Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day 17 ~

Ok, so this is me, flying toward the finish line!

It's Saturday and I had to go to radiation today. I have to go tomorrow too. The machine has been breaking down and since I missed a few days here and there, I have to make them up. So I am a little over halfway there, I have exactly 16 more days (I think). If my calculations are correct, I should be done on September 16th. Please, God! Let me be correct!! Because I'm planning that my taste buds will have exactly 1 week to regenerate and then we'll have my birthday dinner. Whether you want to or not. ;)
As for me, I am feeling pretty good, way better than last weekend, which is why I did not even bother to update back then. My mouth is dry and the hair on the back of my head is falling out in droves. That's the real reason I didn't post a picture of myself this time. I might post one tomorrow, it is kind of humorous. (I)'m secretly hoping it will grow back in BLACK)! Everything tastes distorted horrible and you know how much I love to bake so that is a big deal to me. Other than that, I'm doing great! Can't wait to get this all behind me and get on with life!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day 12 ~

Somebody looked at me today and said, "What happened to your face?!" Nice. Very nice. Well, what happened is that I went to the dentist yesterday and my whole face swelled up. I've always liked frogs but I never wanted to look like one. On top of that, they are trying to burn my face off with that radiation machine thingy. So when I went for my treatment today, they stuffed my swollen face inside the mask anyways and strapped it down as if it was its normal size. But I'm not mad. Whatever it takes to get rid of the bad stuff.

OMG look at that ear! It is soooo big!

Let me tell you, I am so glad to get home today. I spent the whole day fighting back nausea. Of course, that could have been because I had Ensure and asparagus for lunch, probably not a good combination. Can't taste hardly anything, and anything I can taste, tastes bitter. But that doesn't mean I don't ever get hungry. So frustrating. Periodically it sounds like people are talking under water, especially the higher pitched noises. I am so hoping my ears don't fall off!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Could I See Some ID? ~

Not long ago, I was doing my job. I mean my regular, full-time job, which is registering people into the hospital. You would think that it is a boring, repetitive, unspecial job. I admit it, sometimes I think it is. Sometimes, just to be honest, I am so tired that when I look up and see yet another patient coming to register, I almost start cursing inside my head. And then there are times that are so different from that. 
There are some patients I've come to know by name and look forward to seeing. One of them is a doctor who was in a traumatic car accident. I first met him when he was still living in a rehab with a halo screwed into his head. He was unable to even sign his own paperwork. I've seen him so many times that I now remember to call him "Dr." instead of "Mr." and he is doing much better. There is a lady who always has to give me something when she comes in. The first time it was a green piece of candy that had been in her purse so long that it had little specks of dirt on it. The next time she gave me half a box of tic-tacs. The next time it was a tootsie pop. Then there is the guy who comes in every so often and he has told me his life story. Even though he has had a number of back surgeries and also has HIV, he never complains. And he starts singing, "Hi Jennifer!" from halfway across the room every time he comes in. I really could go on and on but I won't. I just want to tell you about a guy who I've only seen once but I will never forget.
I was sitting at my desk while there was a lull in the patient load. When I looked up at my next patient, it was a man in a wheelchair. He wore an oxygen tube in his nose and an undershirt with pajama pants. Both he and the woman with him reeked of stale cigarettes. He looked so dejected that I felt sorry for him. His wife (?) was obviously the one in charge and did all of the talking. 
As with every patient, I asked him for his insurance cards and picture ID. The woman in charge helped him get his insurance card and then proceeded to dig through his wallet for an ID. In the meantime, I was busy pulling up his information in the computer. When I turned back to them, she slapped down a card and stated rather loudly, "This is the only ID he has." I tried to keep a blank face as I looked at the card, the first one I had seen of its kind. In big red letters across the entire card it read
I really am not sure exactly how many thoughts and questions went through my head at that point but I know it has stayed on my mind until even now. I looked at this frail little man in a wheelchair and wondered what he possibly could have done. And how long ago was it?? I wondered if it was necessary to carry that card forever. Didn't he ever have a chance to get a "normal" ID? What in the world?! Most of me just thought it would have been better to say, "He doesn't really have an ID" and leave it at that.
So, I don't mean to compare this woman to the devil in any way, but isn't that what the devil does to us? He stands over our shoulder, whips out our "OFFENDER" card, and slaps it on the table in front of us at every opportunity. We sit there feeling beat down and breathless, unable to look anyone in the eye because he won't let us forget for one minute the things that happened in the past. However, the bible says,
"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." Romans 3:23, 24.
My mother used to tell me that "justified" means "just as if I'd never done it." Christ died for me so that it would be just as if I had never sinned. Yet sometimes I still tolerate the devil hanging around and pointing out my past mistakes. Maybe you were an offender. All of us were. Maybe you made mistakes. All of us have. Maybe there is something in your life that can not be undone, no matter how you wish it could. I've been there too. You sit there looking at the floor, barely able to move out of your regret. And that is just where the devil wants you to stay. He hangs over your shoulder to make sure of it. But guess what? I don't have to do deal with that and neither do you. 
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new." II Cor. 5:17.
The reason I don't have to deal with it is because I have a new ID. When the devil tries to whip out my old offender ID, I pull out my new ID that trumps anything he has. My new identification lets everyone know who I am now, not who I used to be. I am a new creation and I can freely identify myself as a daughter of the King. If you have accepted Christ, don't continue to carry around your offender card. Christ died to give you a new ID and it's time to hold your head up and start using it!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day 7 ~

