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.


  1. Wow...I'm leaking here...I had just checked the blog yesterday but I am glad I rechecked today.
    There just are no words...your family is simply amazing and I can't tell you how times I think of all of you. I will continue to send you positive thoughts and know that this is one race that is going to be won.

  2. Wow, God is Good ALL The Time!! I had read your last blog and knew that there was a chance that Emily wouldn't be able to do both school and radiation treatments with having to go back and forth and the timing of the end of school. I am praising God on your all's behalf that God sees the big picture and Emily will be able to get her finals in as well as start her radiation treatments on time. Emily is an amazing young woman whom I know will use this journey in her life to bring hope and strength to others who may have to encounter the same journey. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your journey by posting these amazing updates. Our prayers continue to go with you all!!!

    Sandra McWilliams

  3. So grateful for the fantastic news! Prayers for Emily and family are being answered by a loving Father - thank you Father God!
    Keep up the great work, Emily and Company!
    Carolyn Gates