I read a Chinese Proverb today that struck me as if it was written for me...
To get through the hardest journey we need only take one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping.
I had planned on writing today about how just as we thought our journey was coming to a close it seems to be starting again, then I read that single line. Now I realize our journey wasn't ending, it never really ends and that the good days come so that the bad days aren't so bad.
Yesterday we met with Jeremy's oncologist, she's the Dr. we love, and she was able to explain everything for us. I know anyone who is somewhat following our story probably has a lot of questions so I'm answering the questions I had and hopefully it helps you understand too. First off I was very confused by the fact that it came back after it looked like his body had responded so well to the treatments. She explained that there were 8 weeks between the last 2 scans, and at some point in those 8 weeks the cancer started to resist the chemo it was receiving, and then began regenerating. She said the way his body had responded to the chemotherapy was amazing and that we had to remember that even though his initial response had been amazing he had always had a 40% chance of recurrence, also that even though it had been a great response that when he started this his starting point was stage 4 cancer. Meaning it was a serious amount of cancer in his body.
So whats the next step? More chemotherapy! Since his body has become resistant to the type of drugs he previously was receiving they will be changing the drugs he gets and it will become an inpatient (in the hospital) process. He will get his first round of chemo next Friday. He will be admitted for 4 days, and receive chemo for 3 days in a row, then get a lot of fluids on day 4 before going home. Then 3 weeks later he will again be admitted for 4 days. He will only be getting 2 rounds of this chemo. During the weeks in between these 2 treatments he will be given shots to boost production of his bone marrow. At some point he will spend a day in the hospital where they will filter the excess bone marrow out of his blood and store it for later use. Once the 2 chemo treatments are complete he will be re-scanned. A few weeks after the scan he will be admitted for his bone marrow transplant.
Approximately the end of October the beginning of November Jeremy will go in to the hospital and receive 5 days of intense chemotherapy where the goal is to kill almost everything inside him. Since this will include all of the good things after the 5th day he won't have anything left to start the regeneration of good cells, and that's when he receives his own bone marrow back. He will remain in the hospital for the rest of the month so they can be sure that his blood cell counts are back to normal and make sure that he has enough immunity to go back out into the world. Lastly after all this is finished (approx. December) he will receive radiation. We don't know how much radiation he will need since basically his care has completely changed, but there will be some radiation needed.
Whew, ok, so that's it! Easy, peasy right? :) I'm not really that delusional I don't think it will be easy but I do know it is something we can do! I am confident we all will survive this. I am working on figuring out where and how people can help, and recognizing this will definitely be a "village" experience. Well it was exhausting hearing all this yesterday and it was equally exhausting writing it today, so for now I will sign off confident that the love that has poured in from our village will continue flowing.