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2009 Cancer Treatment – Roto-Rooter Radiation

It’s been a long time since I have posted an update about my treatment with Breast Cancer. I finished radiation last week and found that the nicest people in the world work with breast cancer patients. I wouldn’t recommend praying for the diagnosis just to meet nice people, but through these gifted men and women of mercy, the tender hand of God has been holding on to me in these first few weeks of treatment.

The question I hear the most is, “How is your third breast? I am thrilled to let you know that breast #3 is slowing down. I have only been drained twice this week and the sonogram show signs of tissue beginning to fill in the gap. I think my greatest long-term fear about breast #3 is that it has simply moved up my right upper arm thus giving me a greater wing span when I raise my arm. (If you are an older woman you know exactly what I am talking about. If not, think about your grandmother and the loose skin that rocked back and forth under her upper arm.) Had I been out in the storm last Monday and caught some of the high winds, I feel quite sure that had I raised my arms I would have taken flight.

The other breast trauma was this special radiation that I am fortunate to have qualified for. Rather than shooting radioactive beams on the outside of the body they inserted a “balloon” into the cavity where the tumor was removed. The end of the balloon comes out of the breast as a port on the outside of the body. Twice a day, they had this machine that looks like a “Roto-Rooter” and they attach it to the balloon. Then,everyone left the room and went into a “protective room” while the Roto-Rooter and I are filled with radioactive beads. The radiation went straight to the tumor site so only the tissue that surrounded the tumor was destroyed. Once the treatment was over and the Roto-Rooter was sucked back into the machine, the staff came back into the room, unhooked me and then held a Geiger Counter in front of me. For real!!

Even with all of this excitement, I have had virtually no suffering. As I read about other breast cancer survivors and discover friends, including two friends who had mastectomy’s this week, I am reminded of the real suffering in life. It may be physical, emotional or spiritual, but we are all subject to suffering and sorrow. I think the surprise in this for me is that joy and peace can exist in the midst of crisis. In fact it is often the crisis or pain that gives birth to freedom, peace and joy.

In talking with a friend tonight we asked the question, does suffering have to precede growth or joy? Probably not. I have had seasons in life where sheer delight and witnessing the majesty of God are equally as spiritual. Very few things compare to walking a trail in the Rocky Mountains or looking out at the ocean where land is no where in sight. Seeing someone grasp the grace of God or their own worth as the “Beloved” is on the top ten of my “God moments.” So, in scarcity and in abundance we see the tender hand of God… even for a three breasted radioactive woman.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers and precious notes of support.
I love you dearly.

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Many centuries prior to the arrival of europeans.

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