Our friend NED

Today we had a follow up with Dr. Mattar. It was to get the results from Kerry’s last CT scan, lab results and determine what the next steps are. As usual, the office was very busy and we had a while to wait.

Dr. Mattar reviewed the CT scan results. His CT scan was clear except for the lung spot we’ve been watching all along. There has been no change since the very beginning and it appears to be a benign granuloma at this point. This is excellent news!

Labs looked okay. His white count is a little low, but chemo was last week so that’s to be expected. Kerry will have labs again next week and then if all is stable, they will be drawn every 3 months along with another CT scan.

Then came the best words “You have No Evidence of Disease”. Woot! In the cancer world that’s called NED. We’ve been told they don’t use the word remission or cancer free as often as they used to, but rather tell patients you have no evidence of disease. We’ll take it however you say it. Whew! Big exhale after what feels like a lot of breath holding for the last months and weeks.

The very next question from Kerry was “when do I get to see the surgeon for my ostomy reversal?” I can’t say that I blame him. Dr. Mattar said 5-6 weeks post chemo is usually when he would be able to have surgery. Kerry told him he’d like to have it done before Thanksgiving. Dr. Mattar texted his surgeon while he was still in the room and said “He needs no further chemo and should be stable to have surgery before Thanksgiving”. Honestly, I’m surprised Kerry didn’t call the surgeon from the waiting room. We’ll give it a week or so.

While we are elated, we are also a little sad. Sad for our friends we made in chemo that aren’t done yet. Who are still going and sitting in those grey chairs each week getting infused. We are sad for our friends who will never get to NED and those who have and will die in the fight. We also know that we’re not out of the woods yet. We know that it can come back and that we will never leave the “in between” scans/labs/appointments. We are grateful for a God that provides for us in those in betweens. We are thankful for the friends we’ve made and the nurses who cared for us during treatment.

We are thrilled at the prospect of putting it all behind us, while keeping the One who guided, provided and sustained in front of us all the time. We have been given a unique opportunity and pray that we can be faithful while we rejoice and wait for the next step. We have learned much and are grateful that God has used this experience to continue to shape us and our family to be more Christlike.

Thank you to those who have prayed for us and our children. Who have encouraged us with cards, prayers, notes, texts and hugs. We thank you for continuing to pray that Kerry’s scans and labs remain clear. We also pray that he will be able to have his ostomy reversal before Thanksgiving and that it will be uncomplicated.

We are blessed in the midst of trial, in the celebration of the news today and in whatever lies ahead. We are blessed because we serve a Holy God and our hope lies not in treatment, but in Him.

Psalm 33: 20-22

Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in Him, because we trust in His holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.