Dear Family & Friends,
Good News: Dr. Carroll’s office called yesterday: I DO qualify for the UCLA Clinical Trial because UCLA determined that my breast cancer cells ARE positive [receptive] to both HER-2/neu* and Estrogen. **
Bad News: The test results indicate that my breast cancer is aggressive.
Good News: Dr. Carroll’s office has three tools to counter-act the aggressiveness: Chemo, Herceptin and Tamoxifen.
Bad News: There will be short-term side effects and there is a risk of long term side-effects.
Good News: The Clinical Trial will help improve the treatment for women in the future, who receive a Breast Cancer Diagnosis.
Bad News: I will receive six rounds of chemotherapy, instead of four, because of the Clinical Trial.
Good News: I have my family & friends praying for me! The Holy God of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps; He is tracing my journey!
This next part of my journey, the chemo, will be the most difficult challenge I have ever faced. The spector of the surgery that I endured pales in comparison. I’ll be requesting specific prayer requests in future blogs but, for now, here is a general way in which to pray:
Beauty from ashes and silver from refining fire: My life is in God’s hands. He may do with me what he wills. My prayer is that from this refining fire, the dross of my life would be removed, until pure silver emerges. From the ashes of this consuming fire, may God allow me to emerge with one thought only: to worship him in the beauty of his holiness.
I’ll be far from beautiful during this process of chemotherapy: I’ll be bald and possibly weak and ill. As my friend, Kim Hughes, encourages me: “Be not ashamed!” As I write this, I weep, not because I am ashamed, but because I am human: Frankly, I dread the short-term effects and I am, truthfully, afraid of the long-term side effects! So desperately do I need your prayers!
Levavi oculos: I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121.1-2
P. S. Herein ends the blog but below is optional reading!
*HER-2/neu: “Your body has genes that make cells grow. They’re called proto-oncogenes. They usually do their job just fine, but sometimes they become mutated into what are referred to as oncogenes, or genes that cause cancer. One of the genes produces a receptor that helps the cells grow. It’s called HER-2/neu and it’s an oncogene . . . Herceptin can stop the uncontrolled growth, and it does this by binding [connecting] to the HER-2/neu oncogene.”
**Estrogen: “Ovaries produce two hormones, estrogen and progesterone. In addition to all that the good hormones do for us, they can actually stimulate the growth of some breast tumors. Traitors! . . . Tamoxifen blocks estrogen receptors in the breast cancer cells by acting as an antagonist [or competitor]. The estrogen and Tamoxifen rush to grab on to the hormone receptor of the breast cancer cell but Tamoxifen ultimately blinds with them so they can’t multiply.”
Those quotes, by the way, are from the book, Breast Cancer for Dummies: Yes, there really is a book with that title!