“Sometimes, very bad news can be good news and a blessing in disguise.”
“The world can be a weird place, huh?”
Those two phrases changed my whole world yesterday.
I woke up expecting a calmer day after having worked about thirty hours in two days. That didn’t happen.
I started off looking over the work my team did the last two days, and decided to go into school during the allotted time set for my last name. We have no idea how long we will be out, or what we will be doing. All we have been told is that we have to make a plan for now for seven days that can be also done on paper, so that those without computers can also learn. I don’t know if we will do videos or not. I know we won’t do live videos for so many reasons that are smart and make sense. Based on the news, it looks like we will be out a lot longer.
Off I went with my two bins and one bag, mask and gloves. I saw some colleagues from far away and we all said how much we miss being in school and teaching. The end of the year is the “sweet spot”, where kids start to put it all together.
We only had thirty minutes, so it was like the old tv show, “supermarket sweep”. Grabbing things I think I may need, trying to walk around the room and looking at everything carefully while also watching the clock. I went quickly through my read alouds and grabbed enough books to last to the end of the year if needed. I grabbed math manipulatives, markers, teacher guides, assessments I last did, chart paper, and some of my teaching props.
I took one last picture of my classroom, not knowing when I would be back again.
I came home and signed in to yet another zoom to learn about yet another web based learning program.
That was when my world changed.
I received an email from my oncologist that the biopsy from last week showed the cancer totally changed and mutated to Her2+. I am now what they call “Triple Positive”, as the hormone receptors estrogen and progesterone are also positive.
She said she wants me to start herceptin and perjeta ASAP. She said she can get me in to the stony brook Southampton cancer center, and we will be talking today at 4. It is not chemo, won’t compromise my immune system and is a targeted therapy. I think it may be classified as immunotherapy.
I had also just gotten an email from Erin, Donnie’s assistant saying they are concerned about my calcium levels and they are reaching a dangerous point. I emailed her back immediately and told her the news I just got. She said she would discuss it with Donnie today and that although it is a much more aggressive form of cancer, there are GREAT therapies to treat it.
I then got several emails from my herbalist. One week ago he was adamant I stop all treatment and I did. He said the chemo was killing me, and no more. He said that he was not sure he could stop the progression of the cancer, but hoped to try and get me healthier for when a good therapy became available.
He said that I HAD to do this therapy. But the good news here is that although it’s a more aggressive cancer, the treatment will stop the progression and his herbs are very effective at killing this tripe of cancer. He said we will soon get the upper hand. He even called me, and rob and I heard the excitement in his voice. He said my oncologist is smart that she is not adding chemo to the plan. He also said I should add calf liver to my diet. He said that the energy of the animals organ will help heal my organ, that it is delicious pan fried with onions, and it can be rich so don’t eat too much. He calls this new information a blessing in disguise.
All of this while listening to a zoom, texting colleagues about our educational plans to reach every child, messaging and texting families in English and Spanish and trying to get them into a new website platform virtually.
I fear I am failing miserably the past few days as a homeschool teacher to my own kids. Once I get everything set up, I will have to force myself to set certain hours for work, as yesterday was another thirteen hour day.
I realized last night that Donnie saved my life. He has been adamant I get the blood biopsy for months. My oncologist said I had just had a liver biopsy about sixteen months ago and didn’t feel it would change that quickly.
After having five treatments fail, she agreed. Who knows how long ago the cancer mutated? It’s possible I’ve been on the wrong chemo for months and months. That’s why they have all not worked.
How crazy is that?
I’m not angry or bitter, even after having been hospitalized for days and thinking I was dying at Christmas. It’s all part of the story He has chosen for me.
I stopped working at 9 last night and then turned on my researching skills to look at the two new drugs. They have a lot of promise. Some women have been NED for years. It is generally well tolerated. It’s the best possible thing that could have happened other than the miracle of Jesus taking it all away through a miracle.
All during a pandemic and learning a new way of teaching with no clue how long it will be going on.
If there is one thing I’ve learned the past few years, it’s that we stay in the moment and count our blessings.
Today starts “spring break”. I said to rob this morning that every break this year has really sucked. Chemo overdose during Christmas, February break learning that yet another treatment failed and feeling time was running out. This one could have been the worst, with a pandemic and stopping all treatment.
This door opened.
You never know when things will radically change. You keep holding on and praying.
You keep your eyes on Jesus as he sleeps on your boat.
Yesterday, he opened his eyes.
Praying today’s conference call with my doctor goes well and we get to pivot to a new path that has so much promise.
May this pivot and new path be one I can walk for decades to come.
In Jesus’s name, amen.