18 treatments later and Brad has officially finished his radiation treatment. Don't worry - we celebrated! I made sure he rang that bell not just once, but twice. Then, we went and ate at our favorite place and didn't talk about cancer one time.
Going into radiation we were warned of a variety of side effects: burning, fatigue, loss of appetite, a sore throat and possibly a blood transfusion. NONE of that happened. Brad truly crushed radiation. I mean heck, the second to last day of treatment he was knocking out a 30 minute Peloton ride after wrapping up a full day of work. Fatigue? Yeah right.
By no surprise, Brad left his mark at the treatment center. It was very clear that during his 4 weeks of treatment, Brad was able to build a relationship with the radiation team. We left for the last time with hugs, smiles and a new cheering squad for the next cycle of treatment.
At every phase of the journey thus far Brad has met a nurse with a smile, joked with a provider or offered to make their job easier whatever way he can, ultimately always leaving with a new "friend." In the meantime, while Brad is getting poked, scanned or radiated, I spend a lot of time in waiting rooms where I find myself helping older couples navigate the check - in process or listening to their story, hearing about how this is 4th time they have been met with this challenge. There aren't many "good" things about this journey, but coming across these unexpected relationships has been pretty neat. Not only that, but it feels like its our way to be a light in a space that feels really dark. A bright spot, a smiling face, even when it's not always easy, to the people also in the midst of a challenge. Brad does this really well, like really really well.
What's next: Brad doesn't have another doctor's appointment until February 3rd, then we will figure out when Cycle 2 - Arm A will start. We are anticipating this to begin either February 10th or February 17th, all dependent on how his blood counts are looking. Arm A will be outpatient, which means we don't have to stay overnight in the hospital. However, what we do know is that he will get an infusion at 7 am and another at 5 pm for 5 days straight.
Prayer requests: rest over the next two weeks. That Brad's body can fully recover and be at it's strongest before he starts the next round of chemotherapy. For the travel back and forth to Moffitt for his next round, that the traffic is light and safe.
Many of you have reached out after you knew that radiation ended, some even remembered simply from our last post, and we just want to say thank you for celebrating with us. Some times the journey still feels really daunting and that the road is still long, but we feel it's important to celebrate the wins - no matter how big or small. It's also a really sweet reminder that even though other people's day-to-day goes on, you're still thinking, praying and in our corner every step of the way.
More updates to come,
Natalie and Brad