Anniversary & Update

I’m happy to say “goodbye” to January, a month that I was not looking forward to. January marked the one year anniversary of when my pregnancy turned frightening and I was admitted to the hospital, and it held the babies’ birthday. On Jan. 22 Nate and I commemorated their birthday in a small, quiet way, then welcomed the distraction of the Pats game in the evening.

One of the gifts of marriage is having a partner who is strong in areas where I am weak, and vice versa. Nate’s ability to be practical even in mourning has helped me greatly. I tend to mourn the loss of what I imagined and expected: the feeling of plump little baby bodies in my arms, chubby fingers digging into their first birthday cakes. Although it’s futile to guess what might have been, it is possible that reality might have been different than my expectations if our girls had lived. Their first birthday might have involved feeding tubes or other medical devices. It might have been spent in a hospital. It’s hard for me to look at pictures of the babies now because every picture shows a tiny grimacing face, a reflection of their constant pain and discomfort. I am glad that they will never grimace in pain again. I try to focus on that reality rather than on my mental images of laughing, chubby toddlers.

The girls’ birthday caused me to do some thinking on what their purpose here on earth was. They lived a short time, all within the confines of my body and then an incubator- to what end? What good did they do? It might seem like an odd question to be asking, but when it occurred to me, it was important to have an answer. The answer came quickly, and as far as I’m concerned, from the Lord. The first line of the Westminster catechism, not something that I think of often or am even very familiar with, entered my head: “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever.”
Our girls are enjoying the presence of God now, but what about glorifying Him? It occurred to me that it is Nate’s and my job to glorify God for our daughters, who didn’t have any recognizable ability to do so.

The update on my health isn’t good news. A few weeks ago a CT scan revealed that the tumors in my liver are growing, and there are very small spots on my lungs. I was expecting bad news, since I have been off chemo for so long. My platelets are back up to a level where I could have chemo, but my oncologist wants to be cautious about future treatments since I can only handle low doses of chemo. He wants me to have a procedure called radioembolization. It is similar to the TACE treatments, but this delivers radiation rather than chemotherapy directly to the liver. Nate and I will be meeting with the radiologist next week to discuss this option. As always, we are interested in balancing the benefit of the treatment vs the physical effects.

Nate and I want to take a trip to S. Utah / N. Arizona in March. This would be a simpler trip than our last Western trip. We would fly out and stay at hotels rather than drive and camp. The radioembolization procedure might change our plans- if I have the procedure, I’m not sure if it would be ok to wait till after we come back. The side effects could cause us to postpone or change the trip.

I would appreciate your prayers for God’s wisdom and guidance regarding treatment decisions.