Thursday, June 15, 2006


From Nancy
Tuesday night, 5/30/06
Dear friends,

Let me start off by saying that we had a very nice time in PA this weekend and Greg is now officially inducted into the Benton High School Hall of Fame. Laura and Allison are now home. Allison just drove in from FL a few hours ago. A friend brought a delicious dinner to us tonight. We have gotten so many cards and emails that have really been ministering to us. Thank you for your expressions of love, prayers and support. We are so blessed to have a network of incredible friends to come around us at this time.

I had the CT scans this morning which were much quicker than the ones I remember from years back. I got there at 7:30 and I think I was done by 9:15. The actual scanning only took a half hour. It went well and the contrasts didn't bother me too much other than a headache in the afternoon.

Greg and I saw Dr. Bourg, my oncologist, at 4:30. The good news is that from what he heard on a taped version of the radiologist's report, they saw no sign of cancer in my pelvis, chest or abdomen. The caution is that they didn't see the cancer we know is on my left chest wall either, and we couldn't tell if the ovarian cysts we are watching have changed- smaller, same or bigger. (Cancer wouldn't get smaller, so that would be a good clue.) Cancer wouldn't show up if it is in nodes anywhere either. It would be too small to show up. So....

Here is the plan. I will have the repeat of my pelvic ultrasound ASAP to see if there has been any change in the 2 ovarian cysts. Especially the left one which was 6 x 5 x 2 cm's and complex. IF they haven't gotten smaller, and definitely if they have gotten bigger, we might do a surgery to remove the cysts to be sure they are not lobular cancer metastasis. That is a rather complicated surgery they would have to send me to another hospital for. If the cysts are smaller, no cyst surgery and we can move ahead with the rest of our treatment plans being confident that it isn't cancer. I will also have a PET scan at another hospital which would show any other cancer in bones, etc., as an extra precaution. I have a heart scan this Friday to make sure my heart is in good shape for all of this.

I am scheduled at this point for surgery on June 9th at 3:20 p.m. Dr. Joyce Haun, my surgeon, plans to go back in under my arm and clean out more tissue on my chest wall, maybe removing some muscle (and there is a possibility of nerve damage), to get out as much cancer as she can. That day she may also put in a "port" for my chemotherapy treatments. That is a line into an artery (I think) to make it easier to give me chemo without having to do IV's every time which are painful for chemo. That was one of my worst memories from last time.

Then, at least a week later, probably sometime toward the 20th- 30th of June, I will begin chemotherapy. He wants to do either 4 or 6 rounds of Taxitere (I don't know the spelling) with Cytoxin. This would make my hair fall out again and has its own set of side effects. I know what they are as so many of my breast cancer support group friends have had this type of chemo. It has more long lasting negative side effects than what I had last time.

Then, when I am done with that, I would have probably 6 weeks of radiation, 5 days a week. For this I need to drive 30 miles round trip each of those days. That may damage my reconstruction. Usually the main side effect of that is getting very tired progressively as the weeks progress.

Then he wants me to take hormone therapy for the rest of my life- like Tomoxifen which I have tried to take but couldn't due to the side effects. The other 2 options for that only work for post menopausal women. I am not in menopause yet, so I would have to become that way either surgically or chemically. Greg and I don't know about this whole idea.

My outlook for beating this cancer is very promising. This is way more treatment than I had to do the first time, but the positive thing is that even without radiation the last time, it has taken 7 years for this to grow to a point that we discovered it. Dr. Bourg considers it slow growing. Since it has hormonal receptors, certain chemos work well on it. The tool box is more full than it is for some cancers. By God's grace, (and if God doesn't choose to miraculously heal me first!) if I do all of these treatments, the doctor says from experience that I have an 85-90% chance of surviving 3 years. It is possible to completely beat it, he feels, and he hopes that I would get decades, not just a few years. That sounded great to us!

So let's keep praying...
- for miraculous healing and for the Lord to use all of this for His glory
- for clarity in knowing what is going on in my body through these tests.
- for wisdom and skill for my surgeon on June 9th and for minimal nerve damage.
- for the cysts to shrink on my ovaries so I wouldn't need more extensive surgery for that.
- for finances to come in to cover these costs. Co-pays for all these things are coming out of our pocket until September due to my jaw surgeries this year. We expect it to add up to about $3,000. (Let us know if you would like to help and we will tell you how.)

May the Lord who holds us in His mighty and tender hands, be glorified today-

No comments: