I am glad I had a week between appointments to understand that I need to do radiation THERAPY (had to add that word as it softens the blow). Of course, the new tumor developing in the groin from the latest surgery site makes it an easier decision along with the other tumor I found a few weeks ago. So I will begin radiation THERAPY June 4th and my 30th session will end July 16th. A great day to end as I would have been too busy for radiation on July 17th celebrating my boy’s 19th birthday! And then of course, there is our 15th year at Family Camp in lovely Frankfort shortly thereafter.
Today I received my first and only tattoos I will ever have on my body. No cool design professing my love for Richard but just 4 dots to help align my body for radiation THERAPY. The technicians seemed very kind but it is a humbling experience. I said my verses throughout the simulation, reminding me that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Who knows, after 30 sessions, I may know a lot more verses! Please keep my family and I in your prayers as we begin this part of our journey.
Remember in my last post when I said I wasn’t scared of radiation, well that was the truth – THEN. I am plenty scared now that I am more informed about where they will radiate and all that it may entail. I met with Dr. Kane, a radiation oncologist, who seemed forthright, caring, and patient with me. I believe him to have the best intentions. We will do a cat scan simulation which will be matched with my latest PET / CT scan next week on Tuesday. This will give more information about a treatment plan and whether radiation therapy is right for me. He is tentatively proposing a total of 30 to 33 radiation treatments at Lacks – one treatment every day Monday through Friday until the course is completed.
I am still trying to process all the information. I am having difficulty wrapping my head around the fact that there is no research on my cancer to support this move. The recommendation is based on data from radiation to patients with melanoma to the head and neck, which showed some success. The intent is to kill the cancer cells in this region and minimally to at least alleviate the symptoms. I feel torn. The rational part of me says it makes no sense to take this drastic measure and the other part of me says I need to do anything in my power to beat this disease. That is when I realized God has guided my steps this far and He can continue to do so. I am asking prayers that HE would make the decision clear. I am going to leave you with my favorite Dr. Kane quote, “We treat, God cures.”
There are these wonderful moments when I go about my day that I forget about the journey I am on. Moments where I am fully present in whatever I am doing and I feel “normal”. It happens while at work, and while having fun with my family and friends. (Brag alert here). Yesterday was one of those moments at track regionals when my boy (pictured below) came in first in long jump and is now headed to states! Oh yeah!
I am surprised when I have gone two or three hours without thinking about cancer. I wish (and hope) these spans will get longer but it is my reality. The part that I have improved on is that I don’t let my mind linger there.
The verse I am centering on today is 2 Cor 5:7 “we walk by faith, not by sight”. This verse has been true again and again over the past few months. For example, it did not surprise me when the doctor said the colon lit up on the PET/ CT scan. I have had changes in that area and I cannot gain weight so it seemed possible (by “sight”) for there to be cancer in the colon. I was hopeful it wasn’t but was prepared that it may be. As we know, the results showed NO CANCER in the colon. Again, a reminder “we walk by faith, not by sight”.
This Tuesday I have an appointment with a radiation oncologist to talk about possible radiation. I don’t feel settled about this treatment option – not because I am scared but because I want to know its purpose for my situation. In fact, what I really want is for him to provide me with scientifically-based research articles from highly respected medical journals on the effectiveness of radiation on my type of cancer. Since that is unlikely to happen, please pray that my friend Laurie and I ask the right questions and have God-centered intuition!
One more reminder – 2 Cor 5:7 “WE WALK BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT”
My colon is squeaky clean and CANCER FREE! The Dr. did have to remove one polyp, but I do not need to have another for five years! He seemed surprised when I said the prep “cleansing” was easy. I heard many horror stories about it but it was not much different than what occurs when I have the PET scans. Only this time I had a bathroom five feet away that I didn’t have to share with anyone else. (Waiting outside a locked bathroom is the pits) Also, considering I have very little sugar in my diet, the gatorade / miralax mixture was a treat. I felt like a sugaraholic getting her fix! Next step is back to the oncologist to determine if radiation is an option.
The verse I have been meditating on this week. Isaiah 41:13 I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and who says to you “do not fear. I will help you”.
Colonoscopy scheduled for this Thursday at 3:15. Just need to get my supplies for my cleansing and I’ll be all set.
This will be short and to the point as I don’t have a lot of information. The PET scan has shown an area of concern in my colon. Next week I will have a colonoscopy, and the next steps will be figured out from there.
Yesterday was Richard’s and my 20th wedding anniversary. I like to give myself credit for the five years we dated as well. I had to post this picture as it is probably the only time in 25 years that his and my outfits actually coordinated.
We celebrated by going to my oncology appointment, which went well. I always feel more hopeful upon leaving the doctor’s office. I will have a PET scan this Friday morning to determine if the cancer has spread beyond the pelvic region. My understanding is that if it has not spread, I will have radiation to the last surgery location in the groin to try to contain that area. I have always been told that radiation was not effective for this type of cancer but what do I have to lose, right?
Richard is taking me to my PET scan this time. During my IV infusion, I am going to have him watch our wedding video with me in celebration of our anniversary. In the past I have watched a chic flick with my girlfriend, so I had to be creative this time.
At first I was bummed that the PET scan was scheduled so soon. I wanted to delay the whole process. I have become attuned to pretending all is well until it is in my face with appointments, surgery, and such. Then last night I heard Dr. Brader’s words in my head about many insurances won’t even allow one PET scan, let alone three. Maybe I should be thankful that I am able to have this test to guide my care. I am so fortunate to have medical insurance too. We take so much for granted. Last week I was complaining to my girlfriend about my bad hair day when I realized “I HAVE HAIR”. Wow, it puts it all in perspective. Makes me be aware of how many of my words are uplifting versus grumbling.
So I have to go now because I get to take a bath for the first time in a week and a half, then I get to choose clothes from a closet full of them, eat breakfast from a multitude of choices, and then drive my dependable car full of gas to a job I love!
P.S. That will be my last selfie for a while, I promise!