For any of you that are still out there, I thought this was worth breaking my sabbatical for. Here is what will hopefully be the last of the Emily updates. I will just post the email in its entirety.
This has been an update that I have been longing to write.
This journey which will continue on for the rest of our lives has been filled with so much humanity. We had ups and downs. We had vomit and cherry pancakes. Emily had weight loss and I had weight gain. All the while God watched closely as our story unfolded. He never stopped giving us hope and we certainly had many miracles.
Thursday, Emily had her PET scan. This scan detects cancer. The doctors were anxious to get the results. You see, Emily developed another sore on her tongue. Same spot as the cancer. It wouldn't heal and started hurting. Of course this happens when my husband has his family reunion at our house. Emily prepared herself for the worst and made a decision that caused tears. She sat down with the family and said She loved us. She wanted everyone to know how much we meant to her. She told us there are not enough "I love you's". She did not want her journey to end, but wanted Gods will more than her time here. She told us to trust.
We left for Joliet on Wednesday morning. We got to the doctor's office and waited to see him. He came in the room and looked at Emily's tongue. As soon as he saw it, he became concerned. He said that he suddenly realized why we had been so worried. He immediately pulled the other doctor out of a meeting she was in. She came down to look and suddenly became concerned. Then, they started feeling her sore and the doctor started smiling. She told us that it was most likely not cancer. She said that was the sight of the original tumor that was biopsied and that she started giving her tongue the highest dose of radiation you can give a person only 2 weeks after the biopsy. Because of this, the sore is not healing properly. She told Emily to continue to gargle with salt water and take salagen pills (which aid her salivary glands to start working more). If the sore doesn't heal by the next visit, then she has to do hyperbaric oxygen chamber therapy. Then the doctor suggested she still has the PET scan to give them a more concrete answer. They agreed that it couldn't hurt and it will only give them more information to work with. The doctors clearly explained that the numbers of the PET scan results had to be below a 5 or else it was back to surgery for another biopsy.
Emily had the PET scan at 9am Thursday morning. She said it brought back the memories of radiation. She remembered what it felt like to lay still on the table and the funny smell of the machine. At least this time she wasn't being held down and her movement constricted by the mask or the popsicle stick with foam that always gagged her.
We drove home after the scan was over. The drive home was nerve wracking. Emily didn't feel very well and neither did I. On the drive home Emily started telling me that she wanted a sign from God. She had offered up all she could and trusted him with everything. She stayed strong for everyone. She just wanted to know he was there and listening. We ended up behind a cattle truck. The cattle was gone but the smell remained. Emily asked me to pass it or she would throw up, but I couldn't because it was one lane with a no pass zone. We had corn fields on both sides and a slow moving stinky truck with no where to go. Then God decided it was time to give us something Emily was asking for. A sign.
So here we are driving behind a stinky truck in the middle of cornfields and I started smelling Gardenias. (a very fragrant flower). I told Emily what I was smelling and she said "that's weird, I'm smelling them too." Our whole car started smelling like Gardenias. It was so strong that we couldn't smell anything else. It lasted for several minutes. We couldn't understand what it meant. I called my Mom immediately to tell her what was happening. She informed me that at that very moment, she was also smelling gardenias. She said in fact, every time she sits in her chair to pray for Emily to be healed, she smells gardenias. I hung up with her and the smell went away. The stinky truck turned so we only smelled air. God made sure we got stuck behind that stinky truck, so that when we smelled the gardenias we wouldn't miss it.
Emily received a phone call today at 10am from the doctor. She was spending the night at my mom's because her cousin was there. She told me that she was so scared because I wasn't there as she was getting the news, so she held her cousin's hand as she answered the phone. Her cousin told me how she was shaking as the Dr began to give her the results. The number for her PET scan came back 3. This means that it is not cancer and more than likely just inflammation. Hopefully with a little more time, the sore will heal up or else she will use the oxygen therapy.
Prior to Emily getting cancer she dreamed of her Grandpa, who died 10 years ago. He visited her in her dreams several nights before she was diagnosed. She even called her Grandma in Florida to tell her of the dreams. Here is where the story comes full circle. Today, August 10, is his birthday. He was there at the start and he was there for the end. He's always been there for his little Dolly. It truly is only a thin veil that separates us.
Tonight my tears are of happiness, relief, and awe of God. He loves us and He heard all our prayers. Yes Emily, He knows how hard you fought. For your family, friends, souls in purgatory and yourself. Well done my good and faithful daughter. Well done.
With all my love and gratefulness for your listening to my updates,
Theresa and Emily