Kara’s Collection: Hope Restored

From an article originally posted March 15, 2014…

I was so peaceful last week, unbelievably peaceful, but right before my appointment yesterday my anxiety flew off the charts. My sister called and I kind of shut down and told her I might not call her after my appointment. I felt overwhelmed with fear and this small control felt like something I could manage. I was tired of everyone hearing bad news, and I wanted to give everyone a chance to breathe if the news was discouraging. I was panicked. But I always call my sister after my appointment; I was simply overcome in that brief moment before we entered the small room with my doctor.

We had asked friends to keep the kids because we needed time to digest yesterday. We didn’t want to upset them with our grief or confusion if there were decisions to be made. All night happy pictures came to my phone showing my children happily playing in the homes of our friends.

We entered that small room quiet and unsure of what was coming. The night before we were all comforted by the news that my brain scan showed no new cancer and my old cancer had not grown. That, for me, felt like hope. If we only have one cancer to battle, I felt up for that challenge. But if it was in both my brain and my body—I just wasn’t sure. I was anxious that the last conversation was coming.

All week I tried at grappling with what we were going to do with another big battle. We are so wearied by this journey, we were kind of faking we could do it. We were not ready to have the quality of life conversation. We just couldn’t. We could only say it was our biggest fear. It was a suffocating week.

Without getting into the specific details of the sneaky kind of cancer I have, I will say it has quickly worked its way around the drugs we have tried. We try a drug for a time, and it works, then it finds its way around the drug to invade a new part of my body. It did it to my uterus, it did it to my brain, and now it has done it to my lymph system behind my heart. My doctor has confidence in our new plan, but we all recognize my cancer will work its way around this aggressive treatment. The side effects are no picnic, but I will happily manage them. We will need to get some help with my fatigue that will be increasing, but we are getting better at asking for help.

When the doctor came with confident options yesterday I felt like he was saying: “Kara, I return to you your summer dreams.” When he said I won’t be face down fighting cancer, I feel like he said: “Kara, you will see your baby turn 5, and get to go on that special trip with Harper when she turns 10.” When he said my heart was strong enough to withstand a large lymph node pushing on it from behind, I felt like he was saying, “Kara, it’s going to be okay. You will have more daysthat aren’t horrible. Kara, plan those camping trips, plan to laugh, plan to embrace today, enjoy writing your book, and even enjoy the process of supporting and promoting it.”

Ultimately, cancer will push past this plan, but the goal of dealing with metastatic cancer is slowing it down. We will fight it this way, until we can’t fight it this way any longer. Then we move on to other treatments, but they will be an effort at slowing my cancer and its sneaky progression. Today, we have an option to slow it. When this option comes to an end there is another. We will one day come to the end of options, but that day isn’t today. Today, this day, I’m here. We will dance in the relief of this news, and we will begin to plan the joy before us this summer. We will begin the hunt on craigslist for a camp stove and other amazing camping gear. Hope has been restored, but truly hope was always there.

Thank you all for your love and prayers this past week. Your prayers truly carried us. We were so humbled by your love through prayers and encouragement.

How are you struggling with anxiety today? Where is it hard to see the good plan for yourself? What steals your peace and your ability to live in the grace of today?