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  • Writer's pictureHolly Tomlin

The Pathology Results

Well I must say, this is not the post I expected to be making this week. Today has not turned out as to be expected. I was supposed to return back to work today after recovering from surgery last week. I woke up and had this sense that I should just work from home for a few hours and then go in for a short time before I head to my post-op appointment. Around 9:30am my phone started ringing, the caller ID read it was my OB’s office. Why would she be calling me when I am going in to see her in a few short hours? It was Dr. Smith. She said she had gotten the pathology results of my cyst. The pathologist there had even sent it off to another institution to confirm their suspicions. It was indeed a cancerous tumor on my ovary. Gulp. That was the first of many moments today that took my breath away, and not in a good way. Dr. Smith also told me that when she performed the surgery, there were no signs anywhere of anything suspicious. They also did a “washout” and sent that fluid off which showed no signs of cancer. That’s some good news. Dr. Smith had already spoken to a gynecological oncologist before calling me who agreed to see me today. She called me back and said they could see me in an hour. Thank you Lord for arranging all the details again. I immediately called Cory. He went to run a few errands in preparation for leaving for our vacation tomorrow. I made a few more calls and sent a few texts and just sat in my closet and cried. Completely numb all over. How in the world did I get here? I won’t sugar coat any of this. This news was devastating to me. This literally has always been my worst fear of my life. Hands down. Not being able to live for my husband, my children. The enemy has literally held this over my head for so long, that the Lord isn't good enough to care for us or protect us in bad situations. Yet there was this eerie sense of peace I had as well. It’s really something you can’t explain in words. But I know it was the Lord. He was there. Again, not surprised by any of this. And again asking, “Holly, will you now trust me?” Yes Lord, I am going to call upon YOUR name and take a step towards you. I literally don’t have the energy to even stand up. The car ride to the appointment was very silent. I can’t explain the emotions. The nausea, the numbness. All just so surreal. Like walking around in a fog. My parents met us there. When we walked into the office, I immediately lost it when I saw the words “Texas Oncology” on the wall. I couldn’t even speak to the poor lady at the desk. As a side note, how do these people even work here!! Seriously. I want to cry every time I see cancer kids in the hospital with their little masks on and bald heads. Luckily we didn’t have to wait long to get called back. The nurse got us settled in a room and Dr. Oh came in within a few minutes. He was so amazing. Very matter of fact, but encouraging. He let us know the final pathology report hadn't come to him yet, so he is going off verbal report. He did want to see it to make sure what he was told was accurate. At this point, he's calling it a stage 1c germinal teratoma. Very rare. Almost all teratomas (dermoid cysts) are benign. As you can remember from the last post, at time of surgery my doctor had sent off a sample to the OR, which at that time said it was not cancer. Because of that result and my doctor didn’t see any signs of spread anywhere else she didn’t do any biopsies that are required to “stage” a cancer. So he can't tell me 100% there's no spread. Again though, according to my OB, there was no visual sign of spread. My doctor also did a washout and sent that to pathology which was negative for cancer cells. So what now? Where do we go from here? They grade the tumors in some fashion (Grade 1-3, according to aggressiveness). He said mine was stated to be a grade 3, meaning on the more aggressive end. From what I understand, this all means the likelihood it could come back without treatment. All patients who are stage 2 and 3 require treatment. He didn’t feel it was necessary at this point to go back into surgery to get biopsies. I am going to have a PET scan on July 20th to make sure there are no other obvious signs of metastasis. Then I have to go have some other testing, labs, etc. prior to starting treatment. The hard news to swallow. I am going to require chemo for the next three months. The treatment will include three cycles of chemotherapy. Each cycle will last five days long. That means I will be going into their clinic daily Monday-Friday for the better part of the day. The 5-day regimen is a “cycle”. I will undergo three cycles of chemotherapy total, each 21 days apart. So this is a huge praise that it could be much longer. He feels that if he's right and it is a stage 1c then it's a 95% cure rate. Huge Praise again! The hardest part to say is that I will not be able to work since I will be immunosuppressed. There are some things I can do away from the office, but because of the risk of infection I will not be able to go into work. This will be very hard. I love my heart babies and their families. So now the battle starts. It's going to be awful and so hard on my family. But I'm ready. My faith is in a God that is so much bigger than cancer. Yes I am upset, yes I am mad and want to question but I know the Lord will be with me and never leave me. In that truth I find peace. Yesterday a friend sent me this scripture that she benefited from, which now is so comforting for me.

1 Corinthians 2:3-5 (ESV) 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

I am standing firm in the power of my Jesus right now. I will not place my faith alone in the wisdom of men (doctors), but I the power of my Lord and my Savior. I have to keep reminding myself. My Jesus is the same today that he was last week when I thought it wasn’t cancer. The Lord knows me all too well, and I think he knew I couldn’t handle this news then. So He gave me time to heal and get stronger physically to reveal this part of His plan.

