Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009: Developing Hinds' Feet

Brian and I met with our oncologist this morning and he agreed with our decision to put chemo on hold. I am waiting to hear from the insurance company if a PET scan would be covered and if it is, that will be our next step.

Dr. Downey shared the results of a recent clinical study with us this morning. This study followed 500 women who were in remission from ovarian cancer. Their CA125 results were monitored and when their "normal" had doubled (75), only half of the women and their doctors were told. Of the half that were told, most of them started back on treatment; the half that wasn't told the results of their CA125 did nothing. The end result showed that it didn't really seem to make a difference in the outcome whether they did the chemo or not. Basically the women who did the chemo had to deal with all the yuck that comes with it.

What they took from this study was that if there isn't any evidence of cancer (other than a rising CA125) quality of life is much better without the chemo. If other evidence is found (such as tumors) then it is another story. Right now I have no other evidence other than my CA125.

Dr. Downey also told us that he doesn't believe that I will ever be cured of my cancer - it will never go away. In fact his words were "I think you know by now that your cancer will never go away". At least those are the words I remember. Sadly enough those words didn't surprise me. Even though he doesn't think that this cancer is curable, he does think it is treatable. The question is what is the treatment going to be? And when do we start it?

I am reading the book Hinds Feet on High Places (for the 2nd or 3rd time) now and it is almost like I am reading about my life. The main character's name is Much-Afraid and the book is about her journey away from The Valley of Humiliation which is filled with her Family of Fearings - Craven Fear, Gloomy, Spiteful, Coward, Pride and Bitterness . . . just to name a few). On her way to the High Places she learns how to develop Hinds Feet so she can go to the High Places.

Right now in the book Much-Afraid has just come to a mountain. It is so steep and dangerous that she can't imagine climbing it. Her guides (Sorrow and Suffering) urge her to call to the Chief Shepherd and she is afraid to because she knows that he will tell her that this is the path she must take. She does call out to him and this is what I read this morning . . . .

"Much-Afraid," said the Shepherd again, "tell Me, what is the matter. Why were you so fearful?"

"It is the way You have chosen for me to go," she whispered. It looks so dreadful, Shepherd, so impossible. I turn giddy and faint whenever I look at it. The roes and hinds can go there, but they are not limping, crippled, or cowardly like me."

"But, Much-Afraid, what did I promise you int he Valley of Humiliation" asked the Shepherd with a smile.

"Oh, Shepherd, You said You would make my feet like hinds' feet and set me upon mine High Places."

"Well," he answered cheerily, "the only way to develop hinds' feet is to go by the paths which the hinds use - like this one."

Much-Afraid trembled and looked at Him shamefacedly. "I don't think - I want - hinds' feet, if it means I have to go on a path like that," she said slowly and painfully.

The Shepherd was a very surprising person. Instead of looking either disappointed or disapproving, He actually laughed again. "Oh, yes you do," He said cheerfully. "I know you better than you know yourself, Much-Afraid. You want it very much indeed, and I promised you these hinds' feet. Indeed, I have brought you on purpose to this back side of the desert, where the mountains are particularly steep and where there are no paths but the tracks of the deer and of the mountain goats for you to follow, that the promise may be fulfilled. What did I say to you the last time that we met?"

"You said, 'Now shalt thou see what I will do'," she answered, and then, looking at Him reproachfully, added, "But I never dreamed You would do anything like this! Lead me to an impassable precipice up which nothing can go but deer and goats, when I'm no more like a deer or goat than is a jellyfish. It's too - it's too -" she fumbled for words, and then burst out laughing. "Why, it's preposterously absurd! It's crazy! Whatever will You do next?"

The Shepherd laughed too. "I love doing preposterous things," He replied. "Why, I don't know anything more exhilarating and delightful than turning weakness into strength, and fear into faith, and that which has been marred into perfection. If there is one more than another which I should enjoy doing at this moment it is turning a jellyfish into a mountain goat. That is My special work".

I could type on and on because I love this book. As you can see, the style of writing is a bit unique and I'm sure it isn't for everyone. The first time I read it I was struggling with depression and it helped me so much. Right now I am struggling with cancer and the whys that come along with it.

A sentence from the book I read a couple days ago was this "This further delay is not unto death, but for the glory of God; that the Son of God may be glorified." One of my biggest struggles with cancer is the why? What purpose can this possibly serve? This sentence helps me understand. It's for God's glory - everything we do is for His glory.

On the blog I am very open and honest. In person though I tend to be quite guarded. I was planning on attending a bible study this year and last night I chickened out. I was going to meet the ladies in this group and just couldn't do it. I had been looking forward to it for weeks and then yesterday afternoon reality set in. I was going to let these women into my life, my mind and my heart. My walls went up and I went down into the pit. I just wanted to be home and left alone. A great friend of mine is in this group and she reached her hand down into the pit where I was. She gently told me that Satan doesn't want me in this bible study. She didn't try to grab me by the arm and pull me from that pit but said she was going to pray for me and left her hand quietly extended there for me when I am ready to take it.

I know God wants me in this bible study and Satan doesn't. I hate how easily I let those negative thoughts or stinkin' thinkin' take over my mind. Please pray that I would be willing to let my guard down and my heart to be reached and that I would recognize the negative thoughts for what they are - useless.

Brian and I are going on our annual fall camping weekend soon - just the two of us! Oh wait, just the two of us plus two dogs :) This is our favorite weekend of the year. It's not that we don't love our children but it is just so wonderful to get away from the world, away from reality and just be together. We watch movies, read books, eat and sleep. And this year we will also get many slobbery kisses from our four legged children. There is nothing like a pet for unconditional love!

We are not going to check my CA125 or have any scans done until after this weekend. I don't want anything going through my mind when we get away. Early in October I will begin having the tests done and then we will meet with my doctor again in November and go from there.

God put it on my heart to take a break from chemo and seek Him. I've taken a break from chemo but I'll be honest - I haven't sought Him. I've kept myself busy with cleaning and running kids here and there, a couple pity parties and anything else that would prevent me from spending that quiet time with Him. Honestly, I think I am afraid just like the character in the book. I'm afraid of what His plans for me are and what He believes I am capable of.

I do believe I have just typed our longest update ever! It feels so good knowing that I am able to share my true feelings - not so much in person but at least through our blog. Some day I will be as open in person as well and let my guard down. I wrote a poem a few years ago about this -

The walls I’ve built around me are up so very high.
I try to hide behind them so no one sees me cry.
Before the tears are on my cheeks they’re way down in my heart.
The loneliness is overwhelming and it’s tearing me apart.
I want to let my family in but it’s difficult to do.
How to go about it I just don’t have a clue.
I know I’m not alone or the first to feel this way.
Some day I’ll climb that wall -it just won’t be today.

As we take a break from treatment please pray that we will look to God every single day and grow in that relationship. That we will grow closer to eachother and be confident with the decisions that need to be made.

I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13