Progress Report on My Wife’s Treatment

When a pastor’s wife is ill, the whole congregation can be emotionally affected. So I asked our deacons to continue to pray for my wife’s recovery in private, and not mention her illness when leading congregational prayers. (I also felt sorry for other cancer patients at our church who might not get as much prayer support as my wife.) But since so many people have expressed their concerns and asked about her progress, let me give an update on her condition.

She receives chemotherapy every Tuesday. She is injected with an antihistamine first to suppress nausea, followed by two anti-cancer drugs, Taxol and Carboplatin, in succession. She takes a blood test before the infusion. The treatment essentially takes the entire day.

After the 4th session, we received the first report on its results. It showed that her CA-125 number – the bio–marker for ovarian cancer – was decreasing. However, her white blood cell count was not recovering rapidly enough in between treatments. So she now receives injections three times a week to help her white blood cell counts recover more quickly.

When she first underwent chemotherapy 14 years ago, she lost her appetite for days at a time. This time, her appetite has not been affected, probably because she’s receiving a weaker dosage, taken weekly. Last time, she received much stronger doses once a month.

I’d like to thank all the people who have shown care and love for my wife. So many people bring her food that she doesn’t need to cook these days. I’d also like to thank those who accompany her in walking. Her doctor says that physical exercise is essential in fighting cancer. My wife made a commitment to walk 3 miles a day.

As I shared before, I switched my day off from Thursday to Tuesday. I come to church for morning prayer on Tuesdays and take my wife to the hospital afterwards. I skip morning prayer on Thursdays but come to work at 8. I’ve been on this schedule for over a month. I’ve started to feel fatigued because I have no time to rest. So at the encouragement of our deacons, I’ve adjusted my Thursday schedule. I’ll continue to meet with people who are staying with us for our two-week House Church internship program on Thursday mornings and have working lunches, for example with Shepherd candidates or church visitors. For the rest of the day, I will have the freedom to be either in the office or at home. This flexibility has already made me feel less pressured and tired.

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