I suppose there’s truth to the notion of things happening in threes. In this case, it’s related blog posts; and it’s true that these are connected. Still, there’s progression. There’s movement.
I posted four months ago that I was experiencing a fear that I found unreasonable because I had been diagnosed with a form of skin cancer. I followed up a week later with a bit of explanation about the surgery to remove the skin cancer, noting that there was a bit left up in the air. So now – after much prayer and learning and conversation with family – I’m ready to share a bit more and to ask for continued prayer (or positive energy/thoughts or good juju or whatever you’re willing to send my way).
As soon as the MOHS procedure was completed (to cut out the skin cancer) and before I was stitched up, the surgeon noted that some of the cancer cells were found very close to a nerve in my eyebrow. While basal cells are not known to do much more than grow and get in the way, they have been known to travel along nerves deeper into the body. The danger as explained to me was that they could grow deeper in my tissue and be harder to detect; they could travel into the eye socket and cause trouble there; they could even lodge in the bone of my skull and cause damage.
So the prospect of radiation therapy was suggested. But even that wasn’t easy. I met with a radiation oncologist…
Here’s a brief note. I hate cancer. This has already been made clear. And I hate that I’ve had to meet with any kind of oncologist. I hate it. It sucks.
<insert obligatory string of expletives right before the word cancer>
So I met with a radiation oncologist who had a plan… but then decided that there was a slight risk to the lacrimal gland, which provides moisture and lubrication to the eye. Too much radiation could mean permanent dry eye. So there was a trek to a different radiation oncologist with a different machine with a different approach and even a different kind of radiation. But that didn’t work out. So back to the first machine and first oncologist with the risks associated. Other risks include radiation damage to the eye itself and the likelihood of a cataract in the future.
But the truth is, I know my family history related to cancer. So I chose to be aggressive and move forward with radiation. I want to kill this invasion. I will not be victimized by it and instead will take control.
So I start radiation therapy today.
And I’m having some of the emotions I expected and some that I didn’t. If I remember correctly, my mom had radiation in addition to her chemo. So there’s all the emotional baggage that comes with that. And there’s the fear that comes with anyone who faces radiation therapy, the questions about the outcome, the potential risks involved.
But just as I am choosing to be in control and to be aggressive in this treatment, I am choosing how to respond. Although the fear is natural, I will not allow it to overwhelm and overpower. Instead I will choose to be a person of hope, and I will choose to radiate hope. I will choose to radiate faith. I will choose to radiate love.
I think this is a big task, and so I ask for your help. Send the prayers and the positivity and the good juju. Remind me that I’m not alone and that I’m cared for. Help me to have the strength to be a person of faith facing both the reasonable and the unreasonable fears. Help me to radiate all that you can give.
Help me to radiate hope.