As I sit and reflect on the recent happenings since my last blog, I can't help being overwhelmed by the darkness of cancer. As many of you have been following my story, you may remember a post this past summer, "Dealing in Death." Back in June I was facing the realities of what this cancer is capable of doing. Now I have experienced those realities on a more personal level.
Since June, I have lost six fellow Ewing's fighters that I followed and with whom I communicated. Though I may not have known them personally, I travelled their journey from afar. Connected to each other through our similar cancer, I grew to love and pray for them. Now they are gone. So what does this mean? Why even mention this?
Cancer is more than just chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Cancer extends beyond the physical.
I find myself in a difficult position. Part of me wants to explode with excitement as I finally see the tiny light at the end of my "treatment tunnel." Yet the overshadowing realities of what still lies ahead continue to bear down on my spirits.
I don't know if I can easily explain this, but it's like a roller-coaster. One moment you are riding high with the excitement of normal life in view, and the next moment you are crushed with the pain and suffering of both your fellow cancer fighters and yourself. The ability to process the pain of so many difficulties seems out of reach.
Although my doctors have cut two entire months off of treatment, I struggle with the realities that at very best my cancer has an extremely good chance of returning. I see a glimpse of normality ahead, yet still must process the fact that as I sit typing one of my favorite Ewing's Sarcoma fighters lays in the ICU as her cancer continues to spread. (Link to follow her story and pray)
Maybe I'm rambling. Maybe this doesn't make a lot of sense to you. However, in the past few weeks I have had to process others' comments about my cancer and this is sort of my response.
So in conclusion, here's the ending to my rather blunt and straight-forward post.
I write this blog so you can truly see what cancer is like. All of the raw and real posts are to display the true realities of life with Stage 4 bone cancer. If these bother you, please stop reading. I don't want to offend or hurt anyone. However, I'm not going to beat around the bush when it comes to my cancer.
As for a brief update, my scans have continued to show that the cancer in my shoulder is dying. Because of the tumor's large size, we have decided on an alternate route to surgical removal. The "Tumor Board" decided that we will not do a de-bulking surgery, but rather leave my tumor in my shoulder where it now acts as a joint between my arm and shoulder blade. Though this may seem like a free home for the cancer to return, my oncologist said that if the cancer is going to return, it will do so whether there is a tumor or not.
Please pray for me as my upcoming Stem Cell Transplant will take place some time in February or March. The procedure will be rather difficult, but very necessary! ;)
Also pray most of all that the cancer stays in remission for the full five years. Due to the very aggressive treatment, once you finish there isn't much more your body can handle. The true fight with Ewing's begins once my body is in remission. The statistics for staying cancer free are rather depressing. Once I finally finish my chemotherapy, the true battle to be cancer-free will begin.
I've been fighting this terrible beast for 9 months now. Thanks to your constant prayers and support I am happy to say that there is no chance of me quitting! (Never was optional)
Love to all! Have a blessed Christmas with your families. Cherish every moment!
(Hannah and I after our Chemotherapy/EchoCardiogram visit)