Early Friday, January 23, 2015, Bonnie and I, with our son Raymond driving us, headed for Jackson, MS so Bonnie could receive treatment for pancreatic cancer. Since Sonic wasn’t open yet, we diverted to McDonalds for a quick breakfast en route to a series of three appointments at Baptist Health Systems.
Following our 90-mile drive down I-55 from Winona, MS, we three arrived at the cancer center about 8:34 a.m. – only about four minutes late. However, Bonnie and I didn’t get in to see the doctor until about 45 minutes later. Her oncology radiologist explained the significance of a recent CT scan following 28 doses of radiation. In addition, he clarified the findings from analysis of the 4.6 liters of fluid drained from Bonnie’s abdomen a week ago.
The tumor on Bonnie’s pancreas did not shrink so far from radiation, but neither did it grown any bigger. The fluid that was drained developed as the body’s defensive mechanism to fight off cancer cells that broke off of the tumor and that are moving about in the abdomen. Some swelling has reoccurred since last Friday, with attendance discomfort and pain, but there was insufficient fluid build up to drain any more at this time.
The second appointment was scheduled for 9:30 a.m., though we did not see the nurse practitioner until about 10:45 a.m. The oncologist, although not scheduled to see Bonnie today, also participated in the session. New pain medication will be tried to help find elusive, consistent relief from pain. Chemotherapy was adjusted to combine a second cancer drug in the treatment, and because of the expected toll on blood counts, for now, treatment will be once week every other week.
Since there was no room in the inn, so to speak, Bonnie could not receive chemotherapy today in the oncology department, but had to go instead to the hospital’s outpatient infusion department. Only one family member could accompany Bonnie for treatment, so I had Raymond go with his mother, and I waited elsewhere. The appointment was for 11:00 a.m., but treatment didn’t begin until around 1 p.m.; treatment ended about 3 p.m.
Bonnie has lost considerable weight over the past months, though some of that is masked often because of bloating for various reasons. She lost 16 pounds this past week, in part due to the removal of the fluid buildup.
Following chemo, Bonnie was tired, but eventually the steroid that accompanies her chemotherapy buoyed her. Saturday or Sunday she will crash physically. Tonight, however, she probably will be too wired to sleep. Bonnie advises me that she will use this as her special prayer time.
Raymond treated us to a nice meal at Cracker Barrel before our return trip to Winona. During the time today for treatment, I was able to make proofing corrections on sections from two upcoming editions of The Voice of Truth International; before going home, we stopped by the home and office of Betty Choate and passed the proofed pages to her.
On the way home, Bonnie traded texts and phone calls with dear brethren and friends to update them about her health and treatment. In addition, Bonnie found the courage to comfort one of those dear friends regarding the crisis with pancreatic cancer that her husband and she are experiencing a few states away from us. God sent Bonnie to Martha and Bob via cell phone to be His comforter for them (2 Corinthians 1:3-4), and that was only possible because of the practical experience Bonnie has known with her pancreatic cancer.
We lean on each other to limp through this low world toward the glory land reserved for us. All of God’s children lean on each other and upon God Himself. Thank you for allowing us to lean on you, Reader, Friend, Christian as well.