What Would You Do…

April 20, 2009

Well here it is. The moment of truth. One more day I have been waiting for. This time its been 3 weeks of agonizing waiting. Waiting for my insurance company to decide whether or not they will pick up the tab on the $3,700 blood test that will tell me whether or not I’ll need chemotherapy. Waiting to see what category I fall into–low risk, intermediate risk, or high risk. Waiting to see what the score on my tumor cells will be: 0-17 = low risk; 18-24 is intermediate; 25-100 is high risk. The tumor cells are tested to see how fast they multiply and divide and the rate at which they travel. The test will predict the likelihood of this cancer recurring somewhere else in my body and an estimated time in which that will happen.

Oncotype DX. That’s the name of the test. I had read about it so quickly on some website prior to actually needing to see an oncologist. I was going to remember that name and ask if that would be something I could benefit from. I completely forgot, though, until my oncologist brought it up at my last appointment. I quickly said, “I heard about that! I want that!” Of course, I was reminded of the test’s price tag. I was reminded that it was a fairly new genetic test and not all insurance companies would pay for it. I am just so sick and tired of insurance companies. I am so tired of waiting for others to determine whether I am worthy or not–financially or otherwise. I am so fed up with having no control over this. Whenever I try to take some sort of control–I am knocked down back into place. Heaven forbid a strong woman should try to take charge of her own life.

I took the 4 boys to school, passed the baton to my mother-in-law who stayed with 2 little ones, and I stepped out into the rain. Driving to the doctor’s office, I couldn’t help but think how many appointments I went to actually involved a rainy day.

“Look at these clouds”, I thought.
“Where in the Hell is my silver lining?”
“Where is my rainbow?”
“Why can’t I see past the rain?”

I reached for my iphone and clicked it on. I scrolled through my favorite youtube videos until I came to one of my all time favorite songs. I love so many versions of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, but this one by American Idol contestant Katherine McPhee–really nails it for me (I’ve included it in my boob tube on the sidebar). I listened to it all the way through even after pulling into the parking lot and turning off the van. When it finished, I took a deep breath and headed inside. This was it…

“Please let my score be less than 17…”

“Please let my score be less than 17…”

“Please, God, please let my score be less than 17.”

I was quickly escorted to my examining room where my blood pressure was taken–98 over 70–not bad for as stressed as I was. Pulse and temperature were taken as well and then I was left to wait. Jeff didn’t come with me this time and so I checked to see if anything came through my facebook feed on Jasmine. I can’t even begin to describe the heartache I have over the choices she is making. The stress of that situation rivals the stress of cancer. The two combined render me completely useless at times. The door opened and my oncologist walked in. I have decided to like him– a little bit.

His manner is kind. He is not fluffed up and arrogant like my surgeon. He allows me to cry and always brings a box of tissues in the room with him. He explains things to me over and over again and he draws me diagrams on the white board in simple preschool fashion when my overloaded brain cannot process any more technical jargon. He goes over the reports with me and makes me copies so I can try to digest them on my own. He is knowledgeable and takes his time. However, he does at times irritate me–just little things. I have to try to overlook those things, though, because I desperately want to trust someone on my medical team. I want to feel like my life is in good hands. I want to know that I can count on him to make the best decision for my future treatment and obtain the best results possible.

He came in and smiled at me, sat down and opened up his file which was already thick with documentation on my case.

“How are you doing, today” he asked.

“Anxious”, I replied.

“Well, let’s take a look at the results…”

My heart felt like it was ready to explode. Everything seemed to be going in slow motion and in that split second I prayed one last time–“Please, God, let it be less than 17–don’t let it be a number like 72 or something”.

“It looks like you’re overall score was 16–a very good prognosis for node negative, estrogen receptor positive patients”.

My hands flew to my face as I burst into tears. I was sobbing. “Oh God, thank you. Thank you…Thank you…Thank you…Thank you…Thank you”. “I’m so happy…I’m so happy…I’m so very happy”. I looked up at my oncologist. He smiled and handed me a tissue. There was something odd about his smile, though. I didn’t want to believe I had picked up on that nuance, but I did. “Are you ok?” he asked. “Why don’t you take a minute to gather your wits” he followed with.

