The Collegiana, the mesh mask, Cross and Crown Church, it’s odd how I’ve made so many good and so many terrible memories here. If you haven’t followed my story for long, last August and September after my giant 11 hour surgery, I lived here at the Collegiana for 6 weeks and had radiation every day. For those of you who have followed my story since the beginning, I’m sure your heart sank at the mention of those things.
They pulled me off the clinical trial.
It was some of the hardest news I’ve had in awhile. I had so much hope that the trial would be my miracle. My tumors kept getting bigger and bigger and so finally they decided to do a scan, that scan revealed another 5 new tumors in my neck. With a sense of urgency my doctors discussed all the possibilities and in the end settled on radiation. So here I am, entering week 3 of radiation. This time though it is twice a day, everyday until the middle of January. I haven’t mentioned anything because I didn’t want cancer to ruin the joy and perfection of my sisters wedding. And it didn’t!
It’s always such a range of emotions for me. Terrified that I have 7 tumors now. Devastated that the trial didn’t work. Thankful that they caught it before Stage 4. Sad that I have to be in Seattle, away from my family and husband. Scared because I know the horrors of radiation. And currently, I’m very frustrated because radiation is burning the inside of my mouth therefore resulting in severe blisters all over the right side of my mouth. It hurts to talk, eat, drink. Once again I’m reminded of things we so easily take for granted. While you’re reading this I want you to swish some spit around, you feel that moisture? It’s there for a reason, so thank God right now for spit, because it’s something I absolutely miss having. Now do me a huge favor and take a few second to really savor and chew on your next meal. Enjoy the spices, the textures, the crunch, the sensation of biting into something solid without really having to work too hard, and thank God for the ability to eat and enjoy it. Right now I have to forfeit solid food and it’s not enjoyable at all, it’s work to make sure my sores don’t scrape against my teeth or that salt doesn’t penetrate one of them.
Now that wasn’t a moment to have a pity party for myself! Because as I tell you to be grateful for the things we easily take for granted, I am learning through this new trial to stop focusing on all the things I don’t have or get to do. Because that just makes me cry. Instead, (the lesson I seem to learn every other week) I need to find reasons to be grateful. That is a heart and an attitude rooted in the gospel, rooted in the knowledge of what God has done for me, which is the ultimate thing to be grateful for.
So, as I take a sip of water every minute to relieve my desert mouth, I will challenge myself to not be angry that I now have to rely on water, but to think about the fact that I have easy access to water everywhere I go. See the difference? It’s such a simple change yet it is the difference between me spending my next 6 weeks depressed and crying, or laughing and finding joy. NOT that it isn’t okay to struggle! Man the struggle is real, and I am learning to allow myself some serious, guttural cries. And I’m sad, I’m devastated to be in this situation yet again. And that isn’t wrong.
I also want to point out that this perspective struggle is a choice that I have to make every other minute! I don’t just flip a switch and move through this cancer skipping ad whistling, and neither will you. This is hard, it’s so incredibly hard. Going through my 3rd round with this is exhausting and every time I feel like I can’t take another swing, the Lord continues to give me enough strength to keep on keeping on.
Please please pray for me. Pray for relief from the pain I’m experiencing. Pray for this to work and kill this stupid cancer. Pray for the Lord to work through my weak and flawed human nature to bring glory to Himself. Pray for my family as I’m separated from them for 6 weeks. And praise God for the things we take for granted that He blesses us with!
Love you all.
(Last time I did radiation)