Day four of radiation treatments; starting week two of chemo.
Today's mental image during radiation: an angel cradling my head in her arms, as she used her fingers on my head to guide the treatment. Other angels were standing nearby to help where needed.
Side effects update:
1. Nausea - none
2. Fatigue - just the usual
3. Hair - still there, with a tiny little spot (smaller than a dime) near my surgical scar that looks like a little bit of mange. So far it's very hideable.
4. Headaches and/or pain - very rare, and nothing that would even warrant a Tylenol or Advil. I've been off post-surgical pain medication for weeks now. (Yay!)
5. Mouth sores - none
6. Weird eye thing - same as before*
*I talked with my radiation oncologist about my eye today, and he said it sounded consistent with swelling and pressure, rather than a radiation burn. He offered to increase my steroid dosage to try and alleviate the feeling, but I said NO THANKS! I'd rather have eye irritation than transfer more swelling from my head to my rear. It was a reassuring visit, at least. As always, the whole cancer center is an incredible environment. Everyone who works there is amazing. I think the positive energy that they exude is part of their treatment plan.
Speaking of positive energy, I had an amazing experience this morning. After I posted about "Jesus, Take the Wheel", I started getting ready to leave for my radiation appointment. As I sat there, putting on makeup and thinking through the words, I felt a sudden WHOOSH through my body, as though warm water were being poured on me. It was an overwhelming feeling of comfort and peace, and an unmistakable feeling of my Heavenly Father's love for me. He knows me and loves me and is watching over me through this process. That feeling was very strong, and what was most amazing about it was that in the presence of this great feeling of love, there was no room for fear. Both feelings could not co-exist. For that moment, it really didn't matter to me what would happen to me. I felt assured that things would be okay, no matter what. I hope that I can somehow harness that feeling and keep it with me always.
It reminded me of 1 John 4:18: "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear..." It also reminded me of something a friend shared with me from Doctrine & Covenants 6:36: "Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not."
Today was just a really good day (or at least the really-est good day you can have with stage 4 cancer). As I have acknowledged from time to time in this blog, many recent incidents have given me moments of welcome relief. I hope they continue to snowball, and as I said in an earlier post, maybe these moments will feed more hope and faith, sufficient to fuel many miracles.
As a family, we celebrated with a joyful evening together. We had our typical family home evening ritual, complete with a lesson, music, and prayer. And we also had some fun playing music and singing and dancing. My son requested "Two Little Shoes" (my song for him). We decided to make another song for him from his daddy, and we selected John Lennon's "Beautiful Boy", which is on the Mr. Holland's Opus soundtrack. We pulled out the CD and sang that song over and over again to his delight. We enjoyed some other stuff on that CD as well. I sang along to "Someone to Watch Over Me", just because my husband always loves it when I sing that one. And then my son and I sang and danced to "One, Two, Three", before pulling my husband in for a repeat performance with one-two-three members of our family. Later I pulled out a new CD from the Choir at Kings College, performing two separate Requiem's by both Faure and Durufle, and I sang along to both versions of "Pie Jesu". It was less than a complete diva experience, because I am NOT a soprano, but no one threw tomatoes at me! And finally, we put on a Lionel Ritchie CD and my husband and I slow danced to "Hello" (our song while dating). These were moments that I wish could be frozen in time.
Meanwhile, as the joyful, hopeful moments might still give way at times to the harshness of being in the "refiner's fire", I have made it a matter of prayer and contemplation to make the most use of this experience. I understand the whole "refiner's fire" concept. We are put on this earth to be tried and tested, and to gain experience. I've started to notice some refining going on, which actually makes me recognize other areas where I need refining. So something good is coming out of this process. It would be really nice to make the most use of these refining and learning experiences, in the hopes that by doing so, I might qualify for a miraculous deliverance.
Meanwhile, the future remains unknown. Countless, hideous possibilities remain, as glioblastoma is not a pretty way to die. Maybe a miracle will deliver me from those possibilities. Maybe there is a higher purpose that calls me home through this difficult path. But there is Someone watching over me, who made me and loves me and does whatever is needful. I am sure about that. And feeling the reality of that love drives all fear away.
Doubt not, fear not.