Monday, October 21, 2013
Last week I celebrated another victory! Radiation is done! Woohoo! That morning as I drove Ella to school, we prayed for the day and I thanked God that this was my last day of radiation. Ella gave me a half-hearted cheer and then asked: "Does this mean we have to go out to eat at a restaurant tonight?" She knew we would be celebrating, but I let her decide how we were going to celebrate this milestone. That explains how I found myself eating Chinese food and watching a Barbie movie. I got a certificate and a Rocky Mountain Chocolate bar from the Radiation Therapy staff for completing radiation! The staff there was great, but I will not miss the thirty minute drive there every day!
Radiation is actually finishing a little earlier than planned due to a slight miscalculation. The first 31 treatments were a little hotter than they wanted. So they started the boost (a superficial treatment around the scar) early and I finished sooner than anticipated. This was another perfect example of the roller coaster of emotions that a cancer diagnosis and treatment brings. When the radiation oncologist told me what had happened, I didn't feel a whole lot of anything. It didn't seem like a big deal. I thanked him for telling me, but also said that he could have not said anything and I wouldn't have known the difference. He said that was never an option and as much as he hated to have to tell someone a mistake had been made, honesty was important to him. He went on to say that he could remember the last night this happened. Six years ago. They do not like it when things do not go perfectly as planned. Then I started to get a little anxious. This doesn't happen all the time. So I asked all the questions that I could think of. No, I wouldn't get radiation poison. No, I wasn't given an unsafe dose. No, there shouldn't be any long-term complications. No, that's not why I've been scratching my skin off. No, I don't get a discount on radiation. He compared it to making change for a $20 bill. You can get the change in many different ways, but it will still be $20. I got the radiation that I needed, just a little quicker!
I called Rick to fill him in and did not expect the reaction I got! He RARELY gets upset. I can think of three times in the almost fourteen years I've known him. This was number four. That got me thinking maybe I should be more upset. So I tried that emotion out. Why did this happen to me out of how many thousands of patients they see each year? Then I got over it and convinced Rick that my life was not in jeopardy. It took a day or two to calm him down and convince him we were not suing the hospital. It's a week later and I can't be sure, but can't help but wonder what if it was a divine miscalculation so I would get exactly what I needed beyond what the computers or doctors thought I needed? I'll never know, but choose to live knowing that nothing that happens to me is beyond what is in my best interest. God does know a thing or two about healing!
I met with my plastic surgeon today. After looking at the radiation site, she said my skin looked amazing, to keep doing whatever I was doing. She called another doctor in to look at it. Then a nurse. They didn't believe me that I had been through six weeks of radiation. Since my skin fared so well, we can stick pretty close to the six month mark to do the reconstructive surgery. Or when she gets backs from her maternity leave. Whichever happens first. We talked for a while and I couldn't help but burst with thanksgiving for the amazing physicians that God led me to.
I called Dr. Burroughs to make an appointment for a yearly physical and he answered the phone (since he sent his office staff out for a spa day to celebrate the one year anniversary of his new practice) and scheduled my appointment as well as some extra time to catch up. He has called throughout the process to find out how I've been doing and to let me know he and his staff were praying for me. As far as I'm concerned, compassionate care and customer service doesn't get any better than that!
The end of radiation also marks the end of meals. They have been coming steadily since surgery. I lost track, but I do know that at least 140 meals were so lovingly and generously prepared and delivered. That. Is. CRAZY! I can't even begin to put words together to express our deep appreciation and gratitude for all of you who loved us with food! I also got some great recipes to use as I try to remember how to cook again!
Pam Hawley is hard at work again coordinating people and things to help make sure that our financial needs are met. Thanks, Pam! She's started another fund drive, or whatever it is called, at GiveForward.com. I burst into tears as I read what she wrote and quickly relived everything we've been through since February. It's been hard. But it's also been full of joy. I've never been alone through any of it. We're trusting God to see us through to the end. He is so good to us!