Thursday, September 10, 2015

The results...


Good Shepherd, our lovely church was the last stop we made before heading home Monday night.  It was another glorious sunset and it left me with such peace in my heart.




Earlier I had taken a few pics of something else that spoke to me.  My hydrangea plant has been barren all spring and summer.  It had so many blooms last year, and I longed to have them again this summer.  It had started to green up early, filling me with hope, and then we plunged into below freezing temps a few days, late this spring.  It seemed the flowers were not going to bloom this year at all.  But we never stopped watering the plant somehow, nurturing it, loving it, while we waited.


Until one day late in August, out of the blue, I stooped down as I watered, and look what I saw?  One single blossoming flower- in a lovely purplish bluish hue.  


Its fitting for the kind of summer I've had.  These minuscule moments of joy, hidden in a landscape of   hard and heavy.  But the light seems to always find a way to shine through, doesn't it? 



Dr. Panwalkar strode into the exam room yesterday morning right on time.  But stopped right at the door and...


maybe, for one of the first times I've seen in a long time...

He looked right into my eyes, and he was beaming.

He shook hands heartily with Rick, then with me, smiling as he greeted us pleasantly, and sat right down.

He fired up the computer, and we sat waiting for the images of the scans to load.  

"Oh come on..." he said impatiently.

For whatever reason, I was really calm.  

Slowly the images began to load.  

PET scan first.  He orients me to the direction, and puts the oldest and newest side by side.

He syncs them together, so that slice by slice, we can see the differences.

And let me just say, friends, oh my!  They were SO different!!

The old one, glowed yellow.  That disgusting, gut wrenching, glowing cancer activity that seemed to inhabit every slice we worked our way through.

But that isn't where we focused...

my eyes were glued to the spots, not even showing up on the other side.

Smallish splashes, mere hints of yellow, here and there.

But nothing in comparison to what it had been!

From my lungs, to my uterus, my bowels, my colon, my pelvis, etc., minimal signs of disease.  

Then we looked at the CT scan in black and white where its easier to see the cancer spots in white.  Side by side, we watched as some spots on one scan would completely not show on the other- some were gone!  Others, were definitely smaller.

But we still had one scan to go- my brain MRI.

Slowly they loaded, side by side- old and new.

I had a rather hard time with the scan on Tuesday.  They couldn't find a vein in my arm, to inject the contrast dye.  I quit counting the pokes, at 7 or 8.  Two techs, and no sweet spot on the only arm they can use.  Its so covered in black and blues spots... but I'd do it all over again... because...

For whatever reason... my two brain spots?

SHRUNK!

Even though, chemo is not supposed to cross the blood-brain barrier?

Somehow, it must have!  

Dr. Panwalkar said, sometimes chemos do cross the barrier, but its such a small percentage that they don't taut chemo as a good treatment option, especially when radiation has such a high rate of success.  

I'm smiling and nodding, and really, I'm thinking... it isn't just the chemo or the radiation- I think 

it's prayer that gets through.  It's prayer that passes muster.  

I think of my prayer list, that I gripped all the way through my MRI scan.  Over and over I prayed for all those who asked.  And for those who didn't?  I prayed gratitude for all you've done for me.  Over and over again.  

“Eucharisteo—thanksgiving—always precedes the miracle.” 
― Ann VoskampOne Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are


So Dr. Panwalkar suggests we simply keep going on with the 3 chemo drugs- but he will somewhat reduce the Taxotere.  

Big sigh...

With the laundry list of symptoms I have in my hands, knowing I will have to keep enduring all of them, is overwhelming.  Plus knowing, that living with metastatic disease, I am not likely to ever go into remission.  But knocking the cancer back, squelching its ability to grow for awhile, is truly a God given gift- more time. 


Plain and simple- it's working.  Amen! 


And so Dr. Panwalkar asks, "Any other questions for me?"

And I smile big.

"Could I give you a hug?"

And he is quickly standing,  as I rise up to meet him, and he hearty laughs while saying "of course," as his arms encircle me all the way around.  He hugs me tight, and I manage to whisper, "I'm so grateful for all you do for me, Dr. Panwalkar. Thank you." And he answers back, "you're welcome."


We slip out the door, and he ushers me into the waiting room chairs, but like always, he rubs my back as he then turns to saunter off into the depths of the infusion center.  




