After discovering that Libby’s breast cancer had metastasized into her abdomen in November of 2o12, our emotions began to rise and fall in an inverse relationship with the fall and rise of her tumor tumor marker results. Even though we were warned that we should not let our emotions be driven by the results, when a blood test revealed the tumor markers were down, indicating fewer cancer cells, our excitement was high, likewise we were down when the markers went higher.
During one particularly sobering visit to University Oncology, Libby asked her doctor how many rounds of this new chemo were planned for her during this treatment series and Dr. Schlabach said,”Oh, Libby, I’m sorry, I must not have explained myself very well when we started these treatments. You will be on some type of chemo to control the cancer for the rest of your life. As long as your tumor markers stay low we will stay with the current drug and dosage, if the tumor markers rise we will need to make changes.”
The realization that injecting Libby with toxic chemotherapy, from now on, just to keep the cancer at bay changed our thinking and our lives as evidenced in this Caring Bridge post from Feb 1, 2013
When this breast cancer journey started in September of 2008 our focus was on getting through the treatments and “getting back to a normal life”. Many of you even attended a huge “NO MOE CheMOE Party that we had at our church to celebrate. Things are different now.
We understand how serious this is; and short of a miracle from God (for which, by the way, we are still praying ) chemotherapy will be used in some form or fashion to keep the cancer in check from now on, providing us extra time that we have determined not to take for granted.
We don’t mean to avoid the question that is on everyone’s mind which is either “What is the prognosis?” or “What does the future hold?” The truth is we honestly don’t know and, yes, we have asked those questions of Dr. Schlabach he said we are simply in uncharted waters. When we asked what would happen if she didn’t want to take these treatments he said ” Oh you definetly don’t want to do that” and so we left it at that. Dr. Schlabach told us to keep praying that the tumor markers will continue to fall then we will decide what to do after that. To date the chemo has kept the Peritoneal Carcinomatosis symptons in check and for that we are truly thankful to God.
Libby has had so many tests run on her blood such as CA-2729 and CA-153 that Libby and I have developed a running joke; anytime one of us says something harsh to the other one, we say that a blood test would reveal that their DC markers (Devil Cell) count is up, likewise an act of kindness would indicate that the AC markers (Angel Cell) count is up.
As Libby fights this cancer enemy and the rest of us fight the enemy of Devil Cells markers, remember this verse: The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you. He drives out the enemy before you; he cries out, ‘Destroy them!’ (Deuteronomy 33:27 NLT)