I met with two radiation oncologists (RO) this week . . . one in San Francisco and one in Palo Alto. I used the one in Palo Alto for the radiation treatment for my breast. Both ROs had the same treatment plan in mind . . . to address all the cervical vertebrae and the upper thoracic vertebrae. Their dosages and length of treatment varied a bit, but nothing too drastic.
Due to convenience and familiarity, I've chosen to go with Palo Alto. The RO in San Francisco said that there was no advantage to my going to San Francisco other than better communication between doctors. The SF RO encouraged me to go to Palo Alto for my treatments (talked herself out of a job, there!).
My Palo Alto RO was very encouraging and seemed optimistic. Radiation to deal with the most severe area (neck) and systemic treatment (Tamoxifen and Denasumab) to deal with the rest. It will take several months for my bones to regrow, so it looks like this neck brace is here to stay for a while!
I had my simulation and mapping appointment today (they were ready for me!) and it was very interesting. They made a mask of my face and shoulders which clamps to the table to hold me still during treatments. They beams will be coming from different angles as they will try to keep side effects to a minimum. I will most likely get a sore throat and have fatigue. (I've attached a picture of the mask . . . good thing I'm not claustrophobic!)
I will have a total of 20 treatments, starting Jan. 24, ending Feb. 20. I already have a follow-up appointment scheduled with the neurosurgeon on Feb. 25 to monitor progress.
I had blood drawn today to check my calcium and vitamin D levels. My thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) will be checked as well. I also got a flu shot.
I do have to go back to San Francisco tomorrow (Saturday) for the 6th time in 17 days! This appointment is to get an ovarian suppression injection, as well as a bone strengthening injection. This will be a once-a-month thing for an indefinite period of time. Much easier than chemotherapy, though!
This morning, I got off track on my devotional and thought it was January 19 all day long! I even wished two friends a happy birthday because I thought it was the 19th. The verse for the day was "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength." (Isaiah 30:15). As I read this and remember the promises made to Israel, I was reminded about how my trust IS in God and not all this medical science. I believe God can use medical advances, but ultimately, healing is from him. However, even though my deepest longing is to rest in Christ, I fully admit my absolute frailty in doing so. I long to be "doing" something, even when it comes to my walk with my loving Father.
Much later in the day, I noticed I had the wrong day open! (I keep my devotion book open beside my computer all day so that I can re-read the passages whenever I sit down.) I flipped back to the 18th to see what I missed:
"On my bed, I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. (Psalms 63:6-7)
I smiled when I read that verse! As I've mentioned before, I'm sleeping very well, but I do have to wake fully to change positions. Each time I wake up, I generally pray a short prayer. Sometimes, it's for myself and my neck/back/removal of cancer and sometimes, it's for the sleeping members of my family. Sometimes, it's for other people.
I've been setting my alarm for 6:00 a.m. and I'm learning to pray through my day before I get out of bed. I occasionally have a song in my heart in the early morning hours, so the verse for today was completely appropriate.
Our little kitty is doing well and he is already being a good object lesson for me. He's a social little guy, but also afraid of his surroundings at the moment. He knows me and loves me (smothers my hand with kitty kisses) and often, when I sit down on the floor at his level, he literally catapults himself into my lap and starts purring.
He doesn't have to do anything for me to love him! He completely depends on me to care for him and to hold him and to protect him from the scary world he's been thrown into.
How so very much like God! I don't have to do anything for God to love me! I completely depend on God to care for me and to hold me and to protect me from the scary world I've been thrown into.