The last Sunday in February I started running fever. I rarely run fever when sick, but I didn't think much about it initially until I had the fever for a week. I made a doctor's appointment and they checked me for mono (both the short and long test) and strep (both rapid and culture). She also put me on antibiotics assuming it must be strep. One week later my fever was increasing and my body was hurting and my stomach was hurting and I was winded all the time and I was panicking. Mono and strep had been negative. I went to the ER worried I might have meningitis or something crazy. My CBC remained normal but my lymphocytes were elevated over my neutrophils. I had a crappy ER doctor who acknowledged that but assumed it was something viral. He did say maybe I should go see my oncologist, but pretty much acted like I was a hypochondriac. I was due to see the oncologist in April, but I called and they moved me up to March 23.
The end of that third week I was at the end of myself. I had spent two weeks fighting the Lord. "God I don't have time to be sick! We are opening a restaurant!" "God please heal me!" "God I need answers!" Finally with my 102 temperature and exhaustion and being bed ridden I opened my hands to the Lord and said, "God I don't need answers or doctors or medicine, I need YOU. Would you just speak? I don't care what You want to say, I just need to hear Your Words." He began to show me my fear. I feared that He had abandoned me during our fiery trial with our adoption. I feared He had abandoned me during my deep hurt with the church. I feared Him. I doubted Him. I cried out to Him with Dwayne and told Him I was sorry for agreeing with a lie because I know He never leaves us or forsakes us. He was always there. He is ALWAYS good.
I woke up the next morning with no fever.
The following week I had scans. I saw the oncologist the next day. For the first time in the 8 years since I had breast cancer, I had bright lymph nodes show up on my scans. Two in my right arm pit. In addition my spleen was enlarged. Very enlarged and I had four lymph nodes that lit up around my spleen. The crazy truth is that I was not surprised by this. My fever had broke and I knew God had done a massive work in me regarding trust, but my symptoms were still there aside from fever.
The oncologist wanted to wait two weeks and then do a PET scan. In her mind if this was a viral illness, my lymph nodes would be smaller or gone in two weeks. So last Wednesday I had a PET scan. They called me Thursday while I was teaching 12th grade composition at Homeschool Academy to tell me that all the lymph nodes that lit up before were not only still there, they were bigger. I broke open and poured out all my tears. I was held by my husband, my parents, even my 12th graders who rallied and jumped up and prayed over me. Blessed be the Lord.
So tomorrow morning I am having one of those lymph nodes biopsied. Based on the scans, the radiologist's report, and the tone of my doctors, it seems I have cancer. At this point they are just trying to decide if it is lymphoma or a recurrence of my breast cancer. My breast surgeon, who is removing the lymph node, looked at me square in the eyes yesterday and said with confidence, "It's not breast cancer." I believe him. I had both breasts removed. I had no lymph nodes positive for cancer. I had radiation. I had 6 years of anti-cancer meds. My scans have been clear for 8 years. No, this seems like lymphoma. My symptoms. Weight loss. No appetite. Fever. Night sweats. Exhaustion. Swollen lymph nodes. So I have already prepared myself mentally for that word.
I'm sure I will update again soon, But before I go, I want to leave with this:
1) God graciously led me to repentance so that I would stop fearing Him. So that I would trust. So that I would rest. I feel so unbelievably held and confident in Who He is. This would not be if not for that night of Him leading me there. Nothing is wasted.
2) The Body of Christ has become so tender to me again. Saturday night 15-20 precious friends gathered and prayed with all their hearts over my family and I. They spoke so many encouraging and loving words. I felt and feel uplifted, held, loved on. God was so kind to give us the Body. It is so immeasurably important, even in all its brokenness. The strongest word, and the one I keep coming back to is this from Luke 22:
We love and appreciate your prayers right now. Thank you for taking the time to read. I will post an update when I am able.