It’s been quite a week at the Sizemore’s this week! I’m bursting to share all my news…it’s the best kind of news! So much to report, I don’t even know where to start….
So, I’ll just dig in!
#1 My eyes are 85% healed. Praise God!!
On Wednesday morning, when I was headed into Chemo #4, my swelling was way down on both eyes. Hallelujah!! Where the eyes finally self-drained, I was left with small scabs, and, as of today, those have mostly healed too. I am overjoyed to be free of the itching and pain. Anticipating that this condition could rear its head again, I am staying vigilant about applying hot compresses a couple of times a day for the rest of chemo (6 more weeks!) As much as I want to wear make-up to spruce things up, I will stay away from doing anything that could potentially cause the clogging again. Au natural…humbling!
#2 Last week, on September 6th, while fighting the eyelid infections, I went for an updated MRI, to check out my response to the chemo at the half-way point. The report came back and we have also seen our own radiologist who’s been assigned to my case. He went over the side-by-side MRI pictures very specifically with us…AND…the report is better than we could ever dreamed of!
Comparing the original MRI films of May 16th to the recent one on September 6th, the cancer that was “seen” on May 16th, is no longer “seen” now!! I want to pause on that! The cancer does not show up any longer on the MRI!!! We are celebrating! Praise God!! We’re on top of the world and feel like we are receiving the miracle we and all of our family and friends have been fervently praying for!
What does that mean specifically? I know this may be getting too detailed, but I want to be as accurate as I can, so you can celebrate with us!
When you have an MRI with contrast, the cancer cells gobble up the contrast fluid and show up glowing white. On my May 16th MRI, a good portion of my right breast was white. Normal, healthy tissue on an MRI is dark. The September MRI at half-way point, looks dark and completely healthy.
Does this mean that the cancer is gone?!? We believe it does! We believe that we have our miracle! We are going forward in faith believing that God has healed me!
For the sake of understanding, I’ll share the cautions/caveats that we learned from the radiologist: Even though the cancer is no longer “seen,” it could be still there on a microscopic level. The only way to know for sure is to biopsy the area and receive 100% assurance by looking through the microscope. Unfortunately, MRI’s combined with mammogram and ultrasound can only yield about 65% accuracy. (For the sake of comparison, MRI’s can detect appendicitis with about 96% accuracy.) So, it is “gone” from an imaging point of view, aka “not seen.” Even though they can’t say it is truly gone without a pathology report, we are as good as we can be at this point. My oncologist and my radiologist both agree that we have great reason to celebrate!
Another concern is that there is an intra-mammory lymph node that is questionable. Lymph nodes, which are the body’s filtering system, are very difficult to accurately read on an MRI. They can be enlarged because they are fighting a simple infection like the common cold, or it could be because they are cancerous. We just can’t know for sure without looking at it under the microscope. But the great news is that the questionable lymph node from last May, is much much smaller now and, again, we are only half way through! Another valuable piece of information is that my PET Scan taken right before I started chemo showed no metastases of the cancer in the rest of my body, meaning that the cancer was ONLY in the breast. Also, my lymph nodes have felt normal during my regular exams. So, we are trusting that it has NOT spread!
Where do we go from here? We finish up with the last 2 treatments of chemo, hopefully by the end of October, then we rest and rebuild for a month and have the most thankful thanksgiving ever! Then on December 2nd, I will go in for surgery. We have opted for a bi-lateral mastectomy, followed by months of reconstruction.
It’s a lot to look forward to, but I know we can get through this. Together, we have come so far! I hope you are encouraged by our report.
My dear friend Lori sent me this scripture to remind me of God’s faithfulness. I hope it blesses you today.
“But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you…”
Isaiah 43:1-4 NIV
What a privilege it is to be loved so deeply by our Lord.
Now that you’ve made it through all my detailed news, you gotta see the shenanigans that were going on at chemo this week! My PP’s (“Prayer Posse”) were my chemo buddies this time and boy, did they breathe life and joy into the waiting room. They rearranged the waiting room chairs into a circle and did a little crafting combined with a whole lot of laughing. Others in the waiting room wanted to join their circle of fun! Nothing makes me happier than robust laughter. Greg took pictures so I could be a part of it all. Even though the Benadryl in my IV made me sleep most of the day, these joyful prayer partners/warriors were right by my side. So grateful!! Love these girls so!