The latest on Tracy’s health

It has been a busy week and a half, I’m sorry it has taken so long to write.

On November 25th, Tracy did go in for a successful surgery – they removed all of the cancer but found that at least the “sentinel node” was affected by cancer. Close to midnight she made the trip from the recovery room to her short stay room.

What surprised me was that she called me the next morning around 10:00, saying that she was being discharged early that afternoon. This was not the hospital’s decision, she thought the hospital was boring. We got her home late that afternoon. The next few days were all about rest and recovery (Happy Thanksgiving).

Monday night Tracy’s surgeon called and gave her an initial update – the pathology was in. The tumor was much larger than any of us expected (8 cm) and two lymph nodes were affected. Thankfully, Tracy’s margins were clear (the cancer came within 2 mm of the chest wall, but did not touch it!) This helped us to have some idea of what treatments would likely come, but more on that in a minute.

The next day we met with her reconstructive surgeon, and he said that everything looked very good. He removed some of Tracy’s hardware (pain pump, and some drains) which made her feel a little better. We are scheduled to meet with him again on Monday (Dec. 7th) to get the rest of these drains removed.

We meet with Tracy’s oncologist yesterday (Dec. 4th). She reviewed the pathology report, and filled us in on the treatment plan:

  • Heal for the next few weeks.
  • Chemo will being early next year; she will face one treatment every three weeks, a total of 6 treatments with the ACT protocol. This will take us up to the middle of May.
  • Approximately three weeks later we’ll keep the ball rolling with a regimen of radiation.

We soaked in as much as we could about the effects of the chemo, genetic testing, second opinions and clinical trials. Dr. Weisberg is a real professional with a kind heart. As our appointment ended, she stated the truth, “This will be hard.”

This is going to be a marathon.

This morning a thought crossed my mind – Dr. Weisberg is a compassionate and capable doctor, and yet she has prescribed a painful, uncomfortable series of treatments for Tracy. In order to maintain Tracy’s life, she will endure a cocktail of chemicals that may leave her, at times, wishing she was dead.

So should we reckon this doctor unkind? No, though she knows well the effects of the treatment, she is just as aware of the results of abstaining. Though it may seem to spare the patient the discomfort of chemo and radiation, that relief would be fleeting as the cancer destroyed its victim.

There is a real parallel to Hebrews 12, isn’t there? Many would view a diagnosis of cancer as an unloving jab from our God and Father, proof that He is not loving, just, or kind. But isn’t it just the opposite? He treats our real disease – the suicidal exchange of that which is infinitely valuable for that which can never satisfy – but the cure is rarely found in pleasant places. This is not punishment – because Jesus took all our punishment there is no wrath left for us to drink. He disciplines us because He loves us and wants us to share in his holiness (Heb. 12:10; Rom. 8:28).


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Ron Dexter on December 6, 2008 at 1:35 am

    Tracy – you and your family are in our prayers. You checking out the hospital because it was boring was funny to read. Your faith and strength are an encouragement to us all.


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