I’ve no longer a participant in the second study drug trial, one that targeted the C-125 marker specifically. After 9 cycles, it’s not effective for me. My C-125 marker jumped again to just under 150, so I really can’t continue.
Today I’ve had the first of ten doses of radiation. It’s a bit weird, but it’s not difficult now that my mask is fitted to my face and my body marked to help the radiation therapists align my body and neck for the treatment. The total time—from the moment I walk in the treatment room, am set up with mask affixed to the table, receive the radiation, and am freed from the table—is about 15-18 minutes. There’s no pain, no awareness of lasers zapping me, no discomfort at all. All I have to do is remain perfectly still; I can breathe and see through the mask, and today I realized that it’s even possible to forget that the mask is snapped into place.
Here’s a photo from the booklet about radiation that I was given so I can understand the process. When the neck or face is radiated, a mask helps keep the neck and head from moving, which is important when radiating this area. I think the worst part for me was waiting for the plastic to harden; now it’s not a big deal (answered prayer!).
The photo is different from my reality in two ways:
- There are NO holes cut out from my eyes and mouth. (That must be nice.)
- The mask is fitted closely to my face. This one has space between the chin and the mask that is not true for me.
It’s really funny looking, isn’t it? I’ve been told that I might be able to have it when I finish, and that would be cool. I think it might be the perfect headgear for Halloween, don’t you?
Anyway, radiation is every weekday for 10 days. Then scans will determine how much the tumor has shrunk, and decisions will be made about what’s next. Maybe there’s another study I can join.
I’m still a bit stunned by all of this. For the most part, I think I look fine and I feel fine. Although the neuropathy has gotten worse in my hands and feet, other people don’t notice. So I’m fixing my mind on the task ahead and telling myself that I can do this. One down, nine to go—and it ends on Monday, August 11.
Side effects from radiation are sore esophagus, difficulty in swallowing, somewhat sunburned skin at site of the radiation, and a cumulative feeling of extreme fatigue. While these won’t be easy, I’m choosing to say that I can handle anything for the 13 days from today to August 11, and I’ll be praying for that to be true for me.
Brentwood Academy’s class of 2015 selected the following as our theme verse for this school year, and I take comfort in Paul’s words:
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)
As strange as all of this is, I am reminded again that He has created me anew in Chris Jesus and that from long ago He has planned good works for me to do. I am secure—just as I am secure in my mask during the radiation treatment. It’s scary but it’s good.
Thank you for your prayers.