So many of you have been following my mom's diagnosis as she continues to fight her battle with Stage 4 Lung Cancer. I wanted to give you all an update.
In October of this year it will be 2 years since she was diagnosed. Last May at this time I was scrambling trying to pull everything together for my mom's 70th birthday. It was a big milestone. Not only was she turning 70 but I was so frightened it would be the last birthday I would ever celebrate with her. As her best friend and daughter I did my best to make it as special as possible.
It was a season of not knowing the future, during a time that felt so unpredictable. We were all scared - praying fervently and trying to remain hopeful. It was also during a time when the right treatment was unclear. Chemo had stopped working, and they'd just started her on a clinical trial. But even at that they weren't super optimistic because stats had shown that only 20% of the those in this particular treatment responded positively to it. So that wasn't super encouraging. Just the same, we hoped for the best, knowing she was in the right hands. Her doctor is nothing short of amazing - an absolute godsend.
At first with this particular clinical trial she was to receive 2 infusions every month - very much the same as chemo. They'd administer both drugs through an IV. It was pretty much an all day procedure for both my mom and dad. It's a minimum of an hour drive to Seattle from Arlington (and that's on a good traffic day), and then hours of waiting before, during, and after the administration. It's exhausting. But that was the routine. Then in between treatments were additional trips to Seattle for blood draws, scans, and check-ups.
Fortunately, my mom's body has responded incredibly well to the trial. After a few months, they reduced the infusions from two drugs to one every month. After several months of being on just the one infusion and her body STILL responding, they took away the infusions all together. That was two months ago. The honest truth is my mom's been a mess ever since she learned she'd be "on her own" so to speak. Understandable. Having the infusions every month - even when just the one - was in a way a crutch. She knew that it wasn't just her having to fight but that the medicine being administered was helping her body to fight as well. She was worried that she'd do something wrong. Not eat enough of the right things or too much of the wrong things. She was worried when she accidentally forgot to do part of her "cancer fighting routine" which she does every day - beets, greens, doterra oils, to name a few.
The end-in-mind with this particular trial is to boost the immune system and help it to become strong enough to fight on it's own. The goal is to get the immune system to the point it can function well enough and fight the cancer without the need for the infusions. That's exactly where my mom is at right now.
Monday of this week she went in for her first scan since they took away the infusions. It's been two months since her last scan. Yesterday she texted me after waiting two days for the results came back and in her words, "it was a good scan" attaching the above picture with her news. What does that mean? She is STABLE. So far so good. It means that her body is fighting a hard fight. She is doing well. Her body is responding. Her cancer tumors - all 3 of them - are NOT growing - for the time being.
The hope is this goes on indefinitely. The reality is it probably won't. But for the time being we are loving and LIVING for the moment. For today. For all the memories we still get to create. For the most part she is active, happy, and healthy.
Anyone who doesn't know about her condition WOULDN'T know. You want to know why? She refuses to be THAT person. She refuses to give up. She refuses. I could not be more proud of my mom. She continues to inspire me by her strength - even on the hard days. And there ARE hard days. There are still days we both just want to cry and sometimes do. But for the most part we are LIVING. As I write this I am thinking about how in one week I will be with her again - in St. George - probably on the golf course. It's her birthday weekend. She's turning 71. Last year I wanted to dream but was afraid to. Yet, here we are one year later and I think we're better off now than we even were then. And for that I am grateful. Thank you so much for following along and being a part of this journey with us. Your prayers, love, and support mean more than you know. This journey really is a testament to the bond we women have.