Dear Friends and Family,
We would like to share with you a very personal and urgent prayer request. As many of you know, Kristi's mother (Karen De Leon), was diagnosed with widespread bone cancer 1 1/2 yrs. ago. After some surgery and beginning treatment and consistent follow-up checks, it looked like the cancer was 'under control' and not spreading or growing within the bones. A recent CT scan revealed three spots on her liver which indicate that the cancer has spread. Of course, we are all shocked by the news. This, of course, means that Karen will not be able to travel to Argentina to be with us for the birth of our baby since she will begin treatment soon.
First of all, our prayer is for complete healing. We are praying that follow-up biopsies and checks would reveal "a mistake" (as put by our Olivia). If God does not to choose to remove the cancer, we pray that he would provide the BEST treatment possible.
If any of you know Karen, you will know that she is a very joyful - full of life - type of person. She loves to laugh and encourage others. She is also a very sensitive person. She enjoys writing about her journeys in rather humorous ways (see below) and sees this also as a ministry. PLEASE read her update (if you haven't already) so that you can pray specifically as she has requested below. Thank you! Below is the update sent by Karen and Richard to their prayer-warriors.
DeLeon’s Health Up-date #1...........April 23, 2013
Can you believe we’re starting all over with our first up-date as we take a new “twist-n-turn” in this on-going cancer adventure. Our last two up-dates from Feb 15th & March 3rd were filled with all the news about how God has been blessing us through my body’s response to the hormone shots for the breast cancer which metastasized into the bones. By the way, those shots have actually “thickened” the bones’ density which is a HUGE PLUS. As of Nov. 2011, (18 months ago) when we returned to Tyler to be under the care of Dr.Vukelja again, there were no internal organs involved…which was a HUGE PRAISE. Well, it appears, after having a CAT scan about 10 days ago, that sneaky cat left three hairballs in my liver!! Now, if you’ve never experienced hairballs in your liver, then you have no idea how challenging it can be. Seriously, the “tumor marker” which had gone from 113 in Nov. of 2011 down to an 11 in Dec. of 2012….had gradually began increasing to 34…then spiked to 143 a couple of weeks ago. That’s why regular blood work monitoring is sooooo important for the on-going treatments in cancer patients.
So there are three small lesions in the liver…most likely were there from the beginning, but too small to detect. So now, they are definitely detectable…but we’re not in the “doom-n-gloom” mode, ready to prepare my funeral arrangements yet!! Nor do we intend to start either of the two above activities. However, my pending trip to Argentina to be with Kristi (our daughter) for the birth of their baby due in May will definitely have to be postponed. They are adjusting nicely to their new field of service. We thank God for that.
Now for the technical part of this up-date: Treatment will consist of a new round of chemo-type drugs. Taxol (one of the most promising of all the breast cancer drugs) and Avastin (new to the market as a “target specific” drug). There is a new research trial going on which Dr. V is trying to get me into as a “guinea pig”…to see how fast they can get rid of “hairballs” in the liver! There are now “target specific” drugs which allow the cancer-killers to get directly to the tumors/lesions and kill-on-site without so much damage of surrounding “innocent by-stander” cells! The Avastin also strengthens the walls of the arteries among other benefits. It will be a weekly IV infusion…3 weeks of treatments, 1 week of rest!! Chasing hairballs must be more exhausting than I ever thought possible. [Our Siamese cat never demonstrated exhaustion after a round of coughing up his hairballs, but since I won’t be coughing them up, maybe the exhaustion comes in the internal battle!!] We’ll have to see what other side-effects will pop up on my horizon!! Who knows, Richard & I may have another chance to play the part of Mr. & Mrs. Kojak (baldies with Tootsie Roll Pops) in the chemo-lounge for those receiving their chemo-cocktails!! Thirteen years ago, that was a very blessed ministry when we went through the initial breast cancer journey.
Prior to entering this “blind-sided” research trial, I’ll undergo some further testing to see if I’m even a candidate for such an onslaught!! So the heart, brain, and kidney’s need to be in good shape to withstand the strength & frequency of the chemicals involved and the duration of the treatment. The duration all depends on how the lesions in the liver respond to these chemical attacks. We’ll know more by this next Wed. when I go in for the brain scan (to see if I’m truly a “bird-brain” or “lame-brain” or a “no-brain”). And to see if the echo-cardiograph will prove that my heart has no leaks, blips or skips under pressure!! What sort of pressure, I can only imagine…as in a “pressure cooker” perhaps?? We’ll keep you posted as to the results of all of this confusion as we learn more.
We continue to trust God to have our best interest in HIS Heart for us, for our children and for any ministry we may still be allowed to continue during our time on this earth. Just yesterday, as I waited for my EKG, I had a chance to visit with a dear lady who was waiting with her husband to see his cancer doctor. She too was a patient of Dr. V’s and after sharing with her about how breast cancer can spread to the bones, lungs or liver, she immediately made appts to have bone scans, CT scans, etc. as she realized, that like me, she only thought (if cancer did return), it would come back in the breast tissue. So we prayed together and then went our separate ways.
Richard’s prison ministry Y-wing group of 168 gathered yesterday (Monday) to pray for me as they continually do. They are great prayer warriors, joining our war against this cancer. And I thank God for each of them. Richard continues to be my constant companion throughout all of these new “detours” in our retirement journey! He is a constant blessing in my life; my spiritual leader; and daily caretaker!! He even lets me drive the car & carry the checkbook (although it’s empty!!) ha ha
If it happens that I’m not a candidate for this research group, there are other alternatives which we have not explored as of yet. We will of course, but only if my body is rejected as a possible candidate for this trial-run.
Again, we covet your prayers for us……..
….for God to use us for HIS honor & glory, as witnesses & encouragers for those who may cross our paths during this new branch of the journey
…for our non-Christian family members who question God’s love as they see what is happening in my health situation…they lack the Peace & Presence of our Lord….
…to have wisdom in the decisions necessary to wage war against this new invasion.
…for Dr. V and my cancer team to have wisdom & discernment during this treatment
…for God to use us as channels of blessings for those around us
…for others to come to know the Lord through our testimonies
…for our precious children & grandchildren to have portions of HIS PEACE & PRESENCE beyond what they have ever had before
We thank God upon every remembrance of each of you who walk this journey with us, in spirit, in flesh, in prayer and in HOPE, as we HOPE in Christ. I must say, the book by Randy Alcorn entitled “HEAVEN’ has really taken away any fear of or sting of “death”. But make no mistake, as I am here to tell you…..
……. I AM NOT DYING OF CANCER….BUT BECAUSE OF CANCER, I AM LIVING MORE INTENSELY THAN EVER BEFORE.
Forever Under HIS Mercies,
Karen & Richard DeLeón