Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great time celebrating the New Year…..whatever that looked like for you. For us……well, we celebrated it at home…….snuggled up in our PJ’s……catching up on shows we had DVR’d. It was brutally cold here on Sunday. I’ve been a hot box my entire life until this year. Chemo changed all that and it seems that I am eternally cold these days. We ventured out to church Sunday am, then went to town to grab some lunch and met some friends at the theater to see Pitch Perfect 3! It was so dang cold when we left the theater, all I wanted to do was get home and get warm! It was a perfect night for chili beans!
So……the New Year brought good news for me! I got another 3 day weekend – which was wonderful for several reasons. Last Friday I could really see some change in my skin after radiation. There was a really pronounced “burn” area near my collarbone. The doctor said it was to be expected…….and that I could expect this week to be a bit worse. Ugh – definitely NOT music to my ears. We’ve been diligent about moisturizing……but some things are inevitable. Having an extra day away from radiation was a blessing…..it gave me another day to heal before getting back at it today and it allowed me, quite simply, another day to REST. And that’s EXACTLY what I did. Monday was a pajama day at the Vaughan household. I had NO desire to venture out into the cold so I never left the house…….heck, I didn’t leave the couch too many times.
Here’s a few pictures to show the change in my skin this week. It doesn’t really show up in the picture very well – but the area under my armpit it both red and very gray. Thank goodness the nurse warned me about that Friday. She said “don’t get worried that you may molding……it’s completely normal”!
The best news of this week is that I am now OVER half-way done with my radiation. Today I checked off treatment #17 out of 30. That ONLY leaves 13 to go! Praise God! As you can see…..I’ve been marking off my progress on the calendar they gave me with my schedule. Wow it feels good to know that I’m getting soooo close to the finish line.
I experienced some pain for the first time over the weekend. It wasn’t unbearable – but painful nonetheless. It’s like a sharp, shooting nerve pain sometimes in my breast and sometimes under my arm. It typically doesn’t last very long…..but boy, you sure know it when it’s happening. Between the occasional pain and knowing that this week was going to be a little more difficult……I really dreaded going back to radiation today. It wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. I came home and put lots of moisturizing lotion on my burns in an effort to minimize the burning and discomfort.
So this morning as I was getting dressed……I picked up my magnifying mirror to see if, by chance, I may have any eyebrows or eyelashes coming in. Well what do you know??!!! I could see some really really short eyelashes coming out! And yes – the eyebrows appear to be making their re-appearance as well! How bout that! And just as quickly as I got excited about my eyelashes and eyebrows…….I realized that this probably means the hair on my legs and my underarms may be reappearing too. UGH! I have to say I have enjoyed NOT having to shave!
My mom and I were talking this morning. Here we are in 2018……and if all goes as planned my radiation will be complete by Jan 23rd. My lump was found at my doctors appointment on April 17th, 2017…….so I should be finishing up radiation a little over 9 months from the time this shit storm started! In some ways it seems impossible that so much time has elapsed……but in other ways, it feels like it’s been a LONG 9 months. When I stop and think about the endless blessings that I have received during this time….it becomes overwhelming. I truly do NOT know how folks go through something like this without faith in God and a COMMUNITY of Christian friends surrounding them and praying them through the good and bad days. I KNOW that folks have prayed me through this……and God has shown up in big and small ways……and it’s been my hope that I have given HIM all the glory. Yes, I’ve come through the past 9 months with minimal setbacks, side effects, etc. But that’s not because I’m any super hero……and it wasn’t because I was as fit as a fiddle……I can ONLY give the credit to God. I’ve definitely learned to lean heavily on HIM and to trust in HIM to meet my needs each day. And He’s shown up and showed off……time and time again. I am thankful that He has given me this platform of my blog to share and this whole experience and hopefully to lift others up…….to encourage those who may be fighting a similar battle……and to just reassure folks that no matter what you are fighting…….you DO NOT have to go it alone.
Many of you have asked what you can do for me at this time. Honestly – your prayers are the absolute best way you can support me right now. Praying that I can get through the next 13 treatments with no complications and minimal discomfort.
I didn’t really make any New Year’s Resolutions (other than kicking this cancer in the a#@)……but I have made some mental notes of things I want to do this year. If you’ve been following my blog since the beginning, you’ve read where several times over the past 9 months, I’ve had complete strangers come up to me in a restaurant and ask me if they could bless me and buy my lunch. I can’t tell you how emotional that was for me – and how it was a perfect example of God’s amazing love and grace being poured out on me by folks I didn’t know and may never see again. This random act of kindness has really impressed upon me the need to be observant of those around me. It’s my hope that I will be able to pay it forward and do the same thing for other cancer victims that I may encounter. And I’d love to challenge YOU to do the same. If you see a cancer patient (or anybody for that matter who looks like they may be struggling whether it’s health related or finances, relationships, etc)…..I encourage you to bless them and pick up their lunch tab. I’m sure you will BOTH be blessed.
Well I’d better hit the sack. I’ve gotta rest up so I can check another treatment off the list tomorrow!
Wishing you all the best 2018 has to offer!
Colossians 1:11-12 The Message (MSG)
9-12 Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.