Have you ever been having the time of your life–perhaps cruising around with some friends in a car when you were in high school and you felt invincible. Have you ever looked up in your rear view mirror only to be staring at cherry red lights. Have you ever had the wind knocked out of you–the wind taken right out of your sails? Do you know that feeling–stomach in your throat–like the moment your car reaches the top of the rollercoaster ride and it pauses for a split second before careening down the track? That feeling for me is now labeled: dread–and I was feeling it right at that moment. I sat up straight, swallowed the last sob, gulped, and looked hard at him. He knew, too. He knew there was more news. The pregnant pause between us was broken when he said, “I don’t want you to get your hopes up just yet”.

“Here we go again. What now? NO!–NO…NO…NO…NO…NO!” I inwardly screamed at him.

He got up and walked to the white board where he proceeded to write out what he was about to say. “I want you to keep in mind the parameters for the risk groups. In terms of testing the tumor that was found during the final analysis, we know that your recurrence score is 16. This puts you in the low risk group and normally you would not need chemo. We know that you are hormone positive so it will be critical to shut down your hormone production with a drug called Tamoxifin. This is a pill and you will need to take it every day for the next five years”.

“Great–I wonder if he realizes that Jasmine was conceived because I couldn’t remember to take a pill everyday” I thought.

He went on…

“Now, there is a study that is taking place that I want you to consider. If you were 65 or older, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I wouldn’t truly recommend chemo for you…”

“Why not?” I thought…”isn’t a woman considered a viable candidate for treatment or for getting better or for kicking this beast in the ass?” I understand that the older you are, the more inclined you are to die anyway–duh—but why would someone say that–really–it instantly pissed me off. What if I were 65? What–am I no longer eligible for treatment–I should just be written off and left to die? (This is one of those moments when I can honestly say my doctor irritated me”.

“…but your young and you still have a long life ahead of you so I want you to consider this. Now, if we just look at the likelihood of recurrence based on your score and Tamoxifin treatment–your chance of recurrence
is about 10% in the next 10 years. That’s 90% chance you won’t get anything at all. But if we add chemo. to the plan, then your chance of your cancer NOT recurring will go up to 94%.”

4%–That’s it? He’s actually asking me to consider pumping my body full of toxic chemicals for a measely 4%? If I knew I was guaranteed a life without worry or regret-then I might consider it. Was 4% like in an oncologist’s opinion a significant percentage and worth the suffering? Or is it just a matter of a few points. Is it like when you buy a house and the points that you pay can actually amount to a large amount of money? Or is it just a matter of moving the needle on the dial of the scale in your bathroom when you want to fudge the number a little bit. I wondered. I’ve never been a gambling woman. I don’t know if those odds are good or not. When it comes down to it–does it matter? Should it?

“…This study is trying to determine whether chemotherapy benefits women in your age bracket with your type of cancer and with your same situation-negative nodes and hormone positive. It is not positive whether or not chemotherapy is helpful or if it unnecessarily subjects women to treatment that may or may not improve their odds of the cancer recurring. In this study, those participating will be randomly selected for one of two groups. One will receive Tamoxifin only. The other will receive Tamoxifin and chemo. If you are willing to be a part–you will be studied for over a 20 year period. This will help future women in your situation and will be helpful in the fight against breast cancer.”

Why did he have to do that? Why did he have to play on my instinct to help someone else avoid the shit I was going through? Could he see that I might be swayed to participate? Did he know I have daughters that I will forever worry about whether or not they get this?

“What if I don’t want to participate now, but decide to do it later” I asked.

“There is only a small window of opportunity from the time of your surgery to participate. If you decide not to do it, then you won’t be included”.

“Can I say yes, and back out later?” I asked.

“Yes, but then you will be responsible for the costs of the treatment” he replied.

“What if I forgo on the chemo…and let’s say the cancer comes back…can’t we just start chemo then?” I wondered.

“There is a 10% chance of your breast cancer recurring…” he came back with.

“Does that mean it will come back in the other breast?” I said.

“No, that means your breast cancer cells–when they became invasive–may or may not be looking for a host site. With this type of cancer-it usually metastasizes to the ovaries, liver, bones, or lungs. With the ovaries or uterus, if found early enough–you could have a hysterectomy. With the others–your considered stage 4 cancer and then your chances have drastically reduced and at that point you don’t recover.” He said.

