(Originally published on CaringBridge on 7/20)
Life has returned to “normal” again.
In the middle of June I had blood work drawn (CA-125) for my regular 3-month checkup. You might recall that my CA-125 gave us a bit of a scare back in October when it took a jump up into the low 20’s from it’s previous “norm” in the low teens. Since then it has hovered in the low 20’s…stable, albeit a bit high. My oncologist called it my “new normal.” Evidently not, as the result of the test done in June was a 9…the lowest it has EVER been! We are so thankful that despite ongoing abdominal discomforts, this provides a clear sign that my cancer is still in remission. As of July 17, I have been cancer-free for 15 months! We are praising the Lord for this wonderful news!
I haven’t done much homeschool blogging lately. I’ve been more caught up in my recent health journey and have focused most of my writing energies there, but yesterday I stumbled on a blog post that troubled me. And if something troubles me, I’m likely to write about it.
So if you’re not a homeschooler, please bear with me for a little bit while I share some thoughts concerning a troubling trend in the homeschool community.
Some things you choose. And things some you don’t.
You can’t choose the family you’re born into. And of course you can’t choose the physical traits that make people notice who you “take after.” The color of your eyes, the shape of your nose, and even the sound of your voice are traits that are passed down from one generation to the next.
Generations woven together by common threads.
I had good news this week. My CA-125 is “stable”. After months of uncertainty, we can say with a certain degree of confidence that my cancer–at least for now–is still in remission.
Though I am incredibly grateful for this good news, I am also humbled by it. Sometimes it seems that cancer is all around me. I am continually aware of so many people–godly people–who are battling this horrible disease, and who receive very little good news over the course of their battles.
There aren’t very many good things about -13°. However, this is one of them. After my teeth stop chattering maybe we’ll go out and blow some bubbles.
Over the last week or so, I’ve heard quite a bit of talk about a simple alternative to the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions. Instead of a resolution, you’re encouraged to choose one word for your new year. But I’ll get back to that in just a little bit, because thinking about choosing a word for 2014 got me thinking about 2013.
And frankly, 2013 wasn’t my best year.
To say that 2013 was a roller coaster ride for our family would be an understatement.
Last year, on December 10, I went to my doctor because of a symptom that I was concerned about. Three days later, I had surgery and was diagnosed with stage 3A ovarian cancer. Twenty days later, on January 2, I began an 18-week course of chemotherapy. During those 18 weeks I lost about 30 pounds, all my hair, and some of the feeling in my fingers and toes. Nausea and fatigue made doing even the simplest tasks seem difficult. Fear of infection kept me from venturing out of the house. I spent the better part of January-May on the couch. I lost almost 5 months of “normal” life.
Bill Watterson’s words in this cartoon (illustrated by Gavin Aung Than in classic Calvin & Hobbs style) will make you think. And maybe reevaluate your priorities.
It wasn’t the news I was expecting to hear.
After reviewing my family history, the genetic counselor seemed fairly certain that I probably carry some type of genetic cancer risk, but she was also pretty sure that it wasn’t a BRCA mutation. Sure, I had two grandmas that had ovarian cancer, and a great aunt as well. But there isn’t any breast cancer anywhere in my history–and BRCA mutations almost always result in incidences of breast cancer.
But there it was. BRCA-2. Positive. In this case, a positive is a negative. I failed the test.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes the Lord prepares us in advance for the testing that is yet to come?
There is a truth that I have been pondering for years–decades even–that has recently become more meaningful to me than ever before. It’s not that this truth didn’t mean something to me before. It’s just that during the seasons of life when the Lord was writing the truth on my heart, I didn’t fully grasp my great need. And consequently I didn’t fully appreciate the magnitude of the truth.