I have so much to tell you guys! First, that I need to get me some stronger pain meds! I had my port removed yesterday (yay!), but man, it is sore. I can't sleep, seeing as it feels like 100 bees are stinging the inside of my chest, so here I am, blogging in the middle of the night. But hey, I'm just glad that I now have a moment to update you guys on what's been going on.
Like I said in my last post, as of a week ago Tuesday, I spoke with my Dr, and we decided that I should move forward with some radiation therapy. I felt really good about it and had no unsettling feelings concerning it at all. I went ahead and made an appointment to meet with my radiologist for the coming Tuesday. As everyone had time to process the news, and with some things we had heard about radiation, they were worried for me and suggested I look into my options. I respected their concerns and thought it a good idea to get lots of information so I could then make a more informed decision. So I made an appointment at a holistic clinic. I thought, 'what would it hurt?, and hopefully it will help make my decision more clear.'
So, with what I have learned to do with prayer, I made a decision first, and prayed to know if it was right. I told Heavenly Father that I had decided to do radiation, then asked if it was the right thing to do?
To be honest, I did not feel uneasy or unsure until I started thinking about NOT doing radiation. And to be clear, I was not talked into doing anything or pressured. Everyone was very supportive. I went because I wanted to know. So, as I was driving to the holistic appointment, and as I was feeling a lot of anxious feelings, I prayed again. I told Heavenly Father that my decision was radiation, is that the right thing to do? I am going to this appointment, please help me to be able to recognize my answer when it comes.
Well, long story short. I got my answer, and it was pretty clear. As soon as I stepped foot in that holistic office, the fear and anxiety grew and grew. By the end of the consultation, I was in full on tears, I couldn't even talk I was crying so much, and I think the whole office gave me a hug because they felt so bad for me. Hahaha! I was a mess.
There it was. My answer. I have cried a lot through this experience, but never out of fear. I was scared and very unsettled after that appointment, and I was glad that I went, because it helped me to see that radiation was for me. I thanked Heavenly Father for sending me such a clear answer to my prayer.
And just a side note, I have nothing against holistic treatments! I am actually a huge fan and have had great success with taking my children to have their allergies cured with the same type of stuff. (That is a whole different story that I should post about sometime...so amazing and life changing!) It just wasn't the answer for me in this instance.
Now it was time to meet with the radiologist and get a plan made for this next part of the journey.
Ahhhh. What a great appointment it was. Very positive and reassuring. He was very excited about how well my body reacted to the chemo, and said that compared to what i've been through, radiation will be "a walk in the park."
*not great quality because I took a picture of the computer screen, but here is a before and after of my tumor. You can't even see it in the "after" picture! The glowing thing on the right is just my heart.
I am going to have 17 treatments, so 5 days a week, for 3 1/2 weeks. I will have radiation going to the middle of my chest, from both the front and the back, and the actual treatment will take only 10-15 minutes. He says it's just like an x-ray machine, you can't see the beams of radiation or anything, and then, as soon as the machine is turned off, i'll be no more radioactive than anyone else.
The great part is that since it does not effect my immune system or anything, I will continue to feel better and better every day! It shouldn't knock me down like chemo did.
As for the side effects, I may get a little sunburn on the radiation site, and possibly a sore throat, just because of the location. But if I do, it should go away after treatments and I should be fine.
Like I said previously, with the risks in the future, there is a little concern about breast cancer. But he just said that i'll start getting mammograms when i'm 35 instead of 40, and be aware of the small possibility.
I will start my treatments the beginning of May. I'm sure my Dr thinks i'm a whack job because I asked if I could postpone treatments until after a little trip i'll be taking with my mom and sisters. When I asked about it he was totally fine with me going, but told me to wear a t-shirt when out in the sun. Pfff! The whole weekend is scheduled around laying out, no way am I wearing a t-shirt. So, after making some joke about now wanting skin cancer, (he and Jake weren't amused) it was settled that i'd start next month. And before you think i'm more vain than I really am...my cute sister called the hotel, told them my situation, and was told they would be sure to reserve a spot with a shaded cabana for us while we were there.So nice!
Next step was to get my port taken out! Whoop Whoop!!! I didn't think it was going to happen until after radiation, but nope, they wanted it gone. You better believe I fasted this time! I was not about to have a replay of the traumatizing experience when they put it in. I am happy to report that all went well! Easy peasy. They gave me some awesome sedation meds and apparently I just talked and talked through the whole procedure. Before they wheeled me back to my little spot, the Dr said to my mom, "well I heard all about your amazing sewing skills. Burp rags, crib bedding, the works!" HaHa my mom said she was just grateful I wasn't telling him all of her dirty little secrets.
*peace out port! You were uncomfortable and freaky, but very helpful.
*There she is! my port. I asked them if I could keep it, they said no. Little do they know I kept the stints that were put in me when I had kidney failure. (I know, I have health problems) But see that tube, that went into a big main vein straight to my heart.
Something happened when I got back to the waiting room. A patient had been brought to the spot next to me, and my mom was talking to the sister that was there with her. When the sister saw me, I smiled, waved and introduced myself. The first thing she said was, "oh, wow. A smiling one." She then asked if I would talk to her sister, the patient, and pulled back the curtain that separated us.
There she was, a young mom of three kids, terrified and overwhelmed with the new news. She has only known for one week, and found out on her birthday, of all times, that she had cancer. The sad, scared look on her face is still fresh in my mind. What was I going to say to her? What could I say to help? I did tell her that it will get easier. That the first week and first treatment is so hard. You're in total shock, nervous, and being bombarded with sooo much information. And then I just told her that it's okay that she's scared. She didn't really talk. She couldn't without crying. We exchanged information before I left, then it was time for her to get her port in, and that was that.
I thought about her all day, sent her a text, but could not get her off of my mind. My heart broke for her, but I also wished I could send her hope, strength, and comfort. Last night as I cried to my Heavenly Father for her, I received a thought, and immediately felt overwhelmed with gratitude.
Through that experience, I was able to get a little taste of what our Heavenly Father feels, when he watches us go through trials.
I feel grateful that in the beginning of my journey, I knew exactly what I had to do. I had to turn to my Heavenly Father and let Him carry me through. As I pondered this thought, I could imagine Him, looking down on me as I was in the very beginning stages of finding out about my cancer, and anxiously waiting and longing for me to talk to Him, and ask for His help. As soon as I did, He smiled in relief and love, because He knew that He could help me. He was the ONLY one who could help me. And He could because He had sent His son, Jesus Christ, to atone for ME. To take away every scared, sad, and bad feeling I could ever feel, and replace them with hope, faith, and comfort.
I felt like I was in His shoes as I thought about this new friend. I worried about her and wanted to help her. I don't know her situation, but what I do want her to know is that she can find peace and relief through our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. We all can. He is watching us, anxiously waiting to help us with the biggest challenges we are facing, along with what we may think are the most menial and small things in our lives.
I am grateful for, and have a strong testimony of, the power of prayer. The heavens open when we are trying our best then humbly turn to the Lord for help. He will answer our prayers and send us the peace we seek.
I read in Alma this week and loved this,
...we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us. Yea and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.
That touched me because I have experienced the blessing that that scripture speaks of, as I prayed for certain things this week. One, about my decision with radiation and needing an answer, and two, when I thought about my friend.
God visited me with assurances. Because I asked for His help, He spoke peace to my soul, granted me faith, and I have great hope because I know He lives, loves me, and is watching over me.
I pray we can each be more prayerful, and as we are, I know our burdens will be light.