My (New) Life

I wanted to post my story about Annie’s life (see previous post) as a way of setting the stage for the next part of my story. I was waiting to include some cool videos of Annie chopping wood, but haven’t been able to transfer the files.

One of the reasons I was so impressed with Annie’s hard work is that I was feeling weak and tired most of the time I was there. I couldn’t walk up and down the road or neighbor’s driveway as I had in the past. I had to pace myself to do small tasks. I just didn’t have the energy that I was used to.

When I got home, I saw my PCP right away and began testing to see what was going on. I suspected that the cancer was back.

First we looked at blood disorders. My hemoglobin had dropped from 10.7 to 9.4 so we knew I was anemic but not why. Most of the blood tests came back within normal limits so the following week I had a CT of the chest, abdomen and pelvis. Along with the anemia I had lost weight. I lost ten pounds intentionally in November, but when I started eating normally, the pounds kept slipping down instead of up, as they always had in the past.

The CT scan showed lesions on my spine, the likelihood of metastasis to the bone. The next week I met with my oncologist from Rush on Monday, a new oncologist out here on Wednesday, and had a bone marrow biopsy on Thursday and a PET scan on Friday–all this in the midst of the Covid-19 quarantine. (I think the timing was a benefit as I was able to get all this done fairly quickly and with few other people around.) We are assuming that the bone marrow will show the same kind of estrogen positive receptors as were involved in my breast cancer seven years ago. If so, the treatment (already begun) is a simple change in my daily medication. I’ve been taking Tamoxifen for six years. Most breast cancer patients take it for five years and then stop. My oncologist told me from the beginning that because of my lymph node involvement I would need to be on one of these drugs for the rest of my life so they were stretching the Tamoxifen to see how long it would work before starting another. It probably stopped working sometime late fall, but the effects of it didn’t catch up with me until February.

She promised that this time around the treatment would be “slow and gentle” and optimistically told me I could live for a long time with it. Right now, I am waiting for the meds to kick in and do their job, hopefully reversing my anemia and allowing me to function more normally.

But hey–who’s life is normal these days anyways? Its easy to be quarantined with so little energy and I’m not having to do it “alone.” Everybody else is in the same boat. John and Lizi are taking good care of me. I am at peace knowing God is in control of all the details, even in the midst of of a world pandemic. My heart aches for all who are suffering as a result and I certainly understand that people are feeling anxious and stressed. I’m in one of those places in life when I can’t do anything to change the circumstances of my personal life or that of the world around me, so it’s fairly “easy” to trust God.

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  • Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, You are my Lord, I have no good apart from you.” –Psalm 16:1
  • “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and come to know that you are the Holy one of God.” –Peter, in John 6:68
  • For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a Rock, except our God? The God who has equipped me with strength.” –Psalm 18: 31-32

tP. S. I’ve heard back from the doctor on my tests: The PET scan showed no new hot spots and the bone marrow biopsy showed that this is the same cancer from the breast, which means we are already on the right treatment path, not a new cancer. That’s actually good news. My hemoglobin went up tp 8.4, so the medicine seems to be working, though slowly. My doctor said it would take 3-4 weeks before I will start to feel better.

One last thing: Here I am with the “cancer quilt” my sister-in-law made for me seven years ago. Still wrapped in the encouragement from all who contributed. Also enjoying the sunshine πŸ™‚

12 thoughts on “My (New) Life

  1. May God bless you Chris, and may Jesus wrap His loving arms around you and your family. May you have peace and healing.
    Prayers going up…πŸ™πŸΌπŸ™πŸΌπŸ™πŸΌ

  2. That is very good news indeed. I hope you sit outside a little this morning and enjoy the warm breezes and bird songs before the rain returns. Happy Easter! May the peace of Christ be with you.

  3. Chris, you are an inspiration and encouragement. I am praying that your energy level and HGB will increase quickly. I pray that we can have many more walks together in the future. So glad you are my neighbor and wish I could carry some of your burden.

  4. Praying your treatment works quickly! Thankful for good medical care. That quilt is gorgeous! Thank you for sharing your journey and your heart.
    He numbers the hairs on your head!

  5. Just read your most recent post. I’m so sorry your cancer has returned. You live such a full life and have battled so many adversities-you will get through this one too. I hope things are going well for Johnny and that he is becoming more independent. Good luck and stay strong!

  6. Oh Chris, I just saw this today with Kristin. I’m so sorry you have this trial. God is in control, and God is using you in a mighty way. We will have you in our prayers. Glad you did visit us, and hope you can come back soon.

  7. You express yourself so well and I love that you are so honest. I am sad that the cancer is back after 7 years. The old “5 years and you’re good” we were told doesnt seem to be holding up either. Sending love and prayers to you Kathy Jo

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