Yesterday afternoon JJ had a two-hour session of Chemotherapy. The Infusion area was very, very busy and we were tucked into a little room in a corridor that I didn’t know existed. We had a new nurse named Kim. She was sweet.
Sam the therapy dog almost passed us by because we were tucked into the out-of-the-way room, so I went up to his owner, pointed out JJ’s room, and asked if Sam could please visit him. I didn’t want JJ to miss the joy of a visit from such a sweet dog.
The Chemo made JJ very tired, so he slept most of the evening after we got home.
I talked to my friend on the phone later in the afternoon. We weren’t able to talk at all last week so I filled her in on everything, and answered her questions. I told her about the lullaby music that plays over the PA system throughout the hospital whenever a baby is born. I tried to explain to my friend that in the midst of all the sickness, and pain, and suffering, the knowledge that a baby is born always makes me smile. It fills me with such hope and joy and promise. There is life in the midst of suffering and death. Then I heard what I was saying and I paused. “You know what? That sounds just like what the birth of Yeshua (Jesus) did–His birth brought hope and joy and promise and life in the midst of sickness, pain, and suffering. Imagine that.
I went to the post office this morning to buy stamps and pick up a package. JJ felt better this morning so he wanted to go to the post office with me. When we walked in, the Postmaster, who has worked there only a couple of months, said, “You must be JJ!” We chatted a bit and then he reached across the counter, held JJ’s hands, and prayed for him. JJ really liked him a lot. “There’s good people in the world,” he said.
JJ didn’t have Chemo today, but he did have an appointment with his oncologist so once again we drove to the Cancer Center, our home away from home. I assumed the doctor was going to discuss JJ’s progress with us, but I didn’t know exactly what to expect. Was he going to tell us treatment was going well? Badly? That more measures needed to be taken? I was a tiny bit apprehensive because so far every time we met with a doctor,we received worse news than we expected.
When the doctor came into the exam room, the first thing he said was, “We need to do some framing.” We didn’t understand what he meant. What is framing? Was it a new procedure or something? Every day we are learning new cancer-related terms.
But then the doctor showed us JJ’s lab results and we understood. We were stunned. In one week of Chemo, JJ’s Beta HCG Quantitative numbers went from 12,445.2 to 2.2. I didn’t know what this was, so I googled it and found that “Certain types of testicular cancers produce beta-HCG. The hormone is more commonly secreted in non-seminomatous germ cell tumors. Choriocarcinoma, a type of non-seminomatous germ cell tumor, always secretes beta-HCG. Occasionally, seminomas may secrete beta-HCG.” High numbers are bad. Low numbers are good. JJ’s numbers went from high to very low.
We also were shown the lab results measuring the tumor markers in his blood. “Tumor markers are substances that are produced by cancer or by other cells of the body in response to cancer or certain benign (noncancerous) conditions. Most tumor markers are made by normal cells as well as by cancer cells; however, they are produced at much higher levels in cancerous conditions.” JJ’s numbers went from 238.2 to 2.8, a tremendous decrease. It’s amazing.
So you can fully appreciate how drastically his numbers went down, here are charts of his lab results. You can click on the pictures to enlarge them.
It’s amazing. I can see how why the doctor said we should frame these lab results!
The cancer is almost gone. The doctor said that the Chemo will continue so we can make sure that all the cancer is completely, utterly gone. If any cancer remains in his body after his chemo treatment is completed, he will have surgery to remove the lymph nodes in his back to make sure all of it is gone. If there is no indication of cancer, we will be done with treatment.
What tremendous news! All the way home as we drove through the snowy countryside, we rejoiced and discussed that this was surely the result of all the prayers that have been poured out for JJ.
We decided to get Chinese takeout to celebrate. We get Chinese takeout whenever we have anything to celebrate or just need extra comfort. I have our favorite restaurants in my cell phone’s contact list, so I called ahead as we were driving home, and it was ready by the time we arrived to pick it up.
I think all of you, my readers, should participate in our celebration, since you have participated in lovingly supporting and praying for JJ. So go order Chinese food tonight–or whatever food is your favorite.