PSALM 25:4-5 (sorry, the verse itself was too long, hence the reference below)
That is my favorite verse. There are other great ones, but I love that one and have seen it as a “life verse” if you will over the past many years. So, I thought I’d share it with you. It’s a keeper, in my opinion. 🙂
On other news, some of you may have heard a great rumor (“A RUmor?!?!”–shoutout to all those familiar with kamp birthdays…). Actually, many of you from Wheaton may have heard different, untrue rumors such that I may be staying home for treatment. I actually had a couple messages from people saying, “so, are you ever coming back?” to which I confusedly responded, “um, yes, next week…I’m just hanging out with friends this week!” Apparently in chapel they prayed for me and must have thought my trip to Baylor University (in Waco) was a trip to Baylor Hospital (in Dallas), thus my confusion as people asked me if I was home permanently last week and the confusion of many Wheaton students as they thought I had peaced out without mentioning anything.
SO, just in case you are still confused–the reason for my “unofficial winter break” was that we had Tuesday off of school for “Faculty Development Day,” and as I only have a Tuesday/Thursday class, I had a full week off of school, so I decided to capitalize on that by seeing some of my best friends and family down South. Last Friday I flew home to hang out with my family through Saturday at noon. A couple of my guy cousins last-minute came to Dallas from Texas A&M, so we did breakfast with my grandparents, Michael, and Adam by our house Saturday morning, which was a fun surprise. Saturday afternoon I drove down to Waco, TX to see my best friends Sarah, Chrisey, and Caroline, as well as my cousin Ali and high school teammate Shaylee who all attend Baylor University. We had a great time, and I actually ran into some other friends from TCA who went to Baylor and one who was also just in town for the weekend from TCU, so it was fun getting to see so many people! Monday morning I had breakfast with Erin Groth from K-West, saw Miss Sarah Spivey again, and then drove 4 hours from Waco to Norman, OK to the University of Oklahoma, where I stayed with another best friend and “sister” Callea. I got to see some kamp friends Sarah and Amanda there as well, so it was just a fun week of seeing all kinds of people from the many different spheres of my life and have great conversations and fun. Wednesday morning, I left OU for the 3 hour drive to Dallas, brought some lunch to kampers and my cousin in McKinney, met my dad for lunch, made it home to pack, rushed to Frisco to buy some sunglasses (definitely a priority…and wishful thinking since it’s rarely sunny here, but hey, a girl can dream, and in my thinking, while dreaming for sunshine, I can at least have great shades), then headed to TCA where I met my mom and she took me to the airport. I’m telling you, if you have not understood or believed my previous references to our family living at the speed of crazy, then my Wednesday adventures upon arriving back in Dallas at noon and leaving for the airport at 4 should help you with a glimpse into our unspoken motto of trying to pack more than is possibly healthy into very limited time. Wednesday night I flew back to Wheaton, and today at 2:30, I had treatment numero cinco (Texas rubbed off on me…that’s “number 5” for everyone else)with my teammate Emily, my Wheaton “stand-in mom” Lynda Armstrong, my mom, and her best friend Sandy Boulden.
So anyway, back to the first, TRUE rumor I was referring to before I took this blog’s longest rabbit trail to date:
On the drive from Norman to McKinney, my nurse practitioner Sarah Miyata called me back and looked over my PET scan and said that they are clear, so I AM OFFICIALLY IN REMISSION!!!!! PRAISE THE LORD!!!! Sounds crazy, right?!? Four treatments into this process, and I’m in remission?!? Yep! I asked, “So, that means there’s no cancer, right?” to which she replied in the affirmative, explaining that the scans came back negative, or clear. This is a huge step in the process of recovery as we set some goals and benchmarks toward healing. My dad, the attorney, is very goal-oriented and has always tried to help the four ADD women in his family reach our goals by helping to set them (and sometimes with incentive) and cast a vision for them. That said, while the chances of the PET scan coming back clear were very high, it is nonetheless great news since we had talked about how this is a big step for victory. SO, thankyou thankyou thankyou for so many prayers!!!! God is so faithful and He sure does answer prayers. Not always how we want Him to, I have learned, but His faithfulness carries us through any and every answer to our prayers! Also, in that conversation, Sarah said, “the prognosis is very encouraging!” So, we were excited. My mom told her kindergartners and held out the phone for me to hear their responses: they were screaming and cheering while my mom and the teacher Carol Pond both tried to hold it together and be composed for the kids’ sakes.
