Exactly one week ago (8/31) we received the wonderful news that Emily’s tumor had dramatically shrunk after the first two rounds of chemotherapy. Although Emily felt her breathing had improved and we’d hoped for good results, we never anticipated such a significant decrease. The news brought much joy, relief, and renewed energy.
Over the weekend, we attended the wedding of our friends Danny and Karlen. Both Danny and Karlen work with Emily at Western Asset. In a demonstration of support, all members of the wedding party, including the bride, wore “Fight like a Girl” lung cancer bracelets. It didn’t stop there though: the wait staff, photographers, and band members all wore matching bracelets as well. Emily was overwhelmed by the gesture of support. She recovered, though, and with both of us still thrilled by the good news, we were able to unwind and get after it on the dance floor (aka random, long appendages flying in all directions, lots and lots of sweating, etc). All in all, it was a terrific weekend and a great lead in to the third round of chemotherapy.
On Wednesday (9/5), Emily had an appointment with her oncologist. Dr. Reckamp was quite pleased with the results. She even printed photos of the “before” and “after” CT scans of Emily’s lungs. A quick overview:
- The tumor dimensions shrunk from 43mm x 35mm to 22mm x 19mm. A large decrease is a great sign that the body is responding to the chemotherapy, especially the Alimta (the potential maintenance chemo)
- The fluid in the lung dissipated. There is still some cancer in the lining; however, it is minimal and Emily has her sights on it
- The lymph nodes have all decreased by nearly the same percentage as the tumor
Dr. Reckamp ordered two more rounds of chemotherapy, after which Emily will have another CT scan done to track the progress. The doctor attempted to reel in expectations for the next rounds, stating that any decrease in tumor size would be a success. However, Emily smells blood. For anyone who watched her play volleyball, Emily plays only one way: attack and kill. You might as well call the tumor ‘Wilson’ because it’s about to get spiked.
Following the appointment, Emily rushed out of the office to ask the receptionist “Have you seen the photo of my beautiful lungs?!” For the next few minutes, Emily, beaming from ear to ear, broke down the scans for the woman. Emily’s enthusiasm and love of life just exuded naturally, and the lady could not help but smile. It is no surprise that all of the receptionists already know her name, greeting Emily the second she walks into the hospital, and that the doctors and nurses all hug her when they enter the room. In fact, just the other day as Emily entered the CT scan room, a nurse came running in and said “I saw your name on the chart and I wanted to come down and wish you the best of luck!” As she hugged Emily, the woman looked at me and said, “She is just so adorable. I have been praying for her every night.” Emily’s spirit and determination is contagious.
The third round of chemotherapy went well. During the injection, we watched episodes of Parks and Recreation and while the poisonous drugs were injected into her, Emily let out belly laughs one after another. The third round has been a little tougher on her body though. She has experienced increased nausea, but Emily just keeps saying, “If I feel like this imagine what it is doing to the tumor.”
Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. Each night we reflect on all the support she is receiving. Emily is not fighting this tumor alone; rather she has the strength of hundreds attacking this little 22mm x 19mm mass.
Love to all. Live in the moment.