Saturday, August 16, 2008

Several of the past few days the verse, "This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it" kept running through my mind. As Friday and the return visit to the oncologist approached, I asked myself if I could stop the verse from "running through" and have it stay with me all day long. Thankfully, I can tell you now, in the early Saturday morning hours, that it was a good day: God's handiwork was present everywhere; we rejoiced in the report, the treatment, the clinic personnel who do indeed become your friends; the love and support of family, including grandchildren who don't understand exactly, but know enough to give support in their own ways; and we especially rejoiced in the end of the day birthday celebration for Tom.

The scans indicate disease that has progressed since the last ones were taken in April, but the good news is it has not spread to other sites. The radiologist who wrote the report seemed to write in more complete and understandable language than some of the others, a style a layperson like I appreciate. His words will help me not wonder everytime there is a new (and normal) feeling of passing discomfort. After all I have had major surgery in my abdomen, I'm not a spring chicken, I am overweight and have had just a bit of chemo in my lifetime. Normal wear and tear on the body takes its toll!

My oncologist is kind and gentle, a man of few words, but he reminds me of an old TV commercial for a brokerage firm. Do you know the one I mean? The setting was usually very noisy with many people engaged in conversation. Suddenly, one person would lean over to another and quietly say, "When E.F. Hutton speaks . . ." , the room would grow silent and everyone would stop to listen. When Dr. Reed speaks, I listen. I know he has researched my condition and has used his best knowledge and wisdom to prescribe what is best for me. The drug of choice, this the fourth time to be treated for ovarian, is Doxil, a drug I had the first time in the clinical trial at UC Davis. This time it is the only drug, whereas the first time it was an addition to the usually prescribed drugs for my particular cancer and stage. Though I was told today that it is less toxic than some, I blamed all the quirky side effects on it. We'll see how it affects me this time. I had the first treatement today, will have one in September and October and then re-evaluate. The questions remain: how long will chemo be able to control the cancer? How long will I be able to tolerate the drugs? Will I have to have some sort paper to certify me as a "toxic waste site?"

A part of my faith statment centers around question and answer number one in the Westminster Shorter Catechism: What is man's chief end? Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. So the greater question for me will always be: Today and in what way will I glorify God and enjoy Him? Cancer will one day destroy my body, but it will never destroy my relationship with God. He has all the answers.

Thank you for all your continued prayers.

Pastor Margaret

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