Happy November everyone! I am super excited to write this post because…
*drum roll please*
…it’s good news!!
*applause* *happy dance* *applause*
Yes, after 8 years of repeatedly having cancer come back and stick around, we found out last week that everything looks good!
*more happy dancing!*
While I still can’t say I’m cancer free (yet!) or say that I have beaten this for good (yet!), my appointment last week was all good news. The most significant good news being I have NEVER been this far out from one of my surgeries without any tumors showing up on my scans.
I went to UNMC last Wednesday and met with Dr. Goldner who went over my blood work and did an ultrasound. My tumor markers still aren’t zero, but since my ultrasound revealed no tumors, I am now in a category that is called “biochemically inconclusive.” What this means is my blood work is showing something (could be cancer cells, could be random thyroid tissue, it’s pretty impossible to say), but my ultrasound is clean. When my tumor markers get to zero, then we can say “no evidence of disease” (which is thyroid cancer’s version of remission), but since I’m not there yet, I am hanging out in the “biochemically inconclusive” club.
And it’s a club I have never been in since we started this 8 years ago, and my doctor said it’s possible I might stay here the rest of my life. And I’m absolutely okay with that because being here means I can slowly begin putting the pieces of my health back together since there’s no active disease that we know of. The pieces of my health that we’ve had to mess with to keep the cancer from growing, we are finally going to be able to consider getting things back to normal. This means I can maybe start backing down my thyroid hormone to a more normal level. Being hyperthyroid is not easy, on my emotional or physical health (not to mention on everyone else in my household – ah!), but this is the first indicator that we needed that we are hopefully close to healing.
I use a lot of “hopefully” and “maybe’s” in this post – because there is still a lot up in the air. We head back in February to rerun all these test, and from there, we will have a more definitive plan on what the next year will look like for us. Until then, we are keeping everything the same (that means hyperthyroid Angela – sorry, Neel!), but at least we know that the surgery and treatment I did over this past year was worth it. This makes putting up with the side effects of my thyroid hormone much easier to bear.
And as I have reflected on this news and shared it with my family and friends, there has been a lot “Praise God!” and “God is good!” And yes, absolutely He is and absolutely all praise to Him for getting us here, but I keep feeling that if the news had gone the other way last week, I would still want to shout, “Praise God” and “God is good!” Because He is, no matter what news my doctor would have given us. Is it wrong to feel sad to see the suffering possibly coming to an end? Because it has been in my suffering that I have truly felt the closest to Jesus. It’s taken me a long time and many gentle whacks on the head from our Heavenly Father to understand that beauty of suffering, but now that I do, it’s finding my way again to feel His love through the absolutely ordinary, lovely, little things that I’m surrounded with.
I suppose I am a little better at resting in peace and in His trust than I have been at other times because I was feeling equally the same about either outcome before my appointment. That peace has come through a lot of refining over these 8 years, but looking back I see the purpose.
Keep praying that everything still looks good when I get checked in February and that I can start getting back to “normal” in all aspects of my life. A new normal it’ll be, I’m sure, but I’m looking forward to the journey on the other side of cancer.
Love to you all and have a blessed Thanksgiving!