He Can and He Did
There is so much to tell and I feel at a loss for where to start, so I will start in the middle.
The Middle (and best part)
Yesterday, Rachel had a PET scan to assess the metabolic activity in the remaining liver lesions. We waited all day for results. I called three times to see if they were in yet and if they had sent them to Dr. Chen’s office. Finally, I think they got the hint and called us back saying the results were in and had been faxed over. At 4:24pm, we got word “Your prayers have been answered”. The fax was in and the results were good. Where there were tumors, there was no more evidence of malignancy. The news we had longed to hear for the past four months was here and it didn’t feel real. God is good and our prayers have been answered. It’s gone.
Soon after we received the news, as we were on our way to Seattle, our car starting making funny sounds. By the time we arrived at the apartment, it appeared that the front passenger wheel bearing was shot. We found later that four of the five lug nuts pins had sheered off and the wheel was being held by the final little lug nut that could. We had a dinner reservation in an hour and doctor appointments in the morning and no car. I’m a planner, so my initial response is to stress until a new plan emerges. Rachel looked at me and said “I don’t have cancer, I don’t care about the car”. That was good enough for me, so we got an Uber and made it to our reservation. We had an anonymous sponsor pay for a fancy dinner at a fine dining establishment in Seattle. We had the chef decide what we would eat. To sum up both us as people as well as the dining experience, Rachel leaned over to me at one point and said “I don’t know if I just burped the octopus, caviar, or duck liver”.
While we ate, Rachel’s younger brother Adam and a couple friends came to Seattle with our other car in tow to trade out and head back home. He made our lives so much easier by significantly inconveniencing his own and we really appreciate it!
Last week we took a break from treatments and enjoyed a “normal” week. I worked and Rachel was with the kids. We had friends over for games and took the kids for a drive. It felt surreal for Rachel to be feeling well, without the pain and lethargy of chemo in her system. It made the scan that much more nerve wracking. What if it’s not gone? What if it spread? What if? We struggled with these thoughts through the week heading into the scan. Thankfully, God has shown His ability and desire to sustain, so it did not feel as overwhelming an unknown as we have been through in the past. We are learning that our experiences lay a foundation for our understanding of the future. As God proves Himself time and time again, it is easier for us to lean into Him for the next unknown. Rachel shared at our Thanksgiving service that this is a trial she would never choose, but she wouldn’t undo it either. This is because of the foundation it has laid for both of us. We can now know what is meant when the Apostle Paul says that in our weakness, He is strong.
We met with Dr. Chen and Dr. Sweet (a colleague of Dr. Gignac who has taken over his practice) today to discuss the results of the scan and the next steps. For Stage IV Colon Cancer, textbook treatment is a minimum of 6 months of chemo. The disease is considered incurable but controllable. This conventional wisdom is the reason we looked to more creative methods for treatment. Thankfully, our team is on the same page. Our plan at the moment is to take a break from chemo through the holidays and then return to it for six weeks in January 2019. This is considered the consolidation phase of treatment where the remaining cancer cells that are not detectable but still active are destroyed. They are weakened as they no longer have the infrastructure of the tumor and are more prone to complete elimination. Consolidation is typically considered the “decider” between full remission and recurrence. After those six weeks, we will plan one more scan. Assuming that scan is still clean, we would have the reattachment surgery as soon as possible.
For now, we still sit in the glow of our good news. Rachel almost immediately went live on Facebook (see the video below) to share the news with those of you that have been faithfully with us through this journey. That video, like this website, has now gone global, far outside our circle of friends and family as word of Rachel’s story spreads. This was the perfect symmetry as this chapter closes and we begin the next. What started with tears of sorrow, ended with ones of joy and our story continues.
P.S. For up-to-date information on how you can best pray for us in this new chapter of our lives, take a look at the Prayer Requests page on this site (linked in the upper right corner)