Tuesday, May 15, 2012

7. Clarity

I've partaken in the challenge to count to 1000. 1000 gifts. 1000 blessings. The opening of my eyes wide to the beauty of life and the world and those around me. Today as the doctor delivered yet another diagnoses, as the words ran together and blurred in my mind and I began to lose my grasp, in an instant, everything came into focus. 7. Clarity. That I was coherent this time. That I understood this time. That I was able to call my closest friends and family this time. That I can see the blessing, the good. That I know this is just a bump in the road. Clarity. Perspective. Both blessings in which I am still praising Him for. Everyday I will count these gifts. I will continue to 1000. And when I lose my focus, I will look back on the list to recount these things. Phil 4:8. I will think on these things.

This is what I know:
~I have been diagnosed with Therapy-Related Myelodysplastic Syndrome.
~This is a disorder that is a direct result of the harsh chemo that I received during my cancer treatment.
~I am NOT dying. I do NOT have cancer. I do NOT have leukemia.
~However this can be a precursor to leukemia. It is rare for people to have this disorder after receiving chemo. As a matter of fact, less than 5% of people end up with this. It would seem that I have a genetic pre-disposition that prevents my cells from regenerating properly as evidenced by the fact that my mother went through something very similar. I would bet that she had this and never knew it and, therefore; untreated it became leukemia. The good news is that with my screening every three months, this has been caught in the early stages.
~In a nutshell, my bone marrow was so damaged from the chemo that it is not producing enough healthy blood cells. Good news is that I am not producing BAD blood cells either. This has caused me to have progressive pancytopenia- basically all of my counts are VERY low.  This explains the severe fatigue that I have been experiencing the last several months as well as a few other things.
~There is a treatment for this disorder. It requires chemo. The chemo will not be as bad as last time. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the mildest chemo they can give and 10 being the most intense, last time I received somewhere between an 8-10 depending on which chemo was being administered at the time. This time it will be more like a 3-5. This means I should be able to care for myself and Jarred which is very important to me. As a matter of fact, I told the doctor that if I had to go through anything like last time, I did not want chemo. He has assured me that it will not be like that. Actually, the see this more commonly in people aged 50-60 and they do quite well. They don't get sick and are able to carry on alright. Considering that I am much younger that is working in my favor. I may not even lose my hair, but that is the least of my concerns. I can do bald. I can't and won't do sick and incapable of caring for myself.
~I need to go to Gainesville to meet with a specialist in this very area. I will hold off on doing this until my son is done with school.
~In the meantime, I have labwork, some doctor appts and some possible transfusions of blood and platelets.
~I go back to the doctor on May 23rd to begin formulating a game plan.

As always, your prayers are much appreciated. I do know this is well: God is in control. This certainly didn't take Him by surprise. I trust Him with my future implicitly. I am not worried, stressed or scared.

His grace and peace amazes me. I don't know why it still takes my breath away. I've been here. I know the valley well. It seems to be in the valley where I flourish and I am OK with being here again. I hope that when I do come THROUGH this valley that I will be strong enough this time to stand on the mountain without losing sight of all the beauty, miracles and grace that surrounded me in the valley. Tonight as I pillow my head, I will sleep the deep sleep of peace in my Father, for I know that He has me in His hands and there is no better place to be.