Straight to the point…The doctor read my CT scan at our appointment this morning: The tumors in my chest have decreased by 70-80%, my large lung tumor has decreased by 50-60%, and there are no tumors in my liver. YEA!!!!!!!!
My doctor, who we really like, was extremely elated. The results were beyond his wildest expectations. He had been hesitant to order the CT this early because usually it takes a while for immunotherapy to show positive results. He had even warned us that early CT scans often show an increase in the cancer before the immune system really kicks in. He was surprised - and feeling really good about everything! He looked at the CT report, noted the doctor who wrote it, and commented that it must be good because that doctor is usually a pessimist. It never occurred to me that being an optimist or a pessimist would impact your written report as a doctor. (Don’t let anyone tell you that medicine is pure science.) I am kind of glad this guy writes tough reports. It makes it even better: “Excellent response to therapy”.
My “therapy” involves having two drugs, Opdivo and Yervoy, administered by infusion every 3 weeks. It also involves shifting my diet away from a heavily meat-based diet to a mostly plant-based diet. But primarily, it involves intercessory prayer from people all over the country and the world. I am grateful for access to organic fruits and veggies. I am grateful for my doctor and his work. But even my doctor, good as he is, was shocked by the report. When we got the news, Victoria gave a shout and told him, “God is at work through the prayers of His people!” My doctor’s reply: “Tell ‘em to keep it up. Something’s working.”
So my doctor has ordered you to keep praying. 😊
We are not done. We are enjoying what, since it is fall, seems like a great halftime celebration. The cancer is not gone entirely. I need some serious recovery. I still am having side effects, though most of my physician friends, including my oncologist, thinks are evidence of a long-dormant, now-active immune systems killing cells that need killing. But the side effects are no joke.
I am weak and worn down. I have one more of these double-cocktail treatments to go. They have been hard. The physical toll, and emotional toll, has been pretty big. Honestly, I thought I was tougher than this. I have not been up to it, even spiritually. I have gone days without praying for myself other than to send out an “Oh, God, please stop this!” from time to time.
There is a picture in the last book of the Bible of bowls that are around the base of God’s throne. The bowls get filled as people pray – filled with intercession. If there is a bowl with my name on it, it has been filled by others, and for that I am grateful. God has heard and kept each one. I am the beneficiary.
In addition to the fluctuating fevers, the chills, the sweats and the muscle aches, last week I began to get fluid buildup in both knees. They are never not uncomfortable. I cannot bend them without pretty intense paid. I feel unsteady when I stand, and have almost fallen a number of times. At night, there is not a position I can sleep in without pain. Because I have all that going on, my doctor postponed this last big treatment for two weeks. He has put me on a low dose of steroids to hopefully help the fevers and inflammation, and especially help my knees. Two-weeks off to stop feeling sick. I am almost as grateful for that as I am for the confirmation of God’s healing work in my body. It will be good to feel human again.
Hope is healing. I feel very hopeful today. I am a little ashamed that my hope is so fickle. I have more hope because of a doctor’s report or the prospect of a few pain-free days. But fickle as it is, it is still hope and it is still healing. I want my cancer experience to mature me so that my hope is fully anchored in the Unshakable Kingdom and the Unchanging Person.
Thanks for praying for me. Keep praying, and give thanks and praise to our kind Father.