Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sometimes you just gotta...

August 4, 2010

Sometimes you just gotta share the things you read even if nobody sees in what you're seeing.  That's ok.  It's kind of like being excited about a new funky outfit that nobody else gives a rip about (or thinks is odd looking).  I'm still going to love it even if you don't.

I read this in "Streams in the Desert" this morning and it was encouraging to me.

Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me." (John 11:41)

The sequence of events in this passage seems strange and unusual.  Lazarus was still in his tomb, yet Jesus' thanksgiving preceded the miracle of raising him from the dead.  It seems that thanks would only have been lifted up once the great miracle had been accomplished and Lazarus had been restored to life.  But Jesus gave thanks for what He was about to receive.  His gratitude sprang forth before the blessing had arrived, in an expression of assurance that it was certainly on its way.  The song of victory was sung before the battle had been fought.  It was the Sower singing the song of harvest - it was thanksgiving before the miracle!

Who ever thinks of announcing a victory song as the army is just heading to the battlefield?  And where do we ever hear a song of gratitude and thanksgiving for an answer that has not yet been received?

Yet in this Scripture passage, there is nothing strange, forced, or unreasonable to the Master's sequence of praise before the miracle.  Praise is actually the most vital preparation to the working of miracles.  Miracles are performed through spiritual power, and our spiritual power is always in proportion to our faith.    John Henry Jowett

I am choosing to praise God and thank Jesus for the miracle of healing that has yet to occur.  If Jesus can bring to life a dead stinky Lazarus, He can CERTAINLY get rid of the cancer in my body.  And I for one believe He can!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tuesday's News

August 3, 2010

Tomorrow it begins.  Radiation that is.  On my brain.  Unless God intervenes.  I'm trying to be positive about this but my con list is much longer than the pro list.

  • 30% chance it will get all the cancer out.
  • Might get to keep the creepy mask.
  • Get to make new "friends".
  • Have to cut way back on green tea.
  • Have kept all my hair during chemo but apparently will lose it from radiation.
  • Have to go in for treatment for 15 days in a row (minus weekends).
  • Could have permanent issues with short term memory and concentration.
  • 70% chance it won't get rid of all the cancer meaning I'll likely have to have more Gamma Knife in the future.
  • Have to wear the creepy mask 15 more times.
  • Nausea.
  • Fatigue.
When I went in today, I wasn't sure what was going to happen.  Ends up all that was needed was to finish the planning stage that I couldn't finish last week.  It was scary but nothing like last week.  Plus, the three techs I had today were incredibly gentle, sweet and understanding. 

Shortly after the mask was put on, I was asked how I was doing.  I wasn't doing well and somehow (literally only God knows) I was able to say, "Can you take the mask off for just a little bit."  I was stunned that I was able to speak...I honestly still don't know how.  The mask is SO tight it pushes my jaw completely closed.  Anyway, within seconds, the mask was off.  I lost composure for a little bit and began to cry.  It felt good to release that sadness and fear and it gave me the strength I neede to allow the mask to be put back on so the planning could continue.

I'm not looking forward to tomorrow...or the other 14 appointments.  But, I'm not feeling God closing any doors so I will continue to walk forward until told otherwise.

Oh...and just so you know...I will also be having radiation on the original tumor sight in hopes of getting that area under control. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Masking the Problem

August 2, 2010

I tell you what, if God wasn't making Himself so clear to me right now (and for the last several days) I could easily go insane.  Last Friday I went to the consult for Whole Brain Radiation (WBR) and was fitted for a mask for the radiation treatment.  I can honestly say that the fitting was one of the top three horrifying things to come across my adult life.  I am slightly claustrophobic and I'm pretty sure this fitting threw me over the ledge.

Let me explain...because it wasn't explained to me.   You go into the room with the big radiation machine and lie down on the hard metal bed.  You're adjusted and adjusted and then you're finally exactly where they want you.  Under the cross hairs of the radiation beam.  Then, all of the sudden, they're coming at you with this crazy thing that turns into a mask.  I don't know exactly what the mask is made of but I believe it's some type of teflon.  But what it feels like is super thick plastic wrap.  It's warmed up with water and then stretched, VERY TIGHTLY, over your face and snapped into a frame on both sides of your head.  It hardens as it cools making it impossible to open your eyes (you're told to close your eyes as they stretch it across your face) and impossible to talk.  It's a completely breathable substance but, from the head up, it's impossible to move.  Of course, that's the goal.  But when you're claustrophobic and you can't see and you can't talk, it feels like suffocation.  I wanted to scream but since I couldn't,  I had a panic attack instead.

With most scans, you're given a panic ball to squeeze in case you begin to freak.  For some reason, the same procedure is not followed with radiation.  I find that strange because this is actually far more freaky outy than any scan machine I've been in. 

What happened instead?  Well...let me tell you.  The main tech had a "shadow" that day...a student from a local college.  All very common in the medical world but what I've noticed is that when there is a shadow, the one in charge is often distracted.  So, it wasn't super apparent to them that I wasn't in good shape.

I tried to get across my fears by waving my arms around a bit but the student wasn't getting it.  And the other tech wasn't nearby.  The student asks if I'm ok.  So lame because I can't answer.  She then says, "give me a thumbs up if you're doing ok".  I kept waving my arms then it finally dawned on me "duh, do a thumbs down".  So that's what I did.  But the student didn't do anything except to say it was all ok.  SHE wasn't the one under the mask!!  So clueless.

Dr. Kim (my radiation oncologist) came in to give me some information from Dr. Link and figured out quickly that I wasn't ok.  He stopped the "planning session" and told the techs to get me out of the mask.

I walked out of the room, immediately saw Reed and began to cry.  I was completely shaken and I still had to do the spinal hour and a half long another scan tube...just across the parking lot...needles.

I did pretty well...sort of.  I didn't panic but I did experience a bit of anxiety.  This time however, I could pray out loud (something I couldn't do with the mask on) and that put me at ease.  That and the panic ball.

The day was finally over and I was finally able to go home - an hour later than I was supposed to.  I left without knowing the results of my scans and I still don't know.  I have an appointment tomorrow at 1:45 to finalize the planning.  I have no idea if they'll want me to begin radiation or if I'll get the results of my scans.

I'm literally living day to day and am surviving on amazing things that God is telling me.  Many of them coming from friends.  I love it when God speaks to my friends on my behalf.  I also love that God has not allowed me to be alone the last several days.  I'm not being allowed to spiral into any sort of depression or negative thoughts.  It's a good place to be.