I am still holding on to this scripture as well…

Psalm 62:5-6 (ESV) 5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

Please be praying with us. You all are my family too. I will keep you posted. One last thing. I remember flying out to see my friend Callie in California several years ago. I remember being on that plane and feeling the Holy Spirit ‘s presence in a way that was so strong. I remember hearing him tell me that I want you to tell your story. I want you to write. I remember sharing that with a few close friends and them thinking I was probably crazy. I had no idea what that looked like but I did know that is what He was telling me. Several months back, I started this blog as an outlet for my own struggles, but also as an encouragement to other women who are bound by the same chains. Fear. Rejection. Worry. Anxiety. Sickness. Death. Control. Now I am seeing this part of my journey will take this blog to a whole new level. God your ways are definitely higher than mine. Again, thinking the prayers I prayed several weeks ago. To learn to trust Him more. To love him more. To help me rid the things I am placing ahead of Him. Simply to just have more Him. I jokingly told someone this morning. “Maybe I should just stop praying.” Not really, but only halfway serious. I certainly wouldn’t have EVER chosen this path. But I am here. I promise to be honest, to be open and to be real. Following Christ is never easy. He tells us we will have trials, we will have suffering on this earth. That gives us something to look forward to in heaven. This is not my home. No, I absolutely don't want to have cancer. No, I absolutely don't want to go through this next three months. But, I do want glorify God in all that I do. So for me, this is the path he chose. Cancer will not define me.

James 1:2-4 (NLT) 2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

The Lord is not done with me. I have complete faith He can heal me. I can’t see the purpose of this trial I am facing, but I trust it will all be worth it. A friend sent me this video … may this song be my battle cry. I attached a video with lyrics below.

Though You Slay Me- Shane & Shane

I come, God, I come Return to the Lord The one who's broken The one who's torn me apart You strike down to bind me up You say You do it all in love That I might know You in Your suffering

Though You slay me Yet I will praise You Though You take from me I will bless Your name Though You ruin me Still I will worship Sing a song to the One who's all I need

My heart and flesh may fail The earth below give way But with my eyes, with my eyes I'll see the Lord Lifted high on that day Behold, the Lamb that was slain And I'll know every tear was worth it all

Though You slay me Yet I will praise You Though You take from me I will bless Your name Though You ruin me Still I will worship Sing a song to the One who's all I need

Though tonight I'm crying out Let this cup pass from me now You're still all that I need You're enough for me You're enough for me

Though You slay me Yet I will praise You Though You take from me I will bless Your name Though You ruin me Still I will worship Sing a song to the One who's all I need Sing a song to the One who's all I need

On a happy note, we leave for Florida tomorrow so God's timing is good to allow me to have this time to spend with family in a beautiful place.

Many people have asked “What can I do to help?”. At this point, I don’t know. Pray without ceasing. I have listed some specific requests below. If I don’t answer the phone or respond to messages quickly, please be patient with me. This is all just still so much to process. I am certain there will be opportunities that arise in the weeks to come. I don't have words to even speak at this point.

Here are some specific prayer requests:

1). We can enjoy our vacation this upcoming week. That the Lord will provide an overwhelming sense of peace over me and my family. That we can rejoice in Him despite this news. That we will continue to PRAISE Him and never question him. 2). Pray for protection over Cory, Emma and Will. (especially the kids). That we can explain it in a way to Emma that isn’t scary. I have been very emotional and I can’t hold it all together for Emma. Pray the Lord will prepare us all for the temporary changes that will take place in me. I think the fact that I will lose my hair is what will make it a reality to them. 3). I have a PET scan on July 20th. Pray that is all clear. There are no more surprises. 4). Chemo starts July 27th. Pray my body can be healthy and strong leading up to this time. 5). Pray that as I begin this process the Lord will provide ways to take care of my family when I will not physically be able to. That He will provide however we may need it- whether it be physical needs, emotional needs or financial needs. 6). Pray that my mind can rest in the fact that I can’t work for three months. This brings about so much anxiety for a number of reasons. I know my babies are all in great hands, but I really love what I do.

Thank you friends for coming along on this journey. God is bigger. God is in full control of this. Feel free to share as you are led. This is not solely my journey and if this helps someone else in theirs then God will be glorified. This is His plan that He is choosing to let me be apart of. As always, Lord thank you for using me to carry out your plans. May I never stop telling others of Your great love. Your promises. Your faithfulness. This is just another phase in my journey to having full FREEDOM in Christ. The Lord sharpening me, refining me.

All for Your glory.


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