Monday kicks off the beginning of the end!
I will be heading in for my final ten rounds of radiation. (2 weeks worth) Though many have expressed concern, this has been the plan all along. Back in August, I completed thirty-one rounds of radiation. Through the course of six weeks, we completed the boosted radiation to my entire shoulder blade, entire right lung, and my neck (for the lymph nodes). Although it seems everyone thought that was it, my radiation team had planned on splitting up the lung radiation. Apparently, the reason being that they wanted to be sure that the lungs didn't "shut down". Due to the large amount of radiation I was receiving, the lungs tend to take a beating and sometimes stop working.
Simply put, the plan all along was to finish these ten treatments at the end of all of my treatment. So no worries, this is all part of the plan! ;)
The only exciting part that hadn't occurred to me was the fact that a large portion of my heart will also be in the radiation field. Seeing that the left lung covers a decent part of the heart, the heart will be receiving the radiation as well. They aren't wanting to "target" the heart. It just happens to be a part of the party.
Is this something to worry about?
My radiation team was happy to let me know about how much all this radiation increases my risk for AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia), how radiating the lungs will build up scar tissue and make sports difficult, how radiating my heart puts me at risk for early congestive heart failure . . .
For me? it just means another stack of papers explaining all the side effects that may- may not, most likely, or will take place some place down the road.
Listen . . . after all of this treatment, the list of side effects is almost funny. I could write a book from all the side effects that "could" take place. Do I think they will never happen? No, but I'm willing to cross that bridge when I get there. For now, cancer has had its fun using my body as its playground. I'm learning that in this phase of finishing up treatment and stepping out from the protection that treatment provides- I have to mentally control my thoughts and focus on what I have ahead.
No matter how many years God gives me . . . I've got to learn to make those years count.
Whether it's nursing school and working in Pediatric Oncology, raising awareness for childhood cancer, or simply enjoying life and creating memories- the time I have is going to be filled with the people and things that I love most.
Cancer has stripped me of enough- the last thing I need to do is let it take away from me now.
(So happy to be enjoying time at home with my crazy awesome dog, Lego)