In three days, I start my radioactive iodine treatment. Here’s what I’ve been up to medically leading up to this (super abbreviated version):
Tests, appointments, lost a lymph node or two that did NOT have cancer (yay!), more tests, more appointments, stopping medications, starting new ones, going through complete thyroid hormone withdrawals. Now I am completing a 14 day low iodine diet to deplete the iodine in my system before RAI treatment.
So why the radioactive iodine treatment? They hope all of this will make my body so starved for iodine that when they give me the liquid iodine, the cancer cells being in starvation mode for iodine will quickly gobble up the radioactive iodine so the radiation can kill all of the cancer that is hanging out in my lungs. ( Whew, that’s a mouthful).
Side effects: Nausea, (already happening and booo!) fatigue, dry mouth, metal taste in mouth, possibly destroyed salivary glands if I don’t drink enough fluids, possible (but very low) risk for leukemia.
So before all of this was to go down, I vowed to have the most fun of my life. I asked God for three things: The energy to keep up with everything, the ability to go to Tahoe and the ability to support my track team down at the Angel City Games in LA. God honored all of those requests.
The month of June, I started out in Tahoe at the No Barriers Summit loving life. I got to try adaptive cycling, boxing, archery (a new love of mine), did an abbreviated version of The Amazing Race, and met some amazing people along the way.
The trip was such a blessing. I got to spend my birthday doing the things that I loved. I also got closer to one of my friends, who I am sure had she not been there, the weekend would have not been as great.
In the middle of all that: work, friends church, life, repeat. Also going on: growing fatigue, forgetfulness, brain fog, mood swings…all signs that my body was going hypothyroid on me. I vowed not to let it stop me. To keep going. To suck it up and push through.
God whispered: It’s okay to take a little rest. Seriously. It’s okay. A nap once in a while won’t hurt.
Me: I AM IRON MAN BLENDED WITH TREX!!! ARRRRRR!
I ended this epic month with a trip down to LA with our track team for the Angel City Games. These kids broke national records, broke barriers, brought home countless medals and wowed the adaptive track/ field world with their awesomeness. The coaches worked hard and sacrificed their Saturday mornings to get these kids here and it paid off huge! It was so fun to be with these kids, my friends and watch them do so well for their first time. It was truly an unforgettable weekend and I am glad I got to be a part of it.
God gave me one more final gift, to spend time with one of my closest friends before treatment since I would be unable to interact with her during that time (more on that below). It was such a nice time to relax and be with a friend who has been such a huge support through all of this. What I only intended to be just a few hours, ended up being a whole day. I am so thankful.
When it was all over…the fatigue hit. Hard. Then came the sickness. The constant sickness. I prayed to God to give me the strength to finish out strong. To keep going. To be unstoppable. To be bigger than cancer, my body, my weakness.
God said no.
“God, I am almost there. Just a few more days left. I need more energy.”
“No girl, you need a nap.”
So we argued.
Me: “But I am Wonder Woman.”
God: “I get that, but Wonder Woman sleeps too, ya know? No one will blame you if you need a little time. You are not slacking. You are not taking advantage. You can not overpower what your body needs and right now it needs rest. It’s hard, I know but you need to slow down and rest so you can recover properly.”
So I gave in. The world did not end. People were not hurt. Things did not come crashing down.
The only thing I received was a much needed nap, love and so much grace.
Throughout this whole thing, I’ve received so much grace and love from others. People have come out of the woodwork just to show me how loved I am. I’ve had friends move their lives around to attend my medical appointments, invite me into their homes before and after my surgeries so I could recover. I’ve had coworkers step up to make sure I had what I needed and remove things from my plate so that I would not feel overwhelmed. I’ve had family members drive up just to spend the day with me. I’ve had friends talk me down off the ledge when I spent too much time on Google and accidentally freaked myself out. I’ve had countless people pray for me, Christian and non Christian.
I went into this feeling that cancer was a curse. That this was the worse possible thing to have happen. That without my mom, I’d fight this alone.
I was so wrong.
I had no idea coming out of this that I would feel like cancer was a blessing. God used this to show me the love and grace of others. That I am not alone. That I am loved. So loved. I didn’t even ask for this, and God provided. I am so glad he did.
Thank you all who’ve been there for me. I can never repay you. Through God, you are the reason I made it this far. He used you to combat a lie I told myself: I am alone.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
So on the 5th of July, I start treatment. For three days, I have to limit my time with people and can be no less than 6 feet away from others. ( To the people who have offered to build me giant bubbles or build giant signs or give me ideas for what to do with my new radioactive powers; you are my favorite).
After that, I have to remain up to three feet away from children and women who have children or are pregnant for four more additional days. I can’t work during this time so I get to catch up on sleep, reading, movies, and finish up planning for my Italy trip. Then I go in for another scan on the 11th to see if the treatment is working. I will know for certain September 28th if the cancer is gone. God willing, it will be.
So that’s it. That’s my life up until now. Next update will be my final itinerary for my Italy trip. I can’t believe thats’s like two months away.
Till then, love you all!