November, 30, 2011 - I went to see Dr. Joyce this afternoon. The tumor markers came down from 7.8 to 6.3 – a smaller gap, but still going down. He scheduled me for 2 more chemo treatments, one tomorrow and one in 3 weeks.
When I think of how far I have come, I just praise God for his loving kindness and mercy. To review this blood test, the tumor markers indicate the number of cancer cells in my body; the lower the number, the fewer the cancer cells. The number was 204 before I started this treatment with Alimta. After the 3rd treatment they came down to 61 – a dramatic drop! I get the blood test every 3 weeks. The number has continued to drop each time, from 204 to 61 to 42 to 24 to 11.6 to 7.8 and now to 6.3. 2.5 is considered normal and that is the doctor’s goal and mine.
It has been one year and 9 months since I have been fighting this health glitch in my lung and this particular health glitch doesn’t have a history of easy curability. I could only rely on God if I wanted to live. I was making a Celtic anniversary garden to celebrate mine and Al’s wedding anniversary and my breast cancer anniversary. I then added “healing garden” to its name, thus it became my “Celtic Anniversary and Healing Garden”. In it I put small sculptures and plants that bring to mind the healing scriptures and promises in the Bible. You can scroll back to my early posts to read the significance of the sculptures and plants (posts dated 5/9/2010, 5/14/2010, 5/16/2010, 5/31/2010, 6/10/2011, 6/22/10). I found a little wooden bridge and positioned it over the cable lines to protect our internet connection, and promptly named it “The Bridge of Promises” because it leads one into the Celtic part of the garden – God’s space, which is calm, peaceful, serene, and joyful. Every day I would walk across this bridge, reciting God’s healing scriptures. Every day I would recite a passage from the Gospel of Mark 11:22-24 (also Matthew 21:21-22). A paraphrase of it reads: “If you believe and doubt not, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seen, you can say to this mountain, ‘Be thou removed and cast into the sea.’” Then I would add, “So I say to you cancer, ‘Be thou removed from my body and cast into the sea.’” Then I would visualize the streams of living waters from the Holy Spirit gushing through my body, cleansing it of all the bad cells and leaving it pristine, like the blueprint God intended it to be when He created me. And I did not envision a small babbling brook in a bucolic meadow. No, I envisioned something like the Colorado River rapids or Niagara Falls going WHOOSH! through my body!
Now, the Bible says that the devil comes to lie, kill, and destroy. Sometimes I hear him whispering in my ear, “Bobby, you fought so hard, 6.3 is good enough. You can stop these uncomfortable treatments now. Besides, you may not get all the way down to 2.5. See for yourself, the closer you get to the goal, you see how little the number goes down; the cancer doesn’t want to leave your body. When the insurance company sees that you’re making so little progress, they will say the drug is no longer effective and stop paying $16,000 every thing weeks!” Thank goodness I have the armor of God (Ephesians 6: 10-16) to protect me! I put it on whenever I cross the bridge of promises – girdle of truth, breastplate of righteousness, helmet of salvation, feet shod with the gospel of peace, shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit, the word of God! The mulch in my garden stands for the armor of God; it keeps the good things in - such as water and fertilizer - and keeps out the bad - fear and doubt. (See blog post of 6/24/2010 for more on this subject.) I have a place in the garden that has no plants in it because it is under a window air conditioner. There I store any extra mulch I have and I call it “The armory of God.” To those negative forces that try to make me give up, I say, “Hah! God hasn’t given up on me; Jesus hasn’t given up on me; the doctor hasn’t given up on me. They held me up in my darkest hour. Like the poem Footprints in the Sand by Mary Stevenson (copyright 1984), Jesus carried me. Why would I listen to you? Go away; I’m going to enjoy life!”
Pictures show the Bridge of Promises, one view of the entrance and one view of the Celtic Garden as seen from the bridge. You can see the Celtic Trinity knots and the Ribbon of Faith, Belief, and God’s Truth. There is a believing bunny stepping stone with a dragonfly at the entrance to the bridge; see blog post of 6/10/2010 about the children’s story called Waterbugs and Dragonflies, which explains why dragonflies represent heavenly beings in my garden. Another picture shows, in the foreground, a small a child fairy sleeping peacefully in the serenity of God’s space, the Celtic garden. The last picture shows Wanda’s Wonderful Work of Art. Wanda is one of my chemotherapy nurses, and she created this dragonfly bandage for me. The background is the flowered garden dress that my sister Christine gave me.