The Verdict Is In

I have been recovering very well these past two weeks since the surgery took place.  I have two incisions, both healing nicely.  I’ve been doing my daily arm exercises and the surgeon was pleased that I can lift my arm straight over my head with no problem.  I told her I can’t say I’ve had any real pain, just some soreness and discomfort at times.  Tomorrow I may begin driving again but must still be careful not to lift heavy objects.  I am feeling very well and must thank you all for your prayers for me.  I have no doubt that your prayers have had a great deal to do with my easy recovery.

This morning I awoke feeling some of those “butterflies” of nervousness as I began to get ready for my appointment today.  My mind was playing guessing games as to what the next steps might be.  Now the guessing is over; the verdict is in.  I’m happy to tell you that, in my case, chemotherapy is not necessary.  I will have a three week course of radiation therapy and begin taking the drug, Tamoxifen, for the next five years.  My doctor had told me on the day of surgery that she had to incise deeper than first expected.  Today she explained the pathology reports showed the tumor was bigger than the mammograms or ultrasound had revealed, probably because it was so deep and could not be fully seen.  She also explained the cell types were aggressive.  I have been graded Stage II cancer.  This is not bad news.  The tumor was localized in one place and had not spread anywhere else; the surgery was a great success in removing the tumor and leaving clear margins around the excised area.   I am feeling rather exhilarated. The incisions need to heal a bit more before they receive radiation.  Therefore, the treatments will probably begin in 2-3 weeks.  I’ll be keeping you informed.

In the meantime, I must tell you that my hopes for this current journey are beginning to be realized.  I am meeting others who are going through various cancer treatments, each one with their own unique fears and feelings of what tomorrow may bring.  It’s been interesting to note the immediate camaraderie between two people who have either had or currently have cancer.   The women I am meeting do not know that sweet peace that comes from Father alone.  I am praying that by the end of our journey together they will indeed know the One who gives such peace, who gives such promises as “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Heb.11:5    I love being involved in what I call “friendship evangelism”, just being who you are, with whoever you are with, letting Jesus love those around you through your own words and your own heart.   I know you will be praying for me in these new friendships.  I’m now recalling what Father put in my heart from the first moment of this journey…this is an opportunity to seize, not a curse to endure.  Thank you for sharing in my joy everyone and for praying with me in these opportunities.

There was just one moment of disappointment when my doctor advised I do not travel to Central Asia for a minimum of six months after the radiation therapy has ended.  She explained the side effects of the treatment.  They vary with each person as far as skin burn  and fatigue.  Her concern is the extreme heat of Central Asia in summer (one must be careful in heat and sun after radiation treatments)  and also concern of being in poorer conditions when it takes time for one’s immune system to fully restore and strength to be regained.  I am longing to return; at the same time I know there is a purpose, designed by Father Himself, in my being here.  I choose to trust Him in my disappointment.  How thankful I am for a doctor that truly cares.  I am blessed beyond measure….again!