Yesterday, they finished with the 'bolus' in radiation. It had done its job and was being retired. The next month of radiation will not involve the 'bolus' so they asked if I wanted to keep it.
"Why?" I asked.
"Well most women do keep them to show their loved ones. No one at home really understands what goes on in radiation, so they bring it home to their husbands or family."
This floored me. I had absolutely NO interest in bringing home my 'bolus'. Let me explain what it is. Maybe I am just weird in not wanting it. The bolus is a plastic piece that fits over the reconstructed breast. They radiate with the bolus in place, and then they take it off and radiate some more. I have no idea why, nor do I know why the bolus is only used the first two weeks.
I do know that they all commented on how perfectly the bolus fit. They seemed surprised by this, since every time a new technician put the bolus on me, they remarked on the perfect fit.
Perhaps that is why they seemed surprised when I told them, "No thank you."
What does one do with a 'bolus', even if one is not downsizing in preparation of cutting their living space in half? Use it for a Halloween costume? A wall decoration? A pot holder? A soup bowl? I just could not envision any good reason to keep my 'bolus', though I felt bad that this seemed to upset the radiologist technician who I really like. Maybe not all 'boluses' fit as perfectly as mine.
So far, radiation is having no ill effects on me. There is a slight 'sunburn' on the radiated area, but otherwise, I feel nothing out of the ordinary. While it disrupts my afternoon, it is mostly thus far a non-issue. In fact, I was working on an illustration job and totally lost track of time. I almost missed my radiation session because I was transported to the 18th century by my drawing. It was a rude awakening to glance at my watch and realize I was in the 21st century and about to be late for my high tech cancer treatment.
Unfortunately, from this point forward symptoms are supposed to get worse. Skin issues, and fatigue are the most likely concerns. I may be one of the lucky ones that get by with nothing more severe than the mild sunburn I already have. That is my prayer.
I lay in bed last night and thanked God for how gently He has treated me through this whole ordeal. It could have been so much worse, and is much worse for many women. I don't take enough time to thank God for His gentleness with me. What I deserve is Hell, and what I get is Grace. This is true of all of us.
The older I get, the more I regard sin with horror. I cannot believe how blind I was to the terrible effects of selfishness, pride, arrogance, envy, anger...to name a few of my failings. I still fall prey to all of them, but am usually quicker to despair and repent. Before I became a Christ-follower, I never gave those traits a moment's thought.
No, I don't deserve Grace...but I am grateful.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.