Monday, June 3, 2013

Celebrating!

Dear Family and Friends,

I'm sorry I haven't written sooner to tell you how overjoyed I am to be done with cancer treatments...but I've been so busy celebrating, I haven't had a second to touch the computer until now! 

Final chemo #18 on Friday was so much fun.  I know--how weird is that to call chemo fun?!  But Daniel and I and everyone at the Seattle Women's Cancer Care Center were celebrating that my chemo was ending.  They sang to me and blew off those New Year's paper poppers.  Then we ate chocolate raspberry cake from Simply Desserts (my favorite cake bakery in the world).  We couldn't even finish a Scrabble game because everyone kept coming in and hugging me and congratulating us.  And we gave hand-written note cards and Molly Moon's ice cream gift cards to the six people on the team to whom we owe a huge debt of gratitude for helping me through.  They loved getting those!

Since then, I feel as if I am floating and need to pinch myself with how surreal it feels to be done.  To have plucked the last pink paper chain ring from the banister.  To not have to return to get blood work checked until July 19.  Seven glorious weeks of life ahead with no visit to the cancer center.  And knowing that each day will bring back my strength, my taste buds, my hair--it's all too wonderful for words.

The four of us went out to dinner Friday night to celebrate at my favorite Mediterranean restaurant--The Mediterranean Kitchen in Bellevue.  After, it was a sunny evening and we walked about the beautiful park near Bel Square.  On Saturday we went to the Saturday farmer's market in Edmonds and then out for a boat ride on Lake Union.  And on Sunday we took the boat to Blake Island with my sister and her husband where we picnicked, laid on blankets on the beach talking, and hiked the island trails.  What a great weekend of celebrating the start of cancer remission.  Thanks be to God!

From this point on, I will need to have my chest port flushed every six weeks (or seven this first go around), and every 12th week they will also check my CA125 to keep it "under surveillance" and make sure it remains in the normal range of 0 to 30.  They will keep the port in for a minimum of two years (!) just in case we need it again.  Those words send shivers through my spine!

Will you please continue to pray for me that we won't need the port again?  That I will be in the "statistical group" for whom this cancer will not recur?  I  know recurrence is a possibility.  I had a very advanced stage of this dreadful cancer.  But each day I pray that God will allow me to see Daniel graduate from medical school, to see Renee and Daniel get married, to know and be a blessing in the lives of my grandchildren, and to be there for my beloved husband, Steve, in our old age. 

And while I lift that prayer to God each day, I also ask Him to help me trust Him when fear of the future creeps in.  To focus on the gift of the present day and not waste the days God is giving me now on worry about things that may or may not occur later.  I know Who holds the future and He can be trusted with all of it.  He has proved that time and again.

When the disciples were afraid on the Mount of Transfiguration it says "But Jesus came and touched them.  'Get up,' he said.  'Don't be afraid.'  When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus."

And it all boils down to that.  The words my friend, Loretta, gave me right at the start of this difficult journey.  "Eyes on Jesus," she said.  How right she was (is)!

Love,
Gabrielle

P.S.  Thank you all so much for reading our blog and praying for me/us these past five months.  We felt every prayer and were encouraged with every card, meal, and kindness.  Please continue to pray for smooth remission sailing and we will update the blog from time to time to stay in touch.  We estimate we will write about once a month moving forward (so we won't have to think/focus on cancer "too" often in this surveillance period)!  We love you all and could not be more grateful for our magnificent "rope team!"  :-)