Wait–my daughter’s first daycare provider had stage 4 breast cancer. She beat it with a double radical mastecomy, complete removal of all lymph nodes and a bone marrow transplant. She was alive and kicking many years afterward–of course–I haven’t seen Nancy in years and have no clue if it ever recurred. But I do know that she wasn’t written off for dead right from get go and she was an older gal. Still, I’m getting pretty fed up with the expiration dates these doctors put on people.

I started to cry again. Only this time it was because I was right back where I started. Should I or shouldn’t I? “What in your professional opinion would you suggest?” I asked.

“Really, I could go either way. Your score just based on the tumor itself is 16 and although it is at the high end of the low risk group, I would be comfortable just putting you on Tamoxifin. In terms of the study, however, their recurrence scores differ and a 16 is actually smack dab in the middle of the intermediate range. If you were in the intermediate range without the study–there would be really no way for us to tell definitively where you score. The genetic test determines specific low risk or high risk scores but when it comes to the intermediate range–its very vague. There isn’t a way to tell whether you fall closer to the low risk or the high risk and so for that reason its hard to determine a course of treatment. You really have to decide whether you want to be aggressive with this or not.”

I listened and cried. “Will I know for sure whether or not I’ll get chemo?”

“The test is randomized and so the computer will spit out names with their grouping. You may not even be in the chemo group” he replied.

“And if I do end up there-then what?” I said.

“Then, I would prescribe a plan of 4 treatments every 3 weeks. The drugs I would use would be Taxotere and Cytoxan. There pretty potent and you would lose your hair’.

I cried even more. “I just don’t know what to do. I just don’t know what to do.”

“Are you saying you are unable to make a decision yourself?” He said.

Again, an irritating moment. Did I say I that? I said I didn’t know what to do–not I can’t make this decision at all.

“Listen, the overall news for today is favorable. At least your not in the extreme high risk group where you don’t have any options. You HAVE options. You feel like you have not had an opportunity to take control over this, but here it is. Make a choice. You control your destiny. Do you need to talk to your husband?” he stated.

I just cried quietly. I looked at the doctor with tears blurring my vision and racing down my cheeks. He gave me a few tissues. I looked at him and said, “I just want you to tell me I’m going to be ok–that I’m not going to die from this. I want you to tell me I’m going to grow old and come to know my grandchildren. I want to trust you. I WANT to trust you, but I can’t. I’m not used to placing such heavy life and death decisions into someone else’s hands. Please don’t be offended, but as nice as you seem, you are not a person I ever wanted to meet. I had heard of you and was fine with only that association. I never wanted to sit in your office and look deep in your eyes and tell you that nothing in this world matters except living to see my children grow up. I never wanted to have extensive knowledge of this disease or the treatments associated with it. I never wanted to ever need a reason to see you for myself or another friend or family member”.

He was quiet. This Greek doctor with an accent was still. Then he excused himself and left the room. He came back a few minutes later with copies of the Oncotype DX paperwork and a packet of information on the study. He asked if we could meet again on Friday morning to come to a decision. He wanted to start me on treatment one way or another and we couldn’t put this off. He sat down and quietly said, “I know you didn’t want this to happen to you and you can’t figure out what you did wrong or why this is happening to you–no one knows–yet. I understand you have been given conflicting information throughout the past couple months and you don’t want to trust anyone. But it is what it is and you need to come to a decision.”

“I just feel like a guinea pig–a laboratory rat. I just do. I just do.” I whimpered. “Why can’t we just do regular PET scans to see if and where I light up like a fire cracker. Why can’t we do that?” I asked.

“There are certain times we do these types of tests. It depends on symptoms and visible signs. If we gave these types of tests to everybody for every ache and pain, many would become victims of technology–always worried about things the doctors see or don’t see. Many of the things that we see actually turn out to be nothing. If we performed surgery or chemo for every cancer cell that glowed, we would have a lot of patients that would undergo these treatments without just cause because everyone has cancer cells in their body. It’s just that some rear up and show their ugly heads in a few–not all. You yourself feel that you’re a victim of this phenomenon based on our last appointment’s conversation. Do you want to add that much more worry on yourself?” he said.

“I just want this out of me. I just want to be done. I just want to get on with my life and not ever have to think about this ever again.” I said and with that we shook hands and I left. I was overwhelmed all over again. I stepped out into the parking lot and noticed the clouds had lifted. No rainbow though. I looked–everywhere.

