I wish I could say that that is all behind me, but I'm learning to accept that to some degree cancer and it's effects will always be present in my life. Don't get me wrong, it's not all bad. I've met some incredible people, grown closer to my husband, and more importantly, God has grown my faith as he has walked me through this valley.
Last month I called on my prayer warriors again. Not long after I announced and celebrated that my integrative oncologist had released me from my every-three-months check ups to every 6 months, she sent me for an MRI to investigate some severe unexplained pain in my lower back. I had been seeing a chiropractor but things were getting worse instead of better and my onc was concerned since there had been no injury. "We're not taking chances with you. Since you're not on hormone blockers, we will continue monitoring you very carefully." I had an MRI on April 2nd. They saw a "concerning spot" on my pelvic bone (ischium). They compared that to the CT scan I had in Jan, 3 months earlier, and saw growth. The resulting summary reads "a small probable metastases" but my oncologist said it's possible that the radiologist chose that vocabulary after seeing my history of cancer on my chart. I hope so. 4 days later I had a CT scan of my pelvic region and in addition to the spot on my bone, a cyst was found on my right ovary. More tests were done to see if the cyst was affecting my hormones, a concern since the breast cancer I had was hormone receptor positive (both estrogen and progesterone). I have only been taking natural supplements and dietary changes to control my estrogen production but my body is acting like it's in menopause. For the time being, the cyst is the least of our concerns. Instead, I'm in the process of "proving" I don't have cancer again. This is very much like being "innocent until proven guilt", or vice versa. More about that to come...
In the midst of all these appointments, I woke up with a strange squeezing sensation in my chest. I'm 6 months out from my reconstructive surgery and it felt like my right implant was twisted. After having my plastic surgeon check it, I was devastated to find out that I will have to have surgery to correct it. I have capsular contracture and it's very uncomfortable. At this point, I am scheduled for corrective surgery on June 26th when my doctor will remove my implant, clear out the scar tissue, and put in a new implant. Since that appointment, I have reason to believe it is beginning in my left side as well. I am hesitant to undergo another surgery, especially when it is possible this will happen again. There is an alternative option that was my first choice 2 years ago, but due to the long recovery time (3-4 months) I opted out. I am reconsidering that option again but it would likely mean closing my art studio and I'm not sure I want to do that.
All of this has come up in the last month. I am choosing to wait til after Ryan's graduation later this month to do anything else. I do not want to take away from celebrating his accomplishment. My oncologist says this will not change my prognosis. She had a radiologist go over my scans last week and they believe that either the spot on my hipbone is either a "treated tumor" (that we didn't catch before and chemo affected it) or it's a new cancer but dormant or slow growing due to my wellness protocol. Both of these possibilities make sense since I've been tested every 3 months and consistently showing "zero" circulating tumor cells (via CTC test). I realize that this test is only accurate to a point and will only show an increase once it reaches a traceable amount (think "parts per million" in contaminated water for comparison).
I will have another CTC test this week, a month earlier than normal. I am continuing with my wellness protocol and reevaluating my work schedule to cut hours and reduce stress. My oncologist was originally saying that a bone biopsy was needed to confirm if cancer was present, but after reviewing my charts with a few colleagues, she does not recommend the biopsy at this time. (Due to the location of the spot in question, it would mean piercing my hamstring to get to it and has a much longer recovery time. She feels it is more important for me to keep moving, part of my wellness protocol, and manage my pain as best as I can. I will wait til July to go in for a CT scan to check for growth and deciding what needs to happen next.
I have no hesitation in praying for total and complete healing in all three of these issues. I ask that you join me in prayer, for the pain in my back to go away and the spot to complete disappear, for the scarring and pain in my chest to heal and not need surgery, and health to continue to improve. I am also praying for how to best go forward with my business. The studio is thriving, way better than I anticipated this soon, but I am exhausted from doing it alone. I have a few ideas in mind but I'm praying for God's direction and wisdom for how to proceed.
Thank you all for your prayers.
|I painted this on May 5, 2016,|
the day I found out I had cancer.