“It is in the dark that God is passing by. The bridge and our lives shake not because God has abandoned, but the exact opposite: God is passing by. God is in the tremors. Dark is the holiest ground, the glory passing by. In the blackest, God is closest, at work, forging His perfect and right will. Though it is black and we can't see and our world seems to be free-falling and we feel utterly alone, Christ is most present to us...” 
― Ann VoskampOne Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are





















79 comments:

  1. I decided to peek at my feedly reader while finishing dinner prep. Wow I am so glad I did!!

    Tears and praise and Thanks be to GOD over here in my kitchen, breathing my prayers of thankfulness at my kitchen sink.

    Vicky. Wow. I am so grateful to be on this amazing journey with you. Prayers for your ongoing treatments, for loads of grace as you soldier on xxx

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    1. Susan, I am so grateful that YOU come with ME- your blessed prayers humble me so. Thankful for you, friend- so thankful!

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  2. P.S. I love hydrangea, it's so pretty ... as are you!

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    1. I cherish that one little blossom so much- thank you- you are so kind :)

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  3. My tears are flowing. Happy tears. So happy for you, sweet friend.
    Praise God from Whom ALL blessings flow!
    Continued prayers for you....for always.
    Love,
    Jackie

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    1. Oh Jackie- thank you, friend! You've seen me through- so very much and I am so grateful for your continual support and love. Love you friend!

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    2. Perfectly said, Jackie. We are all rejoicing with you, Vicky!

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  4. You're like that one blooming hydrangea on the bush that hasn't bloomed all summer! Beautiful, full of life...full of Christ...full of miracles! Blessings to you, sweetie!

    Hugs,
    Jan ♥

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    1. Thank you, for those sweetest of words, Jan- so thankful for you!

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  5. Oh Vicky! happy happy dance! I saw that you had posted. I hit to come here...saw the new top pic of the sunset and your boys...saw the title to this post, In me I new it had to be good news..because it is Wed. and you posted. But do you know what I did? I went to go fix a cracker with Tomato and swiss cheese.....just in case I needed fortitude... I had to prolong, just a little bit. Well chemo is kicking Butt! I kind of thought it was because it sure has been kicking you with side affects and all sorts of hard! BUT I LOVE the fact it shrunk the two spots in the brain! this had me in Happy dance mode like no tomorrow! Oh lady, how glad I am for good results after all your going thru. YES prayers are answered. you are loved! and you are needed right were you are! oh just so happy. LOVE the pic of you. you are a human sparkler you are. And I love your delicate, beautiful, strong Hydrangea. It is so you! love love love love....YOU!

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    1. Thank you, Peggy Sue, for always believing and hoping with me. You always offer such positive and hopeful encouragement with so much love- I feel it always. I pray you fully feel, your prayers and wishes will be answered in His perfect time for you as well :) Sending you so much love~

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  6. Thank God for great news! And, thank you for sharing it with us. Many prayers that the chemo keeps working and grants you many more years.

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    1. So thankful for YOU coming to share with me :) Much love to you~

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  7. my happy tears are flowing for you!!! prayers, miracles, God's will….let's take and accept it all while we simply smile and exhale…..and that little bud who is flowering now and full of strength and determination? hmmmm, sounds just like someone i know :) xo

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    1. Ahhh, thank you- beautiful words- and yes- we just humbly take it - in this moment and give thanks :)

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  8. Happy tears and thanksgiving for your good news and for you.

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    1. My tears are mingling with yours, Susan :) So grateful to you for coming along with me!

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  9. Praise God!!! Prayers work and our God is a God of miracles! I am sitting here at my desk beaming! I will definitely be writing this as a praise in my prayer journal.

    Praying always,
    Love and hugs,

    Eileen

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    1. Yes, Eileen- a praiseworthy entry in your journal, for sure! Never could I have dreamt up such an abundantly blessed gift- a miracle. Thankful for your ever-encouraging and supportive words- and those precious prayers! Love to you, friend~

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  10. Oh no! My note must not have made it through. I hate trying to reconstruct because it said just what I wanted it to say, but I will repeat less eloquently this time. I had admitted to having a pumpkin mocha cooler yesterday, but really wanting to have a warm, sweet drink with you soon. So I will wait until the time is right. But praise our good God indeed for more time! yipeeeeee! Oh, and the most important thing: how fabulous you look in that cap. It is just so darn cute with you in it!

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    1. Oh- I so dislike that too. But, your spirit shines through no matter what! The hat has become a staple for me- my head even shows some fluid retention and I get such deep grooves from the wig- oh well- hats it is :) And yes- can't wait to meet- if all goes well- soon hopefully. xxoo

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  11. tears of thanksgiving and a bowed head, here at my blue table. your smile and that hat you're rocking in the picture are fantastic medicine for my soul today! BIG hugs from GA!!!

