Cancer · Faith · Treatment

Finally Back in Arizona

After what felt like a very long and drawn out week I’m finally back in Arizona. I was supposed to fly out on Tuesday January the 23rd, but there was a huge blizzard which delayed my trip until Thursday the 25th. I didn’t feel very ready to go for Tuesday, so at least I was able to get a little more organized. My sister in-law, Charity was going to come with me for the first half of my 3 week trip so she was stuck in Sudbury with Eythan and I until Thursday. She lives in the Sault but drove down to Sudbury to fly out from there with me. She got to our apartment Monday afternoon and literally 20 minutes later we found out about the delay. She could have stayed in the Sault until then but instead was stuck sleeping on our couch. I really enjoyed her company though! Charity cares so deeply about the people she loves and I feel so blessed having her in my life as a sister and friend. I felt like a young teenager since we accidentally stayed up talking until midnight, 2 nights in a row!

On Wednesday, the day before we were meant to leave, Eythan figured he would be able to go with me to Arizona since his job at the Lively Athletic Centre hadn’t officially begun yet. He had been helping out with the construction up until this point. Something you may not know is that there is often gluten in drywall. We suspect Eythan has celiac disease. As a teenager he was very sick, once he switched to a gluten free lifestyle his health improved drastically. So, as much as he possible can, he avoids all gluten. He is so sensitive that even the slightest bit of contamination will affect him. While helping with the construction of the gym, he was surrounded by gluten in the drywall dust and so it was good for him to have a little break.

Eythan and I in AZ

We ended up switching Charity’s ticket into Eythan’s name so that he would come with me instead. I love Charity but I was thrilled to have my husband come with me. Since Charity booked her ticket at a different time than I did, she found that it was cheaper to fly on a different airline. So, on Thursday morning both Eythan and I flew out of Sudbury at the same time but on different planes. There was a bit of a delay flying out of Sudbury so once we did land in Toronto, it was a mad dash for customs and then to my gate. I barely had time to grab a quick Booster Juice and Starbucks Coffee. By this time, I was quite sore. I had been a little sore earlier in the morning, nothing too bad, but once I finally arrived at my gate I took the necessary pain meds and prayed that I’d have a comfortable flight.

Lets just say that I made a few trips to the airplane’s bathroom to wipe my tears throughout the flight. When I have kidney pain, the pain level usually varies. Sometimes its tolerable but most of the time pain meds are necessary to take care of the dull ache. I’m also what my mom calls a “heat junky”. I’ve learned that heat is something that often helps to take away or at least mask the kidney pain. I’ve used heat packs, either microwavable or a hot water bottle, for years now.

This is what happens when you’re a Heat Junky

You may think I’m crazy for continuing to use heat but sometimes it’s the only pain reliever that works. On the plane the other day, I would have given anything to have access to my heat pack. None of the pain meds were working and I was ready to take a knife and carve my kidney out myself. Again this may sound crazy but the brain often tries to solve problems in weird ways. Because the kidney pain is usually a very extreme dull pain, my brain thinks that a sharp pain will help. So, I often wish I could stab my kidney and the pain will go away.

Once I got off the plane, I was thrilled to be in Arizona weather. Arizona in the winter is absolutely beautiful! I’ve been here in July when it was 120 degrees F and just stepping out the front door makes you feel 40 lbs heavier than you actually are. It’s a very dry heat here which I really love. I’ve been to the Bahamas in the winter time and its so damp that even though the temperature is warm, you feel chilled because of the wetness in the air. Being in Arizona (or at least in Scottsdale) you experience the other extreme. Its so dry that I need to apply chapstick and lotion almost constantly. That’s what apparently draws retired people to this area, the dry air means no arthritic flare ups. Every day of the Winter here feels like the most beautiful early Summer day back in Ontario. Sunday morning, when I got up, the air was chilly but there was no dew settled on anything, the sun was just making its first appearance of the day and the air was still. I’ve been feeling a little better since I got here and I think that’s partly the weather’s doing.

My view from our patio Sunday morning

I’ve been back here for 5 days. Today I will discuss with Dr. Anderson and Dr. Tom about what the next steps are for my treatment. I know that they will be changing things up since my last CT scan in December showed that most of the tumors in my body had grown. I don’t believe I’ve talked too much about the state of the cancer in my body. When I was originally diagnosed almost 4 years ago, I had a large tumor on my left adrenal gland and I had multiple tiny mets (metastasis) in my lungs. I had a surgery to remove the adrenal gland and tumor in April 2014. For about the first year and a half we monitored the mets in my lungs and they were pretty stable, nothing changed too much. In October 2015 I had a CT scan which revealed that there was regrowth in the original tumor site. I had a small tumor growing around my renal artery and there were 2 more small tumors in that area; 1 settled just under my diaphragm and the other just above my left kidney. This is around the time when the pain began since the kidney is so sensitive. The mets in my lungs were still pretty stable in size at this point with the largest one about 8 mm or so. These are the same tumors that are in my body currently, although I do believe there may be a few more small ones surrounding my left kidney. My right kidney, right adrenal gland, liver, pancreas, spleen, ovaries and uterus are unremarkable which is very good. However, the tumors in my lungs have greatly increased in size in the last year or so. The CT scan I had in December revealed that the largest tumor in my lungs now measures up to about 8 cm with the second and third largest not too far behind in size. The largest tumor in and around my left kidney is 5 cm and a few others that measure 3 cm (these have all had a pretty steady growing pattern since they were found in 2015).

All the way along I have trusted God, He knows best and He is the only one who knows the outcome of all this. I trust Him with my life but that is way easier said than done. It’s a constant struggle to decide to fully put my trust in Him. Its obviously way easier to have faith when everything in life is going well but it is in the bad times when it is so important to rejoice in the Lord and praise Him because He is so good and He has a plan.

Since I was diagnosed almost 4 years ago I have absolutely loved this verse because of its relevance to my situation.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Now that you know a little bit more about my situation I’d ask that you pray that the pain continues to subside, that the doctors here in AZ have the wisdom to know what will be the best for me and ultimately that my body is healed of any sign of cancer. Also, that I continue to find strength in Christ, that I remain mentally healthy and I can find joy in the difficult times. I’d really appreciate this.


2 thoughts on “Finally Back in Arizona

  1. We at Campbellville bible study pray for you and haved followed your story through Liisa Evershed who cares so much for you
    Thankyou for sharing
    Thankyou for your stength
    God’s peace be on you today tommorrow and forever……..🥇


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