Dear Family and Friends,
It is with a smile on my face and immense gratitude in my heart, to God and all of you who have prayed for me, that I report my "passing grade" on my first post-cancer CA-125 test! As you may remember, the "normal" scale for the ovarian cancer tumor marker in a woman's blood is 0 to 30. My score yesterday was a 13.4!!! Smack dab in the middle of normal!
This first test score weighed heavily on our family's minds and hearts because you don't know what will happen once you no longer have the weekly chemo that has been destroying your cancer cells. Did it miss a few? Are they multiplying like crazy again? This great score tells us my cancer remains firmly in remission, and allows us to relax, breathe, and live each day to the fullest for another three months until the next test comes along.
Since we last blogged, we "took a break from cancer" to celebrate the end of the long surgery/chemo journey. The four of us enjoyed a wonderful trip to the coast of Maine where I believe we saw just about every lighthouse and ate just about every lobster and gourmet ice cream cone on that 350-mile stretch of coast we covered! If you love sandy and rocky beaches, quaint little towns and coves filled with fishing boats, and the aforementioned lighthouses, lobster, and ice cream, then go to the coast of Maine!!!
Last weekend Steve and I travelled to San Diego for our nephew's wedding. It was a beautiful wedding and great chance for Steve and I to go on walks and lay on a sandy beach in the sunshine doing absoultely nothing (didn't even bring a book to the beach). We also hit the pool with enthusiasm as we are both training (along with Renee) for a Children's Hospital fund-raising swim on Aug. 25. It is 1.4 miles across Lake Washington and I am up to 45 minutes of continuous swimming so far. Need to get to one hour, 15 minutes before the race (I think I can, I think I can...).
I have also returned to work at SPU! Just three days a week to start. The first week back, I would get home from work and collapse on the couch before I could even think about helping with dinner. Did you know that if you remain collapsed on the couch long enough, your husband, son, or some other kindly person visiting your home might end up making dinner for you?! ;-) But each week I feel my strength returning, about 5% per week, I would estimate. By September, I hope to be strong enough to resume my normal four-day work weeks.
I can't tell you what joy it brings me to go to work, ride on an airplane without getting sick, to work out again to near my previous levels of fitness, and to EAT all the foods that I couldn't tolerate during chemo, including last night's splurge of king salmon with some friends...king salmon being my all-time favorite protein. It was also a joy to go crabbing and to catch so much that we could give crab cakes away to family and friends and take a crab meal to a family just beginning their cancer journey (surgery over, but chemo yet to start). To be able to give again, and not just be on the receiving end of so much love and kindness, is both humbling and heart-warming. Thank you, Lord!
I will try to get Daniel to add some photos to this blog post later this week and then we will blog again in August. Until then, bless you for your continued prayers for the nerve pain in my feet (a long-term side-effect of chemo) and that my cancer will remain FIRMLY in remission. I hope you are having a wonderful summer, wherever you live, and that you will find moments (or big huge hunks) of joy in each and every day of your life this summer!