Dark clouds and a glimmer of light January 7, 2014

I couldn’t write anything yesterday after my Sarah Cannon appointment, just as I haven’t been able to write anything since the first treatment of this new study drug on December 16. I had to concentrate on getting out of bed, on not falling apart, on preparing for Christmas, and on trusting that God was still holding on to me. Some days I was successful, and some days I was not. Yesterday I almost was not, at least not until the end of the day. More on that later.

Day 1 (Dec 16) of the new study drug, which also includes a carbopatin chemotherapy drug infusion, was good. I had no reaction to the new meds, and my platelet count that day was 107,000, which was a bit above the 100,000 threshold for receiving the drug. Then each Monday after that, the numbers dropped—93,000 on day 8 (Dec 23) and then an awful 69,000 on day 15 (Dec 30). I knew that I’d have to be back at 100 by yesterday, and I also knew that the chances of that happening were not strong, based on my previous platelet drops with other chemotherapy drugs.

I have spent the days since Thanksgiving wondering what was happening inside and what would happen if I couldn’t continue treatment as scheduled. I wondered if my fears were responsible for how awful I felt, for the recurring nausea and intestinal struggles, for the feelings that alternated between panic and numbness. With my mind, I knew that fear was probably a factor in my physical struggles, but my emotions were so fragile that I also knew that they had a part in how I felt. I took things slowly, tried to interact normally, decorated for Christmas intentionally, and cried inconsolably every time I was alone. I couldn’t face the fact that this might take a turn that would not be what I had hoped. The only time I had felt like this was the first weekend of my diagnosis, when I came face-to-face with my mortality. I was back at that point again, and this time I knew enough about what I faced to be paralyzed with fear.

Yesterday my platelets were 81,000, up 12,000 but still short of the magic 100 mark. On Saturday a precious, godly woman whom I knew through BA had died of a rare and aggressive cancer diagnosed only eight months ago, and I felt her loss as if we were best friends. I have prayed for her since her diagnosis, seen her recently in the halls at Sarah Cannon, and can only imagine how much her family is grieving. I went home yesterday to wait another week for the platelets to rebound, and I truly felt as if I couldn’t go on.

Then mid-afternoon, after waking from a deep sleep, I learned the test results of my C-125 marker, which had been checked for the first time since December 2. At that time, I was devastated to discover that the number was 553, about the same as when I was first diagnosed. That number was a prime reason my doctor wanted me in this study since this trial drug directly targets the C-125 marker.

My C-125 marker is now 185. Three weeks after one infusion with the drug, the number is down significantly. Right now, all that means is that the trial drug seems to be doing what it is supposed to do—to target the C-125 marker; we’ll know if it is also reducing the growth and the spread of the tumors after the scans scheduled three weeks after the second treatment. I can’t jump ahead and decide that I know what this means; every time I do that, it’s a mistake. It’s too soon to say this is a turning point in the treatment of my cancer.


My C-125 marker was 553 and now is 185.

Yesterday I saw the news as a break in the roiling clouds that have surrounded me, a glimmer of light in darkness, a reminder of God’s presence. He is still here, still present in the midst of my circumstances, still true to His promise to never leave me or forsake me, still the only hope I have. He is still my healer whether that healing comes this side of heaven or not. I keep writing the same thing because I keep needing to remind myself of its truth. I just don’t get it in a way that sticks with me. Maybe the time will come when I won’t need the reminders, but I am so thankful that He continues to give me glimpses of His glory.

When I told another dear friend last weekend that I was struggling to keep focused, she told me that she too battled fear in her cancer diagnosis and treatment. She said that the words of the hymn, “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” have been in her heart almost every moment of every day for years now. This hymn helped her because it didn’t say not to fear. Since she couldn’t get rid of the fear, she decided to live with it but to do so holding His hand.

The words of that hymn make perfect sense to me too, for I have seen the sweet gift that comes in a glimmer of light:

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on,
Let me stand/
I’m tired, I am weak, I am worn
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.

When my way grows drear, precious Lord, linger near.
When my life is almost gone
Hear my cry,
Hear my call.
Hold my hand lest I fall.
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.

When the darkness appears and the night draws near
And the day is past and gone
At the river I stand
Guide my feet,
Hold my hand.
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.

Precious Lord, take my hand.
Lead me on,
Let me stand.
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.

Whatever I fear, be the situation a tiny difficulty or a larger crisis, He will lead me on—and because He leads me on, I can stand by holding His hand.

(and did I mention that my C-125 is 185? Whoo hoo!)


8 Responses to “Dark clouds and a glimmer of light”

  1. Allison Says:

    185! AWESOME!

    When can I see you?

  2. Karen Smith Says:

    Cindy, I think of you often and pray for God’s strength for your journey. Not for your strength- because even being such a phenomenally,strong sister in Christ; it will faultier and fail you at times. And so I ask God to give you His strength, His grace for each minute and each hour- because He alone can guide you with His light along this journey- showing you the way step by step- sometimes inch by inch. And you in turn are reflecting His light to so many others. Thank you for blessing all of us, as He is blessing you on the good days and the bad. He IS good ALL of the time- it is His very character. May He grant you have the eyes to see His goodness, even in the little things. And someday, I will send you the cards I keep meaning to send you!!! Until then, know you have my love, my prayers -and I am lifting you up – holding up your arms, especially on the days they are weak. And being very thankful God created you and placed you on this earth for such a time as this- when we need to see Him reflected in you. And as I write this I can’t help but smile, remembering you waving your arms and helping one of my sons- fortunately, I can’t remember which of the three! -see the error of his ways for jumping the curb and driving across the grass at BA! I’m sure he was on an errand of major importance , such as pursuing a girl or attempting to get the football practice on time!!! Thank you for loving me and for loving my family in so many precious ways! And I am celebrating with you that your marker is 185!!, Woo Hoo too!!!

  3. Melinda Says:

    So glad for the good news! Melinda S.

  4. kayce hughes Says:

    So glad to hear your good news. I have been praying so much for you.

  5. Carolyn Dobbins Says:

    Dear, dear Cindy,

    I am singing with you (“Take Cindy’s hand, Precious Lord, lead her. . . .”).

    Praying, Carolyn

    Carolyn Dobbins 6th Grade Literature Brentwood Academy 219 Granny White Pike Brentwood, TN 37027 615-373-4764 x 313

  6. Barbara Says:

    Love you, friend.

  7. tammyrhayes Says:

    I “woohoo” with you Cindy Tripp! 185 is rocking it! Love you lady!

  8. Comcast Says:

    Still praying.

    Sent from my iPhone


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