9/28: Difficult News

hi we've just returned from the oncologist's office and things aren't headed in the direction that he'd hoped.

the punchline is that you and i and all of those holding this thread know that healing is coming.  we know this.  the thing that's difficult in this moment is remembering that we don't know what the path looks like on the way there.  we only know what's in front of us.

so here's what's in front of us:

(point of information: cancer doctors call something a “growth” if it's less than a centimeter in diameter, if it's bigger than a centimeter they call it a “tumor”)

* the tumors and growths on her lungs have not changed appreciably

* there are new growths in her head on her pineal gland and her pituitary gland

* there are new growths in her liver, and one that was there before tripled in size from 3 mm to 9mm

* there are new growths in her adrenals and pelvic area

* nothing new appeared on the bones

there's two sets of next steps.  the western medicine next step is to get a biopsy of the biggest growth in her liver to see how the cancer has mutated.  if they can tell how the cancer changed, they can guess as to why the current treatment (tarceva) is no longer working as well as it was, and recommend a next step.  among those next steps are: new-and-improved tarceva, immunotherapies and chemo.  much more about all those later.

in the meantime, the liver biopsy will happen sometime in the next week or two (we're waiting to hear about their schedule), and after that there'll be some decisions to make.

for example, the new-and-improved tarceva and the immunotherapies are still not approved by the FDA for general use.  so you need to qualify for a clinical trial in order to get those drugs.  if she doesn't, then chemo would be an option to kinda hold things at bay until they do get approved.  it's a whirlwind.

which brings us to Our next step, the leap of faith.  first of all, obviously, your prayers have been keeping the lung metastasies from expanding, so our collective prayer will again move to a focus on her whole body.  beyond that, we really are seeking Divine guidance about what exactly to do.

...and the trick is that the guidance is always there, so really what we're asking for is to listen well.

specifically, we're praying to be given clear, gentle guidance to our next steps.

in other news, rebecca's health seems great except that she's always exhausted.  partially from the tarceva and partially from el kiddo.  one of the things we've been doing poorly on is making sure she gets her battery recharged at least once a week, so that's something concrete we're going to be calling in:  two consecutive days per week that we'll have enough kid care that rebecca is functionally on vacation.  that way she can sleep, and pray, and connect with her powerful, powerful intuition regarding God's plan for us.

(i want to say, we've had amazing support from so many people in this time who've helped hold the babe during nap time, and who've let the other babe nap during play time, and i'm certain that ourprognosis would not be as good as it is were it not for those helping hands...special awe offered to seneca the great, seneca the godmother, who is spitting her time every week between oakland and santa cruz in order to be a day-to-day part of this healing project, this faith dance, this nascent family)

and the little one's doing great.  he's now a beginner crawler, and it's very cute, and i'll post it soon because that's what this year has been: attending my dad's funeral with a new life in my partner's tummy, laughing on the way out of the parking lot the day we got the diagnosis and then crying on the shoulder of the highway, hilarious moments of beyond-joy with the little peanut and beyond-capacity collapse in the doorway to his bedroom because he Just Won't Sleep.  everything.  all together.  all the time.

rebecca just got back from accupuncture.  she said that it was very healing, and that she had a vision of being held and healed by jesus.  so that's a most welcome grace.

and i'm a little scattered right now it's like the news is an explosive blast and everything's still moving so quickly and nothing's landed quiet yet so i don't know how this fits in the flow of this missive but what i really am asking of all of you is to keep the faith.  keep believing, keep knowing that this healing is coming to rebecca.  in the jesus story, as he's being walked to his final miracle by the roman soldiers, he stumbles three times.  but each time gets up and keeps going.  faith is a teacher always in all ways, sometimes every way at once i guess.  and i guess i need you to lean on right now, i kinda can't get back up without you it turns out.  i need your belief, and your faith, and your prayers to lift this family up right now.  'cause we're a little bit tired is all.


may rebecca's body be clear of all tumors
may rebecca be in radiant health
we offer gratitude for the restoration of her eyesight
we offer gratitude for the ongoing health of baby solas
we pray for clear, gentle guidance on this healing path

in the name of jesus, healer
in the name of the holy mother
in the name of mary, the wise
in the name of brigid, the protector

sweet Creator we throw ourselves at the mercy of your Mercy
sweet Creator we offer gratitude for your grace

in faith,
the macai-bolgers