A couple days ago, I went in and got blood drawn. A few hours later the nurse called me and said, "Jill, I can't explain it, but your numbers look good. Good enough to go back into treatment. Come in tomorrow and see the doctor before he leaves for Houston." This morning, the hospice nurse came by and I officially withdrew from hospice! (The nurse said she has done hospice for 6 years and has never withdrawn someone from hospice before because they just got BETTER!) After that, I saw Dr. Ellis one last time, and believe it or not, after that, I had a chemo treatment again!! Some liver numbers are still very high (but have dropped in the last month), some are much much lower, and one is even back to complete normal.
When we saw Dr. Ellis, he came in with someone special for us to meet, his 11 year old daughter. He brought her in and told her he wanted her to meet me: "I wanted you to meet Jill because I wanted you to see that miracles can happen." The doc and his medical dream team walked through the labs from when I was there in July the last time, a week after my last chemo. I was SICK. I was swollen like the Michelin Man; my bilirubin was 2.9, and 3.0 usually means complete liver failure; I was on pain medicines; I couldn't walk much without Jason holding my arm; I was exhausted and had to lay down in the waiting room waiting for my appointment. There is no reason for them to think I wasn't in complete liver failure.
Everyone we saw couldn't explain what has now happened. Here are two possible explanations:
A) Miracle, positive thinking, prayers, etc.
B) Scientific answer (short version): when cancer drugs hit a tumor, it can cause what's called a flare response. The drug starts working and causes a bunch of toxic chemical reactions, which can make a patient basically get sicker before they get better. In the 10-12 drugs I've tried, I've NEVER
|Not this kind of flair!|
C) A combination of both A&B.
We don't know where this will now lead us, nor how much additional time this has given me. I'm still on pain meds. I'm still sleeping more than the average bear and my energy isn't yet where we want it. We continue to take it a day at a time. I've tried almost every chemo out there, so we still have limited options if this one doesn't work. I'll be getting chemo every two weeks, so we will still have a mystery on our hands leading up to each appointment, how ever many there are. I could be back on hospice as quickly as I was off, but the reality is that right now, I'm healthy enough to get treatment and am healthier than I was two months ago.
I believe that this turn in health, though, has definitely been propelled by every healing prayer pointed in my direction; every visit or card that has brought me laughter; every flower sent that I enjoyed seeing and smelling; every blessing cooked into food delivered to our house; every happy thought sent via text message. From our family's hearts to yours, we can't thank you enough.
One last piece that someone insisted I had to include in this post: We told Rory that we had seen the doctor and had some news to share. We told her that there was again a medicine I could try. She clapped at the dinner table and smiled. She asked if this meant there was even a slight chance it might all go away. We told her probably not but we can always hope. Her response: "But that's ok. We'll just take any extra days we get and enjoy them and have fun, whether we get a few extra days or a lot of extra days, right??" I shouted, "God, I love this kid!!"
We are officially turning off the Meal Train until we should need it again. Erin, you are an amazing friend for starting and running this thing in a way that made it helpful and easy for us. We'll go figure out where our pans are and how to turn on the stove. :) And when we're not doing that, you'll find us laying as much roller coaster track as fast as we possibly can.