Fighting Cancer, Again

With three out of four of her children and my Dad crowding the examining room at the Doctor’s office, Mom met with her Oncologist a few hours ago. Dr. Reyes is the same Doctor who took her through her Breast Cancer treatments, when it first appeared 4 years ago.  He was very disappointed with the Biopsy results, showing that the same aggressive Cancer that she once fought and seemed to have conquered, is in fact back and now in her bones.  It has a name now, Metastatic Mammary Carcinoma.  She falls in the 20% of patients with a reoccurence.  It has metastasized (spread) to 6 places already: neck, spine, 6th rib, right hip, a lymph node near her collar-bone, and pelvic bone.  The good news from the scan is that there were no fractures seen in any bones at this point.

Dr. Reyes said that he has no regrets about the course of treatment that they took from the start – that as aggressive as the Cancer was, the treatments were very aggressive as well.  He felt that they did more than they should have, and it still came back.  She’s now stopped taking the drug, Femara, which is intended to stop estrogen production in postmenopausal women used to treat early estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer like hers.  Obviously that hasn’t helped in her case.  The Herceptin, which is recommended after surgery and chemotherapy is a monoclonal antibody that targeted the HER-2 protein, meant to help the chemotherapy work better…that caused heart problems a few years ago.  Thankfully the damage to her heart was not permanent, earlier tests this year revealed.

Since she had already planned to get a 2nd opinion on treatments, Mom was really glad when Dr. Reyes said that he’d like to refer her to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville to the Breast Cancer team under Dr. Perez–considered among the best in the country. Mayo oncologists are known to use innovative therapies to treat even the rarest cancers, all while trying to help patients maintain a quality of life.  They are even able to utilize drugs in clinical trials, so they have access to treatment that Mom’s current doctor does not.

Getting down to the nitty-gritty, Chris asked Dr. Reyes, “Why was this Cancer not found before – with all the continued tests that you’ve done?”

“That’s a good question,” the Doctor replied.  “I would say that there is no test that is 100% fool-proof, unfortunately.”

Then it was my Dad’s turn.  “Would you consider this Bone Cancer terminal?”

Dr. Reyes replied, “I define ‘terminal’ as end stage Cancer, where the patient has 6 months or less.  So no, I would not consider it terminal.  Could it eventually take her life?  Unfortunately yes.”

Yet as an Oncologist, the Doctor said he’s an optimist.  They are well paired then, as so is my Mom.  He feels that the treatments they give her can extend her time with reasonable quality of life.

Mom has been a true witness of a woman of faith and courage throughout this time of testing and waiting over the past several weeks.  She admits she is doing much better with it this time around.  Looking sympathetically at my Dad, the Doctor said that the spouses often do worse than the patient.

Complaining of pain under her right breast, Dr. Reyes sent Mom straight from his office to get a CT Scan.  He wanted to ensure it wasn’t a blood clot.  We are awaiting the results of that, but the technicians said it doesn’t appear to be a clot.  She will start receiving Zometa injections, which are monthly bone-strengthening intravenous medication.  This is to help prevent or delay broken bones or other bone damage.  Currently there are no restrictions in her activity or diet.  Sadly she will need to cease sky-diving though, LOL!

My family is so grateful for a perfectly timed holiday weekend that we could almost all steal away to be together.  As pictured below, Mom has kept the party going and her ultimate Margaritas flowing.  We are celebrating life in many ways, and are about the task of making more great Sanchez family memories. A family weekend of fun, good food & drink, surprises, and lots of love.  I ask, what could be better?

Poolside Margarita time for Mom and Dad

I cannot express enough how grateful we’ve been for the outpouring of support in the form of: emails, calls, Facebook postings, cards, and especially prayers and Masses offered.  Please keep them coming, as this leg of the journey has only just begun.

Advertisements
Tagged , , ,

40 thoughts on “Fighting Cancer, Again

  1. Jessica Moore says:

    Let’s get down to the Nitty Gritty:) I love you Lisa. Your mom is a well spring of LIFE!!

    Like

    • Lisa says:

      Thankfully we don’t have to be “a little concerned about her salvation and stuff”! 🙂 Love you too, and AMEN, sister! Looking forward to when the Sisters of Zion can worship again!

      Like

  2. Helen Zamora says:

    Lisa, my prayers are with you and your family. Treasure every moment. Hug your Mom now before it starts to hurt, get as many in as you can so you can; make more memories!

    Like

  3. Karen (Leeth) Perez says:

    Lisa,

    Thank you so much for the beautifully scripted update!! Your family has been on my mind so much lately and for sure in my prayers! I’m so glad to hear you are having a family weekend and know it will be the best – especially with the margaritas!! Send some this way please!

    Like

    • Lisa says:

      Karen, thank you so much, old friend. My family is grateful for the time together and being surrounded in prayer. Sending you an E-Margarita 🙂

      Like

  4. Shana Voss says:

    My sister-in-law, Susan, (38) has the exact same cancer. Hers also metastasized–to her lymph system–and she went through the whole bought of chemo & radiation again. She is now in remission a second time (on herceptin a second time) and doing great. I have the same HOPE for your mom. I’m adding her to my prayer list, Lisa!!

    Like

    • Lisa says:

      Shana, thank you for sharing that story with us – really. Hearing those things definitely is good for lifting our spirits in hope! Prayers for your sister-in-law, so glad to hear she is fighting and doing great! Love you, Sister, and thanks for your prayers as well.

      Like

  5. Alexa says:

    Lisa, You know the prayers are coming from Louisiana. I will continue to pray that you guys are covered from the tops of your heads to the bottoms of your feet, filled with the love of Christ at all times. <–That's my Lisa family prayer, along with the rosary. Right now, the Most Holy of Sacrifices is being offered and I ask that it is received as a special gift to your family. I pray for your home to be filled to capacity with legends of angels assisting in every possible way. I love you sister and will continue to keep you in my prayers.

    Like

    • Lisa says:

      Louisiana prayers are so sweet – thank you, my friend. I always love the spirit and eloquence of your responses! Love you 🙂

      Like

  6. Jason says:

    We’re praying for you all and send our love.

    Jason and Shannon

    Like

  7. Laura Romero says:

    Lisa: In spite of your suffering you have made room in your heart for the Lord and brought His joy in your life and I am sure in your familys too. Thanks for sharing it with us. I am praying for your Mom.

    Laura

    Like

  8. Kristin says:

    Lisa, I am so sorry to read this. My eldest son (8) was so touched when I read this out loud to my Mom and asked her to keep your Mom in her prayers, He said….We will too. So, just as he said – ya’ll will be in our thoughts and prayers. Take care and enjoy the precious time with family!

    Like

    • Lisa says:

      I can picture this touching scene. Thank you, Kristin, for sharing that and that the prayers of your family are still uniting with ours. Blessings…

      Like

  9. Stacey says:

    praying, dear. thank you for the update.

    Like

  10. Kitty says:

    Lisa
    I’m so glad that your mom is better
    with everyone praying for her,
    you can start to think positive about her recovery.
    ks706367@gmail.com

    Like

  11. Norma says:

    Dear sweet Lisa, i continue to lift you and your family up in my daily Rosary, most especially your mom. It is hard for alot of people to understand that through the sufferings of our dear loved ones, we ourselves are being sanctified, if we allow it. i so admire your endless faith. The Lord will walk you through all your suffering and you will be filled with His Joy! May the Holy Spirit continue to be your constant source of strenght. Please keep us updated. I will continue to pray. Miss you lots sister! Blessings Norma

    Like

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you, dear sister. How true. Your love & faith have always been an inspiration to me as well. I know the Lord will lead all of us through this, and yes, we shall be transformed by it if we allow it! Will keep you updated. Missed my sisters the other night, but I always find strength in your prayers 🙂

      Like

  12. Elizabeth I says:

    Lisa,

    Thanks for the update. I will keep your mom in my prayers!

    Elizabeth

    Like

  13. mariosa says:

    Hey Lisa,
    I’m so, so sorry that you guys have to go through this. And I’m so impressed and proud of how you all are handling it. It is inspiring. This is about the journey that you all are on more so than the final outcome and y’all really seem to get that. What courage!
    I’ll keep praying and making the journey with your family, in my own little way, though your updates and prayer.
    I never met you Mom or family but please send them my love and prayers.
    Peace my sister,
    mariosa

    Like

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you, my friend. Your prayers and thoughts are a comfort to our hearts and keep our spirits lifted. Grace is definitely at work. I hope one day you get to meet the people I’m honored to call family. Love you, sister!

      Like

  14. Aunt Ginny & Uncle Doug says:

    Lisa,
    There are no words to express the feelings were feeling right now! Our prayers, love, and support our always with you all! God bless you all in this journey your about to take. All I can say is my heart is aching, and also praying, for a miracle, for all of you. Love always, Ginny
    P.S. God be with you all!

