On Monday afternoon, it was raining in Big D. A promised cold front had pushed through (finally!) and brought with it a brisk wind and much-needed rain. It was the perfect afternoon to snuggle up with a warm cup of coffee--pumpkin spice creamer included--and watch the Disney Channel with the cowboys. Ahhhhh.
Except.....that's not what I was doing on Monday afternoon. I was speeding across Dallas in the cold rain, trying to beat the rush-hour buildup. My hair was a frizzy mess, my makeup was smudged, and my sweater was hanging halfway off because I couldn't decide if I was hot or cold. I was a hot mess, on my way to the airport to catch a plane to Houston.
After weeks of trying, I was finally able to score an appointment at MD Anderson. My regular MDA doctor rejected my request to see her, by flat out telling me that she had nothing to offer. Instead, I was referred over to the Center for Targeted Therapy. The doctor there, Dr. W, was one of those people who makes you feel dumb just by being in the same room with you. Not because she was arrogant or talked down to me; she was just SO SMART! It was almost like she was speaking another language, which I had to struggle to follow. Dr. W also had two assistants: Rosa and Roosevelt. I think that Roosevelt is an awesome name. (Hey, Brother and his Other! Take note! Just in case you want to change your mind....)
So, the culmination of my meeting with Dr. W, Rosa, and Roosevelt resulted in an agreement to do two different things:
1) Molecular mapping. Samples of my tissue will be analyzed at the molecular level. Through this analysis, they should be able to determine the exact abnormalities/defects that cause cells in my body to be "bad" cancerous cells. With that information, they may be able to match me to a specific drug that would not normally fall within my standard of care. For instance, I might have the same abnormalities as another group of patients with liver cancer. I would then be able to be treated with medications for liver cancer. Weird, but interesting.
2) Clinical trial. The molecular profiling will take a while--at least a few months. The trial in question is an "in the meantime" solution--completely different from the Oklahoma
fiasco trial. This clinical trial involves 2 drugs, both of which have already been approved by the FDA. One drug has been used for a long time with diabetes patients, the other has been used to treat breast cancer. The trial is testing their efficacy when they are given in combination. Both drugs are given orally.
Now, a few things you should know about this clinical trial: The temptation to dance a jig is pretty huge. Just the fact that she did not dismiss me but instead had some ideas is a cause for celebration! But I need to step back and gather my thoughts before I jump off the cliff of crazy. The truth is that these medications, even if successful, are not designed to be a cure. They are meant to, at best, slow the growth of those wretched bad cells, thereby buying me some more time until, hopefully, there IS a cure. (Worst case scenario, I'll endure funky side effects, but maybe I won't get diabetes or breast cancer.)
Knowing that truth reminds me of the sobering fact that cancer is what I have. Unless God changes his mind or intervenes, I will have cancer until I die. It may not always be as big, or as painful, but modern medicine tells me that this is my lot in life. Many have prayed for my healing. And it may still be done, but it has become pretty clear to my medical team (and to myself) that this Monster intends to stay.
I am not publicly declaring my "I am thankful" list this month, but I do have one. While the rest of the world is using social media to advertise what they are thankful for, I am keeping mine private. But on Tuesday afternoon, when my plane landed safely on the runway in Dallas, and I knew I would soon be home with my babies, there was no question about it. I am thankful for something. Something to do. Something to take. Something to aid in my fight. Something instead of nothing.
I don't claim to know God's plan. I don't understand why he chooses to withhold physical healing. I don't like my situation, and there are a lot of days when I don't say, "Your will, not mine." And still...He loves me with a depth that I can not comprehend. He values me to a point that I can not understand. He is faithful to provide for me--whether that be the miraculous healing, or a small "something", He is good.
P.S. This is for sale in the Dallas airport, as if the world needed reminding. Poor taste, Dallas. Seriously.