Status Update: Slow but Steady…

31 03 2011

The preliminary report is that we do indeed have good news to celebrate!

The doctor told Don and I today that the CT Scan shows that the four largest nodules of cancer — two in each lung — have decreased in size. In the right lung, the 12 mm shrunk to 10 mm and the 15 mm to 11 mm. In the left lung, the 12 mm shrunk to 10 mm and another 12 mm shrunk to 9 mm. Other nodules in both lungs were too small to measure any changes on a CT Scan. (I think that means I will have the more sensitive PET Scan again at a future date.) Other very positive news is that nothing “new” showed up.

The doctor told me that, of course, any decrease in size is good news and that the report is about what we could have expected at this point in my chemo regimen. In her words, we are headed in the right direction and we’re going to keep on going.

I don’t know exactly what I was expecting. I think I wanted the news to be so miraculous that someone could give me an end-date for chemo. Or even an approximate. I want that so darned bad.

Don, of course, was very happy and encouraged by the news that we’ve made progress. Don’t get me wrong. I was, too, but the thought of still an unpredictable number of chemo treatments in my future just threw me into a series of wracking sobs. It’s interesting, because it made me think of a comment that my friend Scott Orwig left on my blog following my March 22 post on the psychological impact of cancer, The Summer of My Discontent:

“Wow, you hit that one right on the head!” he posted. “I thought maybe it was a response to the long anesthesia and surgery. After the initial elation of having the tumor out, my mood took a MAJOR hit. It can make a person feel guilty and ungrateful, after treatment has been apparently so successful, to not be skipping around and appreciating every minute of life.”

Indeed, it is really weird to feel the slightest bit ungrateful for whatever gifts we receive. Feels a little like the kid at Christmas who rips open package after package, hurridly moving on to the next one before enjoying the one at hand.

I feel so very happy, yet also so very conflicted.

Cancer, cancer treatments, the physical, the physiological, the psychological. It’s all so very, very hard. I just feel so very, very tired. Like a boxer who’s in Round Three, with many more rounds to go. Then again, I can see that the opponent is getting beat up and battered.

And in the end, I’m hoping and praying that slow but steady wins the race.

Copyright 2011, Amy Rauch Neilson



29 responses

31 03 2011


31 03 2011
M.E. Murray

Good news indeed. Small progress, but perhaps miraculous all the same. Give yourself the permission to be disappointed, then remember that you are moving forward. My prayers are still with you every day…and just for the record, I believe in miracles.

31 03 2011
Mark Robertson

Amen. Press on.

31 03 2011

Hold on Amy!!

31 03 2011

My friend Lucy shared something today similar to what you’re going through, but she’s going through it with her husband. They were told that HIS tumor was now smaller than when it was discovered; VERY good news for a stage 4 lung cancer patient! But Lucy said, “Well, why isn’t it gone?” And then she relayed the following joke: “A Jewish woman takes her son to the beach, the little guy looking cute in his shorts and cap. A big wave comes roaring up the beach and drags him out into the ocean. The woman falls to her knees crying, “Yahweh! Yahweh! Please save my son! I’ll do anything! Please!” The next wave comes roaring up the beach and drops the boy at her feet. The woman looks at the boy, looks up at the sky and says, “He had a cap.”

Don’t beat yourself up. What you’re feeling is N O R M A L!

Love you!

31 03 2011
Carol Clemens

I stand with Don–any good news is very good news! And, as you observed, when you are tired and worn out it is hard to be “up”, so just get the rest you need and let the rest of us be thankful for the progress and continue to pray for more!

Love, Carol

31 03 2011
Glenda Sparrow

Stay strong Amy. Improvements are good, and you’re right not to not be satisfied until this cancer is gone; that’s what you’re feeling, not ungrateful, just not satisfied. We will continue to pray for you and the fam. You are a dear person to us all. Lean on God through this; He will be your strength.

In Christ’s love,

31 03 2011
Beth Zac

Small steps forward are always better than bigger steps backward…
take the positive results, wrap yourself up in them, and use them to keep on going!

31 03 2011
Amy Youngblood

SUCH good news, all the truly good things in life move slow and steady, don’t they? It sounds like a good sign to me–you can never trust the stuff that moves too quickly. Hang in there, and looking forward to hearing the next report of the incredible shrinking nodule……and will continue prayfest in Highland.

31 03 2011
Paul Vachon

Amy, I can certainly understand your bittersweet feelings–joy from moving in the right direction, but sadness at the thought of continued chemo.

Be strong–we’re all with you.


31 03 2011
Ken and Gay

Good news Amy! We know progress may seem slow, but it is progress and that is a blessing!!!! When the weather warms up and you can sit outside and feel the warm sun on your face, smell Spring flowers, see the earth coming back to life after the long Winter, you will feel better!!! You are in our hearts and prayers.

31 03 2011
Sarah Zowada

Congratulations on the progress that has been made!!! Of course you are tired!! This is a very emotional situation! Rest well. Praise God for what He has done!! and from whom all blessings flow.