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    1. Me too, friend- just what I needed as well. Big hugs, right back to you!

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  12. Oh Vicky,
    Okay I am just downright sobbing. I have been holding my breath it seems. Praise God for all the prayers and for them being answered. Of course those prayers crossed that barrier!!

    When I saw the heading "Results..." I stopped, said a prayer and just started reading out loud as Bert was there and he too has been praying. I kept crying and saying "Praise God!" This is a miracle. Such great news!! And that picture of you at the end of the post...
    I will frame it! That joy written all over your face...says it all.

    Shouting the JOY from Spokane!
    Much love,
    Linda

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    1. Linda, the photo shows the true lifting of the burden I definitely felt that day. I'm so thankful for all you have done to share in this journey with me- from your spirit-filled words, heartfelt prayers, abiding faith, and sisterly- love, I wouldn't be where I am without Him, and blessed friends like yourself. Love always-

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  13. Praising God with you, Vicky! I cannot wait to tell my 13 year old when she returns from her drama group because we pray for you during our morning prayer time before we begin our schoolwork. We are so grateful for good news for you! Have you seen War Room? If not, you must treat yourself when you are able.

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    1. Melinda, I have not seen War Room yet, but have heard so many recommend it! I will definitely see it at some point :) I'm so touched you and your daughter would pray for me- I am so grateful to both of you!

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  14. I've been following your story quietly in the background for a while now, I followed you over from some blog long ago. I'm continuing to pray for you and your family and rejoice in the latest victory with you!

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    1. Amber, oh how I love new faces popping up. Thank you so much for your prayers and support and for rejoicing along with us!

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  15. love you!
    xo
    pray without ceasing!

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    1. Amen, Tiffany~ love you sweet friend!

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  16. So thrilled to read your news....it brought tears to my eyes!

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    1. I'm so touched to have you share in my news! Grateful to you :)

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  17. What a wonderful report! I don't comment very often, but want you to know I've been keeping you, your hubby and two boys in my prayers. Praying for strength, grace, precious memories made and more time. Always more time.

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    1. Knowing you are out there, praying for us, means so much to me. Those prayers have sustained and nourished me in so many ways, and I am humbled and grateful!

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  18. so afraid to read this post and then BAM!!! A few tears shed over here. Yippee!!

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    1. So thankful to have you along with me, Joan- your cards and caring truly mean a lot to me- blessings to you!

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  19. God is faithful ~ awesome news and time to turn up the prayers even higher ! ! !

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    1. He is faithful, and I am so honored to have you along with me- thank you!

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  20. I love Hydrangeas. I consider them one of the "grandma flowers" because they, along with camellias and others, grew alongside my grandma's house. I can't grow them here. I am so very happy and thankful for your good news. I know that flower is blooming for you :-)

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    1. Denise, I wondered and wondered about that 1 flower :) The plant was a gift from my sweet friend, after my Dad died. It has flourished in an area where it normally wouldn't do so well. I love that you call it "grandma flowers."

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  21. Oh how I needed this news today. And your words, Vicky. I am rejoicing with you on one of the emotionally most trying days. I'm waiting, right now, while a friend spells me with mom in the ER, so I could come home and grab a few things, go let her dog out (who I have to find a home for in 24 hours(, and Hunter has taken my car to get gas. So I took this few moments while I'm waiting for him to check on you and THIS is what I read. To Gid be the glory, great things He has done, I love you.

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    1. Oh Robin,
      I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers this week after the emotionally trying day you wrote about. You are so amazing and have such a big heart. Some parts of our journey are just plain hard, aren't they.

      Sending you loves and hugs and prayers, dear friend!
      Love Linda

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    2. Robynn, I have you in my prayers as well. The burdens you are carrying right now are mighty, and I pray that he shows you the way through, while providing strength and comfort as you need them. I love you dearly, and will keep all of you close to my heart! Love you, Robynn!

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  22. Of course I meant GOD but I know HE knows.

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  23. Beautiful picture of you. Beautiful results! I can see that all these wonderful, powerful people praying for you and your grateful, generous spirit have lifted you up where miracles happen.

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    1. I love how you described this- beautifully said and I am very touched by this!

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  24. Happy, grateful tears Vicky!! What a beautiful post to read at the end of my day! Love and hugs to you!!

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    1. Thank you, Cheri! Happy and grateful tears in abundance here, too :) Thanks for coming along with me- helps more than you know! Love to you!

