Emotional Deflation

Another day in the life of a chemo patient here, friends. I got a blood draw today, and the results came back good! It’s a great day over here when any results are positive ones.

Now you know I can’t just be super happy and cheery all of the time, don’t you? Here’s the hard facts. I got some news today that traveled differently through my system than it had before. I say it like that, because I was given this news back when I was rediagnosed with neuro-endocrine cancer, however, it didn’t register completely then. Mind you, when someone tells you that you have a way worse scenario, one that is “hard to cure” and “resistant to treatment”, most other things fly right by your senses.

Today, as I was rescheduling another blood draw, getting filled up on prescriptions, and asking questions about this annoying stomach queasiness that’s been haunting me in the mornings, I learned the true extent of my treatment. This isn’t going to be as short of a journey as I thought it would be. Well, truth be told, I never thought it would be “short”, per se. But I wasn’t expecting this to be a 6 month process just to get to remission. That’s what it’s going to be. At least 6 months… if I remain healthy and don’t have any set-backs during that period. Because it was hard for me to even comprehend what my next 6 months will look like without a visual, I will generously supply you with one.

Again, below is a schedule of what my treatment will look like, as long as I remain healthy. Of course, this could change as the time goes on. Praying for miracles, though!

3 Days Chemo

2 Weeks Off

3 Days Chemo

2 Weeks Off

3 Days Chemo

2 Weeks Off

6 Weeks Radiation with Chemo 1/week

2 Weeks Off

3 Days Chemo

2 Weeks Off

3 Days Chemo

2 Weeks Off

3 Days Chemo

2 Weeks off

The End of Treatment!

Doesn’t that just look like a hell-of-a-road? Ugh, I can’t tell you how deflated I was when I heard the news in depth. When I heard that treatment wouldn’t even be complete until July 30, as long as I remain healthy, it was a punch to the gut. 6 months?! I don’t want to go through this that long! God is teaching me perseverance, patience, and endurance. Why give me an easy struggle? Is there even such a thing? He’s making me work for the finish line, and for that, I’m surprisingly grateful. I can’t imagine what better qualities I will have by the fall.

God’s still with me on this one. One incredibly obvious way can be noted through my lack of projectiles. He has held me firmly in His grip, and has not allowed any sickness (besides the minor queasiness) to enter my body. Hallelujah. The nurses told me to expect vomiting last Friday through this Wednesday, and I am here to happily report, I haven’t thrown up once! My God is still a BIG God. He is here with me. He is listening to me. He is cheering for me. He will heal me. He is for me. WOW. As easy as it would be to fall flat, and question where God is through all of this, I am only drawn closer to Him. I feel His presence stronger than I ever have, and for that I can’t begin to express my gratitude. Feeling His presence is overwhelming, and it’s simple to receive. Just ask. I promise.

Romans 8:31-39 (The Message Version)

“So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: 

   They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. 
   We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”

8 Comments on Emotional Deflation

  1. Celeste
    February 27, 2012 at 7:38 PM (12 years ago)

    Six months?! Deflation for sure.

    BUT, God is doing awesome things through this chapter of your great story. To say I’m PROUD to be your friend is an understatement… God has blessed you so far despite the storm you are in right now and I’m confident that He will only continue to bless you through this. As He blesses you, you bless us by your brave, strong, and hardcore fight. What an astounding God with an Almighty grip we do serve! With Him on your side, six months is nothing compared to lifetime with a healthy body, loving family and friends, and tons of memories to be made!

    You, my dear friend, are a fighter and such an inspiration! Keep on fighting strong as we who know you and love you follow you on this journey… Surrounding you with prayer, love, and heartfelt, loud cheers!

    Get it, girl. You got this!

  2. Marisa Reyes
    February 27, 2012 at 8:29 PM (12 years ago)

    Hi Stephanie,

    My name is Marisa and I’m Celeste’s sister. I just felt compelled to tell you that on our side of the family and even on my husband’s side there has been battles with cancer. So your story is very near and dear to our hearts. You are being prayed for and thought of here in Texas. You are beautiful and by hearing and reading your story you are so strong. God has His way of working things out and making our love for Him grow. Rest assured, we won’t stop praying for you, your husband, and this journey.

