I can see it! I have it marked on my wall calendar. There’s even a count-down clock on my Facebook page steadily moving toward it. My iPad has it remembered so I’ll be notified when it happens! What is IT? The day I finish my radiation treatments.
When Dr. Dziuk told me last month that I would need 23 treatments, I thought I’d never see it come to an end. The task of driving 20 minutes each way to be administered a treatment lasting 12 minutes, seemed difficult at the very least. Going through the process of allowing the radiologist technicians to get measurements of the treatment area, position me on the table, and then command myself to remain immovable throughout the treatment, five days a week, drained me.
Somewhere around the tenth day I learned the routine and IT seemed to go quicker. I change into my gown, they help me down onto the table, I overcome my positional dizziness, turn my head into the foam mold made just for me, and take hold of the two handlebars above my head. I wait while the technicians confirm the measured lines are correct, before they disappear behind glass. “Can you hear me?” She asks. “Yes,” I respond. The machine moves into position, making a whirling sound. I can see laser lines on the ceiling. “Take in a breath and hold it,” she says. I obey silently. The machine mumbles mechanical jargon. I hear it stop and she says, “Breathe.” I allow my lungs to empty. We repeat the process as the giant machine moves around me seeking the programmed positions the doctor ordered. I soon become accustomed to hearing the technician’s instructions that I hear her even when I’m home resting. Sometimes my body will involuntarily, take in a breathe and hold it.
Days go by. Weeks. I mark them off with a big X and keep the countdown current. Each weekday afternoon is interrupted with me leaving at 1:40 and returning by 3:20. I don’t fight fatigue anymore…I embrace it by settling into my recliner when I get home. Chai, my sweet Shih Tzu, snuggles on my lap and we doze a while, then I have a cup of tea, and relax. Nick and I use some of my down time to catch up on things.
This is my final week of treatments. Friday will be IT…the third one. I will cross the finish line of radiation treatments. The first finish line was September 1st when I completed Chemo and rang that bell. The second finish line was October 15th, the day of my successful surgery. This third finish line provides prevention/reduced risk against recurrence of the cancer.
I’m not thinking about the next step of preventative measures, although there will be a time to do so. I’m focusing now on how The Lord wants me to use my journey to be an encouragement to others. He has prompted me to write a devotional for breast cancer patients. He has brought me through this, one step at a time, one treatment at a time. I will soon cross IT…the finish line. I praise Him in this season because He is bigger, stronger, and more powerful than cancer! He has provided the power for me to endure, persevere, and emerge with joy, as an overcomer, because He has overcome the world!