Halfway there. 6 Rounds of Chemo…”Check!” Double Mastectomy with 1st phase of Reconstruction…”Check!” Chemo continued every 21 days? Getting that routine down… “Check?” 6 weeks of daily radiation beginning in just a few days… “Oh boy”. Unchartered territory for me. It’s my unbeaten path.
Oddly enough, I’m nervously excited about it. I’m a freak, right?
There’s something totally nerve-racking and thrilling about the unknown. Sometimes, I feel the unknown, loss of control of the future is enough to drive me to drink. (Truth be told, good or bad, there are little moments that I won’t find an excuse to toast a glass of wine to. Again, might I remind ya, Jesus’ first miracle, he turned water into wine and his mama told Him to do it. Cheers!) Yet other moments, the adventurous thrill-seeker side of me comes out. The same one that used to: spend summers in North Carolina rock-climbing up mountains and out to hang under cliffs while tourists took pics on top; white water canoe down waterfalls (backwards when my leader spontaneously felt like testing me); hike for days from one side of a gorge until getting picked up on the other; or the same one that still repeatedly reminds my family that sky diving has never really left my bucket list (although is completely aware that I would need a sturdy pair of adult diapers for that jump. Yikes!). That’s the part of me that’s kinda excited about Radiation. I know.
It would be ridiculous to ignore the butterflies in my stomach as I sat in the waiting room yesterday, waiting to meet with my radiologist to get the ball rolling. Although still in the same building, The Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, I’m in a whole new room. I check in on a different side of the desk. I wait in a different waiting room. The nurses are new, the doctors are new, the conversations buzzing among patients about their “war stories” are entirely foreign to me. I couldn’t pull up a chemo story, this was different. I was on another planet and didn’t speak the language. My stomach flipped as I first sat down across from a patient who was having difficulty with skin burns. People spoke of their self-conscious feelings of having visible burns and wanting to avoid social gatherings. They looked at me and looked back at each other. The unsaid conversation said that I was a “rookie”. Their glances spoke volumes, and then it hushed. The room fell silent.
Parts of me wanted to scream, get up and leave, cancel my appointment, cry, hug those patients for all they’d gone through, ask if I could help, or…. just sit in the corner like I did. Completely mute and unsocial. (Mind you, that never happens with me!) I sat quiet and alone and grabbed my phone. Not to play a game. Not to scroll over Facebook or Pinterest, but to find YOUR PRAYER INTENTIONS. Those intentions, they give me purpose. So many times, they’ve been my saving grace. I needed to get my “head back in the game”. I went back to this blog, looked at the pics of my kids & my family (my reason to fight) , the comments and intentions of so many people who are travelling on rocky paths that they never thought they’d be on or chose to walk, yet there they are. And here I am. Then, SNAP! Just like that… God gave me the grace. I closed my eyes and I prayed what I’ve been praying since the beginning of my diagnosis:
“I give you my body, I give you my family, I GIVE YOU MY CHILDREN.
I surrender it ALL to you. Your will be done.”
No sooner could I get the words, “Amen,” out of my mouth…that the nurse called me back. God’s timing is really something. Kinda makes me think He just might be listening, huh? 😉
Yet again, I have the perfect doctor for me for this next journey. He totally put me at ease about any concerns I had, any horror stories heard, etc. I had a purse full of oils, lotions and sprays for him to give a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” to, which he was happy to look through and help me develop a perfect plan of attack to keep me from turning into the “black marshmallow of a roasted s’more” that I’d been told I’d just “have to deal with”. EWW!
Brilliant doctor, blah blah blah. Put me at ease, blah blah blah. Set up a plan for skin care, blah blah blah.
But did I tell you he’s yet another snarky, quick witted doc that appreciates the value of witty banter and messing with his patients. Atleast, that’s how that went in my appointment. Perfect match…yet again! Ahhh… so refreshing. Don’t treat me like a fragile piece of glass. Crack a joke, mess with me, and treat me like a normal chick who just had to bare all in an awkward environment when she’d rather get on with her life and get this crapola over with. Call a spade a spade aaaand……
…As for the whole unbeaten path thing?
The deal is, every day, we can keep trying to do the same ol’ same ol’. I could avoid all of this. We can stay in our own comfort zones and do what feels normal, safe, and what we’ve been doing forever. Why? Because, well, “I’ve got too much on my plate.” … “That’s too much of a stretch for me.” … “That sounds scary.” … “I’m a little unsure about that one.”…”No one else understands, my life is just crazy right now.”
Heck! I can say, “Forget this, docs, haven’t I done enough? We’ve been at this since July and it’s February. My kids are tired. I’m tired. My whole family is wiped. I know they are.” I mean, they did say that I’m “Cancer Free”, right? Well, when I really look at my family, though, and I think of the big picture of what I really want for us. I think..
That’s not good enough for me.
I want to whole package. I want no stone left unturned. When my diagnosis was made, it was enough to make my surgeon of 30+ years turn off his computer, close my file, hold my hands and cry. He still has in his notes, Stage 4. If ALL docs agree on radiation, I trust this team with all my heart and soul. They have met my family and they love my children. I trust them with my family. I trust them to send me down this path. In fact, I’m ready to head down it as if I was next up on some wicked extreme sports course, and if I could, I’d add a zip line!
So please keep me, my radiologist (Dr.Woods), my radiation tech team at MBP, and MY FAMILY, in prayers as we begin in the week ahead. Monday, February 9th, we’ll conduct “a dry run” to prep for the big start on Tuesday, February 10th.
Again, we invite you to click the “SUPPORT THE TEAM“ tab to see how you can join us in: (most importantly) PRAYER; (as the bills roll in- especially as most surgeries are out of network) funding; or in “getting yo’ shirt” (please help spread the word, we need quite afew more sales for this campaign to be able to screen the shirts and members to get their shirts):
Every little thing helps. Every little like on this blog, every little comment, every little share… and most importantly, every little prayer. Not just for me, not for just for my family (Whom, I BEG OF YOU TO PLEASE PRAY FOR MY LITTLE ONES NOW MORE THAN EVER, As they are getting tired. They are strong, but they are tired), …but for each and every person that reads this blog. My prayer, my hope is that somehow, someway, somewhere, someone out there can grow from this. If it’s just one other person, then this has given me purpose to take this path.
The path unspoken. Now spoken.
We’re all in this together. Team Buna is not just my family. It’s not just about us.
I hope for TEAM BUNA and this blog to mean so much more beyond my journey. It’s about all of YOU and whatever you’re going through as well. I hope for it to carry on to so much more. “Buna” means “Good” after all. God wants that “Good” for all of us. Every path, no matter how dirty, how scary, how unknown, has some good in it in the end. He wouldn’t place it before us if it didn’t.