Father, thank you for the good week, for the rest that is in You. Thank you for answered prayer and that as your children You completely surround us. Thank you all for your continued prayers and support.
This week has been a mixture of emotions, our definition of remission ended up being a much longer time than was supported by the studies. At the last visit with her oncologist, the oncologist referred to the CLEOPATRA study that came out in January 2012 discussing that the best outcome from metastatic breast cancer was using Perjeta, Herceptin, and Taxetere, which is the reason he used those medications on Theresa. This study (with 808 women) and a review about metastatic breast cancer treatment published June 30,2016 discussing 4 ongoing studies related to this treatment and three studies looking at new anti-HERS treatments are where his comments to Theresa came from. In addition the survival rates for breast cancer, separated by stage, have been relatively the same for years, with metastatic breast cancer having only 22% of women making it 5 years (while 2-5% are long term survivors). How long her remission will be is uncertain. From a data perspective, all metastatic breast cancer patients will eventually develop resistance to the treatment she received. That is why there are two points they look at, progression free survival and overall survival. The progression free survival in the CLEOPATRA study was 18.5 months, while over all survival actually is yet to be determined, but is felt around 56 months or 4.5 years. And this is for breast cancer that is HERS-2neu positive for over expression, which was not the case for Theresa’s cancer. Hers was equivocal. Yet, her oncologist told her that 30% of patient’s without over expression responded as well.
So, as we don’t know the mind of God, and we don’t know how long a miracle he has given her. We have to use what we know clinically, but also balance that with the dramatic results Theresa obtained when the odds were she shouldn’t have responded, thus the hand of God intervening. Could it be that God intervened so her cancer would respond and give her the longest disease free survival expected? Did He intervene so she will be a 2-5% long term survivor? Or did He intervene and cure her outright? I won’t presume upon God what He had in mind, and what He has planned. He has given us a reprieve, an unexpected summer, and a future together that may possibly see our kids established on their own.
What I do know is that the anguish of the past months have passed and are finished. Other than the fatigue and nausea every three weeks from the Herceptin which she will get for the next 12 months, I have my wife back. We can make plans together, take a few of those trips we have put off, take care of those things that are important but put on the back burner. I am grateful for the extra time, and will try to make the best of it for both Theresa and the kids. The miracle is that it isn’t over yet, I was taken by surprise with her diagnosis, a whirlwind of regrets (should have’s) filled my mind. We were blindsided by this sudden severe diagnosis. But God heard all of our prayers, intervened, and blessed us with time to work all of this out and to love on each other.
We are waiting on a consultation with an oncologic surgeon to discuss if Theresa should have surgery this summer. As always we covet your prayers and your continued walking with us.
From my reading this week: “sing…to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything (Ephesians 5:19-20)” “No matter the source of the evil confronting you, if you are in God and thereby completely surrounded by Him, you must realize that it has first passed through Him before coming to you. Because of this, you can thank Him for everything that comes your way. This does not mean thanking Him for the sin that accompanies evil, but offering thanks for what He will bring out of it and through it. May God make our life one of continual thanksgiving and praise, so He will then make everything a blessing.”
“I once saw a man draw some black dots on a pice of paper. Several of us looked at it yet saw nothing but an irregular arrangement of dots. Then he also drew a few lines, put in a few rests, and added a treble clef at the beginning. Suddenly we realized that the dots were musical notes, and as we began to sound them out, we were singing, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Praise Him all creatures here below”. Each of us has many black dots or spots in our life, and we cannot understand why they are there or why God permitted them. But when we allow Him into our life to adjust the dots in the proper way, to draw the lines He desires, and to put rests at the proper places to separate us from certain things, then from the black dots and spots He will compose a glorious harmony. So let us not hinder Him in His glorious work! ” C.H.P.
“Many people owe the grandeur of their lives to their tremendous difficulties.” Charles H. Spurgeon
May you have a blessed week.