My dilemma is this now:

I have 3 days to decide whether to take part in this study. I may or may not be receiving chemo. It will only increase my chance of t NOT recurring by 4%. I don’t know what to do. I know I will always worry about this now–where have those radicals landed and are they taking up residence? What ache or pain is that and what’s the underlying reason? As much as time heals wounds and may produce a better attitude from me, I know that right now the glasses I own don’t have rose colored lenses. What if it does recur and I didn’t have chemo–would I regret that decision? I don’t know what the right decision for me is. Several in the past day have said, “you’ll know what’s right for you”–but I don’t. I can’t think straight.

I’ve spent just a little bit of time researching the hormone blocking drug and also the chemo drugs. What I have read makes me even more worried. The side effects and long term ramifications. At first, I was worried about the short term effects–hair loss (I just got it done–dammit), nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, possible uterine cancer (what? again–why don’t they just give me the hysterectomy and that would kill two birds with one stone?) but then I thought–well, maybe it would kill off any bad guys still swimming through my lymphatic system. Problem is–it kills the good guys too. I also don’t want to lose my hair–at all. It grows so slowly and summer is coming up and pool season and its bad enough that I have only one boob and need to buy a special swimming suit, but now this? Yes I could wear all sorts of cute hats and scarves and Jeff could pretend that he was having an affair with a red head if I bought some wigs, but its just hair right? It will grow back–I hope.

What it comes down to is–I’m in the gray. I’m in the gloomy, gray clouds. Nothing right now is black or white. As much as I want to take control of my destiny–make a decision of chemo or not–I’m terrified of either outcome. I know that this too shall pass, but Jesus, my 25th high school reunion is next year and I wanted to look great. Now I’ll only have one boob and if I’m lucky a few tufts of hair on my head. I know this is super shallow and none of that matters, but to me it does. I don’t want to look ugly. I don’t want to do this. I feel like a small child in the middle of a temper tantrum…

‘No…no…no…no…no…I don’t wanna…I don’t wanna…I don’t wanna do dat! NO!” I want my cake and I want to eat it too! I want to be free and clear and I don’t want to go through any of this to get that result.

So, then that choice is childish and not rational and not in my overall best interest. Is voluntarily allowing a stranger to pump poison in through my veins not knowing if it is going to be beneficial or not in my best interest? I don’t know what to do. Here I have the chance to make a decision–take control (afterall, that’s what I’ve been upset about all along–not having any control) and I’m now too terrified to make the decision. How much easier it would have been to just blame the doctors. I don’t want to mess up. I don’t want to make the wrong decision. I don’t want to have chemo unnecessarily, but how do you know? How do you ever know? Is there anybody out there that has been in this place?

I just want to be done. I thought I gave enough. I gave a body part. I only have three days to decide. Somewhere…I want to find a rainbow. What would you do?


21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kelsomom
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 18:42:02

    I don’t have cancer. I don’t know what you are facing, but I do know that I would not have chemo. I’m sorry about the other women who might be helped…but introducing a serious toxin into your body for no GREAT reason…the risk to you is too high. The side effects could be very serious. My aunt gained 5 wonderful years off of chemo. My grandmother died on day 3 of treatment from complications. Both had to have chemo or die. You don’t face that choice. I would say no without a backward look. You have to do a choice that you are comfortable. I think because you don’t say yes right away to chemo you already lean a way. Prayers for you…


  2. denise
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 21:49:58

    I’ll talk to you tomorrow.. I wrote this long response and I lost it somehow….


  3. Terrie
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 21:51:59

    When I was younger my grandmother had breast cancer. She also had a tumor in her brain. They did chemo for a while, and she lost her hair. I didn’t see her much for a while. She finally just stopped taking treatments, cause she couldn’t take it anymore. She put it in Gods hands. That was more than 16 years ago. Now she’s healthier than me, and has never been back to see them.
    My suggestion is prayer. It isn’t in your control. It is in Gods control. Give it over to him, and whatever happens you’ll find peace. You are in my prayers.

    Love in Christ,

    P.S. Have your famliy pray with you. Where ever two or more are gathered together there he is also.


  4. Tami
    Apr 21, 2009 @ 22:23:15

    *hugs* I’m so releived to hear that your score was in the low risk group. FINALLY! Something to cheer about.

    I’m not sure I’m qualified to give any sort of opinion here, but I’ll just blab for a while and maybe it will be helpful. Talking about the odds of your own mortality has got to be terrifying, but look at the odds you were given — 90% chance of survival. Those are freaking GREAT odds. I’d take those odds on any kind of bet.

    An increase of 4% doesnt seem like a huge difference, and (here comes the scientist in me), I wonder if those estimates came from the results of one study or multiple studies? Its usually hard to give such a precise estimate — its probably more like 4% plus or minus some small percentage. So, it might bump your chances up even further (or not move them at all – although this seems unlikely).

    And the pro-chemo side….any increase is still an increase. And I wouldnt let the hair issue be the deciding factor. (Is our 25th really next year? Trust me, Chris, even without hair, you will be more beautiful than everyone in that room. No lie.) My hair starting falling out last year, and I freaked the hell out, but decided that if I was going bald, I would just deal with it and get some fierce wigs or extensions.

    Here’s a thought. If you make a decision – a choice – to enroll in the study, then you dont have to make a choice about the chemo. You will be randomly assigned to it — and you can interpret that however you want. I’m not the most religious person in the world, but if I were, I might take comfort in handing the “random” assignment to my “higher power.” And for what its worth, I firmly believe in participating in research when possible – it’s something you can do to make at least some good come from something so horrible.

    When all is said and done, you must go with what is in your heart. Make a decision and sit with it, see if it feels “right.” Do you have friends who are survivors that you can talk to? I would quiz them relentlessly about their chemo.

    Also, I think you need to have someone go with you to your appointments. Its too much to process the emotional crap and still hear the information at the same time. I know I’m far away, but if I know the dates a while in advance, I might be able to drive up and go with you in the future, if you think that would help. No matter what you decide, your friends and family will love and support you. No matter what.


  5. PM
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 05:43:30

    Dearest Cutie pie,
    I had to take the dog for a walk in the middle of this information. It is a lot to think about. I can certainly understand that this is overwhelming for you.
    Too much for you to do alone. If you can get someone to go with you to these doctor appointments… do. (Tami sounds very nice to offer although I don’t know who she is) I also think she is near the heart of where my brain thinking goes. aaaaah meaning she makes logic that I can understand. I would pray about it… we say, “bathe the issue in prayer”. Then I might go for the study because it is a good thing that is noble. I would give the deciding in this way to Jesus.It is not a gamble to let HIM have the choice. “Please make this choice for me Jesus, I am too little to decide for myself.” He is our Good Father and He knows all and can see all. He is POWERFUL. Don’t underestimate His Strength. If it goes one way you can know it is His choice- not yours and it is HIS path that He is sending you on. We can deal with the outcome regardless.
    Don’t jump the gun about anything in the future. You just waste your energy. ONE thought at a time. “Father, I don’t know what to think or how to think anymore. I only want your thoughts in my brain and I only want your actions in my life. My thoughts are not working and I can’t think my way though any of this. I give – no I committ all the OUTcome to your Perfect care so that YOU may be Glorifed not me. Thank you, I will confidently say yes to the study and await your next direction. In the mean time, I am going to go look for rainbows with Justin and Jordan and enjoy each beautiful minute you give me on this Spring DAY. amen”
    I am sure the Good Father will hear this prayer and I am praying it with you so we have HIS pomise that He will safegaurd your life FOREVER.


