Thursday, November 27, 2014

Finding thanks in the news you did not want to hear

Thanksgiving, a tradition that looks different for my family today....

Yesterday, I received the news that I did not want to hear. As so many of you have been praying, and sending your love... please know that I am still grateful. 

I just may need your support for a bit longer.

My test came back at, number 24. Devised by taking a specific look at the genes in my tumor, the number indicates my chance of recurrence and aggressiveness of the cancer. This number placed me in the intermediate range.

I have been recommended to undergo chemotherapy. Four rounds, of a low dose starting in January, to be finished by March. (assuming I respond well). I will loose my hair and could undergo early menopause. But overall my doctor predicts I will respond well to the treatment and the long term affects on my body would be minimal. 

If I had fallen below the number 20 (low range) studies indicate I would not benefit from chemotherapy at all. Had I fallen in the high range (30+) studies indicate that I would absolutely benefit from chemotherapy.  But I fell in the middle....

Statistically, by taking tamoxifen for the next five years (drug to reduce chance of recurrence) and not undergo chemotherapy,  I have a 15% chance of my cancer returning. By undergoing chemotherapy, in addition to tamoxifen, I can reduce that number to 9%.

At this time I have chosen to move forward with chemotherapy. In tears I told the doctor, I have so much life ahead of me. (I just turned 27).  I don't want this to return. I want to do everything I can to make sure that it does not. She without telling me I absolutely had to do something, strongly recommended that chemotherapy would be the best choice.

As you can imagine this is a bigger decision than to succumb to a few words, so forgive me for my bluntness. Throughout our appointment, looking at my results and discussing options my heart rested in one place. I asked the doctor if there were holistic things I could be doing, or life changes I could make but nothing was able to guarantee that my cancer would be gone forever. She admired my question, knowing it came from the heart but there was nothing she could say to erase the reality. 

So this thanksgiving I am seeking gratefulness. That I get to chose about my future. That the cancer is gone and medicine is available to make certain it doesn't comes back. I am grateful that God loves me in this brokenness and that he has fastened my heart so delicately that it is like no other.

Thank you for reading. For praying and helping me be grateful, even though this news was not what I had hoped for. I am heartbroken and disappointed. For moments, I thought this journey might be coming to a soon end, it appears it is still just beginning. 

My parents are here in Colorado and we will spend Thanksgiving together with our long time family friends. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. 

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