Well, 2019 certainly did not end how we anticipated, but that doesn't mean we should write off all the good that did happen. For instance:
We ended the long distance part of our relationship (after nearly 2.5 years).
We saw many of our favorite people get married.
We got married!
We bought & moved in to our new house.
We have made some wonderful friends in our new town.
We found a church home.
& we even got to go home for Christmas to see family in both TX and TN.
Despite a severely unexpected setback, there was good that happened in 2019. I will say though, it's hard, really hard, to not let the fact that cancer entered our lives (5 days after the best day of our life) overshadow the good that did happen last year.
Don't get me wrong we're excited for a new year, our first married year, but I'd be lying if I said we weren't praying that this year flies by. The faster it goes the quicker treatment is over and recovery begins. The faster it flies the sooner cancer becomes a thing of the past and merely a piece of our lives that we are able to look back and seek to find the good it brought and by good I mean the faith, courage, growth and genuine perspective that every moment matters.
Most people by now have made their 2020 New Year's resolutions. Get healthy, lose weight, maybe travel to a new place, etc. Brad and I have collectively made a 2020 resolution too: beat cancer. That's it. We will do anything and everything to conquer this mountain. It's one single resolution with several crucial steps to accomplish. It means we have to remain steady with treatments, medications and doctor's visits. That we have to continue to cook well-balanced, healthy meals, stay active and avoid cooties. Most importantly, it means we have to dig even deeper in our relationship with our Father, fighting against the many fears that try to break through, and trust that we are covered in His grace with every step we take.
All that to say, every day will be different, but with each one we are that much closer to cancer being a thing of our past. Here's to 2020.
Brad started radiation on Monday (12/30). He will go Monday - Friday until January 24th. The radiation itself takes about 3 minutes, or 10 minutes if you include the time it takes him to "get on the table." However, sometimes the appointments include blood draws before or a doctor visit after. I have said this before, but one key thing we have learned is that schedules are simply a suggestion and extremely fluid.
His radiation will be a really low dose. In medical terms, he gets 2 gray at every treatment. He will have 18 treatments, or 36 gray when it's all said and done.
Then, back to chemotherapy.
The primary side effects of this radiation will be the damage it can do to his esophagus. However, since the radiation is at such a low dose they don't anticipate too many other side effects aside from that. They told us that in about 2 weeks, his esophagus may begin to start hurting when he swallows and that we may want to shift to soft, bland foods. We also put lotion on the area that is treated to hopefully protect from a "sunburn" type feeling. Our boy is fair skinned and burns easy and isn't quiet about it when it happens, so I am taking extra precautions!
What's next: we continue radiation.
Prayer request: that Brad continues to feel good. That radiation is a walk in the park and his esophagus isn't impacted at all! Keep praying that those annoying fears are pushed aside & that self confidence remains strong. As usual, pray that this tumor is running scared and to never ever return.
Brad and I have started this thing that at the end of every week we have to list 3 things that we are thankful for and they can't include each other or our families (because that's obvious). I share this because our recent "thankful for" list included all of you, our cheering squad. All of the people that have shown up, both near and far, to support, encourage and pray for us consistently. So, although our 2019 ended with really crappy news, good did happen and the love and support we have received from our families and friends is at the top of that list. Thank you.
My apologies for the extra long post, but we want you to know that thankful is truly an understatement.
Natalie and approved by Brad