Friday, December 4, 2020

My six-month post-surgery update

Hello dear friends and family. 

I was planning to do a post-surgery update for you every month, but as you may have noticed, the five-month one never happened. 

I did actually think about writing one, but I had a lot of mental processing to do that I wasn't up to sharing at the time. You see, one of my dear friends lost her battle with depression, despite getting help and doing all the right things, and it really threw me. 

I had been praying for her for a long time to receive healing, yet my prayers went unanswered. 

That was hard for me when I've had so many miracles on my own health journey. It felt unfair that my my friend didn't also receive a miracle. 

I know that God is good and that my friend was ultimately saved, because she had given her life to Jesus and He would have been there to meet her and advocate for her in heaven, but I so desperately prayed for a miracle for her here on earth too. 

That's one of the hardest things about living this life with the limited perspective we do. We don't know why God chooses to intervene sometimes and not others. We can't see the end from the beginning as He can, and we just have to trust that everything is ultimately going to work out for good if we put our faith in Him, because He has said it will and He has proven faithful before.

I guess I didn't feel like I could write an upbeat post last month about how everything is going well for me with my treatment, when my friend's fight against depression had ended so badly. But I realised that if no one shares the good stories for fear of making other people feel slighted or unseen in their suffering, then it will seem like there are only bad stories happening and the darkness will get awfully black. 

So I'm back this month to testify to God's goodness in my life, even as I hold it in balance that we are all dealing with various struggles at all times, and sometimes those struggles feel completely overwhelming. 

My only advice (which is the advice I've been living by for the past seven months since I got my stage 3 melanoma diagnosis) is to pray, ask for help, allow God to shape you through your struggles, and hold on to hope. 

Here's my good news:

My shoulder is functioning really well. It's almost back to normal and I'm able to do most things without struggle. I still have to stretch my neck multiple times a day to keep working against the scar tissue that's trying to pull it tight, but it's healing well.

I had another CT scan a couple of weeks ago and it was clear; It didn't show any signs of new tumours forming. Hurray!

My thyroid became under-active over the past couple of months and I was fearful that it would become so under-active I would need to be put onto Thyroxine for life, since my oncologist warned me that's the usual chain of events when the thyroid is damaged by Keytruda. However, I've received prayer for my thyroid and also been taking Lugol's Solution Iodine daily, and my thyroid has started to recover. In fact, it's almost back to normal. Hallelujah! (But please do keep praying for it.) 

My iron got really low in the last couple of months and I've struggled with fairly extreme exhaustion. I've been eating meat since it started to tank and also taking spirulina and Spatone iron supplements, and my last blood test showed a slight improvement. I'm still tired, but hopefully on the mend. Tiredness is one of the common side effects of Keytruda, as the treatment causes more immature blood cells to circulate, so that could also be what's sapping my energy. The under-active thyroid won't have been helping either. 

I would appreciate your prayers for my energy levels. 

I've been taking liquid chlorophyll each day and drinking vegetable-packed smoothies for breakfast, filled with all the good things like kefir, kale, spinach, okra, cauliflower, blueberries, spirulina, cinnamon, collagen, Nano Curcumin, Nano Quercetin, Nano Silymarin, Boabab powder and Vital All-in-One green powder. I think the smoothies and the liquid chlorophyll have helped my liver to keep detoxing the Keytruda, because all of my liver levels have returned to normal and stayed there for the past few months. 

Lately I've really been enjoying homeschool with the kids. We've been changing things up a bit, trying new things and it's been a lot of fun. We now do "Fun Maths" twice a week, where I bring maths alive with stories, competitions, games, logic puzzles and living maths concepts. The kids and I all really enjoy it and, whenever I ask, the kids say it's their favourite subject. We've also been having fun with science experiments, which is something I've never felt that confident doing with the kids before. I'm just so grateful that I get to spend my days with my children. 

Whatever happens to me, we've been able to pack in a lot of quality time together because we chose to homeschool. 

God is good and I've been enjoying my morning quiet times with him. I've been keeping it fairly simple lately and just reading various books from the New Testament. At the moment I'm reading 2 Corinthians. It's been amazing to me the things the Holy Spirit has highlighted as I've read, and it has reminded me that the Bible is a living book, which the Lord is able to use to speak directly into our hearts and circumstances. 

I'm also part of a ladies' group that meets weekly, and we've been working through Priscilla Shirer's Bible study, The Armour of God. It has been a really blessed time together. We've learned a lot about the weapons God has gifted us with, and we've also had the opportunity to lift each other up in prayer each week. 

I did an interview for Melanoma NZ's November newsletter, to help get the word out about the importance of getting dodgy moles checked early. You can read the article here

We have a large swan plant directly by our kitchen window. I've loved watching dozens of caterpillars transform into Monarch butterflies over the past month as I've cooked and washed dishes. The kids and I even got to watch a butterfly hatch this week, which is something we've never managed to witness before. 

And I believe that's all my news. As always, feel free to ask any questions you may have about my melanoma journey. 

Bless you. 

Love Emma

1 comment:

  1. Awesome, Emma! I'm so thrilled your treatment is going well. May you have more and more energy as time goes on. Thank you for sharing with us. I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. It can be so hard to celebrate the good things in our own lives when there is so much pain and suffering in the world around us, but like you say, it's important to show there is light here too. Bless you, love, Sharon.

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