Friday, February 12, 2010

Daily Choices

Many of you have asked what my follow-up care will look like, so here is what I know so far:

I will have a PET scan two weeks after my last chemo treatment. I will have surgery to close the ileostomy six weeks after my last chemo treatment. Then going forward I will have a PET scan or CT scan (depending on what the insurance company will approve) every three months the first year following treatment, every four months the second year, every six months the third year, and then if everything looks good I will have one annually after that. Of course there will be annual colonoscopies thrown in just for fun! So, I am still going to be pretty close to my oncologist and his staff! 

The reason for so many scans is so that we will catch any recurrence early if it happens. That is a good thing. But it also messes with my mind a little... 

I truly believe that God has healed me of cancer. I truly believe that I will grow old with Mark. But I wonder how I will deal with the thoughts and emotions related to frequent visits to the oncologist's office. How will I move forward with so many reminders of cancer? I don't really feel afraid of recurrence, but I feel afraid of feeling afraid! LOL! 

So, I go back to what I know and the habits I have been practicing during these last nine months:

  • Choose to take every thought captive to Christ
  • Choose to recognize His presence here with me
  • Choose to recognize His sovereignty over my life
  • Choose to trust in His plans
  • Choose to leave my burdens with Him and take up His peace
  • Chose to release control to the One who knows my future
  • Choose to bathe my mind with His Words
  • Choose to believe that He is good
  • Choose to believe in His faithfulness
  • Choose to praise Him 
Daily choices form daily habits. I'm glad He is helping me to make those choices!


  1. I often wish what I know to be true would stay put rather than have to take assault from the part of my brain that likes to toss pebbles at what I be true. Its like a personal little battle at wage right in my head. :)

    But like you point out in your post, its a choice to stand firm, take thoughts captive to Christ, recognize He is the one who carves out the path of our life, knows the number of hairs on our head and loves us deeply.

    I do have a question.... when the chemo is over, how long before you regain your energy and taste etc.... other than the rather consistent scans throughout the next years, when will life begin to otherwise resume to normal...when does your body begin to feel like itself again?

  2. Your oncologist will be like a guardian angel on earth. So happy that they are going to be proactive and watch you closely. The visits just become part of your "normal" life. Yes, there are still times for me when I don't want to go and don't want to be a part of the cancer club, but I am so thankful that I have so many looking out for me. As one of my friends said "gee, in a weird way I wish I had an oncologist who watched me like a hawk!"

  3. As a 12-year breast cancer survivor, I can totally relate to your fear of feeling afraid. I was 29 when I was diagnosed with stage II infiltrating ductal carcinoma...had surgery, 6 months of chemo, 6 weeks of radiation and 5 years on Tamoxifen.

    For the most part I live my life as a survivor, a conqueror of cancer! Sure, the knowledge of everything I went through is tucked away in the dusty old corners of my mind, and that's where it stays 364 days of the year. But when I have my annual appointment at M.D. Anderson, that knowledge, those old feelings, the fear, everything resurfaces. I don’t like those feelings…I don’t like being afraid, so I go in there every year with a positive attitude, knowing in my heart of hearts that Jesus has blessed me with the miracle of healing. My body is whole and healthy, and when, not if, when I get the “all clear” for another year – I shift right back into survivor mode. You will too.

    Although my visits are now annually, I clearly remember the early years when I was going every three months. For me, it was a blessing to be reassured every three months that I was still cancer free. When I moved to every six months, it was a little scary - "what if something changed and I had to wait a whole six months to find out?!" Then when I switched to annually – whoa! But like so many things in life, the Lord eases us into those changes. We learn to channel that inner peace and strength that Christ so freely gives us, and you dwell in it, you let it wash over you, and then nothing else can touch you. Not even fear.

    You, Mark and Community of Faith are so very precious to our family. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    Love, Hugs & Prayers,

  4. Laura, so happy and thankful for your upcoming "new normal" life. You are so right about the "feeling afraid of feeling afraid".

    It was so hard to get used to the "freedom" of the 1st 6 weeks after chemo. After all the hand-holding and follow-up of medical professionals during the previous 8 months it sort of felt like walking a tight rope without a net.

    I finally recogized that feeling as God's calling me to a new level of trust in HIM. When I finally processed how He had safely carried me so near death's door that that trust became so much easier.

    As for the return of taste and energy as well, it seems like everyone is different. Several people have reported that taste came back rather quickly and the energy a little slower. For me, taste took about 6 weeks and we're still working on the energy part. The numbness and tingling of hands and feet is another story. It seems this is another of God's lessons in patience and trust! LOL

    Dawnief is so right about the "PET scan anxiety" she describes. The 1st one was the scariest. The 2nd one seems a little less scary. Remembering His presence and miracle of healing as well as "it's HIS plan" helps.

    Hugs and prayers for your continued health and rapid healing in the weeks to come.

    Welcome to the Survivor's Club! :)