Saturday, June 27, 2015

Banana trees and bingo dabbers

Well, last time I wrote I had just finished #4 of my 25 radiation treatments. At this point, I have only 4 to go, after having finished 21!! Yay!!! I actually am beginning to see the light at the end of this long tunnel of operations and treatments.

When I was beginning this journey my Aunt Violet sent me a bingo dabber, that had once belonged to my grandmother (who loved to play bingo) and she told me to mark off the days on my calendar with it till I get to the end of my treatments. Each day dabbed would be a day closer to the end and to healing. That is what I have been doing since the beginning, many months ago.

My creative friend Karey had a similar idea for radiation countdown. She had my daughter and her daughter make me bunches of cardboard bananas which we stuck on a banana tree. She was the one who gave me the monkey with the slogan "Peel strong" at the very beginning. So we're in the same monkey theme here! Rachel even had fun drawing a monkey climbing the tree. Every day when I would come back from my treatments I would pick another banana, noticing them becoming fewer and fewer as time has gone by.
It has been tiring, all the driving back and forth and taking up so much of my time. Having to go there mostly 5 times a week and then needing to nap etc has really cut into my every day chores and responsabilities. (That's why this blog has been neglected). It has not been easy for me to once again accept my weakness and let things go. I am definitely on a learning curve here! I know that once the treatments are over, my body will continue to live out the effects of these and that I won't jump back into life with the same energy as before. It will take time to fully recover, physically and emotionnally. This is not easy for me to accept. I'm the type who wants to turn the page as quickly as possible and get on with the next chapter. However God is teaching me to be willing to linger, to not be so much in a hurry to get over it and get on with life. There are important lessons to be learned in the process and especially in those moments of weakness, when we can only truly cry out to Him for comfort and help.

So that's where I am at the present, nearing the end of treatments and the beginning of a new normal, whatever that may entail. I do plan to continue to write as I feel inspired, because the journey continues. If  I decide to end this blog I will advise. Hey, notice the hair coming back in?! A lovely salt and pepper shade!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Healing rays and pray-ers

Well, I've had 4 out of 25 radiation treatments...only 21 more to go. People have asked about how I find it, is it as bad as chemo, what about side effects etc. Well, up to this point I would say it is not too bad. The main side effect at the moment is fatigue. But then again, that is probably due in part to the chemo still in my body and the effects that treatment had on my internal organs. I do have to travel for radiation, which is tiring also. For the moment, I have a little redness and tenderness to the area being radiated, but really nothing too uncomfortable. Burning and skin irritation are the main side effects of this treatment.

As I was getting ready to go to my first treatment and knowing how important a positive mindset is in our body's response to it, I prayed for an image to hold on to while lying on the table. God gave me this beautiful image of of warm, colorful sun rays shining down and bringing about healing. He created the sun, which brings life to everything on our planet. He permitted that man discover the beneficial uses of radiation (even though some people focus on the negative effects of such technology) It is also used for good, for healing and for giving new life. So as I lie on the bed and receive treatment instead of worrying about what this is doing to my body I choose to be thankful and imagine all these beautiful rays bringing healing to my body. I am thankful also that we live in a country where these kinds of treatments are available to all. I was also reminded of the verse in the

Psalm 121:5-6 The Lord watches over you—
                        the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
                                   the sun will not harm you by day,
                        nor the moon by night.

On another note, over the past month or so I have been so encouraged by what I call "little winks" from our heavenly Father. Times when I have felt discouraged, He has reminded me just how much He cares for me. He has done this is in so many different ways, but one way in particular has been through people who have been praying for me or who offer to pray for me. In conversations I have with family and friends on the phone or by internet I have been struck by the number of times one will tell me that they are praying, as well as their church or other friends, some of whom I have never even met. Just in the past month alone I have had 2 people, perfect strangers, ask me about my health and end our conversation with: "I will be praying for you." One man, who pushed my wheelchair through the airport and another, a border guard at the Vermont border. Strangers who were sensitive to God's leading to offer compassion, kind words and prayer; little sun rays. Isn't it amazing? In Romans it says: "If God is for us, who can be against us?" I cling to these and many other promises on those days when my body just doesn't want to cooperate. And I pray that I also can be that little sun ray in someone else's life.