schedule change January 29, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — cindytripp @ 12:58 pm
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When someone participates in a clinical trial, many people regularly review the protocol for the study and the data gathered from the patient to be sure that everything falls within the requirements. This morning I received a call to reschedule scans and the return visit for results, both of which had been set outside the 21-day cycle of the study. Scans are now this Friday, January 31, with the oncologist visit on Monday, February 3.

Moving things up a week is definitely good news because waiting can be hard. I’m not anxious but do want to give an update about the schedule change. I am grateful for your prayers.


low labs ≠ drama January 27, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — cindytripp @ 6:13 pm

Today’s labs were drama-free, a first for me. While my platelets took another nose dive (down to 57,000), those results aren’t important right now. Scans are already scheduled for February 7, and no tumor growth then means I continue the trial, and the platelet count becomes relevant again. They should rebound in two weeks, so today’s results are just numbers until February 10.

Of course, low platelets mean that I once again have to pay attention to warning signs for internal bleeding (none so far!). General malaise and fatigue are also part of the package, but I’m taking care of myself. In early January an oncology nurse said that he wished he could say to drink a milk shake everyday, but that wouldn’t help. Too bad because wouldn’t that have been an interesting solution!

No drama, no stress, no worries—and I am thankful for this news today!

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 62:5-6)


it’s not what’s inside that’s important. January 21, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — cindytripp @ 7:30 pm
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I admit that last week I started thinking about those extra platelets. An extra 60,000 platelets is a great cushion, I thought, especially after losing 38,000 the first cycle. Yeah, right. I usually get in trouble when I think I know what will happen.

My platelet count yesterday? 106,000—and there went the comfortable cushion. The C-125 marker was down to a lovely 130, but those platelets…argh! There’s nothing to eat or try or take, except to give them time to rebound after being beaten down by chemotherapy.

Yesterday, however, I didn’t go back into the dark and deep hole of the weeks between Thanksgiving and January 13. I purposely didn’t think about anything that was out of my control.

Instead I thought about Mark 8 and about being in the boat with one loaf of bread, 11 people close to me, and the Savior. I focused on seeing, hearing, remembering, and understanding the important truth—I am in the boat with the Savior, and He is enough. He is not limited by the one available loaf of bread or the plummeting platelet count or anything else. What a remarkable feeling! I felt that I had passed one little test on one little day and nothing bigger than that, but it was a victory nonetheless.

If you’ve seen me recently, you probably have thought that I look so much better than you expected. For the most part, I do feel better. My neuropathy is greatly diminished, and I’m getting around easily. Other than general queasiness, I’m doing okay. Who would expect that persistent cancer tumors inside have grown and spread and not responded very well to treatment?

cbtJan21Don’t we all have junk inside that can’t be seen? Whether in our hearts or minds or bodies, hidden things exist that we don’t know about and/or don’t want others to see. My situation may be more obvious, but then I have hashed and rehashed the story of my insides over the last 23 months. I have trouble forgetting that what’s inside cannot be seen in the mirror. What I realize today a bit more clearly is that my inside is not important.

What’s important is the One who is in charge of all of my life. I’ll need the reminder in a day or so, but today I know I can reread Mark 8 and be thankful that I look better than I feel and better than my inside may look. Scans on February 7 (results on February 10) will reveal details about what’s inside, and the oncology experts will recommend what to do next. It’s not up to me.

In the meantime, I want to focus on what’s important—on God’s mercy and grace, on not having to deserve His being in the boat with me. Nothing at all is up to me.

This I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” (Lamentations 3:21-24)


one more comment about Monday January 14, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — cindytripp @ 9:14 pm

CynthiaJan13On Monday, January 13, I didn’t expect to receive the study drugs because I never dreamed that I’d surpass the 100,000-platelet threshold, much less by such a huge number. I wasn’t prepared with all of my comforts—book, iPad, headphones, a friend!—so the first hour or so in the lab waiting for the final lab results and for the meds to be ordered was disconcerting for me, to say the least. When my daughter Sarah James brought Sonic treats for lunch, however, we laughed and she took this picture. Note the lovely port tubing taped to my shoulder as I await the arrival of drugs for infusion.

After she left and the drugs were mixed in the lab downstairs and brought up to the unit, I realized that this was truly turning out to be a funny experience. God had taken me completely by surprise, and I felt as if I were part of something so much bigger than I could have imagined. Yes, platelets can rebound quickly, but mine have never done so before. I knew that this was definitely a time for joy and for laughter for the amazing way He had orchestrated everything.

Can you tell that I am still rejoicing over Monday’s news? I think that I may even be better prepared for the inevitable side effects that could begin in the next few days. I can be thankful that I was able to have the treatment, and I can rejoice even if I’m feeling physically lousy—or at least that’s what I can tell myself. After a bleak December, I am ready to rejoice.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)


“Oh, ye of little faith…” January 13, 2014

I went to my appointment today hoping that my platelets would come close enough to 100,000 so that I could return on Wednesday or Thursday to try again to meet the protocol for a second treatment. I needed an increase of 19,000 for my 81,000 count to reach 100,000, but I didn’t expect that to happen. Looking back over all of my chemotherapy experiences so far, I have never gained that much while undergoing treatment, so I was merely hopeful I would be close.

Oh, ye of little faith.

Today my platelet count is 160,000, practically double what it was one short week ago.  Double.

. . . Do you still not see or understand? . . . Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? (Mark 8:17-18)

Jesus was speaking to the disciples about their constant worry about not having enough bread, worry that persisted even after seeing Him feed the multitudes, but He is also speaking to me and maybe to you also.  Another dear friend told me this morning that dealing with cancer gives new meaning to the phrase “taking things one day at a time.” I’ll add that it also gives new meaning to all of the scriptures I’ve quoted for almost two years, all of the phrases about staying in the moment, and all of the examples of His mercy and grace that family and friends have modeled for me since my life changed on February 17, 2012.

I wish that I didn’t need the reminders, but I am so very blessed that He is faithful to remind me that He is with me always. I want my eyes to see Him, my ears to hear Him, and my mind to understand and to remember His words. I want fear not to have a hold on my heart. I want to hold fast to the truth that it’s His presence that will make these things possible, not what He does with my cancer. I want to have faith in little pieces, in making the little choices to trust and to believe what doesn’t seem possible.

Double the platelet count. In one week. That hasn’t happened to me before.

Oh, at some point, maybe even at just one single point, may it be said of me, “Oh, ye of big faith…”


What are the next steps? Labs and oncology visits next two Mondays, CT scans on Friday, February 7, to determine the size of the tumors after two cycles (notice I did not write that the scans would show if tumors have grown or spread—see, I’m trying!), and results on Monday, February 10, with treatment scheduled to start cycle 3 on that same day.