  3. Donna Lasit
    February 27, 2012 at 8:41 PM (12 years ago)

    You are a champ! We are all so inspired by you! 6 months can seem daunting & yet day by day I believe that God will strengthen you, grace you & take care of every detail in your life!

    Prayers are surrounding you on all sides! We are WITH you! & God is so gonna blow your socks off in how he uses all this for His glory! He will turn it around & use it for good…

    Love you more than words….
    Donna xo

  4. Ginger
    February 27, 2012 at 10:11 PM (12 years ago)

    From Henry Blackaby’s “Experiencing God Day by Day” – today’s reading: “As a child of God you are never alone! Your Shepherd is with you at all times. You never have to call Him into your situation. You never have to wonder where He is. You never have to fear that if things become too difficult, He will abandon you. He goes before you; He walks beside you; He comes behind you. He protects you securely. Just as He sees every sparrow and knows every hair that is (still) on your head, so His gaze is constantly upon you. Even when you cannot see Him, He always keeps His eyes upon you. He comforts you with His strong presence in times of sorrow and grief. He leads you through the valley of the shadow of death. He does not necessarily lead you around the valley as you might wish. There are times when your Shgepherd knows that the only way to get you where He wants to take you is to lead you down the path that passes THROUGH the dark valley. Yet, at those times He walks closely wih you, reassuring you throughout the journey that He still loves you and is with you. It is during those times that you experience His love and compassion in a deeper dimension than you ever have before.
    You never need to fear evil. As intimidating as evil (cancer) can be, there is nothing you will ever face that intimidates your Shepherd. He has seen it all and soundly defeated every form of wickedness. Evil never catches Him by surprise. Your Shepherd is always prepared and knows exactlyh when and where you will experience difficulty. Place your absolute trust in your Good Shepherd that He will protect you and demonstrate His love for you through the darkest vallely.”

    I thought these paragraphs said it better than I could say it. (well, I added the words in the paraentheses)

    As your friend, I will not grow weary of praying for you; I am trusting God for your healing!

    love you,

  5. Julie
    February 27, 2012 at 10:58 PM (12 years ago)

    Stephanie, you do not know me or my family, but we are praying for you! I teach second grade with Lisa Riley, and she told me about what is happening to you. I immediately started praying for you and your family. My daughter, Kathryn, and I read your blog tonight. As she walked upstairs to go to bed, she told me that she was on her way to pray for you. I have five other children whom I will also share your story with. My children and husband will keep you in our prayers every single day :-)! Just know that you have the StewBu Crew Prayer Warriors praying that the Lord heals you soon.

    May the Lord bless you and continue to keep you strong. I know you will be able to do this. You have us as part of your team now! Hugs to you, Stephanie!

  6. Stephanie Oleson
    February 28, 2012 at 10:20 AM (12 years ago)

    Stephanie – I read this last night and thought of you!
    Steph Oleson

    Psalm 91

    1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
    2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”
    3 Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
    4 He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
    5 You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
    6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
    7 A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
    8 You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

    9 If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
    10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
    11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
    12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
    13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

    14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
    15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
    16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

  7. Melita
    March 2, 2012 at 11:22 PM (12 years ago)

    I have been reading your blog but until now didnt have the guts to write anything. I too have been battling cancer but did not have to go through the different treatments. I cried alot when I heard about your situation. I think of you and pray for you my dear- that God will renew your strength everyday. Thanks for sharing your story.

