Thanks to the Gateway Church – Dallas team for squaring up this past week on my behalf. This photo just makes me grin from ear to ear. (If you get a chance, check out the updates to the Square Up Gallery on my main page. Lots of fun photos continue to come in.)
And thanks to all of you who have been celebrating my recent turn of events.
Just in case you haven’t heard …
My tumor markers have not only dropped, but have continued to decrease over the past month. In addition, my recent scans found no active tumors and just this week my brain MRI was also outstanding, showing continued healing and no additional activity.
I am awe-struck.
I am relieved.
I am grateful.
As late as round three of chemo, I shared with you my numbers were still rising. As I drove to my doctor’s office that morning, I prayed. I reminded the Lord that I was weak – just human after all – and I really needed a sign, a good report or even just an encouraging word.
I was still feeling so raw from the “death days” of March and I longed for a breakthrough in the natural just as I had very recently experienced in the supernatural.
“Please God, I need a good report.”
Well the report was not good…rather the markers had risen by another 50 points.
My doctor made no comment, and neither did I. We just set about the business of contending for my life. He drew my blood again and sent me back to the chemotherapy room for my scheduled treatment. While in the chair, I wrote the blog I Choose Life. At the end of that blog, I asked you to pray life over me and I said:
“I know the good report has yet to come, but it will come.”
The following weekend was Easter. Mark and I hosted our family and a few friends for Sunday lunch. In the early afternoon, right after our guest had gone home, I laid down to rest. Almost immediately my phone rang.
The PA from my doctor’s office called to say she had come in to catch up on some work and came across my blood work from Thursday. The report was so good that she couldn’t wait to share. My numbers had plummeted!
I had no idea on Thursday (when it seemed my enemy was still triumphing over me) that the good report I had prayed for was already on the way. Even though the medical report was negative at the moment, the blood in my veins was already declaring life.
Mark and I decided to share with only a few friends and family. We believed this was significant, but we needed a confirmation. I would wait to publicly share until there was a second, confirming report.
Two weeks later my blood was drawn and a week after that I returned for a check up. I came into the office holding my breath, only to find out my blood work had disappeared. There was no report. (How does that happen?)
I was sent back to the chemotherapy chair for round four without the confirmation I was waiting for. I gave blood again that morning and set about waiting another week.
It was worth it!
At my checkup the confirmation finally came. Actually two confirmations came at the same time. Not only did my tumor markers drop again (almost to normal this time) but my most recent CT scan results could find no evidence of the active tumors that had been so evident in my liver in January.
And just this week another confirmation. I returned to my brain neurosurgeon for a quarterly MRI and check up. My brain continues to show recovery and there is no evidence of any disease.
It seems the rogue cells have finally begun to bend their knee.
Yet the work is not over.
My doctor has asked me to endure this level of chemotherapy treatment for as long as I feel able. That means many more months, probably a year or more, of treatment. I must maintain my overall health and positive attitude for the distance. I must persist and triumph in order to completely rout cancer from my body.
I think you might agree that it’s a lot more fun to celebrate a breakthrough than to gain the breakthrough or to pay the price to maintain it.
So I’m stopping to celebrate for a while. I feel like I just finished my first marathon and I am exhausted but rejoicing, weak but strong, stretched but victorious. It reminds me of 2 Corinthians 4: 8-10:
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
I love these verses even more when I read them in the midst of the entire passage from The Message. This is 2 Corinthians 4:7-12.
If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness.
We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at.
We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken.
What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us.
While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best!
It is so true.
While all of us have gone through some things which seem the worst, we have been getting in on the best.
The best of friendship.
The best of faith.
The best of life.
You’ve prayed so much and so often for me that I wonder if you feel like you’ve just run your own marathon. If so, will you just pause and rest with me? Let’s take a reprieve. Let’s refuel. Let’s refresh.
And if you are still running for your breakthrough, then I cheer you on. Don’t give up! Keep standing (resting) on the promises of God. Your enemy will bend its knee. Your good report is coming. You are getting in on the best!