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)