  8. Debbie Kane
    September 22, 2012 at 4:03 AM (12 years ago)

    Hello Stephanie, You don’t know me. I am one of those who found this site…as you put it “on a random search, it wasn’t by chance.” My name is Debbie Kane, I live in the NW Houston, Texas area in a town called Tomball. I too have been engaged in battle with an aggressive type of cancer. It is a blood cancer called Diffuse, Large B-Cell, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, stage 3. Today is September 22, 2012 and it is approximately 3:40 AM. I am once again spending another night of not being able to sleep. I am wide awake and involved in yet another the battle of the mind that will not shut up. I have so much to say and yet I hesitate to speak it out. So much has happened. So many similarities to your stories which I have been glued to for a couple of hours now. So many true, undeniable, unexplainable (for those who do not know the power of our amazing God that is!) miracles and needs met, etc. for the last couple of years that I’ve been at war with this horrific enemy called cancer. I have “journaled” my experience as you have…I just have not posted my story yet. I was waiting till the war ends. Now, I am wondering if I should have been posting it in a time-line as you have done. Before I write further, I am so thankful. For what you may ask? Name it. To have woken up this morning? Yes. To be through with chemotherapy since November 3, 2010? Yes. To serve an almighty God who never once has left my side or forsaken me ever? Yes. Again I say, name it. My answer is an emphatic YES! My body is still damaged from chemotherapy. Even after all of these many months…years??? I am in remission, but unlike what you were told, I was told that remission meant that the cancer in my lower left abdomen (lymph nodes) was no longer active. I was instead told that I was not cured. Nor was I cancer free. But that I was simply in remission and recurrence could happen at any time during the next 10 years. If the cancer remains dormant, then the percentage of chance of it recurring reduces over certain time periods. Like the 2 year mark, the 5 year mark…and if I am still in remission after 10 years of no recurrence, THEN doctors will say I am cured or I am cancer free. It’s very curious that different people get different information like this about remission and the cure. I suffer with extreme pain 24/7 and have to take many poisonous narcotics just to be able to get out of bed. Doctors have diagnosed so many debilitating syndromes, all caused by the chemo that deactivated the cancer. Neuropathy, Fibromyalgia, severely damaged immune system…that one’s a real bad-ass one, lol! I have become a “bubble girl”. My body can not fight off even the tiniest infections. We were always extremely clean (I was a recovering germaphobe!) and my environment now has to constantly be sterile. I have to wear a mask and disposable medical gloves on days when I am physically strong enough to even leave the house. I still can only do one thing a day before I am wiped out. I almost died twice during 2010. Once was on the night of my first chemo treatment. That story is nothing short of miraculous! The second time is when my white blood count went so low I was not supposed to survive the night. When the ER doctor told my husband and I this news…advising him to get my family to my bedside, etc. I saw the color leave my husband’s face and tears filled his eyes as he just looked at me with so much grief. I knew this was a lie and where it was coming from. So, even as weak as I was feeling…I asked the ER doctor to please check my feet for me. He gave me a questioning look as he started lifting the sheets off of my feet and asked me exactly what I wanted him to check….what was I feeling there…what was he looking for, etc. When he exposed the bottom of my feet and was picking them up one by one, looking for whatever he thought I was complaining about, I finally answered him. I said, “do you see anything?” He replied “no”. “What is wrong Debbie, I don’t see anything at all”. I asked him…”You don’t see an expiration date stamped on the bottom of my feet?” And as his mouth dropped open…and as he was unable to utter another word…literally speechless, I continued “I didn’t think so!” “Now please do not EVER assume that your experiences in the past apply to me.” “I serve a living, powerful, healing God. And only He….He ALONE knows when my time is up!” Then I looked at my husband and said to him, “Go home honey. I give you my word of honor that I will be here in the morning and will be much better.” My husband is my best friend. This October 8th will make 19 years of unconditional love and marriage. He knows me so well. He started to object, but he as my sole caregiver was suffering too. He needed rest. He believes in me. I’ve never ever broken my word to him. So, a little reluctant…a little hesitant…he kissed me on my forehead, stroked my bald head (lol!) told me how much he adored me and went home and slept the sleep of Peace that only God could have provided him. And just as I promised…much to the medical staff’s amazement, my fever broke during the night and my white blood count started rising rapidly. Four days later I was right as rain! That is my God! That is your God! That is the ONE, the ONLY, the AMAZING, the GLORIOUS, the POWERFUL, God that we all serve! Wow, I never intended to write all of this. My hands are not my own it seems. They are doing all the talking because in truth, I only meant to say Thank You…and that I admire your writing