29 Done and 1 to Go!
As these weeks of radiation have passed, they have seemed to take forever and also in a strange way, I am going to miss the routine. I am so excited to be done! Friends at church who have prayed for me throughout this whole treatment process gave me a beautiful rose plant at the Christmas party Monday night as an expression of their love and prayers. What a nice reminder that I have almost finished!
The last 7 times I have gone as well as tomorrow, friends have driven me to my treatments. I found that fatigue would come and go in waves, and sometimes when I had to drive. It was nice to have company and get to visit with friends on the way. Janet went last week and got to watch them give me radiation- the room, machine, the monitors and how they set it all up. She is a PA and since she knows so much medical stuff, she enjoyed learning about how they do it all.
Today was my last day when my little nun, Sister Marie Paula, was going to be there, so we did my graduation a day early. She put me in a graduation gown, I had a hat with the tassel, music, the whole nine yards. I was given a diploma and had my picture taken with her and with Janet who wanted to go with me today for my graduation. It is nice to be almost done! Tomorrow I go with my friend Candy who I help with children’s missions at our church. She and I have shared cancer experiences and she is a dear friend.
There is one lady named Carol who has become a friend. I want to share my faith with her tomorrow as it will be the last time I’ll see her. I would love for you to pray for her. I think she is very open to my story. It as been a continual “to be continued” conversation since when they call you for your treatment, you need to go right away. I told her I’d see her tomorrow, and she is looking forward to it.
I saw the radiation oncologist on Monday this week and they gave me pain meds for the burning pain and some cool (literally) radiation sticky gel sheets I can put on the burn under my arm to ease the burning. They feel so good as they keep the skin from rubbing or getting too dry at the worse areas. I am having the last 5 treatments focused on the one area under my arm where the cancer was found. It is electrons for that which is different from what they did on the 3 previous views the other 25 times. The area under my left arm is very burnt, but not blistering so far. It is the equivalent of a severe sunburn at this point. He told me the skin will keep burning for the next week to 10 days before it starts healing. The process is likened to a sun burn showing up the next day. The other areas we finished last Thursday seem to be starting to heal. I am still doing lots of caster oil during the night. It is too gooey for during the day. The doctor and nurses seem to think I am doing extra well, so they are making note of my use of caster oil.
Dr. Jacobs told Greg and me on Monday what to expect from here on. For 2 weeks I will be especially tired and possibly grouchy or emotional- (“don’t be surprised by tears”). Then I will begin to notice my strength coming back. My skin should start healing then and in a month he will recheck to see how I am doing. The long run is that in about 2 ½ months my strength should be back to my normal level, and my skin will probably look normal again too.
I wrote a poem for those who have helped me there. I gave it to my main techs-Don & Lacy, and to Sister Marie Paula and the nurses. Here it is:
To My Friends at Saint Joe’s
God uses you guys to help us in our trials,
And many of us have to drive lots of miles.
But when we get here, we know that we’ll find
Staff who are helpful, loving and kind.
You have been so kind to me each day
I’ve traveled here to get those rays.
In some ways it’s felt like it would never end,
But yet when it does, I’ll miss my new friends.
I appreciate you taking the time
To explain to me it’s worth the climb,
To fight my cancer and that I have hope
To beat it forever, and with my burns how to cope.
I’ll miss you and yet it is bittersweet,
I hope I see you in new circumstances when we again meet.
God bless you and I wish you Merry Christmas a ton-
And I hope that your New Year is filled with much fun!
Don came and found me after I gave him his card and gift with tears in his eyes to thank me and give me a hug. He asked if the card was his, because even if it wasn’t, he was not going to share it with anyone. It was too special. I had made other copies for the others.
Next Thursday I will see my oncologist to check in on how all is going and to talk about long term hormone therapy (I think Arimidex?) It is post menopausal medicine like Tomoxifen. I reacted badly to Tomoxifen, so I am not sure how this other will do for me either. Other tests my be indicated, but I will have to wait and see what Dr. Bourg thinks. Mainly, now I get to recover. Friday I get to take all my vitamins again.
Tonight I attended the funeral for the pastor of caring from our church. There were over 1000 people there and it was an incredible service. What a testimony Johnny Patterson had. It was a privilege to know him. He died suddenly of a heart attack last Thursday night. He leaves a wife and 4 kids, and a whole church full of people who will really miss him. He has ministered to so many in my support group as we have been in the hospital and seen some of our friends go to the Lord.
On a different topic, Initiative360 is still in a difficult spot. We still need to see serious money to come in. A new leadership team has been set up to help Greg work with the hard work of getting us out of the problems we’re in. I can tell he is stressed and not sleeping well, as the pressure is great, but at the same time, he is confident in wanting the Lord’s will. Please continue to pray that some foundations considering gifts at the end of the year, would make up their minds to give in our direction if it is the Lord’s will.
Well, it is night time and like usual lately, I am totally bushed. I am sleeping late every morning until 9, 10 or one day even 12! It just takes sleep to recover, but it doesn’t leave time for much else! Thank you again dear friends for reading all of this! Allison home Saturday and Laura (for good) on the 20th. Jenni and Jesse (the J-sters) finish finals tomorrow. Jenni is battling fatigue of left over mono she had some time this fall. Blessings- Nancy