31 03 2011
Rita P

Ditto to everything M.E. Murray so eloquently stated. Prayers continue as you experience this journey. Bless you for being vulnerable enough to share your human-ness with us. What a treasure you are!!

31 03 2011
Scott Orwig

It is very good news, Amy, but go ahead and rest your courage for a little while. You’ve got a right to be tired! Let Don be the strong one for you now, and then the perspective will return to you that you ARE beating this, and you’ll be ready to keep going again.

31 03 2011
brian Murphy

Yes, and yes, and YES!!!

31 03 2011
Bill Harvey

I agree with Don; shrinking is what you are after and that is what is happening.

31 03 2011
Linda Stanislawski

thankful for the positive report, praying for you to be encouraged and have strength, mental, emotionally , physically for all you have yet to go through. Having been through all those cancer treatments, I understand something of what you are experiencing. Hang on dear girl. God is with you and we are standing with you too

31 03 2011
Lori Parker

It’s an endurance test Amers, we’re all in it with you. My money is on team Amy.
Love ya.

31 03 2011
Carol Phillips

Amy how awesome it would have been if God just wiped all the cancer out of your body. That was and still is my prayer. God is in this in His timing and in His way. He has and will continue to shrink that cancer, and give you the daily strength to endure more treatments. Heavens gates are being bombarded with prayer! Love your guts,

31 03 2011

Aw Aimes. I get it. Wonderful news, and don’t berate yourself for having what you have. Embrace it, deal with it, and let it go. Tomorrow is a new day, with less cancer and a bright future. Love you hugely.

31 03 2011
Sarah Ludwig Rausch

Amy, I admire you so much. You have been through a lot, yet you’re one of the most joyful, strong, funny people I know. You’re my hero! I’m keeping you, Don and Theo in my daily prayers and sending tons of love and hugs your way. You are SO amazing!! xoxoxo

31 03 2011

Wonderful! You’re headed in the right direction, and I would have to agree with Glenda; … “not ungrateful, just not satisfied”! Well, that’s part of who you are, as a fighter and survivor. We are only human, so don’t deny the emotions you feel! Feel it, listen to it, reflect on it – then let it go! Rest up, feel better – and then you will get back to kicken cancers butt and taking names! GO AMY!! XO

31 03 2011
Jennifer Wolf

Here’s my thought…God just couldn’t get enough of the two of us at chemo together, so He’s gotta make sure you get a couple more rounds. We are pretty funny together! I love you, and ANYTHING in the positive column is fantastic news. I am happy and grateful, and it’s ok to feel less-than-fulfilled right now. You still have a long way to go. It’s going to be tough. You know that, and it’s ok to feel the “Holy CRAP!!! Do I still have to do this?” emotions for a little while. But you know yourself pretty well, and I think you know you will process this, allow yourself some tears and moments of frustration, then get up and press on. You will do this. You have the heart and mind to do this. Don’t forget, frog legs at Theo’s wedding!

31 03 2011
Bob adams

Your story is helpful to others. That includes the emotion involved in the process of getting better, then remission. I believe God is using you to help others, those with cancer and those who have friends with the desease. I also think He recognizes your writing skills and your abilities.

Emotion, in the process, is OK and expected. You don’t need to be super human, nor does Don.

Love ya, Bob

1 04 2011
KK Santini

YOU are winning. This is fabulous, and you know what? go with the realm of emotions – that’s part of the winning bit. You shouldn’t HAVE to be fighting this battle, and you are allowed to indulge in your heart. We all want it to be over and done and past tense forever, but you even more so. Know that there’s a battery of peeps behind you, too, to hold you up and carry you forward if necessary.

Bottom line, though, is that YOU are doing it!! I’m relishing that thought today!!

2 04 2011
Rebecca @ Unexplained X2

This is really good news. Good for you!

3 04 2011
Amy Orwig

You are allowed to be tired. If you’re exhausted, you’re exhausted…that’s the body saying – let me just pick myself up for a minute before I get hit again. It is ok not be dancing for centimeters, you’ve been living this ping pong game- and no one but you can tell us how it really feels. You’ve earned some major clock time on “I’m exhausted, gimme a minute or two.” It’s human nature to want a clear and concise winner, but I will tell you as someone that has worked among cancer – you’ve already won. It seems sometimes like cancer waits for all of us, and we all lean on those with a close understanding to tell us/teach us/ instruct us on how to fight for life. That’s what I get from every one of your entries and it inspires me, the will to live, the will to fight, the will to win…even from a distance I get it. Who could forget this life lesson? You are amazing, and amazing women, you deserve to be tired!! Right?! Put the sword to your side and fight again tomorrow.

Sincere respect and admiration,

Amy O.

5 04 2011
Sara Nickerson

That sure is encouraging news, Amy! I wish you all the best!

5 04 2011

Way to go, Amy, and keep going! We love you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: