Wilson Phillips sang it best,
“If you hold on for one more day… You can break free free from the chains!
(As you may notice throughout this post, I’m getting a little nostalgic with my music today)
I guess that dynamic trio really made an impression on me with their bold red lipstick, cool hair varieties, and emoting into the camera on the beach. Cuz that motto is precisely how I’ve been living. “Cuz things’ll go your waaaaayyyy. Hold on for one more day!”
Let me not leave you hanging any longer. No. I have not been cured. I remain in the incurable state of Stage 4 Metastatic Breast cancer.
However, I am still treatable! Right?
So for the past 2 weeks, we’ve been testing the fortitude of my latest new course of my treatment. As I’ve mentioned before, I am no longer receiving infusions for my chemotherapy, but receiving 2 oral chemotherapies daily. I take one form of chemotherapy every morning from now on, indefinitely until it no longer works. (My oncologist, Dr.Jay Saux, even has plans for what he would do in the case that the chemo stops working. ) Why is that? Every treatment has a shelf life. As your body starts to figure out what you’re doing to it, the cancer cells start figuring out the programs to get around the treatment. Thus, we’re always scanning and reevaluating the progress in my treatment to see if we’re still on course. At this point, God has made our medical team unstoppable! Can’t stop this! Can’t touch this!
SO HERE’S THE GRRRRRREAT NEWS!!!!
I’ve undergone a full body PET scan, a lumbar MRI, cervical MRI, thoracic spine MRI, and finally, a brain MRI…. all in the past week! Whew! These are scans that I now have to do every year at this same time of year. At this time of year since that first mammogram in July of 2014 (which led us to the biopsy in August which diagnosed me with STAGE 3 invasive ductal carcinoma), we haven’t began a school year without new difficult news of a new diagnosis or relapse. My oldest daughter, my “Sidekick” as I call her, had begun to and often announced that she no longer liked her birthday because it was so mixed up with emotions of fear that Mommy is going to get another bad report. Meanwhile, her siblings were afraid of coming home to Mommy and Daddy sitting them down to say my hair was going to fall out for a 4th time because I had more tumors to treat with chemo and more radiation. The beginning of school has become more and more challenging for us on so many different levels that we can’t even fully verbalize.
BUT WE HAVE BROKEN THE CHAINS AND ARE SET FREE FROM THAT CYCLE. NOW WE CAN CELEBRATE THIS TIME OF YEAR!!!!
SO WHAT”S THE SCOOP? What are my results this time??
- FULL BODY PET SCAN: All tumors are clear!!!! They have only seen a “C.R.” (complete recovery) like this once before, but NEVER this fast! Doc: “HOW does this keep happening? I mean, it’s freakin’ miraculous! … Us: “GRACE of GOD!And lots of prayers”
(Dr. Saux, referred to above, sent one of his happy pics with a Congratulatory text & pic below! Makes the whole world smile with him!)
- MRI OF THORACIC SPINE, CERVICAL, LUMBAR: All looks very clear. Nothing of real concern. We’ve been watching one area on the lower spine for a while and testing my spinal fluid for a while (which has remained clear), but will continue to keep an eye on it. After docs both here and at MD Anderson have looked at images, they feel I can remain on the same meds bc they cross over the blood brain barrier and are working well. We’ll scan again soon. All else is clear! This is NOT in my spinal fluid, which is amazing.
- MRI of BRAIN: Saved the best for last. MY BRAIN IS ALL CLEAR!!! I REPEAT, MY BRAIN IS ALL CLEAER!!!!! The specs that he sees are either dead tumors, no new growth, and could be counted as scar tissue. He will continue to scan every 3 months to keep an eye on everything. But as for this brain…. He (my awesome radiologist, Dr.Charlie Woods, said, and I quote…
Dr.Woods: “What have you done to receive so much favor, because this is clearly an act of God! Someone’s looking over you. Medicine doesn’t work this fast and clear!”
My response : “God showed up!
