Radiation is done! I finished up my last of 9 treatments yesterday and, I'm happy to report, it was pretty easy! Although I'm super glad that it was a painless process, it's also a bit scary when you think about the fact that you know, each day, you're receiving doses of radiation that are destroying healthy and non-healthy tissue, and yet, you cannot feel any side effects from it. Is that nuts or what?
I would love to tell you that I get a long vacation from going to Roswell, but alas, my vacation only lasted today as I need to go back tomorrow to get both a 15-minute infusion of a bone strengthening agent and a tic-tac sized pellet injected into my belly that puts me into menopause. (As my friend Sarah asked, "Do they have Hallmark cards for such special occasions?" Perhaps I should start a new division. I think I'll call it "Cards-for-things-that-no-one-ever-wants-to-experience-in-one-day.") I'm also meeting with my oncologist to discuss my treatment plan and when the next scans will be scheduled that will show whether or not my body is responding to the Tamoxifen treatments. As long as no major changes are made to my plan at this meeting, I will continue taking a daily Tamoxifen pill and, other than experiencing the lovely effects of menopause (hot flashes stink, by the way!), life should be close to "normal." I'm so thankful for that.
I'm also happy to share that my vision issues have - as far as I can tell - cleared up! Yippee!!! It's so nice to be able to see out of both eyes and know that, while the problem was certainly related to the treatments I received last month, it can be corrected easily and without impact to my overall treatment plan. Again, answer to prayer for which I am grateful.
All in all, I'm feeling really good and am very much appreciating all the extra special cards, notes, acts of service, gifts, flowers, etc. that people are showering on my family and me during this time. You all know how to make a girl feel loved!!!
Yet...continuing in the goal of being as real with you all as I dare to be...
I will say that all this isn't a breeze (is that obvious?!?!). There are some very challenging moments - emotionally and spiritually - embedded all throughout. There are times when the enormity of this whole thing is pretty darn overwhelming. There are also moments when I just turn to Chad with tears streaming down my face and say, "I don't want to be sick. I don't want to be experiencing even the little things that I'm experiencing. I don't want to not ride bikes with my kids this summer. I don't want to think about making special plans for my kids' teachers and classmates next school year because who knows what will be going on in my life. I don't want to be the reason for the temptation to worry for my family. I don't want...I don't want...I don't want..." As you can easily imagine, the list of "I don't wants" can go on and on and on. In fact, I started thinking about those things as I drove out of Roswell yesterday. And it took about 30 seconds for me to respond to God gently nudging me to pull my head and heart out from under the weight of all the "I don't wants" so that I could trade those in for the "But, I have todays."
But I have, today, no hip/leg pain.
But I have, today, experienced no side effects from this radiation treatment.
But I have, today, my hair intact in my head (and actually need a hair cut).
But I have, today, a husband who prays for me in his own quiet times in the mornings and prays aloud over me in the evenings as we go to bed.
But I have, today, two kids who love me and need me to be fully present with them.
But I have, today, a family who knows Christ and who are here for me on earth and will be with me in eternity.
But I have, today, Laura who knows what this feels like without me having to say one word.
But I have, today, friends upon friends upon friends who have chosen to engage in this hard battle with me.
But I have, today, a church family (those who I know and those who I've never met) who lift me before the Lord in prayer.
But I have, today, been entrusted with a ministry in the city of Buffalo that God continues to call me to engage in.
But I have, today, a God who is immeasurably powerful and incomprehensibly loving toward me.
Don't let me kid you: sometimes switching focus can be incredibly hard. The temptations to fear and worry are all around. But what I know is that I don't have to live in worry and in fear. They are only temptations. There is nothing happening to me that is outside of God's knowledge, His ability to affect, His ability to bring peace to, His ability to infuse joy into, His ability to love me through.
And, as hard as this is at times, it would be absolutely impossible without knowing that.
I'll probably say something like this at the end of each update, but...thanks for joining me on the journey. Your words and prayers are priceless to me.