  6. ginny
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 07:04:41

    Dear Christina,
    It is good that you are reaching out. When we are met with different challenges in life, we learn to adjust our thinking. If one thing is not working, we don’t keep trying to get it to work, we move on and adjust our thinking. Wow and double wow at the things you are trying to digest and all in three days. That would take someone wiser than myself to advise anyone. But the question was “what would you do?”. Psalm 119:11 says “your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you.”…it also says in vs 105 “your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”…..ok, God says I can find the answers in Him and in His Word. If you read thru Psalm 119 you will find many references to the heart and placing our confidence in God….the answer to the question for me would be to put my confidence in God. Now before this is dismissed look at Isaiah 54:17a “no weapon formed against you shall prosper”….. I agree that the energy you are using up, in trying to take charge of all of this, is diminishing to your immune system. I tend to lean more toward healthy choices. After reading the doctor’s report yesterday that you sent out, I prayed for you and two different programs on TV came up and one was on a woman that survived breast cancer. She and her daughter have a program on the immune system and vitamins etc etc… First one was Doug Kaufman’s “know the cause” and I can’t remember the name of the gal but will try and get it for you. I think when all the reports are in we are going to see that much of what we are ingesting is from mold and fungus. When I was a little girl, we would go to the farm and Grandma would spray the whole house with ddt.(they had cows and horses and the flys were everywhere) We would actually watch it come down from the ceiling and now we are finding out that much of that stays in our bodies and never leaves. What would I do???? I would ask God to give me direction and I would build up my immune system anyway that I could. I would depend on God totally and not the wisdom of man. I would take my chances with God not man because GOD is merciful. I would enjoy my family and enjoy my God. I would look to Jesus who is the author and the finisher of my faith and I would meet each new challenge with one of God’s promises and I would commit my path to Him. I want you to know that we all are fighting with you. We are praying for you and we refuse to accept a bad report. Satan is a liar. He wants to strip us of hope….I tend to shoot my marbles to God’s kindness…Didn’t God take our sickness and illnesses on Him on the cross? I cannot answer for you and would suggest that if one way is not working, then possibly God is leading you in a different way? That is my answer to “what would you do?”
    ……on the wall of prayer. we care…love aunt ginny and uncle pete/colorado


  7. marcella kilby
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 07:54:19

    1 corinthians 10 :13
    No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.


  8. Dorothy
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 08:01:57

    The Lord has already put the answer in your person. It’s called that “gut feeling”, the nagging little voice, tugging at you. It might be faint and deep, but it is there. Lots of prayer for you and your family.
    Having said that, question…for +/- 4% x number of years….how many years of treatment effects are going to be given up for your quality of life now, in exchange for hopefully +/- 4% x number of years later? Also as blunt as this may sound, and this is blunt, if you pass, while in the study, will your family then be responsible to pay for the program, since you did not full fill the 20 year program? Listen, there will be a lot of paper work to sign. Remember folks, paperwork, and lack of attention by good trusting people getting mortgages is why the mortgage foreclourse rate is booming. Again lots of prayers to you.


  9. ginny
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 08:53:05

    pete and I looked up Doug Kaufmann….in fact he was having a program on tv when we began looking…..Know the Cause will be on tonight under News and Views….8:30 our time on 376….now I have no idea when that will be on for you but check it out??? What’s the harm??? also that is direct TV but I am sure he has other stations. They said they would be covering “well meaning” diagnosis…….I will look for that other person too but somehow I am leaning toward this information…”I will live and not die”…….luv you ginny


  10. Becky Canfield
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 09:55:23

    Dear Chris:

    I know your plate is quite full these days, but hang in there and don’t give up. You need to take care of yourself (eat good and get plenty of rest) to give your body the strength and energy it needs to fight this!!

    If I were in your shoes, I would enroll in the experimental program and see where that leads you. Let God decide whether you receive Tamoxifin only, or Tamoxifin and chemo together. I told you I could see you being the type of person who takes this rollercoaster ride you’re on and using it to help others in your situation. Here it is—-you could belp your daughters and many other women. You could make a difference!!

    Please also remember that our 25th class reunion is only a 1 weekend event and you will look beautiful no matter what. Your life is what is important here. Think about enrolling in the study and letting God lead you the rest of the way.

    I know we only had a few classes together back in school, but I always enjoyed your company and I know you are a strong-willed person. Take care of yourself and know that I pray for you every day.


  11. Kathy
    Apr 22, 2009 @ 19:03:31

    I watched my father go through chemo. Honey, I wouldn’t do it. He finally had to stop because it was killing him. He was never able to walk again, because of the neuropathy in his legs (caused by the chemo). He had a terminal illness, and I do believe it bought him some time. He was given four to six months, and actually live for fifteen months.

    You’re looking at possibly a four percent increase. I don’t think that is enough to go through chemo.


