Our house has been one full of prayer this last week. One thing I've learned to do (and science backs this up as legit, as do many verses in the Bible) is speaking out loud directly to the cancer, the pain, and the abnormalities in my body. I go through many declarations, reading them out loud each day from a booklet written by Charles Capp called "God's Creative Power for Healing" and also reading the Bible verses that go along with them. I also read out loud the Bible verses about strength from my friend Roger that I've mentioned before. I have prayers that I pray over myself and my family (originally prayers that Paul prayed to the Colossians and Ephesians) that pertain to knowing God more and understanding His POWER that is at work within us. I've never prayed written prayers, or prayed prayers directly from the Bible before, but reading verses again and again out loud really helps them get into my heart. It's not just a rote exercise so I can say "I did it." It is permeating my very soul and changing me from the inside out. Recently, my mom heard a story of a woman who was miraculously healed from a brain infection. The doctors said every day she would die, or live a life in a vegetative state. This woman's husband prayed a prayer over her every day as he rejected all the negative reports of the doctor. Not only did she live, she was restored to full health. We have that prayer printed with all the scriptural backup, and Matt prays it over me every night, and my mom and mother-in-law have also prayed it over me. Then of course, there are the countless others (YOU) who have been lifting me up in prayer. I don't say this to brag about all the praying we've been doing, because there is no pride in this. There is simple dependence on the power that I believe is at work in my body, even when the results aren't there before my eyes just yet.
I had my CT scan on Wednesday, and can I just say I'm so thankful for Froedtert Hospital. They are so kind, and so much less invasive with their scans than other places I've had them. They don't make me undress, or drink barium (which makes me so sick...YUCK!), and they don't make me wait for 3 hours. It was so seemless. Thank you, Candy and all the other people who blessed my life on Wednesday.
Yesterday I saw Dr. Ritch. He and his staff addressed my issues with pain and nausea that I've been having. One of my main concerns was that I haven't been able to eat much of anything for the past week, and when I would eat I would just throw up. I was even throwing up plain water. And obviously I've been losing weight. I'd been trying Boost shakes, but the nutritionist Dena suggested shakes called ScandiShakes which have double the calories of Boost. So with one of those shakes plus a Boost I can get all the calories I need for a day, and then add food as I can.
They addressed my pain as best they could, but when morphine and Vicodin and Oxycodone are barely taking the edge off, it's pretty frustrating. They keep assuring me there is more we can try, but then I've heard that before with the anti-nausea meds, and I'm kind of at the end of those possibilities with Lorazepam (Ativan) as the one that works but it makes me SO tired. The side effects are a big issue when you have a VERY active 8 month old to take care of. I mean, I have a lot of help with her much of the time but I don't have (nor do I want) someone here 24/7 to care for me and for her. I'm not THAT sick. But for anyone who has had chronic pain (and I know at least some of you have) you understand how wearing it is.
Then of course, the results of the CT scan. Bottom line is that the new chemo is not working, so we switched it up again. The doctor is hopeful about this new combination, and neither of the drugs are associated with nausea and vomiting. I woke up this morning hungry and thirsty, so I had yogurt and water. And so far, so good. The "bad" things with this new chemo are that I have to go every week for 3 weeks, then off for 1 week, on 3, off 1. This is just logistically bad with getting help with Eva. The other bad news is that there's a possibility that my G.I. Jane hair could fall out.
But there is much good associated with the new regimen. So far, I feel VERY good for it being the day after chemo. I have big goals for today including showering, making the bed, going to the new Woodman's, and maybe hitting up a rummage sale or two if I find some good ones.
And now, the most exciting short term news...at least it's exciting for someone who's been in terrible pain for the last week and a half. Every time I get chemo, they give me steroids. The steroids completely annihilate my pain for up to 2 weeks. I've been told by a nurse practitioner that the steroids couldn't be what's doing this for that long, but no one can give me any other ideas as to why I go from terrible pain that keeps me awake at night, which morphine just takes the edge off, but by the time I leave the hospital after chemo, the pain is GONE completely, and when it does come back anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen knocks it out better than the "hard core" drugs (but I'm limited to how much of these I can take for other reasons). Anyway, to me it seems like an inflammation issue since anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS, steroids) help. But anyway, I'm getting off track. I'm excited because now I'll get the steroids every week, so this should really keep the pain at bay until the mighty power of Prayers of Faith begin to manifest in my body and shrink the tumors to nothing so there is nothing else inflamed and I can get on with my life, serving the Lord my God with 100% of me, instead of just what's left when I can get off the couch/out of bed.
Anyway, God's presence was so strongly with me and my mom yesterday when the doctor gave us the news that the scans showed progression of some of the tumors. I just kept repeating part of the prayer that Matt's been praying over me. "I do not judge by the sight of my eyes, but by the Word of God." And also Hebrews 11:1 (which is on the wall in Eva's room on a beautiful cross...a gift from Grandma Jeanette for her baptism) "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see." I had no fear, but complete peace as I spoke with the doctor.
Then, I asked the doctor if he's ever seen anyone supernaturally healed. I could tell he probably wasn't comfortable with my terminology, but he did tell me he has seen things throughout his career that he couldn't explain. People "responding to treatment" in amazing ways. He said he saw a lot of it in lung cancer and breast cancer in his past, but since he's been in GI cancers, he shared 3 stories with me of people who amazingly overcame cancer that they shouldn't have made it through. One lady didn't even get treatment. The other two had treatment that completely took care of their cancer and it has never returned. I told him I was trusting God for that. I will be his next "unexplainable."
Well, I had better go attend to my goals for today, such as showering. :) Jeanette is here with me today, and she's getting Eva dressed at the moment. Thanks for reading, and thanks for all your prayers. We continue to stand on the WORD OF GOD as truth, and truly, nothing else matters. God's Word CANNOT lie.
One more thing I wanted to share...a word from my brother after we prayed fervently for my back pain the other night. It made me cry because of the beautiful picture it portrayed. He said, "You know, when Jesus was on the cross 2000 years ago, he saw your face. He did that for you. I know he saw everyone's face, but I think each one was just as personal as the next." So as he saw my face and knew that he was dying to save me from cancer in my mortal life and from my sins for all eternity, he was doing the same for you, as he saw your face as well.
Thank you all for your uplifting words, letters, cards, etc. If you are ever able and willing to help during the days watching Eva, check the Lotsa Helping Hands website for available dates. https://www.lotsahelpinghands.com/c/626581/login/
I'm not sure yet how much help I'll need with this new chemo, but I'll keep that website updated as it becomes clear how much I'm able to do myself and how much assistance I need.
Love to you all!