Hello everyone – this is Bryan, Kailen’s husband. Due to difficult circumstances, I will be writing this post in Kailen’s stead. But fear not, she will return for future posts.
As you all know quite well, Kailen is simply amazing. Her talents are varied and numerous, prime among them her seemingly effortless ability to breathe life into words on a page. Though I also enjoy writing and dabble in it when I can, I will not even attempt to recreate the magic she routinely displays in this blog. My purpose here is simply to give you a health update and help tide you over until the true magician returns.
Since September 13th, 2012, my and Kailen’s road to true and complete healing has been tortuous and riddled with potholes. We’d hit a dip in the road and nearly slide into the abyss, then recover just in time to hit someone head on. To put it plainly, it has been a crazy struggle that has sometimes seemed too crazy to be real. And unfortunately, just over two weeks ago, that struggle decided to get even crazier in the most painful of ways.
It began during the night, as most of our trials seem to have a way of doing. I woke up just after 2 am to hear Kailen crying in the bed beside me. If you know Kailen, you know that if she’s crying, a trip to the ER is likely in order (her pain tolerance is comparable to that of a civil war infantryman). And indeed, after battling excruciating pain for the following 24 hours, we headed to Louisville, in the middle of the night, to the ER.
To summarize the following two weeks after that ER visit, I’ll start by saying that the pain certainly wasn’t akin to a stubbed toe or twisted ankle. Further imaging, as ordered by Kailen’s oncologist, revealed a much more insidious source.
The cancer had not only spread, but it had intensified.
A combination of the cancer and prolonged treatment with hormone suppressive therapy had resulted in fractures to both her right and left ischia (small bones near her hips). These fractures, along with significant bony metastases in the pelvis and spine, are responsible for the immense pain she has been experiencing. Further, the morning after being admitted to the hospital, Kailen woke up to find her right eye nearly swollen shut. What we had hoped was just a black eye turned out to be something more: a bony growth on her right periorbital bone (thin bone just above the eyeball). This spot, along with regions in her pelvis, required immediate radiation, which has taken place this week.
If there is a bright side, it’s that the cancer is still contained within her bony tissues, meaning there is no soft tissue, or organ, involvement. This is an enormous blessing. However, the extent of Kailen’s disease has been amplified further than any of us, including the physician, had previously expected. As you might have inferred, it seems we have hit our deepest and most jarring pothole yet.
As I mentioned before, Kailen underwent radiation treatments to her bones these past two weeks in an attempt to both eradicate disease and alleviate pain. Radiation treatment was fairly effective overall in terms of pain relief, but we are praying that where there has been some improvement, there will only be more. Kailen finished her last treatment this Friday and we’re deeply grateful to God for His mercy in that regard. The doctor said things went as well as could have been expected and he was very satisfied with the amount of pain relief we were able to achieve. Praise God for working through radiation to achieve what we want and protect us from what we don’t want.
Looking forward, we will soon have a meeting with Kailen’s oncologist to talk about when chemotherapy will begin; this will likely be very soon. Of course, we would rather not have to put Kailen’s body through something like that again, but we are thankful to still have the option and are confident that it will fight the cancer and finish it to the end.
To be clear: we have not given up and we will not give up. We serve a God of miracles and wonders beyond anything our eyes can behold. He is still with us; though the valley is deep and the path is painful, He is there. And the best news of all: He ain’t goin’ nowhere. He’s with us to the very end of this journey, whatever that may be.
And finally, while I still have the stage, let me say this – there is not a human being on earth more equipped to endure a hardship of this magnitude than Kailen Olivia Mae Combs Taylor. When God formed her in the womb, he endowed her with a spirit meant to endure, to battle, to fight, to display unexplainable resilience and love when most hearts, including mine, would have been turned to stone long ago.
Her spirit is indomitable, the stuff of legend. I could live a thousand years and never experience an honor as great as fighting alongside her. Though the pain is very real, so too is the privilege.
Please pray for Kailen and our family. But even more, please pray that people would pay attention to what this precious woman is doing, for it has the power to radically change eternity.
In His Grip,