    • specificallyspeaking
      Jun 08, 2009 @ 06:50:51

      I worry about this neuropathy. Does it ever get better? After you stop the treatments–does it ever go away? I have a dear friend who just lost her dad to stage 4 lung cancer and she was telling me the same exact story. He only made it 5 months and just passed away a week and a half ago. I’m sorry for your loss. I hope to talk to you again. CJ


    Apr 22, 2009 @ 20:08:04



    • specificallyspeaking
      Jun 08, 2009 @ 06:45:20

      First, let me say that my heart goes out to you and what you are facing. I have a friend who reads this and she had this cancer as well as breast cancer. She has a blog also and if you want to talk to her, she may be a resource for you. She has been a survivor of both for many years now. I’m hoping to add her to my blogroll if you want to check her out. I’m curious as to what your course of treatment is now. Please know I will be praying for you. CJ


    • Christina Heald
      Aug 26, 2009 @ 07:51:09

      Virginia–I have been thinking about you and wondering how you are doing. I have waited to hear back on whether you had your bone marrow transplant. I pray all went well. You have been in my thoughts and prayers.


  13. ginny
    Apr 23, 2009 @ 07:33:29

    a prayer:
    Dear God, You are our portion….
    You are our shield ..
    You are our Good Shepherd….
    You help us to lay down in peace and sleep,
    For you, God, neither slumber or sleeps.
    You hear our voice….
    Even as a parent hears the voice of it’s own child….
    You know the voice of your own.
    When danger comes…you calm us with your WORD…
    You have said, NOTHING, can separate us or dislodge us
    from you….
    Lord, hear the prayers of your own….for there is
    much weeping and we ask YOU to receive our prayers
    for YOUR NAMES SAKE…….

    …..on the wall for our neice, Christina…..aunt ginny


  14. PM
    Apr 24, 2009 @ 06:35:15

    From Doddridge of the 17th century: “This day do I, with the utmost solemnity, surrender myself to thee. i renounce all former lords that have had dominion over me; and I consecrate to thee all that I am, and all that I have; the faculties of my mind, the members of my body, my worldly possessions, my time, and my influence over others, to be all used entirely for thy glory, and resolutely employed in obedience to thy commands, as long as thou continuest me in life… To thee I leave the management of all events, and say without reserve, “Not my will, but thine be done.””


  15. ginny
    May 01, 2009 @ 07:24:08

    “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. 4:9

    God has told us that He will never leave us or forsake us…..even tho’ at times we feel that we are facing things alone…we are being cared for as one who gives us each breath that we breathe…..when you feel fragile and delicate you can remember that many walk beside you….on the intercession wall
    Aunt Ginny and Uncle Pete/Colorado


  16. ginny
    May 01, 2009 @ 07:30:14

    Christina that reference was from Ecclesiastes 4:9….sorry I left out the book reference…. It is our sincere prayer that you are doing better….Hope that you will allow us to be an encouragement to you..You do not have to DO anything….just be your lovely self and let others show how much they care…love you. ginny


  17. Kim
    May 21, 2009 @ 18:42:26

    I wish you didn’t have to make this decision. I had breast cancer too. (Invasive lobular carcinoma) I had to have surgery twice. I went through chemotherapy, it was the taxotere/cytoxan that you are talking about. I did 4 rounds at 3 week intervals. My last treatment was January 22. I also had 28 radiation treatments with 5 boosters, this was finished on April 1. I lost my hair, but suprisingly, it wasn’t as hard as I thought. I had some hats that I wore for winter, they kept me warm. I also got a wig that everyone told me I looked 10 years younger. If you decide to do this, you can get through it. It won’t be the easiest thing that you have done, but you can do it. It is your decision to make, Christina. Talk to you’re family, and pray about it. Whatever you decide will be the best decision for you. Don’t second guess yourself after you make the decision. That will only make you more upset. I have been sick before, but not with cancer. It was quite a few years ago, and I almost didn’t make it. I am a glass half full kind of person. I stay upbeat and would NEVER give up. When you make that decision, no matter what you decide, NEVER give up! Fight the fight! You will win the battle! You and you’re family are in my prayers. Be Blessed! Love, Kim


    • specificallyspeaking
      Jun 08, 2009 @ 06:29:41

      Thanks so much for visiting my blog and passing on your well wishes. I’m terribly sorry to hear of all you’ve gone through. How are you doing now? I have a new delimma and have posted and would love your thoughts if you wouldn’t mind popping back by sometime. I am curious what your follow up care is now that you’ve completed your chemo and radiation. Now what for you? After the decision to have the chemo the first time (and forego the study) I didn’t look back. Now, i’m back to square one and am wondering if this is a sign and i should stop treatment or just go ahead with a new course of drugs. I hope to hear from you soon. You will be in my prayers also.


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Started Tracking on 12-1-09


It's about the lens.


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