This is my first post on my new personal blog that I am calling “On the Path”. This blog will be where I can post my personal updates and reflections on life. I have chosen to create a personal blog because I didn’t want my ministry blogs to get bogged down with personal updates on my fight against cancer.
Update on my treatments
I posted on my ministry blogs at Women in Ministry and The Giving about my diagnoses with cancer in July 2013. I was successfully treated against breast cancer in 1995 and God gave me excellent health for eighteen years. In May I went to the doctor with a painful thickening and after falling through the cracks in our health care system, and being treated as “normal” rather than “urgent”, it wasn’t until July that I was diagnosed with an aggressive stage three breast cancer that had spread to my skin. Since I first posted about my personal health battle, I have gone through three treatments of chemo and my health has been up and down with side effects from the chemo and other medication. After my first treatment I had to be rushed to emergency with a reaction that caused low blood pressure, abdominal pain and my body went into shock. Blood tests showed that I had ten times the amount of lipase in my blood as was normal. Whatever caused this reaction, I did not have it happen again after the next two treatments and for that I am thankful to God. It was a scary experience and I thought I was going to die.
I have also struggled with white blood cells being especially low. My doctor put me on shots to force my body to produce white blood cells to bring my immune system back to normal, but I had a strong reaction to the shots and along with severe pain in my spine, the shots caused my liver enzymes to sky rocket showing that there was a possibility of liver damage. At times the roller coaster ride between treatments and side effects has seemed more than I could take, but God has walked alongside me and kept me in His peace. It is a peace that is far greater than I could have imagined. God is there even in the fight for life because of cancer.
With my last chemo treatment, I only qualified for 3/4 of the normal dose as my white blood cells were not back to normal enough for the full dose. Even though it was not a full dose this time, I have experienced extreme exhaustion. Even after sleeping most of the day and sleeping more than 12 hours at night, I still woke up feeling exhausted. That was one of the hardest side effects to tolerate as it made me feel like I was never going to be normal again.
But God has been gracious to me once again and after several days in bed I am doing much better. While the chemo has been very hard on my body, it has also been very hard on the cancer. After three treatments, the cancer can no longer be felt, and all of the metastises to the skin has disappeared! Of course what one feels and sees is not all there is of cancer, so the treatment goes on, but the sensitivity of this cancer to the chemo to shrink and destroy it has been so encouraging. My doctor told me that very aggressive cancer responds better to chemotherapy than less aggressive cancer responds to the chemo.
I am still in a fight for my life, but it is a battle that is going well right now. I do have some battle scars, but in the light of eternity, they don’t mean very much. I have lost all of my hair on my head but my amazing extended family blessed me with prepaying for a wig that is pretty much exactly the colour of hair that I used to have. I have also felt the prayers of many people on my behalf and it has had a profound effect on my life. It seems that when one is struggling in a huge battle like this, and fighting for one’s life, other Christians are there to take up the fight alongside the one who has been kicked to the ground. More than ever before I feel the love of God’s family.
I am going to try to post here more often because I want this blog to be not just about my cancer battle, but to be about life, faith and the things I have learned from God.
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