Friday, June 17, 2016
Peace, and Turmoil, Victory and Disappointment: God Sends Them All
Well, my oncologist and radiologist made it clear. Radiation is necessary. I am very glad that I spent part of the morning kayaking, emptying my mind of all concerns, and felt an hour or so of utter peace. I needed it. It was an emotional day, with a flurry of phone calls, weighing a million pros/cons and cost factors, none of which were easy for me to deal with. I am sorry to report that I cried over the phone a few times. Kind of freaked the hospital business office people out a little... So much for the peace kayaking gave me...
Here's the scoop. The hormone meds which I will take for five years kill cancer cells that may be lurking in my system. The radiation will target any cancer in the lymph nodes, from which new cancer can spread rapidly. Since the surgeon only took out three nodes, and two of them had cancer, rather than rip out all my nodes, they radiate the area to kill any cancer that might still be there. Both the meds and radiation are necessary, and both together significantly increase my survival rate.
The oncologist didn't pause when I asked her if I should do radiation. She said it was a must. Since I really trust her, I am moving forward with that. She is a Christian, and she is very well versed in homeopathic, and natural methods of fighting cancer. She melds them with the medical model. I feel confident on both a spiritual and medical front that she would advise wisely.
When I met with my plastic surgeon later in the afternoon, he told me he wanted to do the second reconstruction surgery before radiation. He said he has a better result when not having to work with radiated skin. However, radiation has to start within three-months of the mastectomy to be most effective. So he scrambled, and in the hour I was there, he consulted with the radiologist and arranged a July 1 surgery. The radiologist agreed that an Aug. 1 start date for radiation is safe. I am just waiting for them to verify they have an operating room available before that date gets chiseled in stone. I should know later today.
I have to miss my NY trip in July...but I will be recovered and done with everything by mid-September and will visit my folks then. Sadly, my health had to take precedence over my desire to travel and see family right now. I feel better having made a firm decision. I felt like God hit me over the head with the direction I needed to go, just like I asked. I didn't love the direction He chose, but I love Him...so I will follow.
It was an emotional day. I didn't want radiation, but God doesn't always give us what we want. What He gave me instead was an hour of complete peace while I kayaked, and then firm counsel by people I trust regarding which treatment was necessary. This is often the way He works. He may send disappointment, and tough trials our way, but He never leaves us floundering without someone or something to bolster our spirit and buoy our hope.
Many friends wrote to me with their opinions and advice. I was amazed again by how many people are concerned, involved, and eager to offer love and prayer.
The surgeon told me the drawback to putting the final implant in my breast before radiation is that it can create scar tissue and shrink and tighten the area. The implant may become uncomfortable. It might even have to be removed. (If you are keeping count, that would be surgery #3...)
"Well then I will alert my friends to pray that doesn't happen!" I said.
"I hope you have a lot of friends," he said smiling.
I feel like every reader, and every Christian who hears of my need is my friend, based on the outpouring of kindness and concern. Thank you friends.
It all helped. I weighed every comment, and let it simmer in my soul. I am disappointed about the radiation...but I am excited to get that second operation over with so soon. I just want the hard stuff behind me!
There was some decidedly good news yesterday as well. Little Baby S who I have been writing about for the past three days took a sharp turn for the better. He is now almost completely breathing on his own, and the mom should be able to finally hold him in the next day or two. Everyone is rejoicing.
I thought about why God might have sent such a severe trial to a mom who had been ready to abort this child at one point. Why test her further? In the terrible days when they weren't sure the baby would live, she prayed as she had never prayed before. She also recognized how strong her maternal instincts were, and how all she wanted to do was hold and protect that child. That was probably a good thing for her to realize-- the anguish when she thought she might lose him.
Sometimes, I think God teaches and guides us to a higher moral consciousness by showing us glimpses of devastation when we choose to move outside His plan. One cannot know the mind of God, but I wonder if the fragility and sacredness of precious life was what God was conveying in this heart-wrenching time, embedding it in her soul.
The mama could not abide the thought that her baby might die...though it was that very thought that brought her to the abortion center where I met her. I hope and pray she will never return to a place like that again. In His graciousness, God has shown her a better way.
John 10:10 - The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.