Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Miracle # One-Thousand & One

      After over a week of ups and downs mama and I are finally back home, and bringing good news with us! We left for Texas over two weeks ago so I could have a PET scan and a check up with my doctors at MD Anderson. I had the scan on a Tuesday morning and met with my doctors that Thursday to receive the results. On that Thursday afternoon my first doctor, the surgeon, came in and said she wanted to check my neck herself before telling me how the scan looked. Let's just say I'm not a fan of that method considering I'm anxious and am practically holding my breath until I hear the results from the scan. My surgeon felt of my neck for a few minutes, then sat down and told me the last thing I wanted to hear. Two lymph nodes in my neck had lit up on the PET scan, which means they could contain cancer cells. She explained that it may or may not be cancer still left in my body, but the only way to know for sure is to do an ultrasound biopsy. Before we had left Texas last time, in late July after I found out that my CT scan showed that the chemo and radiation regimen had been successful, my team of doctors explained how my lymph modes were calcified and were so damaged and hardened from treatment that they were difficult to see, thus the need for the PET scan. My surgeon went on to say these two lymph nodes could be removed through surgery but she would not like to have to open my neck up for a third time, but she would if necessary. Of course I was tearing up by this time and had a full fledged breakdown after my doctor left the room. Mama was being upbeat, telling me how grateful we should be that the cancer hasn't spread anywhere else in my body and how these two lymph nodes could be surgically removed, unlike another lymph node that had previously contained cancer cells and was located in a spot that surgery couldn't touch. I cried until one of my other doctors, my radiologist, entered the room. Then I attempted to pull myself together. My radiation oncologist is completely precious. I feel so comfortable with him and I know he would never lie to me or give me false hope, but he also has a way with words, unlike many doctors I've come across. He discusses my situation on my level, making it where I can understand, without using physicians terms. He made me feel a thousand times better. He said the same thing the previous doctor had said but he showed me the whole picture. He said that this wasn't good news but it wasn't bad news and for me not to consider this a setback because they knew all along that it might take another surgery to get rid of this cancer. He made it clear that these two lymph nodes are easily accessible if they need to be surgically removed, but he also warned me that surgery may be necessary even if these two lymph nodes do not contain cancer cells, only dead cells or dead tissue. As crazy as it sounds, surgery doesn't scare me anymore, I've become a pro, I just hate that a month ago I thought I was cancer free and now a different scan may prove otherwise. I just wanted all this to be over! Anyways, we left the clinic and I was feeling a little better after talking with my radiation oncologist. I wish I could just put him in my pocket and pull him out when I need some encouragement about cancer. Haha! Mama also reminded me that a friend of ours who had my type of cancer had to have surgery after treatment to remove several lymph nodes, and now he is cancer free. Hearing stories of other people who have been in my shoes and are now cancer free is such wonderful encouragement!
      The next morning, Friday, mama and I drove back to Houston to the main hospital for my ultrasound biopsy. I've had a biopsy on my neck before, but this one was nothing like the first one. I was in so much pain. My neck is extremely sore, tight, and damaged from radiation, and having a doctor and x-ray technician hold my head to one side, push on my neck, "numb" my neck with a shot and stick a needle in and pump out some cells. This biopsy was AWFUL, and I'm tough. A lot tougher than I ever thought possible. The whole time I just laid on the hospital bed, silent tears running down my face, and praying, mostly that the biopsy wouldn't reveal any cancer cells, but also for the Lord to give me strength, hold me in His arms, and help me endure this pain. After the biopsy was finished mama and I had to wait about half an hour for the preliminary results. We wouldn't receive the final results for a few days. Several minutes later the doctor came back into my room and told us that based in the preliminary results these two lymph nodes do NOT contain cancer cells, it's only dead tissue and dying cells. Even though we had to wait a few days for the final results that was such a relief to hear. You couldn't have slapped the smile off our faces. Then, on Tuesday morning my surgeon called with the cancer cells were found and no surgery is necessary. My team of doctors met and discussed my situation and for now they only want to keep an eye on me by continuing to have check ups every six weeks. God is so good and He continues to amaze me through His miracles, even just the miracles I've seen up close and personal in my own life. He has truly healed me from cancer and now I want to spend the rest of my life...looooong life....doing whatever He has planned!

"God has intention for your pain, a reason for your struggle, and a reward for your faithfulness. Don't give up!"

"The circumstances we ask God to change are often the circumstances God is using to change us." -Max Lucado

"God is doing a new thing. He is releasing healing, forgiveness, joy, peace, victory. This is your time."

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jenna,
    I work on the Cancerwise blog at MD Anderson. Would you be interested in sharing your story with us? I've enjoyed reading your blog and I know other MD Anderson patients would love to hear from you. If you're interested please email me at
    Kellie Bramlet
    MD Anderson
    Communications Specialist