Isn’t that incredible?!?! I am in awe of the way God is working. And he continues to work in my life, because I know I’m not cured yet, and have a long way to go to keep fighting this battle for what is probably the rest of my life, but from what I’ve seen and lived and come to know…. if I continue to believe. I mean, if I truly believe that I can let it go, & truly give it to God, “glancing at the problem and gazing at Jesus”…
HE WILL SHOW UP EVERY TIME. (“Time After Time”)
I share this not because I believe that I am favored anymore than anyone else. I share this to give hope that it is possible. God can do the impossible. I know the reality of my situation and I know how things could be. I have lost many friends and have many friends who have not received such news. This keeps me humble and forever grateful to be so blessed. It also keeps me living in the present and grateful for today. I know how quickly things can change. There fore, today I am grateful to wake up and enjoy my family. And I have great hopes, looking forward to tomorrow.
My brother, Fr.Beau Charbonnet, prayed over a huge crowd of us at a praise and worship group (Singing at the top of my lungs in prayer is my fave type of prayer. I get lost in it!). He closed his eyes, reached out, & asked for the words. And out came….
“BUST IT UP, JESUS!”
Talk about truth in the midst of the laughter. And look at what happened! HE came in and busted it up! Tumors? Gone! Busted up. Thank you, God! You busted it up! My God fights for me! He fights for us all if we let him. If we really, truly step aside and let HIM. Please, please, PLEEEEEASE check out this link below that my husband found and has been getting us through these last few weeks of getting ready for school, getting ready for these scans, and preparing for this time of year for our family.
Can I get an AMEN on that one? I mean sometimes we can complicate God. At times things going on in our lives or our lives themselves can be very confusing and complicated. But your relationship with God doesn’t need to be. Just a simple…
“HELLO, thanks for waking me up today.
Could you do that again tomorrow? Have a good one!“
“Thanks for blessing me and all that I have, even if what I have is hard,
help me find the good and be the good in today.”
It can really be that simple. If you haven’t started talking to HIM, I’m living proof that God can and will show up, if you just ask. HE may not show up exactly how you asked, but HE hears you and HE answers when and how HE knows is best for you and your family. It’s crazy for me to be so accepting since it involves me, my husband and 5 kiddos ( and all my friends and family to get dragged into this for so long. But, we’ve grown so close and have seen so many blessings along the way!) HIS timing seems wierd and can seem daunting, but HE’S right on time. Believe it or not. If I ever get lost or scrambled, I know what’s gone wrong. It’s always …. (ok, last cheesy music flashback),,,,
Thank you for getting me this far. Don’t leave me now!
Seriously, Don’t leave me now. The road before me is long, and my treatment is indefinite, but as my grandmother, “Pic” (my mom’s mom) would always say, “If God’s gonna take me, I’m goin’ with my boots on!” (In other words, she’s not going down without a fight!” And that’s just what she did. She went with her boots on. My boots are on, I plan to fight just the same.
*If I could ask you to pray for me for the side effects that have gotten me off of one of these fabulous chemo pills that are working so well, I’d greatly appreciate it. They attack the bottoms of my feet and my hands, causing a lot of peeling, burning & pain. It makes taking care of this adorable crew of mine pretty…. TRICKY!!! (OK, one more, sorry, I said I wouldn’t….)
And that’s true, RUN DMC was right! It’s TRICKY!! But rather than just “rockin’ the rhyme” as they put it. I gotta rock cancer and balance life in general, too. Yet, I know I am not alone! We all have our “cancer’s” in our lives, roller coasters, and our crosses. Which is exactly why we started BUNA’s HOPE!
In honor of the blessings that we’ve received with these scans, we’d like to pay it forward through our non-profit (your non-profit bc of your support). Buna’s Hope will be expanding its reach to families internationally. We’ve researched & decided to work with Food for the Poor to build a home for family as well as a water well and pump for clean water for a village! We feel this would help many families that are in need and accomplish our goal of bringing JOY and HOPE to families in need of a sign of God’s love for them. Meanwhile we ask YOU, TEAM BUNA, to add the part of PRAYER for those families in their struggles (that grace will come upon you in return).