Thursday, December 17, 2009

Under Surveillance

Since my last blog, I underwent a cyst aspiration procedure. Inside my abdomen and outside my colon, at the site of the surgical site, I developed two cysts. It caused a narrowing of my colon near the rectal area. Last Wednesday, Dec. 9th, a very long, thin needle was inserted through buttocks (into my right check to be exact) to extract whatever was inside the cyst. Before that happened, I was sedated and run through another CT scan. Then I waited to hear the pathology report. What was growing inside of me now? Seems I exchanged a grapefruit size tumor for an egg sized cyst. Hopefully, I lost the cancer in the switcheroo.

Yesterday, one week later, I had my follow-up visit with Dr. Ampuero. Finally, the “What next?” question would be answered. He told me that he was “cautiously optimistic.” My CA-125 (the cancer marker) remained remarkably low. After two tests, the fluid from the cyst was cancer free. My red and white blood cells were bouncing back. His physical examination confirmed the removal of the cyst and blockage. All of that’s good news, right? But something he said gave me pause. “Now we will keep you under surveillance.” What? Was I a suspect in a crime?

The term “under surveillance” originated as a legal term that means to keep a person under close observation or supervision. Or it describes one in custody or under suspicion. However, now the phrase is used in several venues:

• Police surveillance: The investigation of criminal activities
• Electronic surveillance: The use of electronic equipment (like a nanny camera) to observe activity.
• Vigil/watch: This describes placing someone under guard or observation for their protection.
• Stakeout: In anticipation of a crime a person has under-cover police observation around the clock
• Disease surveillance: The ongoing systematic collection and analysis of data about an infectious disease that can lead to action being taken to control or prevent the disease.

My surveillance falls into the final category. The doctor explained that this cancer “could” return. I must accept the possibility. It happens. But they would be watching. I now am on a schedule to ensure that this disease remains in remission. I will see the doctor every two months for six months, then twice every six months, and then annually. Each visit will include blood work and a physical examination.

I’m not sure I like being “under surveillance.” It has that “big brother is watching” kind of paranoia attached to it. Am I looking in the air for black-op helicopters, or outside my window for suspicious men smoking in their cars? Then, as always, God’s Word comforted me. He reminded me, that more importantly HE is watching me. “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life… Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? …Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matt. 5:25-34). I must live in the now. And right now, I am cancer free. That’s enough for today.


  1. Praise God, you are cancer free! He is awesome, taking care of every detail. Thank you for inspiring me.

  2. Praise, glory and honor be only to God! As He is watching you, I pray you feel his watchful eye and feel comforted daily. We pray it NEVER returns. God is AWESOME! And you are one tough, inspiring woman! Looking forward to seeing you at the study in the spring time.

    Gloria Sisneros

  3. Yeah, Lenya you are cancer free! Praise God! Live in the right now and ENJOY the freedom He's given you. I'm rejoicing with you and your family. xxooxx

  4. Oh Sweet Lenya, I am sitting here reading your blob and weeping with joy! Our God is so good and I thank Him that You are now past the cancer hurdle and treatment hurdle and into the final stretch, the surveillance stretch. You've already won the race, your foes are behind you! I love you girl and am so happy that you can relax and enjoy your Christmas with your beautiful family. love, t

  5. Ouch! I'm still thinking about the needle and where it went! Glad to hear that the news was good, and I can certainly understand about being unsettled by the surveillance. However, as you said, God is watching you. May your heart and mind be filled with His peace. Merry Christmas!

  6. I am so pleased that you are cancer free! I am sure this will be one of the most joyous Christmas celebrations for you and your family. We love you and will continue to pray that this ugly disease stays away! God bless you Lenya! Our love to you and Skip!!!

  7. lenya the survellience is because they are protecting the queen
    you are loved even by your doctor you are free in christ and praying for freedom from c word for a long time
    Big C is best
    we love you rick and linda martin

  8. be encouraged Jesus loves you more than we do and that is a whole lot....
    hugs, prayers

  9. Lenya, I heard you once describe God as 'the eternal present,' a phrase I've treasured. I love the double entendre. He is truly our present moment, 'I AM', as well as our eternal gift. And so much more. Thanks for reminding me...

