“Physical strength is measured by what we can carry; spiritual by what we can bear.” ~Author Unknown
Thank you to everyone who has reached out in one way or another to me and my family as my Mom continues to fight her battle against Bone Cancer. From emails, calls, notes, pilgrimage intentions, hugs, prayers, etc…all of your love and support have helped us bear this weight. I’ve been wanting to post an update on her status for quite some time, but it seems as there are never enough hours in the day! Since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, I thought it was even more fitting to post an update now.
Mom’s weekly treatments began on July 27th. As is true for anyone that has gone through Chemotherapy, she has good days as well as rough ones. But amidst these highs and lows, there have been some truly grace-filled moments. Even strangers have performed random acts of kindness on more than one occasion that have moved us to tears.
Despite the fact that from week to week her physical symptoms change, her accepting spirit and positive attitude have remained steadfast, which she says are the effects of prayer and grace. We’ve seen that prayer and grace at work in many ways. Over two weekends in September, Mom suffered with diarrhea to the point of becoming dehydrated and losing 10 pounds. Imodium eventually helped, and instead of her chemo treatment that week, she received two big bags of fluid to rebuild her system. Two days later the doctor arranged for an anti-diarrheal injection which now will be done monthly.
Shortly thereafter, Mom fell in her bedroom while getting dressed one morning. She twisted her left foot and ankle – which became a bit bruised and swollen. After this incident, her left foot dropped–meaning she experienced significant weakening in her ankle and was unable to flex it or her toes. The result is a loss of feeling or control over the foot, so she had lost her stability to walk. Thankfully my Mom’s sister, Sue, was visiting that week. I know my parents were so grateful for my Aunt’s unselfish service and cheer during a week that soon became full with doctor’s visits, an MRI, Pet-Scan, EMG, Flu and Pneumonia Shots, blood work and results.
My Mom has been doing physical therapy to regain her strength in her left leg and foot drop, which was supposed to last four to six weeks. But over the past two weeks it seems to have been too much for her system as she’s been vomiting the past two Fridays during her PT. After this past weekend with the diarrhea starting back up, she ended up in the hospital today. Since she was so weak and run down, they gave her an IV with fluids and something for the nausea. She’s going to talk to Dr. Reyes tomorrow about stopping Physical Therapy for now and just doing exercises at home. She’s already seen some progress with being able to move her toes somewhat. In the meantime she will keep sporting a slick pair of black Converse high top tennis shoes she got because they provide better support. She receives Chemotherapy three Tuesdays a month teamed with Herceptin, and then the last Tuesday does Herceptin with Zometa (to strengthen her bones).
She was accepted into a John Hopkins clinical study, which will help future female cancer patients. Doctors are studying what her vitals do with cancer in her blood. The positive news is that Mom’s oncologist, Dr. Reyes, has said that some of the markers of where her cancer first started are coming down. This is a good indication that not only is this the right treatment for her, but also that it is gaining control over her cancer cells. The blood work done prior to the Chemo also gives her Oncologist the ability to decide whether she will proceed with treatment or not.
We continue to lean into your prayers. If all goes well with her results like we hope, Mom will be on a shorter Chemo infusion plan, approximately four months (until around Thanksgiving). Then she would take her Chemo in pill form and continue to be tested in order to monitor her markers. Otherwise she would have to do the eight month plan, which would be until March of 2011.
My parents continue to pray the Rosary daily, offering it for the special intentions of our loved ones praying with us. How appropriate that October is also the month of the Rosary! I plan on posting another blog in a bit on Blessed Fr. Miguel Pro S.J., a 20th century Mexican Martyr – as we intercede for the cause of his canonization and ask him to intercede for healing for my sweet Mother, Eve.