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What did I tell the students at Father Ryan High School?  I told them a little about my cancer and a lot about my faith.  I gave them a handout on melanoma and tanning.  THEY’RE BOTH BAD, IN CASE YOU MISSED IT!!

For me to come out of the God-Closet and proclaim about my faith is as far as I could stray from my relationship with Him when I was in my teens or twenties.

I learn every step along my journey.  I’ve learned it’s OK to ask “Why?” or be angry with God.  He knows what we’re thinking and loves us anyway.  Someday we will know all the “Whys”.  Instead I try to ask myself, “What can I do about it?” “What does God want me to be doing?” “Today, Tomorrow, and Every Day?”

Sometimes we feel lost and forgotten.  And that’s OK too.  Even Jesus felt alone on the cross.  “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  – Matthew 27:46

God can do amazing things if we ask with a most sincere heart. I live my life and I’m clear with my doctors that I don’t want to know percentage numbers or to see my scans unless I have to.  I just don’t believe in it.  I am in God’s hands.

I don’t believe that my survival or death will depend on praying hard enough, believing the exact right amount in God’s healing powers, or praying to the right saint.  I just can’t imagine getting to Heaven and God says “I see you missed mass on June 14, 2003”.  My reply would be “But we were at the beach and….”  I think He loves us more than that.

One of the students asked about my favorite thing to do in my free time.  I couldn’t think of a thing.  Finally I said “DRIVING”.  BLISS 🙂

This weekend was busy with errands, homework, driving kids around and a gaggle of giggling girls at “El Stuffed Pepper” as the waiters sang “Happy Birthday” in Spanish to my sombrero-ed daughter and smeared fried ice cream all over her face.  We all laughed so hard and I couldn’t help thinking – this is what gets me through it.  This is what keeps me going.  I love my life.

My cardiologist is happy – lots of “normal” this and that in my echocardiogram report from two weeks ago. Here is my favorite line: “There has been a significant decrease in the size of the mass” LOVE THAT!!!! THANK YOU GOD!!!

My oncology appointment went well today.  My immune system is wacko from the Ipi (Yervoy) and the Zelboraf but we deal with the side effects.  My liver levels are normal again and today my thyroid levels were normal.  My doctor says my hormones will likely seesaw around until the Ipi kills off some or all of my thyroid.  There’s no way to stop it and no easy way to treat it, so we’ll just see what happens.  I will probably end up hypothyroid and on Synthroid (synthetic thyroid hormones) for life. New optional organ or body part – thyroid.  I saw this one coming.

My next appointment isn’t until the middle of April and I will also have scans and get results.  This will be exactly a year since I started Zelboraf.  I have been on and off the chemo countless times including the scary tumor growth in November.  This a drug that MD Anderson told me “They had no idea if it would work” for my rare genetic mutation (at best 50% of the “correct” mutants get some tumor shrinkage or stabilization) and of those, about half benefit for only 4-7 months.

My Dr is using it off-label from what the FDA approved it for.  I didn’t know that until this week.  I tried to help someone on the Melanoma Research Foundation bulletin board – her husband has a rare but similar mutation.  She is in her third appeal trying to get their insurance to approve it.  I can’t believe this is happening here in America.  I pray for them.  I am blessed beyond belief by having an awesome team at Vanderbilt and by God.

I have a new ologist to add to the list – Otolaryngologist.  Say that five times fast.  Acupuncture worked like a charm for the ringing in one of my ears due to the chemo.  Other ear seems to be heading toward some hearing loss.  I’m just glad it’s not both.

I recently finished a great book When God and Cancer Meet by Lynn Eib.  The book consists of true stories of cancer patients during Lynn’s time working as a patient advocate.  Each story is hopeful.  Several of the patients die and some are cured.  My favorite chapter was “Either Way She Wins”.  In this story the wife had colon cancer but the husband was the one struggling.  Every day, over and over, he would pray for her to be healed.  One day the Lord spoke to him and said “Either Way She Wins”.  If she is healed of her cancer, she gets to remain on this beautiful Earth with her husband and children.  However if the cancer kills her, she will rise up and live with Him in eternity.  Either Way She Wins.

I hope to be here as long as possible with my incredible, amazing family.  Either way, I win. I pray.

Peace – Amy

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