Friday, August 19, 2016

You'll Want to Read About My Cancer Scans...!!

After 2 cycles of treatment on a clinical trial for axitinib+pembrolizumab, I had my first scans and results since starting treatment 14 weeks ago for metastatic Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma. I'll get right to the good stuff:

There were NO NEW tumors present!
The small lung tumors were STABLE!
And the tumors in the liver, spleen, and heart (!) were SMALLER!!

Smaller by a small degree, but any shrinkage is a big deal for this sarcoma. We initially thought the tumors would swell with immune cells and enlarge in the first 6 months, so shrinkage in the first 3 months is remarkable! Still waiting to hear about the degree of shrinkage (that's a weird word) and results from a couple tests, but what we've seen so far is VERY encouraging! Worth all 17 trips we've made here so far.

I'm thankful that there's now empirical evidence for what we already knew was happening. I'm thankful for these small bits of healing and won't take a moment of them for granted. I'm thankful for a supportive team and community of people who stand by us and believe with us that God can heal. I'm thankful for this opportunity to tell you that God is so faithful and has brought me this small bit of healing after almost 4 years of waiting with cancer in my heart and after a treatment failure and metastasis.

This small bit of healing is a very big deal. It's giving us hope, and dare I say expectation, for more. That's what it means to say that faith is being SURE of what we hope for and CERTAIN of what we do not see. That's what it means to have faith in God- to believe that he will do it what he has promised to do. Has he promised to heal me? No, certainly not- none of us have that guarantee. But he HAS promised to bring glory to his name, and that's what he's doing here in the Sullivan story- God is showing his power here in his planning and his care, do you see it? Do you see it happening? I hope you do.

He gave us a pregnancy
that showed us a heart tumor
that I wouldn't have known about otherwise.
He stabilized the cancer
he brought her to term
the tumor grew and spread.
We delivered a healthy 34 week baby
a week later the cancer shrunk back
and the new masses were gone.
3 years of treatment-free watchful waiting
until it slightly grows.
9 months of targeted treatment
then massive metastasis.
Brand new clinical trial opening
set to be the first patient to enroll.
Find brain mets
have brain radiation
get to finish teaching my school year.
Enroll in clinical trial
start traveling on summer break
missing very little work.
3 months of treatment
and we have evidence that it's effective.

I wouldn't have known about the cancer if not for the pregnancy. I wouldn't have a healthy baby if we didn't know about the cancer. I wouldn't have made it on the wait-listed trial if it had spread later. I would have missed teaching the last month of class if not for brain radiation (not a great reason to get brain radiation- but if it has to be done, let's look for the redemption in it, amiright?!) If not for the mets, I'd still be watchfully waiting when it could have been shrinking.

He is almighty and faithful when we are weak and wandering. He gives us confident hope to believe that he is good and mighty and worth following. He redeems the broken and binds up the wounded. God cares about me. And if he cares about lil ol me, he cares about lil ol you. And will redeem your broken so that you, too, may say how great and mighty he is to save.

Let me proclaim your power to this new generation,
    your mighty miracles to all who come after me.
19 Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens.
    You have done such wonderful things.
    Who can compare with you, O God?
20 You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,
    but you will restore me to life again
    and lift me up from the depths of the earth.
21 You will restore me to even greater honor
    and comfort me once again.
22 Then I will praise you with music on the harp,
    because you are faithful to your promises, O my God.
I will sing praises to you with a lyre,
    O Holy One of Israel.
23 I will shout for joy and sing your praises,
    for you have ransomed me.
24 I will tell about your righteous deeds
    all day long,

Psalm 71

No comments:

Post a Comment