"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore, I will wait for him. " -Lamentations 3:22-24
CT Update: Many of you have asked about the results of the CT scan from last week. I am very pleased to report that after 2.5 months of being off of chemo, that Mrs. Barbara's small tumor seen in February has grown just a tiny bit!! Praise God! It was very possible that it could have increased significantly in size, but that is NOT the case! There are some pelvic lymph nodes that have increased a small amount in size, and they will now watch these, but there is not any alarm or concern about this. It is possible that it could be cancer in the nodes, but also possible that it is just some inflammation.
Chemotherapy is under way. Mrs. Barbara has received 2 doses of the Gemzar chemotherapy as of today. She will not receive any chemo next week, but will have blood work drawn. Her WBC counts were a little low before the chemo today, so they will keep a close eye on those numbers next week. When WBCs drop too low, your body is at risk of not being able to fight off simple germs, viruses, bacterias, etc. Therefore, Mrs. Barbara could get very sick from something "minor". It could be serious if that happens, but the good thing is that your immune system can recover quickly, so the "OFF" week can be very helpful to her body. It is also important to practice good hand-washing, steer clear of crowds or anyone sick, and be careful of the foods you consume and how they are cooked. After this first cycle (ends next week) if she tolerates everything ok, they will consider adding the chemo drug Carboplatin, a platinum drug, back to her regimen. This was one of the first chemos she had starting back in December. It was thought at one point that she was "platinum resistant" (the cancer was not responding to the drug); however, this doctor feels she was not on it long enough to make that determination. This is great news! Once you are "Platinum-resistant", doctors are less likely to try other platinum drugs, and as of now, platinum drugs, specifically Carboplatin, are considered the firstline treatment for ovarian cancer.
Mrs. Barbara had some adversity to overcome this last week. She went in to starting chemo again with alot of energy and bravery. Chemo the first time was hard and took some time to adjust, and just as she was adjusting, everything changed. But Mrs. Barbara hasn't flinched at starting chemo again. You know it's no fun, but then with a new drug, you don't know what to expect. Her body responded a little differently to the Gemzar, even with just ONE dose. First, there were deep aches in the arms and legs, that moved to the hips. There was some fatigue and a mild amount of nausea (but we're learning how to beat the nausea! Her regimen worked much better this time). There are GI issues and there was a lot of insomnia. But all of these issues are manageable, and this medical team is very willing to do whatever necessary to keep her comfortable.
When she arrived today for treatment, her visit began with blood work. It was clear that the technician in the office was not in the best of moods. Mrs. Barbara kindly stated the obvious to her, "I can tell by the look on your face, that you haven't had a good morning." (Gotta love this woman's honesty!!) The woman replied honestly that she had not, but that she was ok. The technician noticed that her hands were cold, and Mrs. Barbara replied that that always are, along with her feet, but "warm heart..(everyone smiles)...unless you ask my husband" (laughter). Mrs. Barbara continued to "cut-up" with the lady giving her permission to cause her pain (with the finger pricking). She made the lady smile at least 3 times. There was kindness and goodness in her honesty (so hard to capture what I witnessed in words). And most of all...LOVE. It would have been easy to let that woman's sour attitude turn her sour or to keep quiet and talk about her later, but she didn't. She chose to love her in that moment, and then move on. Mother Theresa once said, "Don't look for big things, just do small things with great love." I am thinking that Mrs. Barbara changed this lady's perspective, if not just for that moment in her presence, but for the rest of the day. The Holy Spirit was clearly with Mrs. Barbara this morning, as I know He always is, but to see it is such a beautiful thing. I saw God's grace and humor in her today, not to mention His peace, kindness, and goodness...He gifted her with several fruits of the Spirit today in that one moment. I wonder how often we notice those gifts in others, or even in ourselves. Do we recognize when the Spirit is working? Do we give Him the credit He deserves?
Heavenly Father, Thank You for "gracing" me with Your Presence today! I know You are always with us, but what a privilege to see You working through someone I love so dearly! I, with so many others, continue to pray for complete healing of Mrs. Barbara's cancer. Lord, please calm the inflammation in her body, reprogram the cancer cells to be eliminated, and restore her body to great health, and in doing so, may all the Glory be Yours!! In Jesus name I pray. Amen.