Thursday, July 31, 2014

"Metastatic"

[Please note that this post was written earlier in the week prior to yesterday's day of fasting and prayer. Brad and I have intentionally wanted this blog to be "real" and not to sugarcoat how we are feeling throughout the journey- fair warning this is one of the more "real" ones. It is also important to note that I've had perfect peace today and yesterday that I would say is directly correlated with so many people praying- so thank you! 

As it turns out, the day of fasting came at just the right time as I was just notified that my scans will be conducted all day tomorrow. I will post an update on my staging when I am emotionally ready to share the news. Please pray for my heart to be prepared to hear the news, whatever it may be.]

Metastatic is such a scary word. Metastatic means incurable. It means potentially a 0 to 5% prognosis of making it 5 years from now...and the scariest part is there is a 20-30% chance I have metastatic breast cancer.

When I was pregnant I kept thinking the cancer had spread to my bones because my hips would ache or my feet would tingle. Or, I would think it had spread to my lungs because I would get out of breath carrying Noah up the stairs with an extra 35 pounds around my midsection. My doctors had to remind me over and over again that it was much more likely that these symptoms were from me being pregnant.

For the last few weeks I had pretty much convinced myself that if I had metastatic cancer, I would already be having symptoms because my triple negative cancer was moving at the speed of light. I was really relieved when all my aches, pains, and shortness of breath went away after delivery. Then this weekend after my surgery, I started having pain when I took in deep breaths. Which in my crazy mind, means it has spread to my lungs.

I spent an hour on an IBC network facebook page reading story after story about women that had died of IBC- young women, with young children, women that shouldn't have died yet- women just like me. When you combine that with a few websites describing prognoses of metastatic cancer, my brain spirals into picturing what it would look like if I die of this disease. I picture Noah walking around the house calling, "Mama, Mama?" and me not being there to answer him. I picture David never knowing to call "Mama," because he wouldn't even remember who I was.

I know this line of thinking isn't healthy, good, or edifying. Brad is good about trying to course correct me and helping me review the information we do know. I also had my oncologist's nurse and my surgeon to talk some sense into me as well. In fact, my surgeon said that they took a lung x-ray that would have shown any tumors that would be big enough to affect my breathing. So while not a perfect screening for lung mets, it does make me feel slightly better.

When other small symptoms pop up (from one of the many procedures I've put my body through recently, or one of the numerous drugs that I'm on, or from something totally random), it is hard not to assign it back to cancer. To stay functioning and sane though, I have to focus on what we do know - my liver sonogram, blood tests, and chest x-ray came back negative. My breast sonogram, mammogram, and biopsy came back positive for IBC. And even if the PET scan/ MRI with contrast comes back negative for cancer spread, it doesn't mean it won't someday come back positive.

Somehow in the midst of all this uncertainty and terrible odds, I have to keep relying on God to give me peace. I have to keep coming back to His Word:

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

So yes, there is a huge percent chance that this disease will kill me, and kill me soon. But during this battle, I will keep putting my faith in Christ and lean on Him for strength, courage, and joy during this season. When the statistics and symptoms scare me, I will look to a God that is greater than all these.

7 comments:

  1. Ashleigh, this is Dana Ingram (I danced with you FBC Christmas Programs). I have been following you. I have breast cancer that has metastasized into my bones after nine years of being "cancer free". It will be five long years of taking non-stop chemo and many surgeries this October. I have walked in your shoes and it disturbs me the way you have been thinking. I thought those exact thoughts. That is when I asked my friends to pray for my mind. The devil uses our minds to take our eyes off God. When it happens now, I start singing Baptist hymms and God takes over. Please try that!!! Also, like you every time my body hurt, I just knew it was the cancer. My oncologist gave me great advice that I follow everyday. He said "if something aches for more than 10 days constantly come into the office. Otherwise, you are just getting old." This is a very true statement. I am getting old. This walk is not easy but when we hold tightly to God's hand, we can do anything. If you ever want to talk, give me a call at 972-345-0816 or dingram1978@gmail.com My motto is: Kickin' Cancer's Butt - Everyday!!!!

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  2. One thing my counselor recommended to me is to schedule your worry time. Thirty minutes each day in which you allow yourself to worry. If you start worrying outside that time, put it off until your worry time. It helps me not constantly worry. And by the time my worry time comes along, I'm too busy to take advantage of it. It helps me to enjoy my life without being constantly consumed by negative "what if" thoughts. Praying for you and your family.

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  3. افضل شركة تنظيف خزانات ومنازل وشقق بالمدينة المنورة شركة غسيل خزانات ومكافحة حشرات بالمدينة المنورة ونقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة مؤسسة صفوة المدينة
    شركة غسيل خزانات بالمدينة المنورة

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  4. الشرق الاوسط من اهم شركات نقل العفش بالدمام متحصصه فى نقل عفش واثاث بالدمام ونقل العفش بالخبر كما انها توفر شركة نقل عفش بالجبيل والخبر وشركة نقل عفش بالقطيف والاحساء وجميع خدمات نقل العفش والاثاث بالمنطقة الشرقية بارخص اسعار نقل عفش بالدمام وتقدم ايضا شركة تخزين عفش بالدمام والخبر
    شركة الشرق الاوسط
    شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
    شركة نقل اثاث بالخبر
    شركة نقل اثاث بالجبيل
    شركة نقل عفش بالخبر
    شركة نقل عفش بالقطيف
    شركة نقل اثاث بالاحساء
    شركة نقل عفش الجبيل
    شركة نقل عفش بالدمام
    شركة نقل اثاث بالجبيل
    شركة نقل عفش بالخبر
    شركات النقل البري بالدمام
    شركات نقل العفش بالدمام
    ارقام شركات نقل العفش بالدمام
    ارخص شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام
    شركة تخزين عفش بالدمام
    شركة نقل اثاث بالخبر

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