Friday, November 20, 2015

The Storms

We are under a storm warning today as we wait for the first snow of the season to arrive.  This storm is going to leave behind 3-8 inches of snow, depending on where you live.  The weathermen can see it coming and have given us notice, so we have time to be prepared.

Don't you wish all storms in life gave us warning?  Not the natural storms, but the storms that come against us from the enemy, from living in a broken world, from reaping what we sow.  Yeah.  Those kind of storms.

No matter the storm....natural or supernatural....we have the One who calms the storms walking with us.  We may be tossed about for a while, we may be shaken, we may face tempest winds and beating rain or rising waters and even heavy snow, but we are never alone in what we face.  Nope.  Never.

Today I had treatment number 13, with 18 left to go.  My energy has been good, but I have developed a few crusty bumpy sores from the skin's reaction to the radiation on the upper breast and along the scar where the nodes were removed.  Those are not an issue, but the sore area of my breast that is more tender than the rest is getting more challenging.  I keep standing on the promise that God gave me the day I found out I would need radiation...."I will be your wrap around shield".

My sister who walked this journey last year had no issues.....but the techs told me  that what I am experiencing is "common".  Each person is unique, according to the skin, breast size, and where the cancer was located.  Although they do radiate the whole breast.  SO, we went shopping an found me a humongous sweatshirt to wear at home when I go bra-less.  I am kind of old to be a hippie.....giggle....but I am willing to do what is necessary on my part while believing God will be my shield.

The treatments are getting easier, with less mapping to do, with the lasers lining up.....We drive the 8-10 minutes to the cancer center using our cancer permit to park close by.  We walk in, Joel get's coffee and I go back into radiology, going into the women's dressing room, getting a gown and robe, then heading into the dressing stall, undressing from the waist up, hanging my clothes in a locker and then going into the waiting room to sit with Joel until they come get me.

They have scheduled patients every 15 minutes and have two rooms they can use.  When they come, I give them my card, which they scan in the computer so the machine knows what is needed for co-ordinates.  They get me a step stool to get up on the table and I lay down.  As they align me they put my arms in the overhead braces, strap my feet down, and lower the gown to get those lasers where needed.  The actual treatment is 3-4 minutes, first on one side and then that big machine rotates to the other side.  I am done, dressed, and back home in less than an hour.  Some days I come home feeling very cold, so I lotion up. put on my new oversized hoodie, get in my recliner, turn on the fireplace and cover up with a quilt until I get warm.  I may doze off for a short nap, but otherwise get on with my day.  I will say that Fridays seem to take more out of accumulation of the week I expect.

My Daily Attire:  Gowns and robes

This is the biggest hospital and cancer center in all of north and central Iowa so people come from up to two hours away every single day for treatments.  Amazing.  So grateful for the kind and caring staff, the short distance we have to drive, Joel's continual support, and all of the prayers.
Coffee and the newspaper
while waiting

I have not always stayed calm in this storm.  I shed tears easily and most days, but tears are a good way to release stress.  I still find anger rising once in awhile and I take it to God and try to focus on giving thanks.  My sacrifice of praise, as the Bible calls it, is where my strong honest emotions bring "fragrance to my praises" as Pastor Bill Johnson says so well.

Storms.  They will come.  Some with notice, some without.  But in the storm we are never alone. They come, but they also go.  Jesus says, "Be still" and even nature obeys Him.  He is our shield.  He is our wrap around shield!

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