Do you know how when you see someone every day, you don’t notice changes very quickly? Then when someone else who hasn’t seem them in a while comes up and points out a change, you realize it was right there and you hadn’t seen it? Or maybe like me you see a picture of yourself and think “have I really gained that much weight? Something must be wrong with that camera!”
This is what has happened with my tumor. After June’s course of chemotherapy we went into a monitoring mode. It didn’t look like the tumor was changing, and there was no probably benefit from continuing with chemotherapy from that point. The plan was to watch the tumor with MRIs every eight or so weeks, and move to radiation if and when it showed growth.
September’s MRI showed a new spot, but it wasn’t the kind of growth you’d expect from a tumor. It wasn’t visibly connected to the existing tumor. Because of this, we moved my next MRI up to see how this new spot would behave and to take a closer look. On October 17th I had this next MRI. The new spot was still there, so my doctors all took a closer look at the MRIs from the entire year. They reviewed the January through October MRIs and four doctors came to the same conclusion: over the course of 2016, my tumor has clearly grown. They all agreed that now would be a smart time to move to radiation treatment.
So that’s what I’m doing. My first treatment will be October 31st, and from there it will be five days a week for about six weeks. The treatments themselves will be short and painless, about 30 minutes from the time I walk in to the time I walk out. It will feel like getting an x-ray. The short-term side effects I should expect are fatigue and hair loss, with some minor skin irritation too. The fatigue and weakness should go away within a few months of the treatment ending.
The risk with radiation for me has always really been in the long-term effects. Because of the size and location of my tumor, there will be some permanent side effects with my memory and thinking ability. Those will take some more time to manifest (starting two months after treatment ends, and popping up anytime after that), and their severity is impossible to predict. It’s really these permanent side effects that I am most concerned with when it comes to the radiation. So if you are praying for me, please pray for them to be limited, and for me to trust God through them.
God has been doing a lot in me these last months that I want to share. I want to have the discipline to post a few of the things that have been going on in me, so hopefully I’ll do that soon. But I wanted to share this news publicly first, so here it is without any real reflection. What I can say shorthand right now is that I know that now, as ever, God is in control. He is using this and will use it for good purpose. He is good and does what is good, all the time. That has not changed and never will, whatever my health.
Thank you all for being on this journey with me!