Friday, May 6th, 2011

May 6th, 2011 at 8:16 pm by under Deanna's Journey

My house is noisy – very noisy.  My husband is cooking.   My mother is watching the news.  My son and his friend are racing remote control cars across our wooden floor, and my collie is following them, barking loudly.  What a blessing to drown in the noise of a full home.  It’s the sign of a life fully blessed.

I’ve made some decisions.  After researching a number of clinical trial options, I chose one that includes a Parp inhibitor, a group of drugs that has shown promise in battling triple negative breast cancer, the viciously aggressive monster that attacked my right breast.  I had a 50-percent chance of getting the Parp along with a standard chemotherapy agent.  The other choice is standard chemo alone.  The decisions about who gets the research drug are random – chosen by a computer by which I’m identified only as a number.  And I got the call on Friday afternoon.   I didn’t get the Parp.   I would receive standard chemotherapy alone. 

I was crushed.  That’s actually a bit of an understatement.   I sat in the bathtub and cried – no, I wailed into a wet towel.  Clinical trials can be so cruel.  Intellectually, I get it.  If we’re to assure the most effective drugs get to market, the scientific integrity is of utmost importance.  You must have one group that gets the research drug and one that doesn’t.  Then scientists wait to see if the group that got the research drug is more likely to survive than the other.  But when you’re fighting for your life, intellect takes a backseat to the immediate visceral reaction that comes with being denied what is arguably the best treatment.

As is always the case when I’m grappling with something beyond my control, I talked to God about it.  Actually I sat in my minivan and yelled at God.  I learned long ago it’s okay yell at the Big Guy; He can take it.   After I finally calmed down,  I had dinner with girl friends and talked it out.   Thank God for good friends.  I’m convinced He sent them that evening.

So then I had another decision to make – drop out of that clinical trial and try to find another, or stick with the trial and receive what I believe is the inferior of the two treatments being offered.  I had a busy weekend, so I had to put those decisions on the back burner.  I chair the board of an organization called A Girl’s Gift that provides mentoring and educational sessions for girls ages 10 to 14.  Our girls were having their overnight retreat that Saturday, and I would need to harness my energy to help corral 30 giggling little girls through hours of activities.  It’s funny.  As I opened the doors and welcomed our girls and their parents, I silently prayed for the emotional energy to get through the weekend.  But within moments, I felt better, basking in the light of little girl smiles.  They were so excited about the weekend and it helped me forget my fears.

Finally, on Monday I had time to start researching again.  I called a clinical trial matching service, scoured the national cancer institute’s clinical trial web site, and finally determined the standard chemotherapy offered in the first trial is the best option available.  So that’s where we are.  

Wednesday, with my blanket draped over my arm, I went back to the same light-filled infusion room where I had received months of chemotherapy before my bilateral mastectomy – the same place where I had celebrated what I thought was my last chemotherapy treatment in March.  Such is the nature of the beast I’ve named Fred.  He’s a tenacious little fella.  And the battle is bigger than I.  And so again, I give this to God.  I’ll receive four treatments three weeks apart – and then we wait.  And we pray.  And we wait.

You’ll remember we had another decision to make.  My adoption counselor called about a baby girl due in weeks.  I want to step out on faith and adopt her.  My husband doesn’t think this is the time.  And we both completely understand the reasons for the other’s viewpoint.  But there will be no adoption unless we both agree.  And I’m sad.  There really are no words that accurately describe where I am right now except that one – sad.

And so it is.  I’ve learned to accept that sadness does not signify the absence of faith.  God never promised us days without sadness, without disappointment, without fear.  He did, however, promise us that he would never leave nor forsake us.  And for that, I’ll give thanks this Mother’s Day as I celebrate with the beautiful little family He’s already given me – grateful that I can call them mine.

9 Responses to “Friday, May 6th, 2011”

  1. Barb Ross says:

    In the face of such unspeakable distress what can a stranger say but I am praying for you and your family!

