We are home!
I completed all of my diagnostic tests at MD Anderson in only one day, rather than the standard five days, and we were able to come home last night and surprise the kids with our early arrival! Besides getting to see their sweet faces much sooner than anticipated, I was so blessed to be at Maddie’s first game as a Wampus Cat dancer.
We arrived at the football stadium a mere five minutes before her dance team took the field. I wish I could have taken a picture of the shocked look on her face when she saw me; it was such a fun and memorable night for us all!
We will leave for Houston again Sunday afternoon and I have to be at the hospital at 8:00 Monday morning for a few more tests and my first treatment. If all goes well, and I am fully believing it will, we should be home again Tuesday night.
My chemo regimen is a little complicated, and while I don’t want to get too technical, I will try to explain it for those who are interested.
As I mentioned yesterday, I have triple negative breast cancer, which means it tested negative for both hormone receptors and HER2. Only 10-20% of breast cancers are triple negative. Combine those percentages with the type of cancer I have, Inflammatory Breast Cancer, which accounts for only 1% of all breast cancers, and you begin to understand why my diagnosis is so uncommon.
However, the rarity of my condition enables me to qualify for several clinical trials. These studies are not experimental drugs, they are all FDA approved; however, they are still being heavily researched and are not yet available to the general public.
One of the reasons I sought treatment at MD Anderson was because I was hopeful I would qualify for this cutting edge treatment. It offers me my best chance for non-recurrence and a positive prognosis.
About 5:30 this afternoon I received a call from my doctor and she told me our insurance has approved my participation in all of the clinical studies for which I qualified. This is a huge answer to prayer! I am grateful to have the opportunity to improve my prognosis and possibly help someone else that may also receive this diagnosis later on.
One of the studies I am participating in directly involves my chemotherapy. I will be taking standard chemo which includes Taxol and FEC, which is a combination of the following three chemotherapy drugs:
- 5 Fluorouracil (also known as 5FU)
In addition, I will take three other types of Chemo that are part of one of the clinical studies of which I am participating. These drugs are Nab-Paclitaxel, Carboplatin, and Panitumibab.
Lots of big words there, but here’s what it means to me — I have a tough eight months ahead of me with the potential for many unpleasant and grueling side effects, but those drugs are offering me a chance to beat this and not suffer recurrence later down the road.
It is not being guaranteed, of course, but it does increase my odds for being completely cured, rather than just treated.
However, I want you to know this: I have studied percentages, odds, and statistics, and I do understand the potential this treatment has to cure me, but my real hope comes from the Lord.
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. — Psalm 62:5
Without my unwavering faith in God and my firm belief that He will see me through this, the drugs by themselves mean very little to me. I am grateful for my doctors, am incredibly thankful to qualify for these clinical studies, and so very appreciative for the scientific research that has allowed these drugs to be developed, but my real hope, my only hope, is in Him.
I have been replaying a hymn over and over in my mind that I used to sing many times as a child and young adult in church:
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
Without God, we have no hope. The cures of man can only do so much. The Bible tells us in Matthew 19:26 that, “With man, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” I am standing on His word today.
My hope is built on nothing less.