1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by...
7 My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music,
Awake, my soul!
These words of David parallel my current journey. We began in late Feb 2014 with a visit to my oncologist. That led immediately to a biopsy, which led to another biopsy, to a CT scan and within 1 week my second diagnosis. My prayer so many times through those early weeks was “be merciful to me”. I didn’t say it as eloquently as David, it was a “please God, no! Please not again. I have done this already.” But in my heart, I was screaming, “BE MERCIFUL.” It is in Him that my soul has always seeked safety, protection. Hide me here Lord, until the storms has passed. I begged for that storm to just cease, but it had to pass. And through 2014, I was by my Savior’s side until the noise quieted, the clouds parted and the sky showed its beauty again. I knew no other way to cope.
Through the month of December the clouds began to part. I could see the end of the storm like a dark cloud in the distance slowly making its way past me. I waited and watched, counting down the days. And the last day of radiation was I guess when the sky opened up again. The storm had passed.
I have a spoken risk that the cancer can recur again in the next 2 years. The longer I go, the more the risk decreases. And with the unknown of the future, it is hard to really celebrate this victory. I guess that is why it has been weeks before I even announced it here. It has taken a few loving friends to remind me of where we are today. Remind me that there is reason to celebrate, there is reason to give glory to God for bringing me through the storm. My body IS free of cancer. So forgive me for not passing out the party hats. It is so nice to be home again and have much of this treatment behind me, but I just don’t feel the victory like I did in 2010.
Many have asked what my next steps will be. I have completed all my treatments, my cancer is in remission and I am healthy and well. I will continue with close monitoring at MD Anderson for the next year and then slowly decrease visits. But I have also decided to take part in a clinical trial that is researching a vaccine that would enable your own body to kill tumor cells: http://cdmrp.army.mil/bcrp/research_highlights/14mittendorf_highlight.shtml. It will have little side effects on me, but the potential to help me and others fight recurring cancer in the future. Involvement will require treatment at MDA every 3 weeks for the next 12 months. It is inconvenient. Very. But Ethan and I agree that it is an important next step. Maybe that is why I don’t feel like celebrating too much, because I still have a year of treatments coming my way.
Thank you for standing by me. Thank you to those that open this window weekly looking for some news. Thank you to all the t-shirt orders and everyone who proudly Fights4 Me when they wear them. Lucky for you, since treatment is continuing you still have reason to wear your shirts on Mondays. My first treatment for the trial will be Feb. 16th and then every 3 weeks. People say they see the shirts all over Round Rock.
So the treatment goes on and so does the fight. We have come so far and I have to choose to trust again. Trust in the future as much as I trusted in the process. As one of my favorite songs says: “good shepherd of my soul… take my hand and lead me on.”
Awake, my soul, and follow.