  2. melissa seal says:

    Dear Deanna,

    I am a 2 yr cancer survivor here is just a couple of things that got me through my treatments and i was feeling the same emotions you are feeling. this is a poem you may have heard before but god laid it upon my heart to send this too you.

    what cancer cannot do.
    cancer is so limited….
    it cannot cripple love
    it cannot shatter hope
    it cannot corrode faith
    it cannot destroy peace
    it cannot it cannot kill friendship
    it cannot suppress memories
    it cannot silence courage
    it cannot invade the soul
    it cannot steal eternal life
    it cannot conquer the spirit.
    God didnot promise days without pain,laughter withour sorrow,nor sun withour rain,but he did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears,and light for the way.
    Remember Deanna One Day At A Time.

    God doesnt give us what we can handle

  3. melissa seal says:

    Here is the rest of it my computer messed up.

    God doesnt give us what we can Handle
    God helps us handle what we are given.
    God Bless and many prayers for you and your family. You are going to the best place to get treatments. the people at Iu are awesome. I credit them with saving my life along with god without him i wouldnt still be hear. Just have faith. Melissa

  4. Jennifer Arnott says:

    All I can say is you and your family continue to be in my prayers every single day.

  5. Patti says:

    Its ok to be sad, Deanna. As you said, He will never leave nor forsake us! He is allowing you to be sad for now, so that you will continue to lift others up and share that shoulder for all of us to cry on. Bless you, dear sweet Deanna! As my mother is in Tennessee and she fights the same chemo treatments starting on Monday, I feel I can “embrace” you and your battle here at home and feel like I am doing something for someone. Being a long-distance caregiver has many long and dark nights of frustration and anger also. I have a whole hamper full of towels I have screamed in :) Keep up the fight, sister, keep up the fight!

  6. cynthia smoker says:

    Deanna you have so earned your right to have a good scream at God-he forgives all and knows we humans have to rail at the wind sometimes. I just lost my 86yr old Mother to the second cancer of her life-Ovarian cancer. She had breast cancer when she was pregnant with me fifty one years ago and being told she had terminal stage 3c ovarian cancer made her very mad at God for a few days. She eventually made her peace with him and helped her children, grandchildren and great granchildren rely on their faith to see them through her final days. I can now focus my “warrior” prayers on you. Do not give up! God gave you a wonderful, fearless intellect to share and teach others and I firmly believe he is not ready to dim that light. Fred will continue to shrivel and die, he just needs a little more medicine to do him in!!

  7. Becky Bechtel says:


    You are doing great. Keep on feeling everything. It is good for you. Let it all out. You are allowed to be angry.

    One thing that helped me is that after my surgery…shortly after Lent started, I started to take 15 minutes per day and just sit in a church. It was a good and contemplative thing to do and it was time for just me and the Lord. To add to that, I read 15 minutes of scripture per day. Again, this was something just for me and God and I could focus on me and how I was feeling an how God was carrying me through this.

    You are a strong woman. Re: the story you shared about Avery….what a very touching, yet sad, story. So happy, though, that you now have your son.

    Your husband loves you and wants the best for you. I believe, from what you have said, that he wants you, Deanna, to focus on your healing and he probably feels that would be hard to do with a new baby.

    God is good and your time will come and you will welcome a new baby with open arms. You will beat this and you will have much life to give your future daughter.

    Still praying for you!
    Becky Bechtel

  8. Janet Hair says:

    What a comfort your blog has been to me. I just found it tonight, God’s timing is perfect. My husband is stage IV colon cancer with tumor on liver and we are going to the IU Simon center a week from Monday for an appointment with a new oncologist. Your comments have made me feel very much more at peace about our decision. Thanks you so much for sharing, I know you are helping a lot of people. God bless you, will be praying for you.

  9. Julie Busic says:

    You probably don’t remember me. My step-daughter is Kim Wise. I certainly do remember you…I remember what a wonderful friend you were to my family as we struggled through weeks of ‘getting Mika.’
    I’ve been praying, and continue to pray, for complete healing for you…in every single way. You are an awesome lady! Your family is so incredibly blessed to have you as is Kim to call you ‘friend.’
    May God give you every miracle including the peace that surpasses all understanding. I pray that for you and your family!
    God Bless,
    Julie Busic