Decisions, Decisions….



Image result for breast cancer cartoons


John and I met with the breast surgeon the day before yesterday and the final biopsy report showed that I have the same kind of cancer as last time diagnosed 12/2010: Triple Positive, which is a very aggressive type of breast cancer.  It is unusual for the same HER2 positive  status (which makes the cancer particularly aggressive) to reoccur in the opposite breast after treatment of the first.  My surgeon was very surprised and said she didn’t think she’s ever seen that in any of her patients before and she’s been doing this a long time–not the kind of thing that’s music to one’s ears. I’m not sure if being “special” that way is a good thing or not and the implications of that. My oncologist does have other patients with this same  type thing, it does happen sometimes for unknown reasons but not often I guess.  I’ve been working really hard with diet, lifestyle, and exercise to get healthier over many years, including prior to when cancer showed up. It looks like I still have a ways to go and progress still  to make to get where I want to be.  I’ve got the rest of my life to keep plugging on that. 🙂
 Yesterday we met with the oncologist and discussed the treatment plan and timing of it all and had another medical appointment.  It was a long, hard, grueling day,  leaving me exhausted, feeling sick, stressed, and drained.  My hysterectomy that was scheduled will be postponed as the breast cancer treatment takes priority. Tamoxifen then an aromatase inhibitor I was taking to help prevent a cancer recurrence was causing dysfunctional uterine bleeding causing the need for multiple biopsies over the past few years.
This is considered a SECOND “primary” cancer and very unlikely to have spread from the other breast.  This means I may have  a brand new cancer that has nothing to do with the first time (how can this be?!)  and it is probably not metastasis. Yikes either way but it’s great if it hasn’t metastasized.  I will have a PET Scan to determine if there is cancer elsewhere in my body.  Because of various factors in my case, I may have some genetic issues that could impact other areas of my body that may need to be explored and have treatment implications.
There are decisions galore  ahead  like choosing between  a lumpectomy, chemo, radiation, a year of IV Herceptin OR a mastectomy, chemo, a year of IV Herceptin and no radiation if there is indeed no lymph involvement (both options proposed).  I still need to decide whether to do breast reconstruction with a plastic surgeon at the time of the upcoming surgery, in the future, or not have it at all and just add a second prosthesis to my mastectomy bra,  or I could just sport a flat, boyish figure as some women prefer. I am mulling it all over.  Sorry if this is too much information but these decisions are some of my prayer requests.
There was also discussion on whether to do surgery or chemo first.  It looked initially after talking with the surgeon that I’d probably  be doing chemo first and after our visit with the oncologist (who has been in communication with the surgeon), it looks like surgery will be first instead.  Having surgery first would give us more information and give me more options as to different chemotheraputic protocols and I might possibly be spared some of the rougher, more toxic drugs or I may need to add the bigger weapons  fight this after all if there are any surprises ahead with the PET Scan or surgery.  We will know more as to my best options after surgery.  Whatever I choose there will be a minimum of a year of IV Herceptin again ahead to battle the Her2 amplification.
I have some more testing to do and decisions to make such as whether or not to get the advice of a plastic surgeon or additional medical opinions. I plan to fight really hard and get healthy again and have a long, full, joy-filled life.  For every one of us, God has numbered our days on this earth.  Although this repeat diagnosis is shocking and sobering, it brings me great comfort to know that I will not die one moment before God wants to take me Home Sweet Home to Heaven and none of this takes God by surprise.  I do not believe God “gives” people cancer but since the fall of man there is sickness here on this earth and He does allow it. I’m counting on Rm 8:28 and the fact that the Lord  works ALL things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  I qualify for that special, glorious  arrangement!
 My nature is to be a worried  scardey cat inside and I am trying to give  this big mess and those tendencies to God. Please pray that God will help me be brave and give me all the courage I need and that He will accomplish His purposes in me.
Adding to the my second 1000 Gift gratefulness list(  ) :
4. Time spent meditating on Heb 12: 1-3:  “Therefore since [you, Paula] are surrounded by such great a cloud of witnesses [you guys who are cheering me on and rooting for me from the sidelines], throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and run with perseverance the race marked out for [you]. Fix [your] eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of [your] faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart”.
My take-away, personalized a la Paula after looking at some different versions of Scripture:
With His help I can choose to:
Put away every thing in my life that keeps me from doing what I should and throw away all that trips me up. I will keep running in the race that God has planned for me, with perseverance (defined as: 

Continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition :  the action or condition or an instance of persevering :  steadfastness)

… and keep looking to Jesus.  I will fix my eyes on Him and off my circumstances. My faith comes from Him, He is the author and perfecter of my faith and He is the One Who makes beautiful things in my life out of the ashes.  If I consider Him who endured the Cross for my sake and let Him be in control I will not grow weary or lose heart (or at least go running to Him when I am weary or disheartened)!
This is how “The Massage” puts it:

Hebrews 12:1-3

Discipline in a Long-Distance Race

12 1-3 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

…and the New Living Translation:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.[a]Because of the joy[b] awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people;[c] then you won’t become weary and give up.




5. Song: Jesus Will Meet You There

When you think you’ve hit the bottom
and the bottom gives way
and you fall into a darkness
no words can explain
and you don’t know how you make it out alive
Jesus will meet you there.

When the doctor says, “I’m sorry,
we don’t know what else to do.”
and you’re looking at your family
wondering how they’ll make it through…
Whatever road this life takes you down,
Jesus will meet you there.

He knows the way to wherever you are
He knows the way to the depths of your heart
He knows the way cuz he’s already been
where you’re going
Jesus will meet you there.

When the jury says, “Guilty,”
and the prison doors close
When the one you love says nothing,
just packs up and goes
When the sunlight comes and your world’s still dark,
Jesus will meet you there.

When you’ve failed again and all your
second chances have been used
And the heavy weight of guilt and shame
is crushing down on you…
And all you have is one last cry for help
Jesus will meet you there.

He knows the way to wherever you are
He knows the way to the depths of your heart
He knows the way cuz he’s already been
where you’re going

When you realize the dreams you’ve had
for your child won’t come true
when the phone rings in the middle
of the night with tragic news…
Whatever valley you must walk through,
Jesus will meet you there.

He will meet you there.

Jesus will meet you there…

6. I love butterflies,birds, and humming birds and am trying to make our yard a place where they all want to hang out.  So far the hummers are not impressed but the word is getting out to the birds and butterflies that we’ve got a nice potluck spread set out for them in the way of seeds and plants. 🙂  I so enjoy flowers and am counting the immense joy I am getting cultivating a space where these beautiful creatures want to linger as a blessing on my list.

Gratefully His,


Image result for quotes by max lucado

10 thoughts on “Decisions, Decisions….

    • So so sorry for all this pain and suffering…Love your heart, love your posts. It’s so important to know God and what He’s doing—that’s what anchors you, so obviously. As you say–God doesn’t ‘give’ people cancer….What He does give is so much better…friendship with Him, a future so bright we can’t even look at it without covering our eyes :-)…
      Love and prayers. Jill


    • Hi Paula!
      God will give you the answers, you are open and willing to accept His path. “Where You go, I will follow” is your mantra.
      Keep in mind that your suffering is not for naught – it makes you one with Him and can be offered for friends, family, peace, our world…
      You are a fighter! This is just one more round in the Fight of Life!


  1. Oh dear Paula, so sad to hear this news. So many decisions to make. May the Lord guide your every step through this maze. May His peace surround you and your family.


  2. Here is a poem I had in my Bible from a devotional reading. May it remind you of some things yet to rely on these days.
    Cancer is so limited…
    It cannot cripple love,
    It cannot shatter hope,
    It cannot corrode faith,
    It cannot eat away peace,
    It cannot destroy confidence,
    It cannot kill friendship,
    It cannot shut out memories,
    It cannot silence courage,
    It cannot invade the soul,
    It cannot reduce eternal life,
    It cannot quench the Spirit,
    It cannot lessen the power of the resurrection.

    If an incurable disease has invaded your life, refuse to let it touch your spirit. Your body can be severely afflicted, you may have a great struggle. But if you keep trusting God’s love, your spirit will remain strong.


  3. I’m just sick over this Paula! I agree God allows things in our life for His purpose.
    He is carrying you through this. Love, hugs & prayers Denise


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