23 April, 2012

God is so good!!!  I had a PET scan and two CT scans this morning, then met with my doctor in the afternoon to go over the results.  The results came back better than expected!!  The chemo has been doing exactly what it was supposed to, and I'm thrilled; it sure felt like it has been working!  The CT scans showed that my largest tumor has shrunk from the size of a ping pong ball to the size of a grape.  But the even better news is that my PET scan came back negative, with no signs of metabolic activity!  Basically, cancer loves sugar.  In a PET scan, I'm injected with radioactive glucose.  The cancer eats up all that glucose, allowing the doctors to see exactly where and how "hungry" the cancer is.  But today, I had absolutely no signs showing that the cancer is eating anything!  The tumor is still in there, but it's just dead tissue!  (At least, this is my understanding of everything.  Sometimes all the medical talk goes right over my head, but one thing I am certain of is that I couldn't have asked for better results).  Anyways, I still have to undergo treatment to destroy the rest of the tumor and any other tiny cancer cells that might still be in my body.  Because I reacted so well to the chemo, and because I don't like all of the risks associated with radiation, I decided to complete two more months of chemotherapy instead of switching to radiation therapy.  So God willing, in a just a few months, this whole cancer thing might be behind me!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your love and prayers!  And thank you Jesus for all You have done for me!!  I am so incredibly blessed by the amazing community God has given me all across the country!  He hears your prayers and He answers them!


"Blessed be the Lord, for He has heard the sound of my pleadings.  The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.  The Lord is the strength of His people; He is the saving refuge of His anointed."
- Psalm 28:6-8

21 April, 2012

Hello everyone!  I am glad to report that this week was not too eventful.  I still have some hair, though not enough to look anything like I used to.  But it seems a few of my little hairs are hanging on for dear life!  I had chemo on Tuesday and have been feeling a little sick, but not too terrible.  It was my fourth dose of chemo and, if everything goes to plan, it means I'm about halfway done with my treatment!  I have a PET scan and a CT scan on Monday.  The scans will show where the cancer is, if its size has changed, and if the chemo has been working.  Please, please, please be praying that the scans come back clean!  The results from these scans will help us decide if I will continue receiving chemotherapy or have radiation treatment instead.  Please be praying that the Lord will give my family, my doctors, and me the wisdom to make the right decision!
"Make me to know Your ways, o Lord; teach me Your paths.  Lead me in Your truth, and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all day long."
- Psalm 25:4-5
And one more thing... don't forget to be happy!


15 April, 2012

I felt really well this week, which is such a blessing!  I had my blood checked on Monday and was neutropenic again, so I had to get neupogen shots every day.  But besides the stinging of the neupogen, I've felt pretty good!  My brother Kevin came down to visit on Thursday.  It's always great to have him home so I'm not just home alone all the time.  He took me to the lake and the movies, and on Saturday morning, we took our parents out to brunch at a little French cafe for their 34th wedding anniversary (happy anniversary Mom and Dad! We love you!).
Happy Anniversary!

At Bleu Boheme for brunch

So I've reached a fork in the road.  On Tuesday, I will have my fourth dose of chemotherapy.  Then I need to decide if I want to continue with two more months of chemo or have radiation therapy instead.  On Thursday, my parents and I met with the radiology oncologist to discuss the pros and cons of having radiation.  The good thing about radiation is that it will give me a slightly smaller chance of having a recurrence of Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  Also, the short term side effects are much less than with chemotherapy.  I would probably be fatigued, have dry mouth, and have skin irritation similar to a sunburn in the area that is getting treated (my neck and chest).  Compared to chemo, that's not bad at all!  However, the long term side effects of radiation are much worse.  The radiation would permanently effect my parotid and salivary glands, so I would have to wear a fluoride night guard for the rest of my life.  I would also be at a much higher risk for developing thyroid problems, heart disease, or a secondary cancer!  For someone older, these risks aren't as great because they aren't going to be around for that much longer anyways.  But for someone like me who is most likely going to live for sixty or so more years, it's much much more likely that I will develop one or more of these problems in my lifetime.  I definitely do not want to increase my chances of getting a secondary cancer, but at the same time, I don't want my Hodgkin's to come back!  Please pray for my family and I as we make this decision.  Please pray that the Lord will give us wisdom and discernment.  And please continue to pray that my chemotherapy goes well and that my side effects are minimal.  Thanks for everything! Much love!!


"Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him.  For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.  He will cover you with His feathers.  He will shelter you with His wings.  His faithful promises are your armor and protection."
- Psalm 91:1-4

08 April, 2012

Happy Easter!!  Today we celebrate the fact that the Savior of my soul has conquered sin and death and has risen from the dead!  If that's not a reason to celebrate, I don't know what is!

And another reason to celebrate... I wasn't expecting to feel very well this weekend, but all of your prayers must have been working because I've felt great!  Yesterday, my parents took my cousin Caitie and me out to lunch in Coronado.  It was a warm, beautiful day and was nice to get out of the house.  Afterward, we went to an early Easter service at church.  It was the first time I've felt well enough to go to church since I started treatment.  Afterwards, I was blessed by several of the pastors praying over me for peace and healing.

We went out for brunch today and then went on a nice drive out to an adorable little town called Julian.  Spring is my favorite season, so it was great to get out of the city and see hillsides of beautiful wildflowers bursting forth and lifting their faces to the heavens.  We looked around a few little shops and had a delicious lunch at the Julian Cafe.  I found this sweet little saying on the placemat...

It reads, "sometimes the Lord calms the storm; sometimes He lets the storm rage, and calms the child."  A lot of people have asked me how I'm feeling about everything, and this saying just about sums it up.  Having cancer seems so terrible, but besides sometimes feeling bad physically, I've been filled with a sense of peace and calm that can only have come from God Himself.  Some have asked if this has made me doubt my faith or made me mad at God, but in fact, it's just the opposite.  I know that everything happens for a reason and that God has orchestrated every detail of my life, but it's sometimes easy to forget that.  When life seems only to consist of going to classes or the same job day after day, it can be easy to overlook the intricate workings of God in our lives.  But when hit with a massive, life-altering circumstance like cancer, I instantly knew that God was, is, and will be working through this situation.  I will admit, it's occasionally difficult to imagine that any good can come from something like this, but I have faith in the Lord that He knows what's best and will not let me down.  And I can't think of a better day than Easter to remember this!  For if Jesus is able to conquer death, what can I possibly be afraid of?

I do want to ask for prayer.  I will get my blood checked again tomorrow and would like to ask for prayers that I am not neutropenic again!!  Also, please pray that I would continue feeling well and having minimal side effects.  But what I really want to ask is for you to pray for a sweet little girl named Daisy Love Merrick.  Daisy is seven years old and has been battling cancer for the past three years.  Last week, after more than six months of clean scans, doctors found another tumor.  You can visit her blog by clicking here.  Her family and her story have been a great comfort and inspiration to me during this time. Please, please keep them in your prayers!

"And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."
-  Romans 8:28

04 April, 2012

Thank you so much for all of your prayers!  I've been having a good couple of days!  My white blood cell count was high, so I was able to have my third dose of chemo yesterday.  It only lasted four hours this time, and I slept through all four of them!  I slept for two more hours when we got home.  I've been feeling pretty well.  Today I even felt well enough to go see Hunger Games with my cousin and to go out to dinner with my parents.  I'm hoping and praying that I will continue to feel well and that my side effects would be minimal this round.  But regardless of how I feel, I will continue to praise the Lord.


"I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, oh Lord, make me dwell in safety."
- Psalm 4:8

Getting chemo with my new prayer quilt

01 April, 2012

I had a good weekend!  I was feeling well and had a few visits from family and friends.  My mom took my cousin and me down to LaJolla on Friday to see the sea lions and Mt. Soledad cross.  It was beautiful, but I got a little tired from my first big outing.  I visited my grandma today and was even feeling well enough to go out to lunch and dinner this weekend!  Praise the Lord!  I go in tomorrow to get my blood checked.  Hopefully, my counts will be good and I'll be able to have chemo on Tuesday.  Please keep me in your prayers!


"I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being."
-  Psalm 104:33
Mt. Soledad Cross 
Sea lions!!