Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Fashionista of the Senior Set and Recipe For Not Losing Heart

I have arrived. Fashionista of the Senior Set. I walked to Walgreens in my homemade Son-Cape, as I have noticed that it is cooler to wear that over a sleeveless shirt rather than wear a high-necked short sleeve t-shirt. I must keep my radiation zone protected from the sun, or the skin reacts angrily. My understanding is that cancer survivors undergoing radiation must continue to keep the radiated skin protected from the sun for years following treatment, or the skin can react as though it were being scorched from radiation again. My Son-Cape blocks the ultraviolet rays of the sun, and allows me to wear cooler sleeveless shirts.

I suspect I will be making a few more of my clever Son-Capes over the next few years.

Anyway, back to Walgreens. I was checking out when a teen worker walked by.
"OH wow!" she said, looking at me, "That is such a cool thing to do with a t-shirt! I love it! It is adorable."

The picture does not give you a full appreciation of my outfit. I was wearing a lime-green belly pack to match my Son-Cape. (As my sweet daughter-in-law told me recently, "I hear belly packs are coming back in style.") This belly pack is particularly useful as it also has a water bottle carrier on it.

The complimentary teen was not a dork, either. She had a pierced nose and a few earrings. This was a trendy teen and I had been approved. Do not be surprised to see t-shirts converted to Son-Capes on the Paris haute-couture runways this fall. I suspect I won't be given credit, but Givenchy and Christian Dior know the truth.

I went on from my fashion conquest to begin my fourth week of radiation treatment. The technician told me just four more days of the full area radiated and then five days of "boost" to just the breast itself. This is very good news. The doctor told me the worst is over, and I have sailed through radiation treatment with my skin looking really good, and barely any fatigue - the top two side effects with radiation.

"If you hadn't broken your rib, this would be a breeze," he told me. To my relief, according to Dr. Bobo, I should not expect any worse skin reactions or fatigue. It looks like I will survive radiation!

And he is right. Radiation would have been fine if it weren't for my broken rib. My rib hurt so badly yesterday morning that I had to go back on the pain meds. However, as long as I take one Aleve in the morning, I am fairly comfortable all day. It could be worse. I must remind myself of that often. However, doc says if it gets worse, he really ought to x-ray to be sure nothing else is going on. I hate to add x-ray radiation to my daily radiation, but when the pain meds wore off this morning, it REALLY hurt.

Let's go on to happier thoughts. After yesterday's radiation treatment, I went on a bike ride, careful to avoid any activity on my bike that might break any more ribs.

Yes, I took a selfie on my bike, but it is not dangerous to do so. My phone is mounted on a secure mount on my handlebar, and there is very little fiddling necessary to take a selfie. Unfortunately this is the only safe selfie angle, since removing the phone from the mount for a more interesting angle could result in more broken ribs, a result devoutly to be avoided.

I also finalized plans for my post-radiation celebration. I plan to do an East Coast trip with stops to see both sons, and my parents. I recently discovered the existence of the "Capitol Bike Trail" which begins in Richmond where my son lives. I booked a hotel for two days, so I can spend one full day exploring as much of the 52-mile trail as I can manage. I wrote to the very nice people who oversee the trail, asking about lunch stops and restrooms along the way. Then I told them how thrilled I was to discover their trail, and how I intend to celebrate surviving cancer by biking that trail.

Key to my (mostly) positive outlook since my diagnosis has been finding joy and blessings along the way, as well as setting regular 'rewards', like this bike trip on the Capitol Bike Trail. The blessings have been there throughout this ordeal, but it is easy to lose focus on the good when the bad is SO bad.

Here is my advice: don't. Don't lose focus on what is lovely, pure, true, excellent, and worthy. No matter how easy it is to fall into self pity and despair, don't. God is here. You are loved. Eternity awaits your arrival...but maybe not quite yet. Enjoy to the fullest the path to eternity. A joyful heart is good medicine.

And that's why I bought these cowboy boots. I ALWAYS wanted cowboy boots. And the salesman told me there was NO REASON why a 60-year-old women should not wear cowboy boots. And picture these beauties WITH my trendy Son-Cape.


Ecclesiastes 5:18 

Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God,

For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

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