I needed a break. I needed to flee from my reality, to live life as if nothing were truly happening. As if life was normal, as if nothing had changed. Or so I thought. . . I thought a break would help, I thought a break would somehow strip away the truth Cancer strives to place.
Reality is ever redefining. It can literally change from one second to the next. . .
Ryan left for a week long sales training business trip on Monday, October 12th. I was excited and so was he. We just needed the break. The break from doctor visits, lab tests and more. The break from seeing reality for what it was presenting itself to be. He felt good and I was happy to see him feeling well and looking forward to something. Off he flew. The next evening he calls, a shaky, weak voice letting me know that out of nowhere he was feeling extremely weak, so weak he was nauseous and he didn’t know what to do. Reality sunk in. No matter what we do, no matter where we go, Reality comes right with you. An amazing thing happened that evening less than an hour after our conversation. His soul and physical well being was lifted. (I’ll go into that in another post in the future.) Ryan did make it thru a few more days feeling ok, doing what he needed to do but continued to realize that he just cannot do what he used to do. On Thursday, October 15th, pain in his left shoulder rose from the bones. Another side effect of having cancer in the bone marrow. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait until Ryan returned home. I was ready to face the reality. To face the path that we needed to endure. With God’s grace and leading by the Spirit I know we are on the right path. The peace that can only come from Him has guided our way and will continue to do so.
Fast forward to Tuesday, October 20th. The dreaded place: St. Francis Cancer Center. This place gives me knots in the stomach and brings out anxiety that I NEVER feel otherwise. It’s not just about me, but everyone I see coming in and out of the center. The frail bodies of many. The elder, the partners, sons, daughters and friends who are bringing their loved ones in. It’s such a quiet place. No excitement or joy when I look around. I understand, there’s no excitement or joy in my eyes either as I sit and wait for Ryan to be called in. There’s not many other reasons people come to this place. We waited to meet with the oncologist to review the bone marrow biopsy pathology report and recent blood work. Upon entering the room, the oncologist confirmed the lymphoma has already perpetrated the bone marrow. It’s about 30% to 50% impacted. White Blood Cell count, Lymphocyte count, Eosinophil Absolute, Beta-2-Microglobulin and more are HIGH, while Red Blood count, Hematocrit, Hemoglobin, Platelet Count and a few others are LOW. Nothing too surprising in lieu of the diagnosis.
Stage 4, B-Cell Follicular Lymphoma, Grade 2 with B-Symptoms confirmed. He has lymphatic tumors from the top of his neck to below the groin. Essentially every lymph node in his body is affected. He has developed a large mass of lymph nodes that have come together in his stomach that is now pushing unto his ribs. His right lung has around 1 liter of fluid and has developed atelectasis. His spleen is malignant and enlarged, and lymphoma has reached the bone marrow.
To not bore you with details I’ll just share one part of the appointment that just blew my mind:
Ryan: Doc, we need some paperwork filled out as we are applying for financial aid. Can you go ahead and answer this question? I just want to know.
“Will this condition, with reasonable medical certainty, result in this patient’s death in less than 6 months from the date of this statement?”
Ryan: (nods head) Ok, good to know.
Doc: (verbatim) You have a higher chance of dying from chemotherapy than you do from the Lymphoma in the next six months.
Me: (Mouth drops, eyes open wide and I wish I could have snapped a picture of my face as I heard his statement.)
Doc: I’m a straight shooter. . .
Yup, the oncologist did just say that Ryan has a higher chance of dying from chemotherapy than he does from the Lymphoma itself in the next six months. He also reiterated the chemotherapy protocol Ryan should follow and that after the 6 months of chemo Ryan would be on another drug for 2 years in the hopes of keeping the Lymphoma in remission.
We walked away Tuesday with our final diagnosis and our final prognosis. It’s a big pill to swallow. It is the Reality in which we stood. But it doesn’t have to be the Reality that comes to fruition. We can choose another Reality.
Hopefully, you have read thru our blog and understand the prognosis of Follicular Lymphoma per the American standard medical community. In short Follicular Lymphoma is not curable, but treatable. The standard treatment is 6 months of chemotherapy. After 6 months, if the lymphoma has shrunk and becomes dormant (not cured) then the patient is given another drug for 2 years. Per many studies, Follicular lymphoma tends to come back within 2-5 years in which then a new, more aggressive chemotherapy cocktail is given, assuming remission is achieved, the cycle repeats. About 50% of patients live past 5 years. Studies deviate, but about 30% of patients make it to 10 years. Of those that make it past 10 years, they then face more aggressive Lymphomas and/or secondary cancers from chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is a PROVEN carcinogen. In other words, chemotherapy is known to cause cancer.
As you can easily understand, we are not excited about that possibility. Hence, our ever growing research. For many reasons which I shall not take the time to explain on this post, America has been lied to. There are so MANY other ways to BEAT and CURE cancer outside of chemotherapy and radiation. The influences of the Big Pharma and the American Medical Association has misconstrued our society’s understanding of Cancer and its numerous treatments and cures. Inside medical journals, clinical trials, government committee filed documents and so much more are PROOF that there are alternative and natural treatments to CURE cancer. Unfortunately, you have to dig and dig deep.
That’s what we did. We dug. We read, we listened, we watched. I have researched so much these past 6 weeks that mid last week I told Ryan I was done. I was done researching. I was done adding to the supplement list and therapy list. I already know what to do. I already know what will work. It’s not rocket science. Figuring out what to do next came by taking the time to research, asking the critical questions and then listening to the guidance of the Spirit. We are led, and when we move as we are led we will experience peace. That’s where we are. We are in Peace.
What does this mean? It means that I have to set aside all the pride I have left and come to final realization that we cannot do it alone. I cannot do what it takes by myself and still be a mom and a wife. It’s amazing how many times I have circled back to this. I let go, I take it back then I have to let it go again. This has led to our decision for Ryan to go to a Medical Hospital in Tijuana, Mexico. We have conferenced with one of their doctors and have counseled with many others in the medical community here in the US. Ryan and I will travel together to Mexico next week, Monday, November 2nd. He will undergo an array of tests, review all of his medical history and start a complex of therapies. I will stay for 1 week to learn all about the therapies and will undergo training on the Gerson protocol so that when Ryan returns 4 weeks later we can continue diet and nutrition. After the 4 weeks, he will be on a modified treatment plan with what we have access to locally in Tulsa, OK.
What this also means is that I have to set aside even more PRIDE and ask for help. The treatment (including travel) will cost our family about $35,000. That doesn’t even include the treatment costs post-Mexico nor the loss of income and additional expenses. I usually let Ryan do the asking, but I have been humbled so much these past 6 weeks and thru it have been shown the infinite love and goodness of people. If your heart is led and you desire to help us financially at this time, we have several ways to receive assistance.
- Go Fund Me account at https://www.gofundme.com/LuelfStrong
- You can also ask us about PayPal and check via mail. (please contact us directly for these options.)
Live Free . . . because YOLO!