[My plan was that if the test came back with the opposite results I was going to title this post- "Merry Christmas to me, I have terminal cancer!" Pretty stoked that is not the title. :-))))]
Seriously though, what an answer to prayer! On Monday, I could tell the doctors thought I was metastatic. Technically the new chemos they've prescribed me are for "metastatic breast cancer". My long term disability paperwork my doctor filled out for me has "metastatic breast cancer" as the diagnosis. In spite of all that, I was having trouble believing I was metastatic (probably just a denial coping mechanism) because I didn't have any symptoms (not that you have to have symptoms to be Stage 4). When my doctor texted me the preliminary results that the PET was clear, Brad and I didn't really celebrate like you might expect. We truly believed that would be the case. The morning had been incredibly peaceful as I slept during the PET prep time and scan. I slept well the night before. Just simply no anxiety about the test.
I know this is going to sound totally crazy, but I really believe I still have a shot at this. I know what the data says. I know how absolutely terrible my prognosis is, but I still believe God is capable and willing to heal me. I think it is all the messages from family, friends, and even strangers reinforcing that idea of hope in me. Thank you! When you believe I can be healed and think it is worth your time to pray for that healing, it makes me feel slightly less crazy for continuing to believe in, hope for, and pray for a miracle.
My oncologist that I just love so much at UT Southwestern was undoubtedly more reserved and more solemn during our appointment. She understands what my "significant disease progression" implies about my future treatment and potential response. I think she is more realistic about what my future holds. She said that she will be the first one to let me know once we have exhausted all our options for treatments. Praying that that day never comes or it is very, very far away still.
The best case scenario to be praying for is that:
+ My two new chemos work wonders on my tumors, lymph nodes and circulating cancerous cells in my bloodstream (with minimal side effects)
+ We are able to get to surgery and remove my breast, skin, and lymph nodes, with clear margins (they get it all)
+ The pathology report shows no evidence of disease after surgery (chemo removed all the cancer)
+ I'm able to get in a (later) phase clinical trial for a new chemo to try for triple negative adjuvant (after surgery)
+ Finally, we are able to do radiation to do a mop up of whatever cancerous cells are left in my body
+ My bones, liver, lungs, and brain would be completely protected during treatment and that no rouge cancerous cell would start to grow distantly in my body
+ I make it to 5 years out and am deemed "cancer free"
Just getting to step one or two of the outlined "best case scenario" would be a miracle much less all of them. So for now, I'm focused on getting chemo on schedule and praying that it would shrink the cancer like crazy.
Speaking of chemo - I got it on Friday - yay! You know how much I love me some chemo!!! Brad was with me for the doctors appointment so I had someone with me at chemo which hasn't happened in months!
Also speaking of chemo, we had some trouble getting my second chemo through the pharmacy (it's pill form not through an IV). It was looking like I wasn't going to be able to get it until Tuesday - say what??! I have had too many medical reasons that chemo is pushed out, I was really upset to think about something that was just logistical-insurance-approval-red-tape delaying chemo. Brad worked super hard coordinating between a local specialty pharmacy and my insurance mail-order pharmacy to get an override. We found a pharmacy open on the weekends that carried chemo drugs so I was able to start it Saturday morning!!! Yay!
All the rigmarole made us an hour late to dinner with friends (sorry friends!). They offered to take us out to our favorite steak restaurant on Friday to celebrate the good news. It was delicious and we had a blast! Here's my celebration cake. I even got to blow the candle out and make a wish- I wished for a lifetime of negative PET scans! :-)