Beginning Week 19

Today begins week 19 of Joanna’s treatment roadmap. We’ve been dealing with her cancer for more than 19 weeks -all those visits to figure out what it was, including the biopsy surgery, then the surgeries for port placement and bone marrow biopsies, then the tumor removal surgery and the surgery to fix the complication from that. The weeks started counting after all of that.

That being said, week 19 of 24 feels a bit like we can see some light at the end of the tunnel. The # of chemotherapy appointments remaining is less than we can count on one hand. Just 4 more! Then other scans and bloodwork, but, for her, being able to ring that “chemo is finished” bell is starting to feel like it’s in sight.

Being done with daily radiation sessions buys back some breathing room in our schedule. We’ve been able to do some more schoolwork and some creative projects around the house. That has been nice.

But, the chemo sessions seem to be getting harder. A few weeks back she threw up near the end of the infusion -that one surprised us! Now, we just have a bag ready, and she’s needing it. It’s hard to say exactly why it’s happening, but sure stinks to watch. It’s those moments that we’re extra thankful for the service dog. Lita has been with her the last few weeks, and it definitely gives Joanna something good to focus on, she loves feeling Lita’s “butter ears” and giving her some attention in the midst of the yucky stuff.

Besides the nausea and throwing up, the recent weeks have also included pain when her port is accessed. That part is SO HARD to see happen. She has numbing cream on her skin ahead of time that should make it so she doesn’t feel it, but for whatever reason, she’s feeling that poke. “Port is accessed” is the nice, veiled way to say that a long needle is stuck into her chest. That’s how the chemo drugs get into her system.

This week also starts a new cycle, so it’s 2 drugs. Weeks 2 and 3 of the cycle are just one drug. The last time we started a cycle she had a very rough time with throwing up. It was the worse so far. Her oncologist has added some things to the plan for this week that will hopefully help with that.

Also, if you’ve seen our girl, you may have noticed that her hair has started growing back. The chemo break before radiation, and then getting 1 chemo drug instead of 2 or 3 has given those fast growing hair cells a chance to do their thing. With 4 more doses, and 2 of those having 2 drugs, we don’t really know if what she has is here to stay or if she’ll go through having to start all that over again or not. So, while it’s kind of exciting, it’s also a reminder that the unknown of all this can be tough.

So, that’s a bit about where we’re at this week. Four more weeks of chemo, weeks 23 and 24 are bloodwork and scans. Then, scans at 3 month intervals, I don’t know how long, we haven’t got to talking about that part of the plan yet -I’m of course hoping that we find out this week, but I don’t know if there’ll be time during our visit to find that out or not. Joanna is also very aware that in addition to all this, due to the possibility of the treatment causing other types of cancer they’ll be watching for that and doing bloodwork for 10 more years. Hearing from her oncologist that in her career she’s only had a few cases of that seems to help, but it’s definitely still on her mind. I’m encouraging her to find a way to leave the worry about that with her medical professionals, but it’s understandably a bit hard to do.

Joanna continues to be encouraged by receiving cards and knowing that people are thinking about and praying for her. She also really enjoyed coming home from the last radiation to some fun yard decorations, chalk art, and notes from church.


  1. So glad you have reached this milestone, looking forward to hearing that bell ring so be sure to record that . Praying that these last few weeks go by quickly. Hugs!

  2. You are close to our hearts and minds! Hugs. We are so amazed about your grace in the process and for updating even on the hard.

  3. Remind Joanna to give her worries to God. She needs her energy to heal. God would not want her to worry.
    love and prayers for all of you.
    Aunt Ceil

  4. I think about Joanna every day and pray that it gets easier. It’s almost over and she’s done great. Sending prayers!🙏🙏💞💖

  5. We have been thinking about Joanna a lot, it does bring back memories, and the vomiting after chemo was not fun for Sophia. Unfortunately she also had problems keeping her food down with the darn feeding tube. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and all the scans and blood work will become easier, and more spread out. Please don’t hesitate to call or email.

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