It’s been some time since I posted on the progress of the cancer. I guess there hasn’t been much to report. October was the last time I had a scan. The cancer had been stable. I’d been feeling fairly well. In fact, for two or three cycles, the chemo hadn’t knocked me round too badly and I’d only been bed-ridden for a day or two.
During the summer months I’d enjoyed some wonderful relaxing time with the family. We’d been camping at Burrill, enjoying the surf, catching some fish, chilling out in the hammocks, chatting round the campfire, learning to cook cakes in my ‘Shuttle Chef’. I stopped reading books for a while, slowed down on the blogging, played a bit of real life scrabble, and slept lots. We spent a couple of awesome weeks in Sydney house-sitting for friends. During this time I learned to ride a stand-up paddleboard (sort of), helped the kids to learn to wakeboard while I had heaps of fun driving the zodiac on Sydney Harbour. I didn’t even have to interrupt the Sydney holiday because we were able to arrange chemo in Sydney. Then, another week or so camping in Burrill. I had long walks on the beach, caught some salmon, flathead and whiting, cooked some more cakes, and even went out in the surf. For the first time in two years I went out on my bodyboard and caught some decent waves. It was exhilarating! Who would have thought a year ago?! Mind you, I suffered the next two days, as my ankles swelled up in such pain that I could barely walk. But, it was worth it!
Now I’m back at work. I’ve re-joined the team that I built, but in a new role, with new patterns, new responsibilities, and new challenges ahead. I will need to be disciplined in getting rest, taking time off, tuning out from the demands of ministry, saying ‘no’ to opportunities, and staying focused. But I’m excited at the possibilities.
On Monday I had a CT scan to check what was happening with the cancer. I must admit, that I’d been expecting this scan to show growth. It’s over a year now since I began chemo and it’s unusual for people with my cancer to show no progression for this long on this treatment. But, it’s not about statistics. Everyone is unique. And my results stunned everyone. Fiona rang for the results yesterday and we celebrated them over dinner. The tumour had shrunk again. After being stable for months, it had shrunk from 12mm to 7mm! Awesome! I’ve gone from having a marble inside me to having a pea!
The oncologist this morning was smiling! In fact, he was pretty chirpy. They just don’t expect to see further shrinkage once things have plateaued on maintenance therapy. Plus, the neuropathy seems under control. So much to be thankful for.
A miracle? Yes, it is really. I’m not healed, but I’ve been healing in so many ways, and that is very encouraging. Why is this? The right drugs? It seems so. The combination of Alimta and Avastin isn’t that common, but in my case it’s proved to be very effective. It justifies the huge costs of the treatment. Is it good food, reasonable exercise, de-stressing and refocusing on life? I’m sure this has helped. And what about prayer? Can my improved condition be linked to the prayers of so many (I believe hundreds of people) praying regularly for me? I believe it can. I don’t know why, but it’s the mercy of God that I’m where I am today, and I thank him for listening to the pleas of so many. If you pray, please join me in praising God for his kindness and please keep asking him to shrink this cancer to oblivion!