Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tight Places, Tattoos, And Stones

I hope you are not weary of me talking about this journey with breast cancer, I have been at times myself.....but yet I want to keep writing about it in the hope that it will help someone else in the future.  I feel so thankful my sister could walk me through it to prepare me for what was ahead....she went through it here last year with the same doctors, advocate, etc.

Today I saw the radiology oncologist for yet another exam and talk about what is ahead with radiation.  Exam #6 had me remembering what someone who has also walked this path said to me.  "I got so weary of strangers handling my breasts!"  Yep. I also heard from the doctor...."I was thinking only 4 weeks of radiation due to your history, but I forgot how large your breasts are."  Really?  Like I said before, they have been an issue my whole life and still are.  So it goes......

The CT scan was to locate all the organs in my body so they can avoid them as much as possible during radiation treatments.  I had wires wrapped around the right side, marker used from throat down to stomach and under breast, etc. and then 4 tiny tattoos  put on my body...not my breast to line up with the lasers during treatments.

The scan went okay.  I used to be claustrophobic in elevators, tight places, etc. but most of that is gone.  Today it was a bit difficult because my arms were in braces over my head and my feet were strapped down.  I made the mistake of opening my eyes while did a bit of praying quietly in tongues and speaking to the anxiety while keeping my eyes mostly closed.  It helped a great deal.

I had to chuckle because of course the nurse was Lutheran and the radiology therapist goes to Our Saviour's where Joel served for 10 years!  Everywhere we go........Joel is known.  The therapist mentioned how much they miss Joel.  Of course they do.  And how they hoped he would fill in once in awhile.  Of course he will.  I said to her, "Everywhere we go people say they miss his preaching.  It is a wonder his cowboy hat still fits his head from all the ego strokes he gets.  She laughed and said, "Or his boots!"  The doctor just listened as he was marking me with marker that came off with coconut oil and a good scrubbing.

They are expecting me to have more fatigue than some, and possibly more skin reactions....We covered the lung damage again and percentages.  IF I had a mastectomy I would not have radiation.  If I don't do radiation, the chance of it coming back is 33%.  With radiation, 6-8%.  No brainer for me.  Must go through it.....and the key here is that I will go right on through it...not be stuck in it forever.

I will say, we were surprised at how shaky I was after.  I think it was purely an emotional reaction. Every time I go to the cancer center I am reminded that I have had cancer.  Again. I get anxious over how the radiation will affect me, and that anxiety only makes things worse!

SO, I decided this afternoon that I need to start giving thanks before every treatment for the many many blessings God has provided in the past 7 weeks.  It is really like Joshua who was told by God to build an altar of stones as a reminder of how God parted the waters of the Jordan River to let the Israelites into the promised land.  For me every praise is a stone placed on the altar to remind me of God's faithfulness and His promises to me.  I have so so much to be thankful for!!!!

I hope that by sharing my journey it helps you with your own difficult circumstances as they arise. God is always with us and when we look for the blessings on the journey, we cannot help but see how God and His deep love for His children shows up over and over.  For me today it was at the cancer center,  with the nurse sharing about their new pastor, in the doctor's gentle hands and caring spirit, in the radiology therapist's memories of Joel's preaching, in Joel's steady strong arms to lean on.  I am blessed.......and aren't we all?!


Debbie Huffaker said...

I think about you often, sweet Lady. I went back and read many of your posts leading up to the surgery and loved the ones about being sheltered beneath HIS wings. I think about that quite often, too....about how as a child of HIS, He shelters us. That doesn't mean no suffering....but that He's ALWAYS there to help us through whatever the crisis might be. Prayers for you....and prayers they are wrong about the radiation's side effects.

Gayle said...

Much blessed and I am so thankful that there were Christians there as you began this journey.

Renee said...

Thank you for your prayers, Debbie. I appreciate them so much. Bless you, cyber friend.

Renee said...

Thanks Gayle.