....it's been a full week, here's some of the things that have happened. Some good, some challenging.
The short of it -- please pray particularly for the tumors in Rebecca's eyes to be cleared, and for her vision to be restored. And our next milestone will be a set of MRI's taken in mid-April (more on that below).
* we heard about some of the medical treatment options available from the doctors
* we got updates regarding birth options
* we moved into a place in Sebastopol, very close to organic food and accupuncture, etc.
* the baby is currently breech and needs to turn if we're going to have a natural birth
* rebecca's vision has been getting worse
* rebecca's back is in a lot of pain (which may be related to the breech baby)
* May Rebecca's eyes and the rest of her body be clear of tumors. May perfect sight be restored to her. We give thanks for the continued health of the baby, and pray for a natural, full-term birth, the Creator's will be done.
To start with the challenges --
The breech baby (which means the head is nestled towards her ribs as opposed to her pelvis) isn't a huge worry right now, as there are many sites and many resources for getting babies to turn. So far we've mostly done acupuncture and moxa sticks, but we'll try other things (like spinningbabies.com) in the near future.
The body pain is something that's been with Rebecca for most of the last trimester, and it tends to go away with massage and chiropractic and acupuncture, which we will do.
The vision thing is kinda scary. Maybe everyone knows at this point that the symptom that brought us to the doctors in the first place was a blurriness of the eyes that Rebecca started reporting soon after getting pregnant. It started off as lasting for maybe 20 minutes and happened about every other month. She describes it as looking at the world filtered through water -- her sight distorted like the way the bottom of a pool is.
In the last little bit, the episodes have started getting longer and closer together, with her experiencing this watery-vision most of the time starting last week.
We met with Dr. Gubens, the lung-cancer specialist at UCSF, and went over our options for everything, and our concerns about the eye function. He told us that we have the mutation of lung cancer that has the most positive treatment results (it's Adenocarcinoma - EGFR mutation). He said that all of his patients who've lived 10+ years with stage 4 have that mutation. What this means is that there's a pill-form treatment called Tarceva that we're eligible for, that can shrink the tumors down with minimal side effects (skin rash and diarrhea vs. the hair loss and nausea that come from chemo). They've seen this treatment eliminate retinal growths such as we have.
The caveat is that you don't use Tarceval while pregnant or breastfeeding, so we're in a dance with time. Since the rest of the tumors are asymptomatic, and mostly very small, there's less at stake with waiting on treatment. But sometimes the tumors in the eyes can do damage that lasts even after the tumor has been cleared.
This is all in the section of good news - you would be forgiven for wondering why at this point. It's because the general sense we got from the medical staff (including our sweet Obstetrician, Dr. Salmeen) was that the clumps are small enough that it makes sense to take the baby to full-term, have as natural a birth as possible, and breastfeed for a period of time before engaging in any medical treatments.
...that's probably something we would leaned towards anyway, given our values, but it was a relief to know we were all on the same page right out of the gate...
Anyway, before any of those medical treatments would start, they want to do another set of MRI/CAT Scans to see what the status is of the tumors in Rebecca's body. This will happen a week or so after Rebecca gives birth. And we'll learn what our dissolution rate is: How quickly is our faith shrinking these tumors? Does the work we're currently doing need to be augmented with Western interventions in the near-term?
And so that's why the upcoming mid-April milestone is important. If we can seen that our non-invasive faith-and-organic-food based method is working, it can be the difference between breastfeeding for two weeks and 6 months -- since Tarceva isn't something you can take while breastfeeding.
We're also, of course, open to the Divine working with us through Western medicine. The ways of the Creator of the universe are mysterious, at best, and all dichotomies fade in the gentle sight of the Holy.
We get that. Thy will be done.
We got all this information last Thursday and I wanted to share it with you all last Friday but -- thank God! -- we spent that day moving from our beautiful but distant ranch-in-the-hills to a place right outside of Sebastopol. It's a 24-foot yurt, it's beautiful and cozy, and we've had friends camping in the yard to be full-time support all week (thanks so much, Amara and Heron!).
It's beautiful. Our nearest, loudest neighbors are horses, and the night sky is filled with stars, and I can ride my bike to the local Community Co-op.
So, this last week has been great but a slightly exhausting madhouse of renting a truck, packing, moving and unpacking. You know how it goes. Less time for everything than one would like.
One bit of grace: I reserved a 10' moving truck to get our stuff because the new yurt is smaller than the old, and has a long narrow driveway that I didn't think a larger truck would be able to navigate. We got there ("we" being me and Heron and Becky, thanks for the help y'all!) and they said that they couldn't give me a 10' truck, because they were all reserved already, but they'd give me a 16' truck at the same rate.
I explained to them that I didn't think I could fit it down my new driveway, and that I had been one of the people with the reservation, and couldn't you just give me what I asked for...but the clerk was nice and apologetic and kind and made it easy for me to remain curious from within my frustration.
Heron and Becky and I talked it over and divined that it made the most sense to take the 16' truck, as opposed to getting a 10 foot U-Haul.
Well, we got up to the ranch and started packing up, and got a call from a friend of ours in Sebastopol that we could use their place to store stuff that wouldn't fit in the new yurt (thanks, Ross!). So, because we'd taken the 16' truck, we were able to pack up Everything and bring it down off the ranch. And the 16 footer fit down the new driveway just fine; I was being ridiculous. It's so much nicer to have stuff in two places 10 minutes apart from each other than three places an hour and a half removed I can't even begin to tell you.
I felt the prayers of everyone with us in that moment of moving, and in so many other moments of the past weeks. We are so, so grateful for the prayer circles and prayer chains and every other type of faith-in-action that is happening on our behalf.
We're gonna do this - Jesus has assured us. And now it's just a matter of matching that knowledge with faith. May it be so.
Endless love, open faith --