Bottle

(written on 1/2/13 originally on my CaringBridge page)

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 

~Hebrews 11:1

2013.  A new year, a new journey.  If I was in control of this ride, I’m quite certain my GPS would not have chosen this route…there would have been a definite “Detour” notification.   But, the good news is, I’m not in control.  It’s hard to admit that, but reality check:  I can do nothing in my own strength anyway, so I’d rather not be in the driver’s seat.

I must say, it was wonderful to wake up this morning and get back to my “normal” daily routine—packing lunches, checking backpacks, and hitting the road for school and work.  All morning, I tried to block the mental anxiety of waiting on results from pathology.  I think I anticipated that first thing in the morning I’d get the call and be able to move on with the next step (a somewhat narcissistic notion that I’m the only patient on my island of disbelief).  The morning, however, came and went with no news.   Finally, I got the call from one of the oncologists . . . results in.

Ahhhh, the news we were all hoping for:  Estrogen and Progesterone +, Her2 -.  In non-scientific terms, the best case scenario for treatment all around!   Let’s face it, I never envisioned a day would come when I would find myself giddy over cancer cell composition, but that is my new reality . . . and I’ll take any giddiness I can get my hands on.

In addition to results, I learned that the rate of growth on my tumor was at the highest end, a grade 3…3 being the most rapidly growing type of cancer.

Stage III.

Time for treatment.  Let’s get ‘er done!

My oncologist informed me that finally, with all the facts on the table, I was eligible to participate in a clinical trial for my “type” of breast cancer.  This would be in addition to standard chemotherapy, which will start next week, once a week for 20 weeks.  Basically, DFCI will be home away from home for a while.  This clinical trial works in synergy with the chemo, an antibody used to attack a certain protein found in tumors.  The side effects aren’t too bad and it would be done in conjunction with Taxol, a lovely member of the chemo cocktails.  A couple of cons with the trial . . . only 2/3 of eligible participants actually receive the drug.  If you are not picked, you still must complete 2 additional core needle biopsies.  One done the first day of chemo, the second, two weeks later.  Though it sounds like an additional burden if you’re not receiving the drug … it’s going toward cancer research, and by golly, I’m taken one for the team if it may help find new answers to this nasty mystery.  Tomorrow I will meet with my oncologist and NP to finalize the paperwork for the trial and I can get more details on the chemo regimen.  Please pray I’m one of the chosen ones for the trial.

The award-winning moment of our New Year’s “celebration” came when Logan—my 8-year old, Naturalist (his dream profession) was walking around with a container tightly sealed in his hands.  When we asked what he was doing, he said “I’m trying to preserve the air from 2012.  I’m trapping it, because once it’s open, it’s forever gone.”  We laughed at his intriguing thought process … and for a moment I felt like that trapped air, desperate to escape the bottle.  I pray soon that I will exhale this incomprehensible “breath” I have been holding.

One day at a time.