Spreading the happy

Feb 04

I’ve never stated what “stage” my breast cancer was on this blog.  That was intentional.

“Advanced Breast Cancer” seemed like enough information for people.

*Quick Education: Breast Cancer has five stages: 0, I, II, III, and IV.   Stage 0 means that you have a teeny weeny bit of cancer, Stage IV means that you have metastasis.  Metastasis are when breast cancer has spread to one’s bones, liver, lungs, and/or brain.  Stages 0, I, II, and III are “curable”; it means that the cancer is confined to the breast/lymph nodes.  Stage IV is not curable.  That is my off the cuff education; I have a strict rule that I do not Google breast cancer.  Ever.  No good can come from that.

Does it surprise you that for the past 10.5 months I’ve been hoping/praying/praying/hoping that I have had Stage III breast cancer?

Who hopes for Stage III breast cancer?  People who accept they have breast cancer and want to be healed!

Early on, in March 2012, it was quickly determined that I had a whole lotta nasty cancer.  My cancer doctors cried when they assessed me in those first appointments.  Crying cancer doctors = bad news bears.  We had ups and downs and ups and downs with scans: spine spots, clear spine, liver spots, liver biopsy negative but spots still there, liver spots gone after chemo–were they cancer?  Dr. Wonderful never committed to a stage with me.  I’m okay with that, I’d rather be a person than a number to him anyway.

I’ve kind of been teetering on a tight rope.  Am I Stage III, curable?  Or am I Stage IV, and will be in aggressive cancer treatment for the rest of my life?  The PET scan from last week was big: no sign of metastasis in the five and a half months since chemo ended.  Praise the Lord.  As an extra measure, Dr. Wonderful gave me a cell search test last week.  It’s a test that’s only given to Stage IV patients because it is looking to count the number of cancer cells in the blood (which is the defining quality of Stage IV: cancer in the blood means that it has access to all those other organs and will eventually find a home and metastacize.)  For the test, the nurse draws a vial of blood, and the lab analyzes it.  Smart science-y people look for cancer cells, and count them.  You want a low number, right?  The lower the number, the fewer the cancer cells.

Want to know what my number was?

Zero.  I have zero cancer cells in my bloodstream.

Squeeeeeee!!!!!  I have never been so excited to get a Zero in my entire life!

ZERO means that there are no rogue cancer cells floating around in my bloodstream.  It backs up the clean PET scan and gives us more evidence that I am cancer free and maintaining my NED (No Evidence of Disease) status.

***I’ve had a few questions about why I’m getting PET scans and more “extra” tests like this cell search test.  The answer is that I had lots and lots of cancer; I was teetering on the edge of Stage III/Stage IV.  In my unique case, we have to rule out the Stage IV factor.  For most Stage 0-III breast cancer patients, tests like these would be overkill.  If your doctor doesn’t think you need a PET scan, celebrate!  It means she/he doesn’t think you have cancer!  And if you don’t trust your doctor, then get a second opinion.  I hope that helps.

I still don’t know if I am was Stage III or Stage IV.  I do believe that I have been miraculously healed of some Ugly Fugly Cancer; I believe that God and medical science cured me.

Dr. Wonderful is on vacation this week, so it was Nurse Practitioner Rockstar who gave me the results of the cell search test.  She clicked on my chart, scrolled to the right spot, then did a fist pump and exclaimed, “Zero!”

I jumped up and gave her a hug, “Yes!  That is so awesome!”

She said, “Yes, this is great.  Oh I’m so happy for you.  I might even have to text the boss (aka Dr. Wonderful) on vacation and tell him about this.”

I grinned.  I love that.  Happy news, happy people.  I love spreading the happy!

Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy! –Psalm 47:1

28 comments

  1. Lindsay /

    So happy for you!

  2. Sharon Hajek /

    I’m clapping my hands, I’m shouting for joy to the Lord, and I am crying, and cryIng some more. I am so happy for you and yours. I will continue to believe and pray without ceasing.

  3. Sharon /

    You are living proof that prayers ARE answered. :o) Old Forest is rejoicing!

  4. Christin /

    I’ll never forget how you explained tiramisu to me. You said, “it’s when God opens the sky and sets heaven right on your plate.” That’s what you just made that “zero” moment feel like. Like tiramisu!! Such a thrilling update!

  5. Denise O'Mara /

    AMAZING INCREDIBLY HAPPY NEWS. tHIS IS AWESOME ANDMAKES 2013 EVEN BETTER. wE ARE SOOOOOOOOTHRILLED FOR YOU. ALL OUR LOVE
    NEECIE AND LEO

  6. Kim Rourke /

    No words, just happy dance in my classroom!!!!!!

  7. Eva Brown /

    Jen, I’m ecstatic!! This is amazing news and I’m soooo happy to read it. Praise God for His goodness!

  8. Genora /

    Praise God…. To God Be The GLORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Bonnie J /

    What a wonderful way to start the day! !! Our God is awesome and the Giver of life – so thrilled for you and your whole family! !

  10. Such terrific news to hear, I am so happy for you. You are amazing!

  11. Melissa /

    Fantastic news! Celebrating with you.

  12. Ann Yelle /

    Celebrating here in Wisconsin. Thanks for a good over view of the stages. Even when you have breast cancer it is often difficult to understand. Have a super week, Jen!!!

  13. Linda Howard /

    And all the people said…..”AMEN!”

  14. jen geverdt /

    Again, that is SO, SO AWESOME.

  15. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

  16. Marsha Vonderwish /

    I’m at work reading this and I let out a big “YES!” Now I’m trying to type with tears of joy clouding my eyes and running down my face. I am SO very happy for you and praising GOD for HIS loving care!
    Did your Mom do her happy dance?! Wonderful, wonderful news!

  17. Marlayne Skeens /

    Jen ~ Goose Bumpb & Happy Dancing !!!!!!! GOD IS GOOD :-)

  18. Marlayne Skeens /

    That’s Bumps LOL :-)

  19. Ingrid /

    Wonderful news!
    (I had a conversation with my 4 y.o. daughter recently about how “sometimes zero is good” (I used “zero sleeps to your birthday” and “zero mosquito bites”) … “ZERO cancer cells” is even more exciting!)

  20. Jeanne /

    Awesommmmmmmme! Happy dance time!

  21. Jenn t /

    Super duper amazingly awesome!!!

  22. Kim Bunn /

    This is so exciting!

  23. Blessings! HE is good!

  24. Happy dance time!! :) Hugs, Lauri

  25. Lynda M O /

    What wonderful news, Jen, We’re rocking in the kitchen for you !~!

  26. ZERO!! awesomeness!!!!!!

  27. Peggy Murriner /

    RIGHT?!?!??! Clap your hands & shout, ZERO! IV to 0 is so the way God works. And his miracles abound. Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield. Ps 5:12