Ungrateful for a miracle?

There is NO cancer in my pituitary gland.  Or what there is left of it.  I got the results from the MRI of my brain, and they definitely did not see any breast cancer metastases in my pituitary. 

This is a really good thing.  Average lifespan from diagnosis of pituitary breast cancer mets is 180 days.  I am WAY too busy to spend the next 180 days dying.   However, they would have treated those mets, either with surgery (through my sinuses behind my nose… actually kind of cool) or radiation and I would have felt better FAST.  Until the masses in my right lung started to grow, or the troubles in my brain came back…

So if it isn’t a tumor (which the doctors still maintain was the overwhelmingly most likely reason for the “failure of the pituitary adrenal axis”)  what is it (other than a miracle which I attribute to the intercessory prayers of more than a thousand people) ??

It looks like I probably had some damage to my pituitary while in childbirth with George.  I had one severe scary episode of super-low blood pressure that I had totally blocked from my memory (but Dixon remembered all too well) … and then despite successfully nursing for 14 consecutive years, I had weeks of no milk after delivery… Part of it was that George couldn’t nurse because of his prematurity and downs, and pumping will never be as effective as a healthy term baby, but we still thought it was rather strange at the time…  It turns out that lactation failure should have been a clue that something significant was going on.

Why didn’t I have any symptoms of this “pituitary adrenal axis failure” before now?  Because between the cancer (with chemotherapy, radiation pneumonitis, nerve damage, etc) and my arthritis, I’ve had enough steroids over the past little while  to hide it.  It was only when we stopped the steroids (mostly because I couldn’t tolerate the side effects and weight gain any more) that it became obvious that there was a problem.

So what’s the plan?  Other than prayers of thanksgiving that I’m not having brain surgery next week?  Well, first I had a long appointment with an excellent endocrinologist, who put me on twice a day adrenal hormone replacement and taught me ALL the rules about managing the emergencies and sick days with adrenal insufficiency.  I worry that I’m going to become very well known in the emergency room.  I have an indestructible medical alert bracelet, too. 

Here’s the problem:  we need to see if my adrenal glands might ever start doing their job again.  If the endocrinologist gives me 100 % of the recommended daily allowance of pituitary/adrenal chemicals, they won’t ever be motivated to even try.  So we have to use less.  How much less?  Just enough less that I am weak, tired and nauseated, but not hypotensive or vomiting.  For two months.  Then we can see how things are going. 

I’m really not ungrateful for my miracle.  I am in awe of the fact that I got to have another miracle.  You know, some people go through their whole lives without any.  But TWO MONTHS of mandatory weakness, fatigue and nausea (when I’m not pregnant 🙂 ) just seems rather overwhelming.    And the timing is rather ironic… my two months of weakness will be over right at the same time as my next round of evaluations for the masses in my lungs.  I can see it now…. getting through with this nausea just in time to start the next rounds of chemotherapy.  Ugh.

I’ve been good about not apologizing for all the things I’ve been unable to get done while I’ve felt so bad.  But I think perhaps I do need to apologize for not being more grateful about my miracle.  I just get tired of feeling bad sometimes.  Thanks for  being so understanding and patient with me.

22 thoughts on “Ungrateful for a miracle?

  1. Elizabeth-
    You are the bravest woman I know. Your “just keep on keeping on” attitude is both humbling and encouraging. Although we have never met, I pray daily for you and your family. I am honored if some of those prayers have helped you in this good news. Prayers of thanksgiving will be said today! Yours in His Peace, Jennifer

  2. You sound weary and you have every right to. What a lot to endure. Like you said so very thankful there is no tumor. At the same time you have felt bad for a long time. Give yourself a pat on the back for having made it this far with a good attitude. Rest and ask for medication for the neausea. I know that is one thing that will do me in every time. I do not even pretend to be grateful because I am not. Hopefully many blessings will come to you and yours very soon.

  3. Jennifer said it so much better than I could, so I am going to thank Jennifer for her words and pass them along to you as mine. Except I have had the opportunity to meet wonderful you and I am so very grateful for that.

  4. You just have no idea what an inspiration you are.

    I agree with Nancy…I’m grateful I’ve had the opportunity to meet you too…and you were amazing me then…Superwoman!

    Sending more prayers and hugs !

  5. PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW! one miracle down, a few more to go. we continue to be inspired and blessed by your example, elizabeth. prayers never cease here, and we look forward to possibly seeing you again this summer. 🙂

    much love, unending prayers. rowena___.

  6. Prayers never cease here in Portage either. So glad to hear your miraculous news, Elizabeth. May you receive the strength and endurance you need and the patience to wait for better days. May God bless you tonight.

  7. Elizabeth, you and your entire family are amazing – which includes your parents and your sister’s family as well. All of us who read your blog are celebrating your miracle and may that celebration of prayer, thanks and good thoughts continue to be a source of strength to you and your family.

    Wrap yourself in that beautiful knitted prayer shawl you showed us last year, put on a pair of knitted socks and let yourself be surrounded by all the love, prayers, peace, patience, blessings and friendship we can summon on your behalf.

  8. I hope our paths cross one day… we are a part of the same homeschool group! I think it is funny that I found your blog first, only to find out some time later that we are in the same city. You are quite inspirational. May God bless you and your family. We will continue to pray for you as a part of our daily intentions. Peace

  9. I have been checking in quite a lot since your last post, and praying that you did not have to contend with a brain tumor. I can feel your relief in your post. A truly wonderful miracle for you all indeed!

  10. I only had to have 4 chemo treatments and 36 radiation. There is so much that I did not get done. Do not be so hard on yourself; you do a lot with all you are going through. You may think you sound ungrateful but it is clear that you know you are blessed and the source of your blessings. Keep your eyes on the goal and you heart with God and you will not go wrong.
    When I am down I look to you for inspiration! Thank you for being so strong.

  11. Great news Elizabeth! I have been praying and praying that there was no more cancer. I know you must be very relieved and can stop worrying 🙂 I will continue to pray for you and the tiredness and nausea that you feel everyday. I know that is really hard on you, especially having to stay so busy with your children. You really are a superwoman!

  12. Elizabeth, I am praising God that you do not have a pituitary tumor! The moms and little ones in the St. Mark Catholic School chapel lifted you up in prayer last Thursday during our weekly rosary. I will continue to pray for you. It’s hard not to feel good, even when you do feel thankful for a miracle. God bless you.

  13. Elizabeth – it’s hard to be grateful when everything feels totally sucky so let other people be grateful for you while you concentrate on getting through the days.
    You should revive the joke-a-day from the kids and your friends to lift your spirits and make a point of watching one funny movie every other day (medicinal dosage, not mere enjoyment).
    As one of my teching nuns once said “we have you tucked in our sleeves”.

  14. Sorry – try “teaching” nuns – it sounds like I’m talking about techs at Google!! Not those nuns…. and certainly not back then. I think we were still using an abacus!

  15. You are my hero! I don’t know you, but I have been praying for you since I learned about you from Elizabeth Foss’s website. You are a true role model of faith and I admire you immensely. Count on my prayers and Masses offered for your intention. God is truely with you and you are an inspiration to so many of us! God bless you, you are truly a saint. Lisa in Virginia

  16. Elizabeth, thankyou for taking time to share your news. Thanks be to God for the good news that there are no mets in your pituitary. Don’t worry, we are still praying for the adrenal treatment, lifting you up to the Lord to receive His grace, blessing and deep peace of mind and heart. And healing. If He can do this miracle, He can do another. I am making the long, 30 day novena to St Joseph and will now put you and this intention into it. God Bless you and the family.

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