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Chemo & Radiation- Here I Come!

Last week, I got a phone call from Laura, one of Dr. Callahan’s associates. I didn’t like what Laura had to say. Frankly, it made me cry.

Laura said that the team consulted on my case and although the surgery removed the cancer, they were recommending 6 rounds of chemo over 18 weeks, and 5 weeks of radiation, 5 times a week. I was expecting one or the other, but both? Really? That would take us almost into May. They had gotten all the cancer, so why drag this process out so long?

I called Dr. Stockrahm. He reminded me how lucky I was that it was caught so early. He also reminded me that chemo and radiation would be an insurance policy to make sure cancer was behind me so I could move on with life. Yeah, he was right.

The poor interns, Tanner and Vivian, were here when the phone call came. We were working in the kitchen together. They were doing my heavy lifting since I am still restricted to a 10 lb. lifting limit. After the phone call, I decided to have a pity-party and cry for awhile in my room leaving Tanner and Vivian to complete the day’s work. They have experienced a lot more "life" in this internship than what they signed up for, but I don't know what I would do without them.

So, yes. I cried and felt sorry for myself. That was until I was scrolling on Facebook reels and saw several reels of couples dancing to “Cry to Me” from Solomon Burke. You might remember the song from the movie, “Dirty Dancing”.

Now, one thing you need to know about me. In my mind, I am a size 5 ballroom dancer. Never mind even when I was 5, I wore and size 6x, and as a freshman in high school, the sweetest man ever, Noble Longardner kicked me out of swing choir for not having the moves.

Regardless of those “facts”, watching those reels made me giddy with possibilities. Andy and I could watch YouTube videos and learn to ballroom dance!!!! Ee gads! How exciting the possibility!!!! I have tried to convince Andy for years that we should try dancing. Wouldn’t it do us both good to try dancing while going through chemo? How fun would that be?

Another thing you should know about me, when I get giddy, I squeal. Not like a pig squeal, but an excited squeal. When Andy came in from the woodshop, I was squealing as I told him the news. God love him. He wasn’t as excited as I was. Not a squeal came from his lips.

He’s a good sport and I knew he would do it. But it took a few days before I saw that spark in his eye when we talked about it. It happened on Friday evening during dinner in the dining room.

Dr. Ron Leach was here having dinner. If you have followed us for any time, you know Dr. Leach and his wife, Sheila, hold a special place in our hearts because they sold us this land that is now Honeysuckle Hill. Dr. Leach and Sheila are friends of ours and supporters. I was telling Dr. Leach my idea of dance lessons and he piped up, “Sheila and I will learn with you. She has been after me for 20 years to take dance lessons.” About that time, Andy came out from the kitchen. I told him of our dance partners and that’s when I saw that he had accepted the fact that we will be taking dance lessons from YouTube during chemo with Dr. Leach and Sheila. It was a beautiful transition to watch.

Psalm 30:11 says about the Lord, “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.” Now, I never would have thought He would have used a song from “Dirty Dancing” to fulfill this scripture, but He sure did. I had something to look forward to and it totally changed my mindset. It made the idea of chemo and radiation a much better treatment to swallow.

By the time I went to see Dr. Callahan today, my mindset was one of acceptance. The great thing is I learned I didn’t have to accept as much as I originally thought. I will be doing the 6 chemo treatments. I should be starting them next week. The great news is instead of 5 weeks of radiation, I will only have 5 radiation treatments and they can be sandwiched in between my chemo appointments. I should be done with radiation by Christmas and done with chemo by the end of February. A week ago, I thought all these treatments would take me into May, which seemed like a heavy sackcloth.

Yeah, I may have chemo and radiation to go through, but by golly, I sure am glad God has blessed me with joy and gladness in spite of it.

(The photo above is Andy, me, and Dr. Callahan)


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