Treatment Decisions

Treatment Decisions

Thursday, July 25th began with a greatly-anticipated MRI.

Your job during an MRI is to hold completely still. Being frozen in place and distracted by the machine’s loud, beeping noises ordinarily leads me to use the time to pray.

This time, as I began to pray, I realized that this prayer needed to be different. While I often include requests for positive results, I decided it wasn’t necessary and simply used the opportunity to thank God.

You see, I already knew God had the situation under control through so many answered prayers over the past few months. Case in point: my MRI technician was yet another outstanding doctor who carefully set up the table so that my leg didn’t experience a single twinge of pain, and made a point to check in every few minutes throughout the procedure to update me on progress and make sure I knew how much time was left. (If I haven’t raved to you about IU Health in the past, I’m more than happy to share just what an awesome health system it is.)

Since I had the exact opposite experience at my previous MRI, being able to trust that this time I was in great hands and well cared for was just one more way of God letting me know He was providing for me. So, during the MRI, I reflected and shared thanks and gratitude, because He’s shown me over the course of these difficult months that we are on the right path. Progress has been made and prayers have been answered all along the way. I underwent the MRI in complete peace.

Fast forward a few hours and I was meeting with my oncologist. We went through all the regular checkups and my doctor concluded the upward trajectory had continued yet again. Then he went to go read the results of the MRI and a few minutes later he came back to share the news.

While we have to await the final results from the radiologist that will share conclusive numbers, it was clear the tumor had shrunk up to 25%! This was progress that was truly beyond our wildest dreams.

We left the appointment and sat in the lobby to schedule my next appointment and as we waited, it finally started to hit me and I became utterly beside myself with joy. Almost exactly one year after we had begun testing treatment options (August 2017), something was working! Praise the Lord!

So, what’s our plan moving forward? 

Before we left the appointment, we talked through treatment options. Essentially, it boiled down to two:

Option 1: We stop the treatment and begin a watch and wait period to see how the tumor behaves.

Option 2: We continue with treatment, knowing that it is working, and focus on gaining complete mobility.

The argument for Option 1: There is a chance the tumor may continue to break down without the need for any additional treatment.

The argument for Option 2: We know the treatment is working, yet are unsure what will happen if we stop treatment. Will it work if we stop treatment and then start again? It is an unknown. At the same time, it is critical that we increase my all-around mobility as soon as possible. My ankle needs work, and the sooner it gets better, the less risk associated with losing my former (or close-to-former) range of motion. In addition, if we paused and then resumed and the tumor didn’t respond, the treatment options we would have to then consider have more significant side effects and no guarantee of it working.

Upon talking through the options, we decided to pursue Option 2 for the next two-to-three months. My physical therapist is optimistic that we can obtain full range of motion within the next few months, so we feel the safest decision is to stay the course, work hard, and then reconsider our options. We’ve come so far since January, it didn’t feel worth the risk to take even the slightest step back. And right now, aside from the effects of the steroids given to me along with chemo, we’ve found ways to make the rest of the chemo side effects manageable.

So for now, we stay the course, but with the sweet assurance that the chemo is working hard to kick this tumor!

As always, we are so grateful for the continued prayers, love, and support as we venture through what has been a life-changing journey. We are so blessed by the family and friends walking alongside us.