I saw the medical oncologist first. We are still in the "wait-and-see" mode regarding the success of the current treatment plan (three drugs) and will have scans done in April to determine of there is disease regression. She did say that she doesn't think that cancer is "exploding" throughout my body and that she feels it is at least being controlled right now.
It's possible that the underarm pain I've been having is a side effect of radiation or it's possible that it's a result of the lesion I have on my rib. The lesion is on the side, so it would make sense that it would cause pain there. She wants to do a biopsy on the rib lesion because it's the easiest to access with the least amount of risk. As cancer metastasizes throughout the body, its receptor status can change. (In short, receptors are part of the "fueling" process of cancer.) My original tumor was estrogen and progesterone positive and Her2 negative. The current treatment plan is based on the original tumor and we need to make sure that there hasn't been major changes that would invalidate the treatment. I will probably have the biopsy within the next three weeks.
There was concern that I've lost 20 pounds in two months. They understand that eating is difficult for me right now and simply request that I try to get at least one protein serving in me each day as I recover from radiation.
I met with the neurosurgeon later in the day and praise God, my neck is healing very well! The radiation was successful in cleaning up the area. The neurosurgeon's exact words were, "It looks very good!" He does not think I am going to need any surgery in the future on my neck. I can now take the brace off at night to sleep. I will follow up with him in six weeks and there's a good chance that the brace will be removed for good then.
I am still under restrictive orders . . . no lifting anything over five pounds. I've learned how to do things in the house with this restriction and I feel like we're in a good groove. As the neurosurgeon says, "No sense coming this far, though, only to mess it up because you try to do too much too soon."
I'm still having coughing spasms and I still have no voice, but both of these should resolve in a week or two. I've made it through the day without vomiting (Hallelujah!) and I'm hopeful that I've turned the corner on this phase of treatment.
We continue to give God praise for all that He's doing in our lives. We continue to ask him to teach us *his* will for our lives and not our own. My constant prayer to him is for him to continue to teach me how to love his people.
I'm learning from all of you! Thank YOU for loving me!