Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Home from the east and radiation starting 10-31-06

Dear friends,
Jenni and I got back on Sunday evening from going to look at 4 schools on the east coast in PA and NY. Yesterday was busy with laundry (Greg and Jesse had saved their mountain laundry for me!)and very basic catch up. I want to let you know how the week went as many have let me know they were praying for your trip. Here is a brief run down:
We arrived and were picked up Sunday afternoon by Uncle Fred who informed us that he was going to let us drive his Lexus for the week. Any of you who are savvy, know that that means a very pleasant and smooth ride. We had a nice time with him, Aunt Beth and the rest of the family that day, including a terrific dinner, and left early Monday morning for Philly- a 5-6 hour drive. We couldn't figure out the car's navigation system until Wednesday morning, so we depended on our map quest directions. They were wrong for one of our appointments in Philly, and we ended up 15 city miles from where we needed to be to meet friends for lunch. We got there late, ate a quick lunch and them headed to Penn.
Jenni and I met with the admissions director of their engineering school and had a tour of the engineering buildings. That was definitely a city school situation and at this point Jenni doesn't think she'll apply there.
We had dinner with a H.S. friend of mine. She had gone to Bucknell and her daughter spent a year at Cornell, so she had some good information for us. (Thanks Cindy!) We drove that night to Greg's parents' house and spent Monday and Tuesday nights there. We got to meet my nephew Caleb's fiancé, Elizabeth, and had a nice visit the next night with his twin brother, Josh's girl friend, Sandy also. Greg's mom was gone, but we got to see his dad, my brother and sister-in-law, and another aunt.
Bucknell was beautiful and a smaller school in a small PA town. Their engineering program looks very good and Jenni had an interview there. The tour of the engineering labs was impressive.
The next morning we went to Cornell (navigation working great!). We toured the campus with several other CO students and their families, which seemed odd that far from home. We also visited with my mother's cousin who is on the faculty there. I hadn't seen Bruce for decades and that was very nice. Jenni will apply there most likely and see what happens.
We stayed overnight with my mother and brother and got to see my Aunt Clara and Uncle Don too. That was a nice visit, but too short.
On Thursday we went to Grove City College and met up with Laura who only has a few weeks left there. Jenni interviewed and that went well. She got to go to an engineering class with last year's "Mr. Engineer" and learn about thermal dynamics. (The women engineers do the "Mr. Engineer Pagent" every year as a fund raiser.) Jenni got to attend a student lead worship time that night and spend the night with Laura in the dorm and meet lots of people. I think that was her favorite of the schools we visited. A Christian college with a great engineering program on a smaller campus, seemed to appeal to her.
We stayed overnight in the home of one of Laura's professors (the one she is going to Turkey with over Thanksgiving week) while Linda was away at a conference. Very relaxing. Jenni retook the ACT's on Saturday to try to bring her score up some. Laura, Jenni and I made our way back to Uncle Fred and Aunt Beth's again on Saturday afternoon and went to church and lunch with them and Linda Christie (Laura's prof) on Sunday before we flew back.
We had safe driving all week, stayed awake, kept our schedule, had no really bad weather, and had a nice time together. I am really glad we went.
I went yester day for my last pre-radiation appointment. I received some radiation and they checked to make sure the 4 fields the doctor specified are set correctly. When I lay on my back, one shoots across me from the right side at about 2:00, one at about 1:00, then the machine rotates around me to 7 or 8:00 to hit the back of my arm pit, them up to 12:00 to give me a dose on the left side at the base of my neck where there are a bunch of nodes. It took about 30 minutes yesterday, but starting tomorrow when I go 30 times, 5 days a week, it will only take 15 minutes. The main side effects are fatigue, which could be extreme or not, and the effect on my skin and the exposed tissues. I described all of that back at the end of Sept. so I won't do that again here. I could feel the radiation going in, but it was subtle and didn't hurt at all. I have to keep my arms up and head turned the whole time without moving at all.
I asked you to pray that I would be assigned a convenient time for these 30 treatments and for the 1st week I go at 9:15 a.m. Then starting next Wednesday, I go at 1:00 for the rest of the 5 weeks. Since I have a 28 mile round trip into the city, early afternoon is the best time to avoid traffic. So that is an answer to prayer. I see my radiation oncologist on Thursdays during this time, so I am trying to get all my questions organized for when I see him.
I am tired from last week and am fighting, but winning so far, a sore throat. I had blood drawn yesterday to make sure my levels really are OK now. My radiation oncologist thinks I will get very tired, but several there told me many don't experience that to the extreme. So we can pray. I feel an infection brewing under a tooth that has been bothering me for a while. I couldn’t do anything about it during chemo, but will check into that ASAP, now that I have my resistance to infection back up to normal.
Someone asked me why I can’t do any antioxidants during radiation, and the reason is that the radiation is designed to hit and destroy free radicals (cancer cells looking for a place to settle and grow) in my body in that area. If I take antioxidants, that will plug the free radicals (normally a good thing) and radiation will have no effect. They told me not to, because the radiation will be totally useless if there are no free radicals for it to hit. After I am done I can go to town with my special diet and supplements, etc. I am allowed to eat whatever I want, but am not to take most vitamins and supplements I have been taking.
I will sign off and want to thank you again for praying for our trip. By the way, our extra freezer is almost full now as Greg added another 125+ lbs of organic hormone free elk meat last week (a 5x5 bull) to his mountain souvenirs. He got a cow elk the week before. He actually got home Wednesday with Jesse instead of being gone until Sunday and was pretty lonely for Jenni and me once he got home. He was journaling Tuesday morning in his spot when he looked up and spotted the bull. So Jesse and Greg had an exciting time together. I'll be in touch soon. My goal is to write 2 times a week. God bless you! Nancy

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