Happy Monday, y’all! I know there are lots of new normals happening, but I hope your week is starting out blessed. Today, Anna Marie is sharing the latest on her health. —Sarah
It’s been a while since we posted an update but wanted to, first of all, thank each of you for praying for us. Since I last wrote here, COVID-19 has swept the nation, and I think most families are now finding themselves at home together quite a lot! For us, we haven’t felt many tremendous lifestyle changes as we tend to be home most of the time anyway, but it definitely adds another layer of complexity to figuring out my treatments. None of this complicates anything for God though, and we are excited to see Him leading.
We got some good news a couple days ago! My CTC (circulating tumor cell count) has dropped to 0 (in January it was 2.3; not sure what it had gone up to when surgery was done). While in some cases a 0 could indicate “no cancer,” there is always the possibility that some of the circulating cancer cells that were previously in the blood, while not circulating now, have settled in an organ somewhere (where they can lie dormant). While we are still working toward a chemo plan of some sort it was definitely a praise that there do not appear to be CTCs in my blood.
We have been consulting with various oncologists to decide on the treatment plan we feel is best for me. The Lord used some unlikely circumstances to get us in contact with a medical oncologist in Seattle, with whom we consulted remotely. He does chemotherapy in a different way than is “standard of care” yet with very good clinical success (over the years he is seeing about a 1% recurrence rate vs. 10-15% recurrence rate with standard chemo)—all of this with less toxicity and suppression of the immune system typical with standard chemo. We would love to get the chemo plan administered locally, however, because it is not yet widely used in the medical community we suspect that won’t be possible. Which means I will likely be going to Seattle for three months of treatment. As you can imagine, there are a lot of logistics to that, especially with COVID-19 right now. We are praying that we can find someone to do it locally or that God will make the way clear for me to get treatment in Seattle.
I have a few ideas for upcoming blog posts. I’ll have to work to keep them pretty short (not one of my strengths) since my time is limited, but I’m excited about some special activities we’ve done recently that you might enjoy trying with your own family! A sneak preview is that we did our Scriptorium virtually with a couple other participating families by using Google’s free video-conferencing technology. Another day, we did a solidarity pack from Feed My Starving Children and free activities from Compassion International to have an afternoon/evening focused on children in poverty in other countries. It helps put “quarantine” in perspective when you think about how abundantly blessed most of us are compared to so many in the world! And it’s a good reminder to be praying and looking for ways to bless others instead of focusing solely on what’s happening in our own lives right now.
“For there is not a word in my tongue,
but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.
Thou hast beset me behind and before,
and laid thine hand upon me.”