The yo-yo has been in full swing from “no cancer in Jeremy’s brain”, “maybe cancer”, “MRI cancelled, this is chemo-related”, “There is most definitely cancer there.” It has been rough and the fatigue of the past four months is really setting in. Just when we got to the point of discussing very scary possibilities, I left Jeremy at the hospital, drove home in tears, praying all the way. Then the doctor called.
Jeremy most definitely has lymphoma cells in his brain. He is also reacting to the chemotherapy. The chemo reaction is essentially inflammation of the brain. This reaction is a form of chemo toxicity, something that could get worse and could be deadly. On top of that, there are cancerous cells present in Jeremy’s spinal fluid indicating the cancer in the brain has not responded to the chemotherapy as previously thought. With Blastic Mantle Cell Lymphoma it is quite possible for the cancer to go away but then quickly come back. This has been a concern for quite some time. The good news, although I don’t have this set in stone, is that the lymphoma in the other parts of Jeremy’s body has responded very well to the chemotherapy. The chemo just doesn’t seem to be working on the cancer in the brain or CNS (central nervous system). This is what is causing Jeremy’s weakness, facial paralysis and other problems of late.
Earlier today a doctor told us this may be a possibility and suggested radiation as an option but not to worry, that wasn’t something very urgent. Just an hour or so later, the doctor called to say that it was, in fact, quite urgent to start radiation as soon as possible. They have already begun preparing Jeremy for this with a plan to do full brain radiation for 14 straight days beginning as early as this Monday. I probably don’t need to say that there are significant risks involved with full brain radiation. The doctor told me that there was a 20 – 30% chance that Jeremy’s mental status would deteriorate even more and that was a very real risk. The primary impact would be cognitive with the possibility of permanent memory issues. But, as the doctor so candidly told me “If we don’t do this, the lymphoma will. There really isn’t an option here. Obviously, radiation would never be the first option but we feel so strongly that this is the only option we have.”
So there it is. At least this is the end of the current yo-yo trip we’ve been riding. In that respect it is a relief. Radiation, they’ve assured me, is very effective at beating back lymphoma. Assuming all goes well, we could see improvement in Jeremy in as little as five days. Meaning Jeremy could be on the path to wellness, getting stronger as he needs to be doing. And, assuming the radiation works as well as it usually does, Jeremy could still be on track for the bone marrow transplant, again assuming the cancer is gone in the rest of the body. While things may feel bleak, there is still much to be hopeful for in the days and weeks to come. The battle isn’t over.
So, just as the fatigue was settling in, we see the start of a new, more dangerous battle straight ahead. We have the weekend to recuperate and recover, but Monday this new battle begins. And I’m all in. We are still fighting this fight. The race is not yet over. I’m not giving up – I’m using this weekend to get my second wind.
When I asked Jeremy earlier today how he was doing, he said “We just need to pray the Lord gets me through this.” So that’s what we’re doing. And we need you to join us. Get on your battle gear, enter in, fight this fight and run this race with us. We need a team of warriors cheering Jeremy and his support team on. We need people praying for him constantly (as so many of you are) and we need prayers for those of us holding Jeremy’s hand through these treatments. Now is not the time to give up, now is the time to press on.
We need to pray that Jeremy’s reaction to the chemo resolves and that it doesn’t continue to harm him. We need to pray that Jeremy tolerates the radiation very well, the lymphoma responds appropriately and Jeremy doesn’t have terrible long-term or permanent side effects. We need to pray for renewed strength to press on. Jeremy’s body has been through too much already.
The road ahead is terrifying but it won’t be completely dark. There may be tears, but there will be miracles. Our Hope will not disappoint. I look forward to seeing you all on our battlefield with us in whatever role you play. Thank you for your continued prayers and love.