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  25. Praise the LORD!! I so prayed for some good news for you. Giving thanks and all the glory to our Lord! Love the hydrangea! I can't count the times the Lord has given me a single flower, totally unexpected, to show me He is there, He is with me. He speaks to us in so many ways..all we have to do is look around, listen, trust Him. So happy for you, Vicky! Continued prayers for you and your sweet family. Much love to you!

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    1. Thank you, Nina! I also believe He speaks to us in so many ways- and yes- we just have to be open to seeing it. Thankful for your precious prayers, and loving words, always! Much love to you~

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  26. You will be unwrapping those Christmas ornaments this year!! So happy for you...

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    1. Oh gosh- isn't that a beautiful thought? So blessed- so grateful!

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  27. Oh, I am so glad! I have been following you and praying for you and I am so, so glad!

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    1. Thank you! Love seeing so many new faces pop up here- so thankful for all of you!

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  28. So, so glad to hear this, Vicky! God bless.

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    1. Thank you, Jennifer! Blessings and love to you~

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  29. Wonderful news. God is good. I want you to know that I asked you to pray for my friend, Ruth, who has pancreatic cancer. She also had some good news yesterday. The doctors were able to do a procedure where a second stint was placed below the first one. They were able to removed the tubes from her mouth. We spoke last night, and she sounded strong even though she is not enjoying the liquid diet. Thanks for your prayers for all those who were on your list.

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    1. I'm honored to pray, Francis. And I am so encouraged to hear there is good news for your friend. I pray that she feels comfort and relief and has continued strength for the days ahead. Much love to you~

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  30. Hi Vicky - haven't visited here for quite a while. Am so happy to hear your news!!! Just wonder-full.

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    1. Bonnie- how great to see you here! Love how you put it- wonder-full, exactly right! I pray you are doing well- I'm grinning ear to ear at seeing you here :)

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  31. I too stopped by between tasks--cleaning the kitchen. The sentence about Dr. Panwalker started the happy tears and I had to stop and think. Yes, beaming is good. Thankful for the good news and thankful to have met you via the internet.

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    1. Yes- beaming in such a natural and genuine way. It put me at ease, even though I wasn't reading into it necessarily. So thankful to have you along with me, Donna!

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  32. Dearest Vicky,I am so happy,thrilled for you with the miraculous results you heard on Wed..Your news gives me tangible hope for my own personal hard,and not to give up!Our God is astonishing and love,love,and love.Love to you Vicky,your superman,Rick,Nolan,and Colton. Have a blessed day,your Arizona pen pal and friend,Tammy Schulz

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    1. How delightful to see you show up here, Tammy! I have wondered and wondered about how you are doing. I pray that you feel hopeful too- all things are possible. Please feel free to send an email, if you are able to, friend- would love to hear how you are doing! So much love to you!

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  33. God is so GOOD! So happy for you. Happy tears in my eyes as I type this.
    Lynda in Michigan.

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    1. He is!! Thank you, Lynda- so happy to see you here- and thankful for your sweet words and support! Blessings to you~

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  34. I am so thrilled for you and your family. I have a long commute to work each mornning and spend that time praying--as many have mentioned, as I read your words, the tears came! God is so wonderful and he is with you on this journey. I am inspired always by your courage and faith.

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    1. I'm so touched to hear of your prayers- and thankful that both He and you are with me on this journey! Blessings to you~

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  35. Well I know I already texted you, but I couldn't let the blog post go without another comment just letting you know again how thrilled I am for you. Seriously, just thrilled. And I loved that I could report good news to not just by Bible Study group who has been praying for you, but Camden and Rory.

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    1. So grateful to have those prayers, Melissa- I just know they see me through! But the part that makes me teary is your adorable kids and their prayers- cutest prayer warriors ever :)

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  36. My husband is looking at me funny because tears are streaming down my face. Bless him, I think he thinks he did something and can't figure it out...I had to set him straight but he still thought it funny that I was teary over a blog post. I am over the moon happy for you! What sweet special news when so much has been hard for youths summer. Continued prayers as you stay on this medicine a while longer but I am so thankful it is working. Many blessings in the days ahead!

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    1. Thankful for your sweet tears of joy, Jenny :) So grateful for your encouragement and that you walk along with me! Blessings and love right back to you!

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  37. Oh Vicky -- I had been gone for a few days and was not able to see your post until today, now actually, and I am so, so, so, HAPPY for you and your family! What great news! As always, you are in my prayers!

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