cindytripp

2 years…and counting February 18, 2014

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Yesterday, February 17, marked the two-year date of my cancer diagnosis. While I probably now have more cancer cells in more places than I did that day, the truth is that more is known about the cancer and that has influenced treatment. As a result, I am more hopeful than I was two years ago. Although I may not ever have that cancer-free/in-remission assessment, I believe that my cancer is and can be managed.

I can explain.

Those early days were filled with so many unknowns and so few answers. It was cancer in the lungs but not lung cancer; it was like ovarian but not ovarian—honestly, there wasn’t a typical reaction or answer to anything. I was thankful that I didn’t look the way I felt, but I’m sure that many people didn’t really know what to say to me. With every scan, I was a wreck because I had no idea what new challenge would be revealed and new challenges were always revealed.

I still don’t know what’s ahead; however, I do know a little bit more about the cancer. Contrary to what I have thought since the beginning, the tumors are not attached to my lungs but appear to be in the lymph glands in the lungs. No, these are not lymphoma cells, but my fourteen-year struggle with endometriosis may have had some part in the cancer that eventually developed. Yes, the cells in the lymph glands make the cancer more easily spread, but at least it’s a reason why the cancer has spread.  While the first clinical trial that I participated in was not successful in stopping growth, this second one seems to be having an effect after just two cycles.

All of these factors may not make sense to you, but they explain why at this two-year point, I can look forward to each new day with hope and gratitude. I feel that now I have a few more answers than questions, and I know just a tiny bit more what’s inside my body. I’m blessed by my family and friends, by the continuous prayer support, and by the reality of God’s grace in my life. I still have cancer, but it doesn’t have my heart or my mind. No matter what, I choose to trust in Him, not in scans or results, because I’ve learned that’s the only way forward for me.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. (Psalm 28:7)

 

all good February 12, 2014

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On Monday my platelets were up to 112,000. The drug company approved my continuing the trial with cycles 3 and 4. The Carboplatin chemotherapy dosage was slightly reduced in an effort to slow down the sharp platelet drop after treatments. Tuesday and Wednesday have been back-to-back good days.

Most importantly, I have been keenly aware of God’s gifts of hope, of His continued presence, and of blessings that come with patience. My times at Sarah Cannon Research Institute regularly consist of waiting for everything—for lab results, for approvals, for drugs to be mixed, and for infusions to start. I can do nothing to move things along because everything takes time. Every person I come in contact with is doing a necessary job with a professional and compassionate attitude. I’ve learned that waiting is part of the process, and if I can rest in that waiting, joy is the result.

Oh, I know that this battle isn’t over and that God will continue to use this experience to accomplish His purpose in my life. There will be ups and downs, good news and not-so-good news. Right now, though, I am thankful that this week has been good, and I know that I’m where I am supposed to be. I will choose to trust Him with what lies ahead, and I will wait.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. (Psalm 130:5)

 

Scan results! February 3, 2014

Today scan results revealed no new growth in the tumors—and three of those measured smaller than they were almost ten weeks ago. While no growth was the hope after two cycles of the trial drugs, the reduction in size of the three largest tumors was an unexpected gift.

My platelets are not with the program yet, however, and they remain steady at 57,000.  I’ll wait another week to see if they reach the 100,000 mark so I can begin cycle 3. When that happens, the study drug amount can be slightly reduced, which should help the platelets recover more quickly in the future.

I feel very grateful and cautiously optimistic right now. At the same time I remind myself that my hope is not in the trial or the results but in the One Who Heals. I must keep my focus on seeing and trusting God in the moment. While it may sound trite, the reality is that focusing on results—and not on Him—sets me up for disaster. I struggle with fear and despair if I believe He’s with me only when the results are good. In the words of Paul, “But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (1 Corinthians 8:24-25).

Therefore, I will wait and hope and believe that what God is doing in me through this cancer is part of the story of my life, and I will “praise God from Whom all blessings flow….”