Here we sit in the chemotherapy bay at Physicians East in Greenville. Today is Carmen’s fourth treatment, which puts us more than halfway through this part of our journey. To this point, I believe that Carmen’s response to the chemotherapy has been, as the title suggests, as good as it gets. To the praise of His glorious grace, God has brought Carmen through three full cycles of chemo with very few complications. For the most part, she has felt relatively well. She has not been sick. She has only had one real negative reaction to the medications and the oncologist seems to have solved that problem quickly and easily. God has been so good to us and shown us such favor all the way through Carmen’s battle with breast cancer. She was hospitalized for one night during the first treatment as a result of fevers caused by low white blood cell counts, but that was resolved within a day and the fevers have been held at bay since the first cycle ended. Praise God! He has given wisdom and insight to our medical team, a spirit of mercy and generosity to our church, friends, and family, and He has shown enormous favor to us throughout this whole process. It seems that God has brought much glory to Himself through the exposure my website has gotten since this all started and through my relatively public ministry in the Outer Banks. We are so excited to have seen God work in such mighty ways on our behalf thus far.
I did have my doubts at first. I had my moments. I never doubted God’s goodness, but in the very beginning, if I’m being gut-level honest, I had my doubts that prayer really worked. Literally hundreds of people were praying for us during the biopsy phase of this journey, and we were quite sure that God would come through in the way we desired. And then the diagnosis came. And the news was not to our liking. I had many honest and painful conversations with God, with my Dad, and with my father-in-law. Ultimately, God showed me that I was praying according to my own will and not God’s will, and that I would have to trust that His plan was better than mine. I begged God to show up and show off. And boy did He.
To our knowledge, there is no cancer in Carmen’s body right now. We believe that she has been healed. The scans are clean. The blood work is perfect. And we are encouraged. Praise be to God! We are continuing the treatment with what our doctor calls “curative intent,” working toward eliminating the chance of reoccurrence. The words of Deuteronomy 31:8 ring through my mind often: “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” God has gone before us and He has shown His favor and love and mercy on us. We have no reason to fear or be dismayed.
Not only has God blessed Carmen physically, but He has blessed us emotionally and spiritually as well. Carmen has received literally hundreds of cards and encouraging notes and letters. We have received many gifts and several offerings from God’s people. (Carmen even received a bracelet from the governor of Mississippi’s wife, which was super cool). And most of all, I know that so many people have been praying for us since August. We have received cards from many churches (some of which we have never even heard of!), assuring us that we are being prayed for. Our church has surrounded us and lifted us up in prayer and support. God has shown amazing grace to us through His people. Thank you. Thank you for your prayers, cards, and gifts. We love you and we pray that God will see your gifts to my family as a “fragrant offering, a sacriﬁce acceptable and pleasing to God” and that He “will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus,” just as He has done for us thus far. “To our God and Father be glory forever and ever” (Philippians 4:18b-19). Good is good and does good.
Here is the timeline for the rest of Carmen’s treatment, so you will now how to continue to pray for us:
Today: chemo, round 4. Typically the week immediately following treatment are the most uncomfortable for Carmen, specifically days 4-7. She is often very tired, has trouble with her sleeping schedule, is very sore, and generally lethargic. Please pray that the treatment’s effectiveness will be maximized, and side effects minimized.
December 30: chemo, round 5.
January 20: last chemo treatment!
After the last treatment, Carmen will have some scans done. Then she will start radiation, which will be local, every day for six weeks.
We are hopeful and confident that we will be looking at breast cancer in the rear view mirror by Easter of 2014. Praise God.
I apologize for not updating sooner or more often. Things are crazy, you know. :). I plan to post some thoughts on Christmas and some more thoughts on how awesome Carmen is in the near future. Stay tuned.