Many people have asked what remission means (as did I when I clarified with Sarah that it meant I was cancer-free). I do still have to do treatments. Bummer. BUT, what is GREAT to know is that the treatment is working!!! PTL! I am lucky to know that this is working; a lot of cancer patients don’t have that luxury. Also, in treatment today, we met with Dr. Gordon, who explained that, since I’m not doing radiation, standard treatment is 6 cycles of chemotherapy, but, he added, in some cases they only do 4 rounds. He then said that, after my fourth round (so 8th treatment…3 from now), we will do another PET scan, another CT scan (darn Barium Sulfate liquid…I felt so victorious chugging that stuff so quickly, thinking then that it was the only time I’d have to suffer that…grrr…), another MUGA scan (heart), and another Pulmonary Function test (lungs). I guess based on those results, there’s a possibility that we could be done! Dr. Gordon said he was “very pleased with the progress” and said that 2 more rounds (so after today, three more treatments) is a possibility. My mom said, “So, should we plan on doing 6 total rounds and then, if we only have to do 4…” and I finished, “it will just be icing on the cake?!?” to which Dr. Gordon said, “yes, that’s a good approach.” (although, as I look back, “icing on the cake” is not the right metaphor, since that would imply that this process has been as GOOD as cake and finishing early would be the icing on an already delicious process. Maybe “a miracle,” or “unexpected blessing” would have captured the sentiment more appropriately for the situation, but you get the point). How awesome would it be if I only have to do three more treatments and can enjoy the last month of my Wheaton career in health?!? We are being conservative with our plans and hopes, but we would love your prayers for that–for only three more treatments! We are prepared to go the whole way, but if we only had to go 2/3 of the original journey, I mean, we’d be willing to change our plans. 🙂 Let’s be honest: my plans rarely go as I imagine, anyway.
PRAISE THE LORD FOR HEALING! And for good news! This is just about my favorite news I’ve heard in a loooooonnnnnggg while–that I’m in remission! Last year was a tough year on many levels–I’m thinking back to the last few months and go back to my summer at K-West (Kanakuk) and while it was really good, it was really hard for a ton of reasons, too, and was probably my last time there after 15 summers. Then I moved on to the start of my senior year fall, which is synonymous with volleyball in college, and there were just a lot of disappointments throughout the course of the season. I loved my teammates and coaches and had a blast, but many things were hard, including dislocating my knee cap in the middle of our conference and Homecoming match, which took me out for three weeks of conference, only for me to return (not 100%) for a week and a half before season ended on a hard loss. Three days later, I went to the Health Center, and while we didn’t find out for a few weeks about Hodgkin’s, when they told me “don’t worry–God is the ultimate Healer,” it made me think, “well, I WASN’T worrying until you told me that, but now, SHOULD I be worrying???” All of that to say, in a season in which God has still been SO incredibly faithful and sovereign as always, it’s been hard and had a good share of disappointments, so this victory yesterday and then today at the hospital has been long-awaited and so hope-filled. And you thought that when I’ve expressed how much all the encouragement has meant, I was just being patronizing or dutifully thankful. However, having just explained how the past 8 months have had a lot of bummers, BELIEVE ME when I say that, amidst all of that, your encouragement has really filled me with great hope, so thank you once again.
For me and my mom, it’s time to go to bed, so that’s all I have for now. You are loved. And God is GOOD…in many months of disappointments as well as with victories. He never changes, and that’s great news. 🙂
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,