Thank you for all the kind words of encouragement from my last post. I am feeling a bit better. Many of you shared thoughts on harnessing fear and I’m starting to see how fear can be productive. It is the body’s way of readying for a fight, preparing itself for a tough battle. Fear can make you stronger. And I am starting to feel that I am stronger than fear.
I’ve also been reflecting more on the radiation procedure. As I have written about before, the actual radiation treatment is not too bad. But in the case of the upcoming procedure, it’s the preparatory procedures (pins in my skull and attaching a frame) that have me feeling freaked out. The radiation process itself is less scary. I was thinking about the last time I went through radiation, and the special breathing I had to do throughout the process.
Because I had left sided breast cancer, I had to hold my breath during radiation. The theory is that if you hold your breath, your lungs fill up with air, and they push your heart out of the way of the beams of radiation. I only had to hold my breath for about 30 seconds at a time, several times for each session. Thirty seconds is not a long time, but it’s surprising the number of thoughts that run through your mind as you lay there, on the metal table and hear the soft ringing of the sound of radiation machines.
And as I took a deep breath in, and held it, this is what I thought: Right now, my heart is standing. As my lungs pushed my heart out of the way and kept it from danger, became its big brother, its protector, my heart stood. It stood for my family, my husband, and my little boy.
As I prepare for this next step in treatment, it is standing again, because it is ready for a fight. Now, when I think about fear, I reframe it to think, fear means my heart is standing, readying for a fight. But my heart is also standing, because it is equally ready for an embrace. I am facing the world, and everything it throws at me, ready for the fight, and ready for the embrace.
And yesterday, we got some good news, some much needed hugs after many, many punches. I had several scans last week to make sure the cancer hadn’t spread anywhere else. We got the results back and I’m happy to share that they found no new cancer. This means no bone cancer, no lung cancer, no liver cancer etc. (No new cancer dance!) And because of this, I do not have to have chemo.
It’s great to be going into the procedure this morning knowing this good news. We’ve decided on the radio-surgery option, and not the whole brain radiation. We know that, at this point, the only tumor we know of is in one spot and so that’s the immediate threat that needs to be treated.
The whole procedure happens once, and takes about half a day. We’re scheduled for an early morning start today (in just a few hours), so it should be done by about mid-day. Looking forward to when this is done, and to more hugs than punches in the future.