With God’s help we made it through radiation week. During my last session the radiation therapists asked me if I was going to celebrate being done with radiation. The thought of celebrating never entered my mind. I would prefer to celebrate a CT scan showing the cancer disappearing. Better yet, I hope to be able celebrate when the baffled doctors tell me that my cancer is completely gone and they have no idea why. Radiation was only the first treatment but I am thankful to God for getting me through. I think I have finally started experiencing symptoms. My bowels constantly feel like my diet consists solely of chilli peppers. Ibuprofen to the rescue.
Please pray for my symptoms and thank God for getting me through radiation week.
I met with my medical oncologist yesterday and she said that the genetic mutation tests came back normal and there were no hereditary markers. (Apparently that’s a good thing. Praise the Lord!) She is going to start me on three chemotherapy drugs late next week. I will be having a treatment every two weeks for the next three months. The most common side effect will likely be diarrhea. It may only last a few days or may be the entire treatment cycle. There are many more exciting possible side effects like nausea, hair loss, rashes, etc. If I go bald, I already have a great art project in mind for the kids called Decorate Daddy.
Please pray that the chemotherapy will be very effective, with minimal side effects.
On Thursday, a home care nurse came to our house to change the bandages on my port incisions. Even with my partially shaved chest it still hurt when the bandages came off. I really liked the nurse though. She asked me how I was coping with everything and I told her, “My faith.” I told her I am a Christian and that God is in control, and that I have lots of support from my family and church families. I think I mentioned that I am hoping that God will heal me and that’s when she started talking about miracles. She told me a story about a stage 4 cancer patient last year who went from giving up on living to basically being healed. What changed? People started praying. I love hearing healing stories about stage 4 cancer patients; the “0% curable” thing really makes them that much more miraculous. The most encouraging thing the nurse told me is that she sees a few miracles per year. I had never heard anyone try to quantify the number of miracles before.
Pray that I will be one of those miracles.
Fun fact: It turns out that my home care nurse is actually one of the nurses that looked after my Dad as well. Actually, we almost had the same medical oncologist too, but the one my Dad had moved away and I now have his replacement. They assume my tumour has been growing for the past 5 years, which means if I had known about my cancer earlier, my Dad and I could have been cancer buddies and maybe had father/son chemo sessions. That could have been fun, right?
Radiation is a very interesting experience. I get to go into areas of the hospital with big scary warning signs. It’s pretty easy. I lie down on the treatment couch and slide off my pants. Sadly, I am all too familiar with displaying my nether regions to medical professionals. Then the radiation therapists move me around a bit to align the machine with my tattoos. Then they leave the room and turn on the machine. The machine is pretty cool. It spins around my pelvic region and zaps me a bunch of times. I don’t feel a thing though. I think I am still radiation symptom free (can’t shoot webs yet either) but I suppose it is still a little early.
I have a follow-up appointment with the radiation oncologist in a month to see how effective the radiation treatments have been.
Please continue to pray that God will work through the radiation to shrink Tony the Terrible.
God helped me through the port installation today. I almost
died passed out on the table but otherwise everything seemed to go fine with the installation. I especially enjoyed the “classical” music selection playing in the background: Simon and Garfunkel, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, etc. The YouTube video I had watched beforehand to learn about the procedure helped me identify the various steps the surgeon was performing on me. It was a little unnerving feeling him pushing on my chest to squeeze the port inside the little pocket he made in my upper torso. I think I felt him feeding the catheter from the hole near my neck to the port device. I wasn’t too thrilled about the removal of my chest hair but it was either have it shaved off before the surgery or have it ripped out by the nurse who changes the bandages tomorrow. They were nice and let me keep my jeans on though. (Years ago for my eye surgeries they made me remove all my clothing just so they could operate on my eye!) Another bonus is that I am not allowed to shovel any snow for two weeks. (Sorry Leanne, or I guess the boy can do it!)
Pray that my chest incisions heal quickly and properly.
I found out yesterday afternoon that my radiation treatments are starting this Monday, Feb. 11. That was a bit of a surprise. However, the bigger surprise was finding out that I am scheduled to get my port installed on Wednesday, Feb. 13, and no one called to tell me about it. I only discovered this appointment accidentally when scheduling my radiation treatments around my other appointments.
Here’s what my week looks like…so far!
Wednesday: Radiation and Port Installation
Thursday: Radiation and Rectal Surgeon
Friday: Blood Work, Medical Oncologist, and Radiation
I still plan to fit in as many hours of work as I can.
I met with a naturopathic doctor yesterday. He provided us with some good diet suggestions and supplement recommendations while I undergo radiation. As soon as I know which chemotherapy drugs I will be on, he will have some more recommendations on dietary supplements and services to complement the chemo.
I suppose I am most concerned about the port installation. I’m not really thrilled about anyone digging around inside my chest and leaving behind a foreign object. (That may be a tad facetious.) I watched a YouTube video on the procedure and it was quite fascinating.
- Pray that the radiation will obliterate Tony (or at least shrink him as expected).
- Pray that the port installation goes well.
- Pray that God will continue to give me strength, as it’s going to be a long week.
- Pray that God will give me and Leanne wisdom while we research the various services and supplements the naturopath offers.