Today was a long, hard day. I had a consultation with a Sarah Cannon radiation oncologist—who is awesome, by the way—with much personal attention by his staff. Then a CT scan set up the radiation plan to treat the painful tumor in my neck. The belief is that radiating the tumor will bring relief and also help bring my cancer under more control.
Of course, this is good news, but it’s been a hard day. You know the story of the man in the iron mask? Well, today I was fitted for a plastic mask. A warm, porous plastic substance was placed over my face and head to just below my ears and allowed to harden over about 45 minutes. I could breathe through the mask and could see (although it was suggested I keep my eyes closed)—but as soon as the substance was placed over my head, the radiation therapist clamped it down to the board I was lying on. You see, the radiation laser will be hitting the tumor from several angles and my head absolutely must not move during the process, not even the slightest bit that could occur when swallowing. I made it through the ordeal although by the end I was maybe a little too close to wondering if it would be possible to claw my way out. Thankfully, I was unclamped before I had to try that, and now I can look forward to being clamped down each time before I’m zapped. I was very shaky when it was done—delayed reaction because I wasn’t given any contrast fluids or other meds—and I needed to sit down for a bit before I could get into my car to go home. Hard day. Whew.
Enough of that. I think that I’ll focus on how I can get a picture of myself as the lady in the plastic mask.
That will happen soon. I have a practice run on Monday as they clamp the mask down, zap some laser lights toward the target (I actually have several targets marked on my body now), and confirm that everything is lined up correctly. Most likely I’ll start radiation on Tuesday and continue daily, I think for about 10 doses.
Also on Monday I meet with my oncologist at Sarah Cannon to see what is next. My C-125 marker is moving up (it was a little less than 100 on July 7, up from 55 three weeks earlier; under 30 is the normal range). I may be a candidate for another trial (#3 ) with a study drug that also targets the C-125 marker but has a different chemical makeup. I’ll know more on Monday.
My prayer requests?
I am overwhelmingly thankful for the wisdom, professionalism, and compassion of my oncologist and everyone I’ve seen at Sarah Cannon and TN Oncology. Of all of the unknowns since my diagnosis, my doctors are not cause for concern because they have my total confidence. May the Lord bless them with His grace and mercy. I am also thankful for James, Sarah James, and Emily, for the rest of my family and for all of my dear friends. They remind me that I am loved, and as always Abigail brings such joy to my heart.
I pray that I can be faithful in the small things as I move to another path. Many stresses are part of a cancer diagnosis and part of living with a cancer when the goal is control not cure. Trust has to be a conscious choice, and I want to trust Him in everything, especially when it’s hard. I’m not scared of radiation, but I am unsettled by this new change. I remind myself that the unknown is known to Him, and I am praying to be filled with His peace—and to forget about those clamps!
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27, ESV)