Recent photo of my parents in my office

Recent photo of my parents in my office

June 12, 2007

Actual Start of Radiation

Surprise -- on Monday, the hospital called to ask us to arrive early -- 11:30 instead of 12:15. Margie and I drove to Naperville to start the radiation process. We arrived at about 11:26, but within 5 minutes, were informed that the computer system had crashed. By 12:30 or so, we had been released to return today (Tuesday). I joked on the way out that perhaps they would comment today, "Now, why are we radiating this guy after all? I don't see anything that needs it, do you?" So humor sustained the entire day yesterday.

But not today -- driving for our noon appointment I confess that I was a bit irritated and pesky. I had had a productive morning at the library, and having to leave for this treatment was more disruptive than I wanted to accept, so I found myself taking my frustration out on the traffic density caused by road work on literally every street we use to get from Wheaton to Naperville. Major highway construction can be tolerated, but why does every suburb in our area seem to be replacing the curbside crossings with red rumble surfaces, requiring the traffic to shut down to one lane?

Oh, well, as you can see, this was not one of my more sanctified moments, which Margie let me know. After I confessed my weaknesses, she dropped me off to be taken directly to the radiation area. Today they marked my body with the exact permanent "tatoos" that they will use for aiming the radiation, and conducted a final scan to make sure all was in position. The doctor on call was approving of all three positions, so the radiation began. Each fraction is only a matter of seconds, but the positioning and labelling took about 45 minutes. Subsequent treatments should be much shorter (half the time, I heard).

Pain remains this evening, probably due to the challenge of keeping my right arm extended over my head in perfect calm while on the radiation table. Since I broke my right shoulder in 2005, I have never regained mobility in that area, and tremble with atrophied muscles there, and when I'm forced to elevate my arm, I feel a constant sense of pain and discomfort. But I was able to use the time to pray and to simply relax into the pain. The procedure went as planned, and I worked out the schedule with the hospital for the remaining 13 fractions (reduced from the initial 15 to 14).

In terms of how I'm feeling, I notice back pain, continued numbness in my left thumb and along the tibia of my left arm. This is likely emanating from some compressed nerves in the cervical bones of the spine, that are being pressed upon by tumors/lesions. By radiating these, they hope to stop the decay of the bone and to allow the nerve to heal. Pray toward that end. I'm also taking some steriods to help that anti-inflammatory process along.

Thanks to the many of you who are walking with us through this time of trial. I have a post coming concerning some of the promises of God, but this is definitely a day-by-day form of submission to the will and meaning that God has for our lives. May we be faithful to listen carefully to his voice.