There are granulation cells and scar tissue consistent with a prior tumor bed. I will start beam radiation therapy in early/mid-October directed at the tumor bed in order to reduce the chances of local recurrence. Because my cancer was a locally advanced cancer (Stage IIIb), I have a 20% - 30% chance of local recurrence. Having radiation therapy reduces that chance to less than 10%. Of course, there is risk with the use of radiation, just as there is risks with other treatments. However, doctors and researchers feel that the benefits outweigh the risks. You can read more about this in the article found here: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/cancer/articles/2011/03/30/benefits-of-radiation-therapy-outweigh-risks-of-a-second-cancer-study
My journey to healing is not over yet. The radiation will be Monday - Friday for six weeks. In the meantime, my body is still recovering from both the cancer and the chemotherapy used to treat the cancer. My head is still mostly bald and my eyelashes and eyebrows are taking their time in making a reappearance.
I will take my time, though, in listening to God in what he wants me to do now. As I said, I still have a ways to go. I need to lose the weight I gained during chemo and continue to lose weight to reach a more healthy size. I will continue to walk and exercise and regain the muscle mass I lost during chemo. I will continue to help my children adjust to life in the United States. This year is a sabbatical year for me . . . a year of rest and restoration. I don't have to be busy all the time. It's okay to be still and to enjoy the peaceful waters around me.
I don't have to know what's next. God knows and that's good enough for me.
What's a bit ironic about this is this morning's devotion from a little book, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. This book was a gift from a friend of mine (Thanks, Alwin!) and while I don't read it every day, I have been somewhat consistent in keeping up with it. Here's today's insight:
"You will not find my peace by engaging in excessive planning: attempting to control what will happen to you in the future. That is a commonly practiced form of unbelief. When your mind spins with multiple plans, Peace may sometimes seem to be within your grasp; yet it always eludes you. Just when you think you have prepared for all possibilities, something unexpected pops up and throws things into confusion.
"I did not design the human mind to figure out the future. That is beyond your capability. I crafted your mind for continual communication with Me. Bring Me all your needs, your hopes and your fears. Commit everything into My care. Turn from the path of planning to the path of Peace."
1 Peter 5:6-7 So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. (The Message)
Proverbs 16:9 We plan the way we want to live,
but only God makes us able to live it. (The Message)
Psalm 37:5-6 Open up before God, keep nothing back;
he’ll do whatever needs to be done:
He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day
and stamp you with approval at high noon. (The Message)
The message is clear! (I'm not just referring to the Eugene Peterson book.) God's plans are before me. He has already walked my road. My solace and comfort is not the passing of the shadow of a cancer diagnosis hanging over my head. My comfort, my hope and my future is that of Christ.
Ephesians 1:10-12 sums it up quite nicely:
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.