This morning I had an appointment with my Oncologist. I was able to get some of the results of the scans from last week, but not all of them. As of now, it looks like the density of the cancer has diminished again. The density is measured by a number. Before treatment began, the cancer was at a "14". After the first round of chemotherapy, it went down to "7.5" Now after this last chemo treatment it is down to "4.9". So that is good news. Now it is up to Radiation to get rid of tumor and the rest of the cancer cells. The Oncologist did say that a good reaction to chemotherapy is a good indicator that I will have a good reaction to radiation. So the hope is that radiation will get rid of the rest of the cancer. The biggest concern is that it gets out of the orbit of my eye. I am sensing this is a major concern for the doctors which makes me feel extremely uneasy. Whether or not I will need surgery after the radiation is still unknown.
Tomorrow I will be having a biopsy of a lymph node that has appeared to be questionable in all of the scans done thus far. It is slightly enlarged which has the doctors concerned. According to the scans it does not have cancer in it, but they are being cautious and doing the biopsy just to be safe. If the lymph node does have cancer in it, they will need to do a higher dose of radiation on my neck which could complicate things and make the side effects worse.
Radiation and chemo will begin on Monday. I will be getting chemotherapy once a week during the radiation treatment. It will be at a lower dose than what I have been getting, but I may still experience some side effects. Plus, getting chemo during radiation tends to magnify the side effects of radiation so I am extremely concerned. Radiation will be given every day Monday - Friday for 7 weeks. After the treatment has been completed, they will wait for 3 months before they do any more scans. It takes awhile for radiation to take affect.
So the journey continues and will be long. I am not sure when this will ever end. It is very difficult when there is no end in sight. It is tough when I think about what I have been through thus far, which was very difficult to get through...and yet the worst is yet to come. Radiation is going to be a huge mountain to climb and I am worried I am not going to get to the top. And there is no option to quit.
When I am feeling like there is no hope I have found much needed encouragement by reading the book of Psalms. Recently, I came across this verse...and reading it again has given me the hope I need to get through this.
Psalms 30:2-12 "O Lord my God, I called to your for help and you healed me. O Lord, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit. Sing to the Lord, you saints of his; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment; but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. When I felt secure, I said "I will never be shaken." O Lord, when you favored me, you made my mountains stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed. To you, O Lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy: What gain is there in my destruction, in my going down in the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me; O Lord, be my help. You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever."
Davids words in Psalms are exactly how I feel at times....begging God for Mercy and for his healing. Feeling alone when I don't feel God's peace, yet feeling strong enough to climb this mountain when He sends me encouragement. Praying that God will spare me from going into a pit of horrible side effects from the radiation. Praying that some day my wailing will turn into dancing and that I will once again experience the joy that David talks about in this verse. When will that day come? Who knows, but I am going to need all the strength, encouragement and prayers I can get to get me there.