We received a bit more information in the last few weeks regarding my recurrence of inflammatory breast cancer and I wanted to give you an update.
As I mentioned in my last post, recent scans show the recurrence is loco/regional, meaning the disease is only in my chest wall “in two tiny lymph nodes”, as quoted by Dr. Beth Overmoyer, the IBC specialist from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, who is overseeing my care with the help of my local oncologist.
Within hours after posting my last update, I received another call from her confirming what we already knew, this was indeed IBC, and again, it is highly aggressive.
After studying my pathology, she preferred to start me on a clinical trial, which would have required one day in Boston every three weeks. However, although there were three ongoing trials she thought I would benefit from, there were no slots available for me to participate in any of those trials. She explained availability changes almost daily, but she did not want me to go without treatment while waiting for a slot, so she started me on the oral medication, Xeloda.
I will take this for six weeks (two rounds) and please pray with me, that this works, and will stop progression. If it does, I will continue on this regimen indefinitely. If not, we go to Plan B. At this time. I have no idea what that will be, so let’s just pray there will be no need for a Plan B anytime soon. (Or at all.)
I saw my oncologist in Little Rock this morning and he was pleased with how well I was tolerating the medication. (Which was news to me, because I am very weak, fatigued, and GRUMPY— and if you don’t believe me, ask Patrick, he will verify.) 🙂
Apparently, I’m tolerating the side effects so well, he may add an additional pill. When he mentioned a possible additional dose, I could actually hear Patrick cringe while sitting next to me. Bless his heart. (And bless the kids heart. And bless anyone else’s heart who has to be around me on a daily basis.)
I’ve been asked some very difficult questions lately about my thoughts on facing this battle a second time, especially since I had such a miraculous response the first time and was doing so well.
I’ve been trying to come up with answers and have realized, I have very few. I’ve heard myself saying “I don’t know” quite a lot recently.
When we experience trauma and/or grief, even if we have served God our whole lives, it forces us to question our theology and definition of who God really is and what He’s capable of doing in our lives and the lives of those we love.
I’ve done some hardcore praying and processing and here’s what I know to be true, regarding this, and any other crisis I face.
God is real.
God is able.
God is good.
No matter what life throws at us.
God is real.
God is able.
God is good.
I love the story of the three Hebrew children in Daniel 3. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down and worship an image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
The king was furious when he learned they did not obey, so he asked that they be brought before him, and just in case they misunderstood, he gave them a second chance, then sternly told them what their punishment would be if they did not obey his command.
With the knowledge that they were going to be thrown into a blazing furnace if they did not bow and worship the gold statue, they still refused.
Their response in verse 17 and 18 is so very powerful.
“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Why does God allow such pain and grief when He can prevent it? How is fighting cancer a second time working for my good?
I can’t answer those questions, or a million other “why” questions I’ve had lately. But here’s the thing, I’m not God, so I can’t possibly grasp what His “good” is for me (or you).
All I know is that I will continue to stand on the truth of who I know God is, even if I don’t get what I want.
My circumstances don’t change God’s character.
Just because life doesn’t go according to your (or my) plans of how we’ve always dreamed everything would be, our crisis and pain does not change who God is.
God is real.
God is able.
God is good.
I want to have the faith of the Hebrew children when they say, “The God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from your Majesty’s hand.”
And I want to know God well enough that I can also say, “But even if He does not . . .“
He is still real, He is still able, and He is still good.
I recently heard a song “Who You Are” by JJ Heller and I resonated with this lyric; “Sometimes I don’t know what you’re doing, but I know who you are.”
If you too, are experiencing an unexpected and unwelcome change that was not at all how you pictured your life to be, my prayer for you is that although you may never know the answers to all of your “whys”, you will know who He is, and regardless of your circumstances, He will give you the strength to stand on this truth.
He is real.
He is able.
He is good.
“Even if He does not . . .”
Love you! So inspiring for all lives you touch. Praying for complete healing.
Lynn Tanguay says
I love your strength & faith through all of this. You are always in my thoughts & prayers. Hoping for continued strength & healing.
Rebecca Neitch says
Praying for You! God is the Great Physician!
You are such an inspiration to so many! I pray for you and your family daily. God Bless and know I will do whatever I can for you all❤️
Lori sattler says
Thank you so much for the update! As an 18 year survivor I know miracles happen every day! Please keep us updated. You are a true inspiration
My heart goes out to you in this journey. You are wise & right about so many things. God’s character doesn’t change based on our circumstances.
You are a light in the dark. Your strength and belief is something that we all wish we had. As you continue your journey we will continue to pray because God listens to those who pray to him. Bless you.
Jackie Fliss says
You will be in my prayers. I admire your strength. Although people say I’m brave, I don’t know if I could do this again.
Olive Anderson Dempsey says
Your in my thoughts and prayers. I agree so much at this time in my life with everything you said.
God is real. He does have a plan for each and everyone of us.
We need to pray to accept and understand His will. His mighty Love will pull us through.
Love you Tina.
Love you Tina! What an inspiration your faith is to so many! (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego…my favorite story in the old testament!) Will continue praying for complete healing!
Christy Ligon says
Father God I thank you that we can see through these words that YOU ARE WORKING ON HER BEHALF and I am in agreement that SHE WILL BE HEALED COMPLETELY IN YOUR NAME JESUS! Father I ask that You daily show out for her and her family with comfort, peace and blessings in JESUS Name, BELIEVING FOR A GREAT REPORT
Belinda R says
God placed you on my heart Monday, I have been praying for you since. I will continue to pray and believing God for another miracle in your life. Jesus said in Luke 8:50 ” do not be afraid, believe, and she will be healed” I belive you are healed again in Jesus name Amen.
My thoughts & prayers to you & your family. Peace & God’s Healing Love & Grace.
Laura Crow says
You are amazing Tina! We are all pulling for you and praying for you.
Treedy Hamm Taylor says
I so admire your faith, courage, & strength that you offer to all who are in your place. Please know that I am saying prayers for you. Not sure if you know who I am. I just know that you have some wonderful prayer warriors in heaven looking out for you. Our God is Good. He is the light of our salvation, of nothing should we fear!