Well, I skipped day 5 (Friday) and 6 (Monday). Friday I don't remember and Monday I was too tired to do anything after Tug kept me up for most of the night. But I'm back tonight and got in there and took my picture.

It doesn't look too bad in my opinion. My scar is quite swollen and a little itchy but they gave me a "survival kit" yesterday. So, I will survive, lol.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day 4 ~

Ok, here is the picture. I don't think you can see any difference. Not only do I see flashes of light during the radiation, now I smell something too. I can't even describe it, it's not good or bad. They said it's normal.

I would be in bed already but I'm holding these stupid fluoride trays in my mouth and trying not to drool all over the place.
Good Night

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Day 3 ~

So this one is gonna be short. Today was my 3rd day of radiation and it dawned on me that maybe I should take a picture of the part of my face that is actually getting the radiation. I took one of my "good" side too so I could tell the difference. So here is the "good" side.

Sorry. Like I said it is hard to take a good photo of yourself. And here is the picture of the side where I had surgery. Don't worry, it isn't graphic anymore.

I'm just going to claim that my ear is swollen making it look bigger than life. It does actually look kind of puffy to me. I can't feel it so I don't know what's going on with it. The incision starts in front of my ear right where the ear canal is. It goes dooowwwnnnn around my ear and back up behind it and then back down. It's in the shape of an S. You can see a little dot behind it, that's where the drain was. Right now there is a bit of swelling in front of my ear but I'm not sure why. I think it is from going to the dentist. And then there is a little dot below my scar - that's just a zit. Hahahahaha! I think the radiation dried it up. Man I crack myself up! Sorry - you should laugh at every opportunity.
So that's it. Nothing unusual except my throat is extremely dry. I have been drinking and running to the bathroom all day! And after seeing these pictures, I think I may actually do something to my hair tomorrow.
Good Night!!

Day 1 & 2 ~

I wanted to keep a journal of what my radiation is like so I can compare the pictures and also see how I'm feeling from day to day. I promise I will write about other stuff too, this is more for me.
So this is how it goes. There are separate dressing/waiting rooms for men and women. The routine is that you go in, pick out a hospital gown, change into it, throw your stuff in a locker, and then go wait with all the other women who are having treatments too. When your turn comes up, the tech calls you back and you verify that it's really you by looking at a picture of yourself on the computer screen. I'm still a little confused about that part...
But anyways, once you get in there, you just lay down on the table and they strap a mask over your face. I don't have a picture of my own mask but here is the closest thing I could find to show you. All the other pictures I saw were of masks that had big net-like holes. As you can see, this one has small holes. I don't know why we didn't get as lucky. The one I wear is white and has no eye holes and no mouth hole. It has a hole the size of a nickel right around the tip of my nose. Gotta breathe somehow! It looks to be flexible but in reality, it is hard plastic. Once you get it on, it's on. They fasten it down like a seat belt in a car all around the head and shoulders. One of these days you'll get to see what mine looks like.

I have no idea what happens after that mask goes on. I can feel the table moving around but I don't feel anything. On my first treatment, I saw flashes of light and the tech said that the machine didn't make any light flashes. When the radiation touches my brain, the brain responds by creating flashes of light. I swear, the human body is so amazing!!
I am not usually claustrophobic but the mask is so tight that I have to struggle to not panic. In my head I say a mantra for that 10 minutes and it gets me through, no problem. It goes like this: "God is good all the time, all the time God is good."
After my first treatment I was fine until I got home. The doctor said I probably wouldn't notice anything until the 3rd week. So maybe it was because I had gone to the dentist that morning but my jaw swelled up so I looked like a chipmunk. It was really painful and I couldn't close my mouth all the way. Therefore, I couldn't eat either. I didn't do anything but lay on the couch and then get up and get in the bed. The next morning I felt much better and could shut my mouth. Imagine that. My jaw was still a little puffy and a bit sore. Here's what I looked like. Wow, my eyes look big! But anyways, I look so crazy in that picture. I had my hair in a ponytail but you can see on the right side (which is actually my left side) how my jaw juts out a bit. I have a chubby face but it's even chubbier in this picture. Why am I looking so scared?! It's hard to take good self-portraits. 

So anyways, I felt better all day. I went for my second treatment and went through with flying colors. I am not posting another picture yet because I look exactly the same!  I will post one tomorrow, day 3.
Good Night.