . "Wow, I'm not dead!" A couple of times I've had an almost disappointed feeling coming with that "I'm not dead" realization, with that being immediately followed by a feeling of joy that I'm not dead. I think this reflects my internal conflict over wanting to be united with Christ for eternity versus wanting to be present in the physical life around me. I think this is the absolute personification of Paul's writing in Philippians 1 --
"On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn't shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I'm Christ's messenger; dead, I'm his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can't lose. As long as I'm alive in this body, there is good work for me to do. If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I'd choose. Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. But most days, because of what you are going through, I am sure that it's better for me to stick it out here. So I plan to be around awhile, companion to you as your growth and joy in this life of trusting God continues." (The Message)
For me, my jail is cancer. There are those who say that this cancer is from God (I disagree). There are those who say there is no God, therefore, what's the use of praying for healing. (I disagree with that, too!) There are those who say that God is evil to allow such things to happen. There's a long list of "There are those who say . . . ."
My hope is in what I know to be true. Having cancer only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. Cancer hasn't shut me up; it gave me a pulpit! Alive, I'm Christ's messenger; dead, I'm his bounty. Life versus more life! I can't lose. As long as I'm alive in this body, there is good work for me to do. If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I'd choose. Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better! But most days, because of what you are going through [primarily, my children's growth], I am sure that it's better for me to stick it out here. So I plan to be around awhile, companion to you as your growth and joy in this life of trusting God continues."
This is truly an example of the Bible becoming very alive to me in a very real way.
I have my melancholy days. The day of my doctor's visit was one of them. God has given me emotions (in spite of my claims of not being an emotional person!) and at times, the dark thoughts push their way to the surface. Overall, though, I am glad, so very glad.
Thank you for being a part of my story.