Saturday, April 17, 2010

Chapter 2...Radiation

We had our first radiology appointment on Friday. We liked the Dr. It was a long appt., they took a lot of medical information from Emily and then explained how radiation works, and then set the plan for Emily. Many people have asked why she needs radiation if all her cancer is gone. They are doing radiation to keep the cancer from coming back. It will be 3 weeks of radiation, and that is every day, Monday thru Friday. This was a pleasant surprise because we had been told it might be 6 weeks. We asked if she could wait until school was finished for the year and he told us "no". He explained that there was a window of 4-6 weeks from the last chemo that they needed to start the radiation. He then said from when her last chemo was, she needed to start radiation on Mon. May 3rd. Emily has finals week starting May 3rd. But she only has 2 finals that day, and then is finished because her other classes are papers that can be turned in early. So the Dr. said, no problem, she can start radiation on Tues. May 4th. Emily was thrilled that she won't have to come back and forth from Stillwater to Tulsa every day!!! God is Good!!!

We had to explain to the Dr. why we were talking about trying to schedule radiation around school. To an outsider I know he must have thought we didn't have our priorities straight! Obviously, radiation and getting healthy are more important than school. We wanted him to understand that she has worked SO hard to keep in school while battling cancer,and It was her fear that after all that hard work, then she might not be able to finish this sememster. I think he got it, because he was really willing to work with us, and we appreciated that! She has an appointment this coming Thurs. for the radiation team to compare her PET scans to her actual body, and determine exactly where the tumors were and where she will need radiation. They draw on her body, take measurements, and put those measurements into a machine that will put the radiation in very exact locations. Technology is amazing! She is receiving a small level of radiation, and they are expecting very few side effects. The only one he really mentioned is fatigue and some minor "sun burned" feeling. According to everyone we've talked to, radiation is pretty mild compared to chemo.

Kitty Kickin Cancer=
We went from the Dr. to Stillwater where Emily had put together a Relay for Life Team. Jim, Emily, me and 10 of her college friends were on the team. Our team was "kitty kickin cancer". When Emily was in ICU, Sam, Sydney, and Bobbie gave her a Hello Kitty balloon like the one in the picture above. It looks like she is kicking something, so her friends told her it was to help her "kick cancer". They gave it to her at the end of September, and it is still in her room and still inflated. Yes still inflated!!! It has stayed strong for the entire 7 months that Emily has been kicking cancer!
I have to tell you, Relay for Life was an amazing event. We didn't reallly know what to expect other than we knew we had to stay up from 7 pm to 7 am. We learned at an opening ceremony that the event begins at dark to signify the darkness of when you learn of the "cancer" diagnosis. Someone from your team walks laps continually, and that signifies the difficulty of facing and battling cancer. You can't just take a break from cancer when you get tired or overwhelmed. As we heard many times through the night, "cancer doesn't sleep". The closing ceremony is at sunrise, to signify the hope of a cure. There were many heart -warming and heart breaking stories. They had a ton of fun activities to keep you awake. Just ask Jim about dodge ball!!! Our team exceeded our goal, so we thank everyone who sponsered us! And Stillwater's Relay for Life raised over 87,000 dollars! I don't know many people who have not been touched by cancer in some way, and we felt blessed to be a part of the event.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, Because He lives all fear is Gone!

Happy Easter !!! Next step...radiation. Emily had an oncologist appt. this Friday. All the results of the scans were great! There is still no sign of cancer and all lung functions are completely normal, no damage from chemo! So the next step was to determine if radiation is necessary, and it is. Our oncologist and the radiologist she consulted with agreed radiation is needed. This is an answer to prayer. We prayed for wisdom for the Dr. and that it would be a unanimous decision. We will have an appt. with the radiologist in 2 to 3 weeks, and will find out at that time how many weeks she will need. We know it will be every day Mon. thru Friday, and the max is usually 6 weeks.

We asked if it could be started in Stillwater and finished in Tulsa, and were told no. Our Dr. thought it was best to get treatment all from one radiologist for a couple of reasons. The major one being it was just safer, and you would get better results from only one Dr. treating you and following your case, and second insurance would not have reasons to question it. So Emily will come home every day from Stillwater to get treatment, and we pray her professors will be willing to work with her.

Emily is feeling good, and is busy with school. I just have to brag... She is getting an "Outstanding Academic Execellence and Leadership Award" this coming week. We are just so proud of her. She has done so well in school and had to deal with the physical and emotional hardships of battling cancer at the same time! Once again, we give all the praise to our Heavenly Father who has watched over her and us and given her strength beyond our comprehension.

This Easter for me took on more meaning than usual. I have always marveled that Our God would send his son to die and rise for us that we might live. But having seen my own child suffer, I am overwhelmed by His love! Our family wishes you a blessed Easter!!!!