  10. That is such wonderful news! I'm wishing you and your family a very blessed Christmas!

  11. I am so thankful and happy. I knew you looked wonderful but did not know the results from the little procedures.

    The Lord is Mighty...and has done great things for me..and I am glad [paraphrase].

    Love you Lenya!

  12. Lenya,
    Such great news!! I am rejoicing with you and although have not experienced cancer, I have been experiencing my own set of trials (as most of us do). My mom used to recite the Serenity Prayer regularly and I knew it by it only recently has become very meaningful to me. Most of us know the begining but here it is in its entirity. I thought you might enjoy reading it. Love you, Renee

    The Serenity Prayer
    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.

    Living one day at a time;
    Enjoying one moment at a time;
    Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
    Taking, as He did, this sinful world
    as it is, not as I would have it;
    Trusting that He will make all things right
    if I surrender to His Will;
    That I may be reasonably happy in this life
    and supremely happy with Him
    Forever in the next.

    --Reinhold Niebuhr

  13. Dear Lenya: One of my team members and I met tonight to discuss our Winter study. We were seeking the Lord for a clear answer. We had done your James study in the past and decided to look at your studies. Then, we say Joshua!! It leapt off the page and clearly spoke to both my friend and I, well not literally! So, we decided to send you a note of our excitement and also see what your speaking schedule might be for this Spring when we discovered from the CCAlb website of your struggle with the little "c". :)
    Well, we stopped right there in the middle of Panera Restaurant and lifted you up to our Jesus...the big "C"! Please know we will continue to pray for you and look forward to how God will use this in your life...and ultimately ours as He pours Himself out through your writing.
    God bless you dear sister...
    Janelle Breznik
    Women's Ministry Director
    Calvary Chapel Orlando

  14. Love this post, although I have seen the beautiful Lenya since then. God is big and good. You are watched: "the apple of His eye..." "He that keeps you neither slumbers or sleeps..." "You are kept by the power of God unto salvation..." Love the Word of God. Love you Lenya [and Skip and Nathan and Janae]

  15. I have been following your blog since my sister told me about it when I was diagnosed with breast cancer last July. When I was diagnosed, I changed my entire life. I go to to see how to live disease free. Everything organic and completely no sugars will keep me cancer free. I believe that, since sugar is cancer's worst enemy along with stress. We can do it, Lenya. I rejoice with you:)

  16. Hi Lenya,

    I have been following you on your blog, and just figured out how to write back today. This is Sherry, we met in Dr Ampuero office, you were wearing that cute hat,had just shaved your head, and I was still with hair, about 3 weeks behind you. I was with my husband and Wynn and her husband. She was in the hospital when I was there.
    We are from Durango, remember?

    Well after I saw you, I went a got a new hat, shaved my head, and started a collection of hats and scarves, and now I look to getting a haircut!

    I am also an under servalance, hummmm.... being watched, carefully, by the doc and the One who is with me on this whole journey. I have thought of you so much as we travel this journey, together in some ways, and with all of the Love that comes our way, what a powerful thing! It is an experience I would not want anyone else to have, but yet so powerful I would not trade it. I have learned so much! I decided that when I think about those check-ups I will just remind myself that each thought is a reminder of the preciousness of each day, each moment. And each check-up a celebration of life!

    I also have a website that has been such a gift me and to all that have been a part of it.

    If you would like to email, my account is

    With love,


  17. 人因夢想而偉大,要堅持自己的理想哦!........................................

  18. 好熱鬧喔 大家踴躍的留言 讓部落格更有活力........................................

  19. Lenya, I am just now rereading this post after reading it when you first posted, and all I have to say is that I just love being sisters in Christ with you! I love that one day, when neither of us have any more "earthly tomorrows" we will be together at the feet of Jesus for all eternity! Hugs, kisses and prayers being sent your way. Blessings to you, Skip and Nate, Sandy Koster (now in FL but from the old CCSF)

  20. 愛情是一種發明,需要不斷改良。只是,這種發明和其他發明不一樣,它沒有專利權,隨時會被人搶走。..................................................................

  21. 生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。......................................................................

  22. 什麼樣的學習計畫並不重要,重要的是你是什麼樣的人。............................................................

  23. 一個人的價值,應該看他貢獻了什麼,而不是他取得了什麼....................................................

  24. 死亡是悲哀的,但活得不快樂更悲哀。. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .