He Was Wounded

Over the last two weeks I’ve become acquainted with yet another section of the excellent Tufts Medical Center. Our list includes Labor and Delivery, Maternal Special Care, Hematology/Oncology, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Cancer Infusion Center, and now Wound Clinic.

Wound- as in, gross, raw, gaping hole in the body. Mine was caused by Lovenox (blood thinner) necrosis from a shot in late January. It started as a huge bruise that degenerated to something like a blood blister, then to dead skin in a large area around the injection site. Normally the body might be able to take care of a wound like this without special attention. However, chemo attacks the most rapidly growing cells in the body, which include those forming to heal wounds. So, this nasty thing has been hanging around on me since February without much improvement. The only reason I am sharing this is because the darn thing became a huge challenge to me this week, both emotionally and spiritually.

I was getting concerned about the wound area and decided a few weeks ago to mention it to my oncology nurse at my next appointment. We met with my oncologist first and Nate brought it up. I actually didn’t want to mention it to him because I’m a chicken about gross things like this and would rather not have to deal with it. However, the doctor said the wound didn’t look right and I got an appointment at the wound clinic pretty quickly.

I’ll spare the details of what followed at the clinic. By the time I got home, the wound was bleeding profusely, although I didn’t realize it right away. After waking up from a long nap, I was shocked to see how much it was bleeding. Again, the details are disgusting. It’s enough to say that I borrowed some diapers from my sister in law because nothing else I had was absorbent enough. The bleeding continued through the night and the next morning, when I got so concerned that Nate took me back to the clinic.

As all this was happening, I became increasingly angry and despondent. Maybe it’s because I hate dealing with gross bodily stuff like this, but whatever the reason, I felt like it put me over the edge. It seemed like insult and injury at once. My attitude was “Really, God? Really?! After all that Nate and I have been through–THIS?!” It seems like a small thing, I know, but it was just the final straw. I was ANGRY. Angry with life, angry that I had to deal with this, angry that this stupid unnecessary thing had happened to me (the injection site was an error, and Lovenox necrosis is unusual). To call it what it is- I was angry with God. And despondent on top of it. I felt like giving up and wanted to just lay in bed– forever. I had nothing to say as Nate and I drove to Boston and waited to see a doctor. I just looked at him and shook my head. We usually cheer each other up pretty well, but at the wound clinic I lay on the gurney bed with no words. Mad and depressed.

The wonderful doctors and nurses at the clinic patched me up well. They stopped the bleeding and gave me some hemostatic material to use at home should it happen again. My mood improved a little. I texted my friend Lindsay, telling her my woes and she prayed for me (which gave me the insight that whoever you call or text when you’re at your lowest is a good friend indeed).

Later that night I was thinking about all of this and the Holy Spirit reminded me of a truth that completely changed my attitude: “He was wounded for our transgressions”. It hit me that Jesus’ wounds were huge, terribly painful, and they took His life. There was no stopping the bleeding. And He did it for me. For my joy, Jesus chose suffering. He knowingly and willingly went to the nails, the pain, the bleeding, the raw, gaping, bodily gore that I hate to deal with. It’s not just that my little wound is nothing in comparison, but what really changed my thinking was getting my eyes on Jesus rather than myself.

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

 

 
Side note- Nate and I are in the process of sending out thank you letters to friends who have given us gifts. I am holding up the process due to procrastination- I hope to have them all sent before 2017 🙂

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Results!

Dear Friends,

I want to tell you the good news about the results from my first CT scan after four chemotherapy treatments. Dr. Saif, my oncologist, said that all of the tumors have shrunk in size, and some of the smaller lesions have disappeared completely. He said that these results are amazing and unusual, as they never see progress like this in 2 months. The results are more congruent to someone who has been having treatment for 4 to 6 months. Awesome!

So, FOLFIRINOX is working well for me, and I seem to be tolerating it well with only minor side effects (the last two treatments, anyway). Dr. Saif is very pleased that he chose not only the right treatment, but also the right doses of the chemicals. In fact, he said that when he read the results he did a little dance 🙂 I am fortunate to have this doctor for my oncologist. As he said, ‘There is a reason that of all the hospitals you might have gone to, of all the oncologists you might have had, you met me. There is a reason for everything and only God knows’. I couldn’t agree more.

More good news is that I don’t need any surgeries at this time because nothing needs to be removed. Wonderful!

The plan for now is to have 4 more chemo cycles (the 5th one was today) and at the end have another CAT scan and a PET scan.

After meeting with the doctor, I got settled in our room at the infusion center and was on the verge of breaking down in tears of relief and release of pent up emotion. I held it together since nurses were coming in, but at some point I am going to have a happy cry and thank my Father for His goodness to me. Well, I’ve been doing a lot of that already and have been hearing throughout the day, as I texted friends the news, that people all over the US are praising God with me. I like to imagine that when there’s a swelling of thanks and praise going to God all at once, angels join in and proclaim or sing the goodness, mercy and glory of God.

Nate reminds me that I am not out of the woods yet. I have not been healed of cancer as of yet and it may be a long road until that happens (that is, if God’s plan is to heal me). But I can see the relief in Nate’s face and the light in his eyes. After waiting the longest, most stressful 8 days of my life between the test and getting the results, a big burden has been lifted from both of us.

Thank you all for faithfully praying, staying in touch and caring how we’re doing.
Love,
Amy & Nate