happy new year!

happy new year!

I hope the new year so far as treated you kindly with fresh perspectives, warm surprises, and warm blessings. In my household, the new year has already been eventful: Josh graduated his police academy training and ceremony after ceremony has been celebrated, appreciated and endured. Josh gave me the honor of pinning on his badge, and I held its weight in gold and silver, in awe of all that Josh has persevered to get to this moment. My family and I couldn’t be more proud of him!

In the midst of all the celebrating, I was undergoing and finishing up my last few rounds of radiation. I was recommended to have 10 sessions of radiation to my C5 cervical spine (the area around the back of your neck.) I at first panicked because it was radiation to my C7 cervical spine a couple of years ago resulted in intense shoulder and neck pain for months. It has improved for sure, but still when any medical professional touches my neck, their hands immediately fly into the air as if my shoulders were a hot kettle that burned them. They are always just in shock of how hard my neck and shoulders are; you honestly don’t have to be a medical professional to tell this fact. Today, I still combat this pain with a pain management trio of massage, acupuncture, and medication.

So I write to you now with the 10th radiation treatment completed. It’s tradition to ring the bell after completion of treatment, but this was like my 4th time completing a radiation regiment. Isn’t that bell supposed to signify that I am completely done¬†with radiation, that I will never have to return back here again? In my case, I’ve returned several times. It would almost feel like I’m lying if I rang that bell. It’s not that I’m not hopeful about my health, but when you look back and remember the other 3 bell ringings its hard not to feel conflicted about this bell for me. I don’t want to stain the bell’s brass for other hopeful cancer patients with my unfortunate multiple trips back here.

Now, I thankfully have a little over a week break from all treatment. My body definitely needs a break from radiation and chemotherapy and multiple-day trips to the hospital. Since I’ve had radiation to my neck before, I’m anxiously trying to prepare against the side effects that come afterwards. I follow a yoga YouTube instructor for neck stretches, hoping to prevent pain and the moments providing stress relief as well. I almost always put a neck/shoulder heating pad while I watch tv or read. I massage a salve onto my neck every night before sleeping, praying that I don’t wake up in the middle of the night to have to take any pain medication. I’m trying to be more hydrated in hopes that I can keep my throat and esophagus moist, to relieve any burns that might have occurred on the inside of my throat, drenching the radiation fire with water, Propel, tea, coffee, anything.

I will update again sooner rather than later my friends. Thank you always for reading my updates and faithfully praying for me and asking how I am doing. He is good!