Dear Faithful Praying Family & Friends,
Three weeks have passed since the most difficult evening of my life, June 28, the night before my surgery. During that time, your prayers for me were efficacious: Into my memory came the words of ancient Hebrew Scripture, assuring my troubled mind that my present circumstances do not diminish the character and nature of Almighty God! During that long night, I meditated upon the words of Psalm 121 [Levavi Oculos]. With the words, came the memory of a composition by Mendelssohn, a tune set to the words of Psalm 121: “He watching over Israel slumbers not nor sleeps.” The truth of that ancient Hebrew Scripture strengthened my mind and eclipsed anxiety, doubt, and fear. Will you continue to pray for me, as I enter the next phase in my journey toward health? I will need your prayers in order to endure!
THE NEXT PHASE:
Today, I met with Dr. Mabry, Hematology/Oncology, Tallahassee. The good news is that I will have no radiation. However, I will have four rounds of chemotherapy, each round separated by three weeks. Yes, I will lose my hair. Dr. Mabry will order an anti-nausea drug, which I will take one-half hour before each chemotherapy session. After these four rounds are completed [12 weeks] I will take [for one year] Herceptin, which targets the HER/2 biomarker, an oncogene for which I tested positive and which is over-expressing. [This represents the most problematic aspect of my pathology report.] I will also take Tamoxifen, an anti-hormone, as my tumor tested estrogen-receptive positive; five years is the standard protocol.
I imagine you are disappointed, as I am, that I require further treatment. However, I am thankful that the treatment will significantly decrease the risk of the recurrence of cancer. The goal of treatment is to increase my survival. Here are the details about my path report: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Stage One, Grade Three, Nottingham Score 8, Estrogen Positive, HER/2 Positive.
PLEASE PRAY FOR ME DURING CHEMO:
*No serious side effects, complications, or allergies.
*No illness that would compromise my suppressed immune system.
*That the anti-nausea drugs would work!
*That I would remain strong in mind, heart, soul, and strength.
*That I would learn to love God with ALL my mind heart, soul, and strength.
You remember that I opted for bi-lateral mastectomy with no reconstructive surgery [RS]? Although I have no regrets about either of those two decisions, it was great to hear this confirmation: Last week, my surgeon and two nurses confirmed that, if I had agreed to RS, I would have been out of commission for five to six weeks AND that I would never have been able to swim as well after the RS as before!
I am now swimming better than before my surgery! One, I have the companionship of Stephen and my friends, Steve & Margie Gibbons. Two, [perhaps] I have less “drag” in the [ahem] chest area and I weigh less! Third, I am extremely motivated and consider it my focused “job” to stay strong, mentally and physically. Not only am I able to perform the full range of motion for all the strokes, including butterfly, my stamina is also increasing. Last night, I swam 1000 meters with only a few rest stops.
The good news is that my treatment will not start until August 19th! Next week, Dr. Crooms will surgically implant a “port.” For the next two weeks, I will not be able to swim. However, I WILL be able to go to the Blair Clan Family Reunion in Beech Mountain, NC. There I will see my two sisters and their families plus Daniel, Haley, and Benjamin, who will fly in from Waco, TX. I hope Garrett can join us but he just returned from a two-week vacation to Europe!
I heartily thank you for reading and praying as I go the distance! Your encouragement and support will keep me afloat! I will update the blog about once a week and will report any significant news and I’ll post some more photos for your enjoyment!
Benedictus es, Domine.