About this blog

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hiccups? That's Life!

Today was my 6th day of radiation treatment.  I'm getting used to the routine, and the techs at the radiation office. There is one guy who works there and always calls me "Mrs. Jamois." Today I finally asked him to call me "Tonya."  It's weird being that formal when he has pretty much seen everything there is to see above the waist. Besides, "Mrs. Jamois" is my mother in law!

As the radiation got started, a worship song popped into my head. I couldn't remember all the lyrics, so I kept repeating this in my head as a prayer: "Thou o Lord, art a shield about me; You're my glory; You're the lifter of my head."

As I said, I'm getting used to it all.  They position the machine above me, and it does its radiating for about 30-40 seconds.  Then it moves over to my left side and does it again.  This time after it moved, it didn't start again. After a few more seconds, the guy comes in and tells me to continue laying still...the computer just had a "hiccup" and was coming back.

A hiccup?  Okay.  As long as the computer and the machines it presumably runs know where and what they are supposed to be doing after it comes back.

So I just laid there for a few minutes.  It is very important not to move--if you move, then you might get "treated" on skin/organs/tissues that shouldn't be radiated at all.  Like the heart.  I'm good at laying still, even when I feel an itch.  I wonder what would happen if I had a hiccup? Or even worse, a sneeze? Hopefully we won't find out.

There is an iPod dock in the room and I decided to focus on what was playing instead of the position of my body.  It was Michael Buble's "That's Life."  I'm more familiar with the Frank Sinatra version, but Buble is good too.  It kind of made me laugh to think of that song being on at that particular moment.  Yes, I certainly am living life, aren't I?  Isn't that what you say to a person who is complaining about what a rotten situation they are in?  Suck it up, THAT'S LIFE!  Indeed it is.  It rains on the just and the unjust. (Matthew 5:45).

A few minutes went by and the guy came back in and said they were ready to continue with my treatment. As I left the building, they seemed to be having all kinds of computer issues. The nurse at her station was asking everyone else if "they were down?"  and if they should "call I.T."  Gosh, I sure hope those computer issues don't affect the actual radiation.  It doesn't exactly instill confidence.  It is a good thing I have supreme confidence in God, though.  I continue to visualize His protection all around me, shielding me.  I've prayed this on my own, and with others.  I know God will protect me thorough this, regardless of their computer issues.

Later on at the gym, I listened to the lyrics of "That's Life" more carefully.  It basically talks about life being a series of ups and downs.  That certainly has been true of my life since my diagnosis.  Extreme downs, and pretty good ups. I don't know if I know what an "extreme" up is anymore.  I am trying to learn to focus on the present and enjoy it but it is hard when everything is geared toward treatment and preventing a recurrence of cancer.

My workout today was a good one. I decided to try something new--to time my 5k on the treadmill.  Up until now, I've only run intervals, 2 minutes walking, 2 minutes running.  I figured I may indeed walk part of the 5k, but let's see what I can do.  I was able to run the whole thing! Granted, it took me awhile (38 minutes and change).  But I ran the distance and now have something to improve upon.  I realized as I was running that working out is part of my treatment.  It's my therapy.  On good days (like today), it is as close to the highest high I can get right now. It is as important to me as going in to get nuked every day. That puts a new spin on it. If I ever was tempted to skip a day, that puts it into perspective.  I am following the lesson from last week though, and will take the day off tomorrow as a "rest day" after 4 straight days of exercise.

My prayer requests:

  • That the radiation be effective in treating any remaining cancer cells in my body as well as effective in preventing a recurrence of the cancer. That it be accurate and not injure any other organs.
  • That my skin not burn and be too uncomfortable as the radiation progresses. 
  • That our family stay healthy. Isabelle has a slight cold right now, and I am praying that the rest of us don't get it. 
For those of you unfamiliar with the lyrics of "That's Life" here they are:

That's life
That's what all the people say
You're riding high in April
You're shot down in May
I know I'm gonna change that tune
When I'm back on top in June

I say that's life
& as funny as it may seem
Some people get their kicks
Stompin' on your dreams
But I don't let it, let it get me down
'Cause this fine ol' world keeps spinning 'round

I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate,
A poet, a pawn & a king
I've been up & down & over & out
But I know one thing
Each time I find myself, flat on this face
I pick myself up & get back in the race

That's life
I can't deny it
I thought of quitting, baby
This heart wasn't gonna buy it
And if I didn't think it was worth one single try
I'd jump right on a big bird & then I'd fly

I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate,
A poet, a pawn & a king
I've been up & down & over & out
And I know one thing
Each time I find myself flat on my face
I pick myself up & get back in the race

That's life
That's life & I can't deny it
Many times I thought of cutting out
But my heart won't buy it
But if there's nothing shakin' come this here July
I'm gonna roll
I'm gonna roll
I'm gonna roll myself up in a big ball & die
Can't deny it
That's life

Michael Buble - That's Life Lyrics @ LyricsTime.com

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tonya.. you are such a great writer, I love your clear communicative style.. and the heart with which you tell your story.. I have been praying for you often since seeing you on Sunday.. I pray that the LORD fills you with His grace and peace and victory in Jesus.. The song that was in your heart is clearly from the LORD.. who was reminding you that He is ever with you.. that song is Psalm 3:3; "Thou O LORD art a shield about me, Your my glory and the Lifter of my head... the rest is simple.. hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, You're the Lifter of my head." I think He is trying to remind us to keep looking up, from whence comes our help.. amen? I love you Tonya.. keep pressing on and in to Jesus.. I was blessed to see Eric to.. xoxo Jeanne