“There are major and minor setbacks with this disease. This is a minor one.”
Those were the words from Dr. Anderson, the Ewing’s sarcoma specialist that I see in Cleveland.
During my last chemo session in Springfield, I was having some pain in my lower left side. After a few tests, my doctor found that some of the tumors were growing instead of shrinking.
Obviously, this was not the news that I wanted to receive. Upset doesn’t begin to express what I was feeling after hearing that news. I immediately began thinking that I was out of options. Would I always be in pain? Would I be around to watch my baby grow up?
It’s a pretty tough blow to hear that the chemotherapy you’ve been getting isn’t working. This is especially difficult when you know that several types have been tried and there are certain ones in which you have reached the lifetime supply.
I made contact with Dr. Anderson and he made room in his schedule right away, with the plan to get more in-depth scans done. I would also start a new chemotherapy while I was there. My mom and sister drove up last Saturday and we left for Cleveland early Sunday morning.
Now … for any of my readers who follow basketball, you’ll note that we would have pulled into Cleveland late on Sunday night. The Cavaliers had been down 3 games to 1 in the series, but came back in a historic first to win the next 3 games and clench the NBA title. Game 7 ended late on Sunday night and we were in the midst of all of the excitement. They haven’t had a title win in 52 years, so it was very cool to be in the city at a time like that!
Monday morning was full of tests, then a visit with Dr. Anderson in the afternoon. We addressed the pain, which had subsided after a few days, and my future options.
The scans showed no evidence that the disease had spread. This particular cancer is known for spreading to bones and bone marrow, making it very difficult to treat. I was thankful to learn that it was still just contained to the left pleural cavity.
With every question I would ask, Dr. Anderson seemed to have an answer prepared. He had clearly thought ahead and had a plan in place should this new chemotherapy not work. However, we’re hoping that it does!
I began a new drug called Doxil. I received my first dose in Cleveland on Wednesday. I’ll receive the second dose in 4 weeks. This is going to replace my current chemo regimen of 5 days a week every 21 days.
This drug can be more intense than the others I have been receiving. One of its major side effects is a rash on the hands and feet; to help prevent this, I have to place my hands and feet on ice packs during infusion.
While I was getting chemo, I was watching the celebratory parade on TV for the Cavaliers. We were a good 40 blocks away from where the parade was being held, but it was pretty neat to watch the sea of red and gold all over the television. Local newscasters were anticipating between 500,000-800,000 people for the parade, and I think the final count was over one million!
I finished treatment on Wednesday and we hit some post-parade traffic on our way out of Cleveland. We stayed in Columbus and finished the rest of the trip on Thursday. We got in late last night and it feels good to be home!
At the beginning of this trip, I was worried that my options were growing slim. Fortunately, I have a great doctor who knows much more about treating this disease than I do, and he reassured me that this was simply a minor setback.
When I think about this illness journey, I am reminded of an image I captured while visiting the beach of Lake Erie on this trip.
The waves are hitting the rocks awfully hard at times, but at other times, they just barely tap them and the water is crystal clear and nearly still.
This seemed like a good analogy of my journey right now…
At times, the waves are crashing down upon us – bad news after bad news.
But at any moment, the waves can calm down and create a peaceful, relaxing feeling.
Crashing waves never last – bad news will never last.
In your darkest moments, find that tiny ounce of hope and know that it will help you get through.
My options haven’t run out yet, and neither has my hope. If anything, it has amplified it!
I’ll keep fighting this battle, armed with prayers from family and friends.
I’m not ready to give in yet, and God isn’t ready to let me.
Thank you for your continued prayers and support through all of this.
Let’s keep fighting!