    Like

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you, Aunt Ginny. We continue to feel your support in love and prayer and are so grateful. We love you and know that through those prayers, the Lord will support us on this journey. We wish y’all were here!

      Love and prayers,
      Lisa

      Like

  15. Jenny Jakary says:

    Today in church, Father Tony talked about how often we turn to God, in times of trouble, and say “Why me?”. “Why did you do this to me?”. When what we should be asking is “What?”. “What can I learn from this?”. “What is the reason that this is God’s will?”. I think it’s a beautiful testimate of your families love, and trust in God, how your family has come together in support and not in anger. You have requested prayers because you know that God will not abandon you and that through him, and only him, you have strength. What a beautiful women your mother is to have taught you such faith!

    Like

    • Lisa says:

      Amen to all that, Jen, and thank you. YES! Asking “why” to God is a useless entreaty, because we cannot see everything as He does – who can understand the mind of God??? How blessed are we to grow up in the families that we did, cultivating the gift of faith over the years to be like a pillar in times of trouble. Love to you and the James’.

      Like

  16. Sue Green says:

    Hi Lisa

    Let me start out by saying – I love you guys. What a great gift for your mom that you could be there together for the weekend! Very special times. I have been struck in talking to my sis the grace and peace that she is receiving from God. He does give strength when we need it! In studying Daniel right now, our lesson pointed out that when we go through “fires” there are 3 possible scenarios – God rescues us from the fire, God goes with us through the fire, God is waiting to receive us after the fire. Number 2 is definitely what is happening right now and it is an amazing thing to behold. You guys get to witness a life well lived, depending on God, who is ever faithful to his children. I am proud to call her my sister. Thanks for taking the time to record your thoughs and observations for us.

    How did the pie in the face go??? Bet it was funny.

    Love, Aunt Sue

    Like

    • Lisa says:

      Dear Aunt Sue,

      We love y’all so much. Thank you for that beautiful reflection – like a lens to view this experience through – it brought tears to my eyes. I am amazed by the grace and love that is surrounding us and flowing out. We are honored to pray alongside so many kindred spirits in our family and friends.

      As for the pie in the face, it was hilarious. She finally got to do it! Jeff posted a few photos on FB and I’ll post some too. A wonderful time of making new memories and having fun, amidst the necessary tough talks and tears. God is faithful.

      Love & prayers,
      Lisa

      Like

  17. Mary de la Cerveza says:

    Prayers and beers, my friend.
    Much Love ~

    Like

    • Lisa says:

      Mary Fosters, thank you my dear friend. Beers are in order, once I get better. Apparently Mom & I love to share everything, including Bronchitis, oh and then I threw in a Sinus infection for the heck of it : / I started meds as soon as I was back from FL on Monday – so get ready, cervezas gotta happen this time! 🙂

      Like

  18. Jan says:

    Lisa,
    My faith is deepened by the love your family exudes. You all are always in my prayers and I know we will hear much happy news in the future from the Sanchez family. God bless!
    Jan

    Like

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you, Jan. You’re such a faithful Prayer Warrior, and for that continued support I’m grateful. Mom got an appointment with the Mayo Clinic for June 11th, so we should know more next week. We’ll rest in your prayers in the meantime. Love & Blessings,
      Lisa

      Like

  19. Josephine Valenzuela says:

    Lisa: I will pray for your family. You are such a beautiful person (in and out) and I know the arms of God are holding each of you as you journey through your mother’s illness. It is in God’s hands.

    Love and Peace be with you always,

    Josephine

    Like

    • Lisa says:

      Yes, Josephine – and there’s no better place to be then resting in His arms, knowing it’s all in His hands. Thank you for love & prayers, especially now. Blessings, Lisa

      Like

  20. Torie says:

    Dear Lisa,
    Your story brought tears to my eyes, for despite the unknown outcome of this battle the faith and strength of your mom, you and your family is testimony to your faith in the Lord! You all remain continually in our prayers! Keep loving and LIVING!
    lots of love,
    the princess (and the boys)

    Like

    • Lisa says:

      How dear, Princess, thank you for sharing that. I am so blessed to have my family and our faith, and the prayers and love of you and so many incredible loved ones. Let us live and love radically while we can.
      Thank you for your prayers. Miss and love you, and the boys 🙂
      Lisa

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: