Continuing the Climb
Uncertainty has filled the last few months. We had come to a juncture and health decisions needed to be remade. With positive MRI results revealed in December, we had options – more than ever before. While good, it also added complexity to the equation.
The main question that plagued me: do we continue treatment or do I allow myself a break from chemo? I could see the positives and negatives of both sides.
At the beginning of January, I felt a pull to continue treatment but desperately wanted to take a break. When I went to the doctor in January, we talked in more detail about what a break would mean.
There is a promising Phase III trial on the horizon and the doctor said if the tumor grew, it could become an option for me. It would be an oral chemo – something I had tried prior to intravenous chemo with terrible side effects and no results. While I knew it was a different drug and could have a different outcome, I had reservations. Many side effects on Doxil, my current chemo medication, have strangely lessened over time (no complaints here). And the major caveat: the tumor would have to grow. I left the appointment with more to consider and the knowledge that February could be my last round of chemo, if the study was something I wanted to pursue.
Then a few things happened.
A few weeks after writing the post Hanging On, I came across this verse in the bible:
I stared at that verse, reading it over and over. I was comforted. Because it hit me that I was exactly where I needed to be – in a place of complete surrender, an opportunity for God to fully take control. And the next week, while reading the December MRI report for myself for the first time, the reality sharpened further. It was this: we had come so far and worked so hard to get there.
(Note: Reading medical reports is not highly recommended. There is a reason a doctor interprets it for you. And Google isn’t always your friend. I was pretty worked up by the time I finished reading it simply due to a lack of understanding. Thankfully, upon sending it to my sister, one by one she dismissed the false truths I had conjured up. But I digress…)
The answer became very clear to me: we had to continue the climb.
When I told Doctor Rushing our decision today, he seemed to wash over with relief. I knew it was what he wanted, and while I fully trust his opinion, I had to come to the same conclusion on my own. (I’m only human and seem to like to learn things the hard way…)
Now was not the time to give up on all of the hard work that had already been put in. Dr. Rushing summed it up well: “it’d be like climbing a mountain and then jumping off with a parachute.”
Doxil is doing its job to fight the tumor, but the reality is that my body could stop responding to it at any time. This only sunk into my brain today. It’s not a guarantee that my body continues to accept it. But while it is, we are going to keep going. Hopefully it gets us to the best possible outcome where every last bit of the tumor is gone. It’s possible and it’s what we are praying for.
So, we are continuing the climb fully trusting this is the path that will see us to the end.
Today marked round 14. Out of a predicted 18 to 24, the end feels like it could be in sight.