My appointment last week went well. There's no new news. My tumor markers are still rising, although, they seem to have slowed down. The next test will show if this is a new trend or not.
The physical side effects of my new treatment are diminishing. At the beginning, I had quite a bit of joint pain, headaches and extreme insomnia. All of those are pretty much gone now.
Anxiety has taken their place. I'm not normally an anxious person, so this feeling on edge all the time is quite new for me. Increased anxiety is not only a known side effect of the treatment, it's also a known side effect for living under constant stress.
Like it or not, cheerful or not, accepting or not, my mind and body lives with the stark reality that I'm dying at a faster rate than the average person. Yes, we're all dying and we could all be hit by a bus tomorrow. For some reason, that fact doesn't really seem to stress most people. However, living with a terminal disease brings every living moment into a focus that is so sharp that it can hurt at times.
My body is in constant survival mode, similar to war situations. It is biologically under assault and the battle is taking its toll. It's clear where the term "battle against cancer' comes from, although I still beg of people to not use that term around me. While there is a physical battle going on in my body, I still feel that the ultimate battle is not against flesh and blood, but against sin. No, I don't believe my cancer is the result of personal sin in my life, but I do believe it is the result of sin in this world.
My medical team has introduced the idea of taking anti-anxiety medications to ease the stress I'm in. They know my mindset is one that is not comfortable with this, so we are currently in the education stage. I'm learning more and we'll talk more next month.
My next scans are October 18 with the followup appointment being October 24. These scans will reveal if the current treatment plan is working. Remember, the goal is not to remove the cancer, but to stop it in its tracks. This is known as stabilization. If it also causes regression, then all the better.
"Breast Cancer Awareness Month" (In my eyes, it's more "Breast Cancer Industry Month") is around the corner and quite frankly, it HURTS, HURTS, HURTS! How am I going to get through this pinkified, pretty ribbon month? Pinktober has never been a favorite of mine and now, I feel lost in a sea of pink. I refuse to wear a membership pin for the disease that's killing me. I'll write more about this later in October.
I have thoroughly enjoyed welcoming visiting scholars from China to the Stanford area. I've been teaching a cultural orientation short course, but getting to know the scholars as well. They are such a blessing to me! I have missed doing this type of thing.
- Praise that overall, I feel good. Physical side effects are almost gone. I'm living pretty much a "normal" life.
- Prayer that the mental side effects of both the disease and treatment diminish as well. I feel very anxious ... I have a a constant knot in my chest.
- Prayer that the scans on October 18 will reveal stabilization and no progression.
- Prayer for peace among the pink madness that comes with October.
- Prayer that the visiting scholars from China (many of whom may read this blog) be abundantly blessed.