Thursday, May 21, 2009

Change of Plans and Other Stuff

I just have some updates to share so here they are...

1. When I first started going to Vanderbilt for my chemo treatments, I was told of a trial that I could enroll in. Basically it's a new medicine that has been approved by the FDA for stage 4 breast cancer and has been shown to work really well. The trial that I am in is to see if it works just as well in earlier stage breast cancers at preventing them from recurring. There is already a drug that does this which is what I was going to take, but this trial one is being shown to work the same if not better. So, I decided to enroll in it and was randomized into the group that is getting the new drug. This is exciting!!! It's an oral chemo so I'll take it for a full year.

2. I started my other new IV chemo today and did AMAZING! No reactions which is a huge blessing as this drug (Taxol) can cause, and generally does cause, at least a rash or itching during infusion and at times, anaphylactic shock. For me though, I sailed right through it with no reaction at all. 1 down, 11 to go.

3. Now that I am getting this new trial drug, I will be done with all IV chemo on August 6th and will be able to get my mediport out after that! YAY!!! Originally I was going to have to leave it in until April of next year.

3. Since my last post on fear, I have felt the biggest burden lifted. Like, really gone. I am truly feeling that I am already healed and that the chemo and radiation to come are just "extras." This is a cool feeling. Thank you Jesus for healing!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Do Not Fear...

I am not sure where I should even begin. Since the morning of my first chemo treatment back in March, I have felt God really laying things on my heart...namely FEAR and the stronghold that it has over me. Since I was a young girl, I have always had fears. Unlike healthy fears though, these have at times paralyzed me to the point of not being able to sleep at night and not being able to really function at times because I was so afraid. I remember laying in bed at night as a child (and I confess...even at times now) being scared to death that someone was going to break in and hurt me and/or my family. Now this may not seem like a huge deal, but it has sent me into panic attacks on an occasion or two. Another fear that had taken over my life at times was the fear of something happening to my brother when he was in Iraq. I would sit and dwell on it for long periods of time, and again, not be able to really do anything but sit, cry, and think of the what-ifs. Of course now, my new fear is what this cancer is going to do to my family. I admit, I am scared to death some days. Scared of dying and leaving my children, scared of how this cancer is affecting my family emotionally, scared of what the medicines are or are not doing to my body, scared of getting the genetic testing to see if I have the gene, scared of NOT getting it done, scared of NEVER feeling at ease again, scared of one day finding another lump or getting a call that the cancer is back, etc... I don't want to live like this. I don't want to live in fear anymore.
A week or so ago, I was soaking in a hot bath and just having some much needed quiet time with God when I just felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me about the fears that I have carried with me since childhood, and those I've picked up along the way into adulthood. I cannot really explain the way I felt God speaking to me, but what I can say is that I almost feel as though my cancer is going to be a way for me to finally learn to stop fearing and start trusting. Like really stop being afraid. Then, when I tried to whine to God about it by saying something like "but God, I think this fear is reasonable. This is a big deal...it's my life and it affects the lives of so many others, especially my babies. I think it's a normal thing to fear," He reminded me quiet loudly of something that He had said to me before. Exodus 14:13-14..."Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." The morning that I first read that was the morning of my first chemo. I was scared to death to go and scared that it wasn't going to work. When I read that passage, I knew God was telling me that A) He was going to be with me, B) The Egyptians back then are my cancer today and I will never see it again, and C) and I just need to let God fight this cancer for me and be still in Him.
Now I know that fear is an absolutely normal human emotion, but for me, not letting it take over my life is the challenge. I pray that through this cancer that I will learn to really rest in God's peace and NEVER EVER let fear consume me ever again.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Done with Combo 1...

So my last A/C treatment ROCKED!!! I honestly cannot believe that my 4 rounds of the mega-dose chemo are done, behind me, a thing of the past etc... THANK YOU LORD!!! My fourth and final dose last Thursday was really really good. After getting my labs drawn and seeing my oncologist, David and I ventured up to the new chemo infusion floor. BEAUTIFUL!!! Each room has glass doors, flat screen TV's, and windows with great views. While we were waiting to be called back though, I met another girl who is my age and is also battling breast cancer. What a blessing!!! Not that she has breast cancer too, but because we met and have so much in common. It's nice meeting a young girl who is at the same stage in her life as I am and has the same questions/concerns/fears/dreams etc... Through talking and exchanging an email since meeting, I found out that she and her husband moved here from CA a few years ago to start a family. Like us, they do not have any family who live in TN so they too are having their moms fly out and help them. I have not come right out and asked, but from what I gather, they do not have any children yet. Anyways, her plan is to have chemo, then surgery, and then radiation. I think her tumor was too close to the chest wall to have the surgery first. Anyways, I have a feeling that she and I will become good friends and I just ask anyone who reads this to please pray for her. She will be getting her last high-dose A/C next week so she is just one treatment behind me.
So, back to the story...after getting called back to my room and getting hooked up, a volunteer came by and asked if he could play his guitar and sing for me. Of course I said "absolutely." So he came right in and started with "Piano Man" by Billy Joel and followed with 3 others. He was really really good. What a joy! Then after he left I got all of my scrapbooking stuff out and proceeded to scrapbook and talk about reality TV shows with my nurse. It was an AWESOME day! I never thought I could enjoy chemo so much. I mean seriously, I sat back, kicked up my feet, and relaxed.
Since treatment, I have felt a little sick off and on, but NOTHING compared to my last treatment.
So, now on to combo 2 which will start next Thursday. It will be another combo of 2 chemos and will be given weekly for 12 weeks. Finish date for all chemo is August 6, which gives way to having a fun first birthday with Brody on August 18th and a fun 5 year anniversary on August 21...all without a chemo schedule getting in the way. There are so many great and fun things to look forward to!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My Rock

Tomorrow (Thursday) is the last round of the mega-dose chemo drugs. I'm having mixed feelings. Part of me is super excited to go and get through it so that it is behind me. The other part of me is dreading it so bad because of how difficult the last one was for me. But 100% of me is grateful that my friend Amy sent me this email as encouragement (Amy, hope you don't mind me sharing)...

"Psalm 61:2 - From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Kelly, I pray all goes smoothly tomorrow and that if things don't go as well as you hope and you feel overwhelmed, that you will be led to the Rock that is higher than us."

This verse speaks volumes to me and so I hope by sharing it with whomever else may see this that it will also bless you immensely. I mean when I think about this type of rock, I actually, in my head, picture a massively huge mountain that cannot be moved or shaken. Isn't that Jesus? It is to me! Here I am, a little pebble that can easily be picked up by a gust of wind and have my world turned upside down and inside out, yet the Rock is as solid and sturdy as a mountain. When the winds of life come, this Rock is not shaken or surprised by anything. I love it! I love that I have chosen to place my faith in this Rock called Jesus!!!
I have so much that God has laid on my heart and spoken to me that I want to get down in writing but it's late and I'm exhausted. I hope to be able to blog through it all in the next few days or so. I'll just say that I have never really viewed myself as an Israelite making the Exodus out of Egypt and into the Promised Land until now. I can SOOOOO relate to them through my situation and take comfort in the words that the Lord spoke to them during their journey.
Anyways, until I can get back on here, please pray me and my family through the next few days to come. Please pray that my Rock will hold me steady and strong in His arms....the safest place for me to be.