abilities…just the way you tell your story…the way it keeps us readers engaged…I just love it. One year ago on September 8, 2011, my mother-in-law died of Pancreatic Cancer when her white blood count went so low. I too was sick that day and my husband could not leave my side to make the almost two hour trip to visit her on the day she was admitted for Neutropenia. (This was a time I was having seizures of unknown causes…16 in that week alone.) He knew how fatal this Neutropenia could be because of what I just told you had happened to me. The low white blood count that causes patients to go Neutropenic. He planned to leave the next day after finding someone to stay with me during his absence. However, she died in the middle of the night before he could get to her side. He has carried so much guilt and so much sadness…wondering always about choosing me over his mom, when it turned out that I got better and she subsequently died. Tonight, my beautiful daughter-in-law Robbie…who is the mother of my first grandchild…granddaughter Shelby…13 years old, who is divorced from my son for many years…who to this day is still my sweet daughter-in-law and friend actually…who had skin cancer at age 19…which came back a few years ago after 20 years of no cancer…who has been cancer free for several years…just found out that she has cancer again. This time it is stage four melanoma in her pancreas, liver and lungs. She never smoked by the way. We live in Texas. But she had moved away a few years ago to live with my granddaughter in Pennsylvania. Her mom died suddenly this past January from an aneurism by the way. Well Robbie kept up with her 3 month and 6 month cancer check ups. She totally devoted herself to being the greatest single mother ever. But she developed a severe stomach pain on August 3rd…6 weeks or so ago. The pain was so horrific, that the ER admitted her. Her oncologist got involved too. They ran blood work. Did CatScans…even a PET Scan….and there was no evidence of cancer they said then. So, they chalked it up to severe gastritis and gave her medicine to combat it. While she has felt somewhat better over the last few weeks, this past week it returned with a fury. 50 times more pain. CT Scan still showed no sign of cancer, but they did a liver biopsy “just to see” and now it turns out that it was cancer all along. It has progressed so far that none of us know what the new doctor (she’s seeing a new oncologist for obvious reasons),is going to say to her on Monday. She is still in the hospital and has NOT told her 13 year old daughter what they have found. This little girl has seen her mom go through cancer once. Me, her grandmother go through it….lost her other grandmother this past January…and we are all concerned about Shelby and how she will take the news. My recent CAT Scan showed more nodules in my lungs and I am supposed to get the comparison narrative on Monday myself. Comparison to the CAT Scan that was done a few months ago. That is the routine…just like you spoke of. Follow ups every 3 months, then 6 months, etc. I guess I am writing you like this because I am angry. This is thankfully a very RARE emotion for me. I am not bragging, I swear. I just don’t usually get angry over stuff. Instead I get sad and emotional if anything. So, anger is not something I am familiar with and I just am not sure how to NOT be angry over her situation. I mean they even did a PET Scan for goodness sake. I was told that this was the latest and greatest piece of equipment for finding even the smallest traces of cancer. WHY WAS HER PET SCAN NEGATIVE SIX WEEKS AGO??? This is wrong on so many levels. That question is what led me to your blog tonight. I googled “How accurate are PET Scans” or something like that. Your blog came up in the search results. And so here we are. Again, I had no intention of venting all of this to you. It’s just that reading your blog posts, was like reading my own story with some of the details a little changed. I trusted God. He was as usual faithful. I had “hair loss” issues just like you. Your story seriously matches my journals (that I have not posted yet)…that it was uncanny. So, I couldn’t stop reading. The resemblance in our written stories are so similar that at first I couldn’t believe what I was reading! BTW, I am not a believer in coincidences. Everything happens for a reason. I believe in Divine Intervention and most certainly in Divine “Appointments”. This I believe is just that. A Divine Appointment for me to find your blog…see the amazing resemblance to my own life these past couple of years…and so again…I just had to write to you. I am still not sure why I am telling you all of this. Maybe you or someone else knows why I am here at your site. If I told you my whole story…you would understand what I am trying to say here. I am a girl of Faith. I have so many jaw dropping testimonies of just how Powerful God is and what a Blessing it is to have Jesus in our lives. I don’t even want to begin to imagine what cancer patients who do not know Him go through. That is a sadness I cannot afford to take on at the moment. Maybe one day we will meet or at least talk online. I am thankful once again for your blog. It allowed me to vent. It allowed me to express my deepest gratitude to my amazing Heavenly Father. It allowed me to once again be made aware that I am not alone. God Bless You with Abundance in all things and all things that bring His Peace. Sincerely, Debbie Kane, Tomball, TX, email: jkpromos1@gmail.com.


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