Spring Update

I’ve completed my radiation treatment and am feeling fine.  I’ll learn how effective the radiation was this June when I have my next scan.  I have to wait till June because the radiation causes scar tissue which makes it difficult to clearly see nodules.  The scar tissue should be stable enough by June to identify the effectiveness of the radiation treatment.  The doctor was confident with the procedure and said the “radiation fell off before the aorta”,  which is a good thing.


Waiting for radiation to begin.  The table moves towards the blue circle and the arms rotate around me.


I have more good news.  My CEA level, a cancer tumor marker found in blood, was low. The higher the CEA number indicates the stronger the occurrence of cancer spreading. While at MD Anderson, my CEA level was the highest it’s ever been.  But I was relieved hearing my latest level.

When I was in Houston and got the results saying my CEA level had increased, I was scared my cancer was spreading and growing stronger.  Things were going so well before my trip to Houston and when I learned my cancer returned, thoughts of dying began creeping into my head.  Looking back, I get frustrated with myself because I need to trust in Jesus more, especially after Divine Mercy Sunday, but I find it hard at times.  It’s much easier to trust when things are going well, rather than when my future is uncertain.  I’ve made it this far, thanks to God, and I need to continue to trust and believe I’ll get through what’s ahead of me.  For me, trusting in God is not about living a long life, but rather being at peace with my life and its circumstances.

Over the past few weeks I’ve had numerous conversations with people who have had loved ones die from cancer.  One thing they seem to all say is that the dying happened so fast.  I think cancer is a blessing in that I don’t perceive death as happening fast.  I believe the perception of cancer patients dying fast comes from the patient presenting “normal” to others but quickly regressing.  If you look at me, I present “normal”.  But I’ve had cancer attacking my body for 13 years, 10 years undiagnosed.  My body can only handle the effects of cancer and treatment for so long before my body can no longer fight and I will present the physical signs of cancer.  Cancer is a blessing because I’m able to tell my friends and family I love them everyday, to the point where it sometimes annoys them, especially my oldest daughter. (But I’m okay annoying her by saying I love her)


Girls on Easter


I’m also back on chemo after a three-week break because of radiation treatment.  Overall, I’ve been feeling good following radiation and being off of chemo for the past three weeks. During radiation I was a little nauseous, but not nearly as bad as some of my earlier chemos.  Being off chemo and spending time with my family and extended family made for a wonderful Easter.  My brother and his family were able to visit as well as my mother-in-law.

I recently returned from Augusta, Georgia where I watched the Masters Golf Tournament. My friend Tom Michaels and his wife Mary offered me a ticket to go with them.  The Masters is like the Super Bowl of golf and I loved seeing the course, the players, and watching the spectators.  Mary was a rockstar, she’s 37 weeks pregnant and was running all over the place. Going to the tournament was another once-in-a-lifetime experience for me and I greatly appreciate spending time with Tom and Mary.  I also love southern hospitality.  Everyone we met was pleasant and kind.  I don’t consider myself a golfer, but there was a time in my life where I did play golf regularly.  I do enjoy playing golf but I’m not good, actually, I’m horrible.  My current excuse for being a horrible golfer is the side effects of chemo make it difficult to grip the golf club. People seem to be more lenient and accepting of my poor golf play because of my diagnosis.  I do play once a year at my daughter’s school fundraiser tournament and it’s always a fun time despite my poor play.


Mary, Tom and I at the Masters


I want to thank all of you for the prayers, kind words and support surrounding my radiation treatment.


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