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Monday, August 16, 2010

First Radiation Treatment ........ Entry 25

Greetings all. We are in Torbay - The second fastest growing community in Newfoundland!

This morning began with an early rise then off to the Health Sciences Center.
The super friendly folks there introduced themselves while ushering me off to a comfortable little room. I began my first chemotherapy session around 9:30 and was there until around 5:30p.m Karen was with me and we passed the time together. I was pretty comfortable because I was in bed. Karen had to sit along side me and make the best of it.
God love her!

I was originally scheduled to begin the radiation treatment at 3:30, but because of some hospital computer problems I didn't get started until almost 6:30.
Even though it was "one of those Mondays" for the staff,they kept smiling and cheerful faces for all to see.

God Love em!

I sure hope our friends back in Gander at the Cancer clinic had a GREAT day today!

God love em too!

I always do my best to smile and encourage people when they are having a rotten day,even when I feel impatient and cranky myself.
There are a whole bunch of Scriptures that encourage us to be this way!
Job for example: “I will leave off my sad countenance and be cheerful.” Job 9:27
scriptures tell us to"Guard the heart for it is the wellspring of life" (Proverbs 4:23).

When you put the best side out...it brings power to your Christian witness,helps you make new friends AND it allows God to bless you the way he wants to!

Time for Radiation

Before I describe the radiation, let me tell you about The Mask .

A few weeks ago I was fitted with a special mask that is designed to keep my head PERFECTLY still while the radiation is directed to the right place. They begin by placing you on a hard table with your head laying on a block,and your knees elevated by a piece of styrofoam. They take a piece of white plastic that is filled with holes and place it in a hot water bath. When it is up to temperature, nice and hot ,the sheet becomes very soft and moldable. Around the edges there is a metal frame with holes.
They pull the sheet over your face,very quickly line up the holes with a locking device on the table,lock it, then set to molding it all around your features. You feel them poking and pulling the plastic around your face until it makes a perfect fit, The locks prevent any movement, so when the plastic hardens it becomes a device that you can see and breathe through,but prevents you from moving at all. They place a cold cloth on the mask to help it set faster. If you are claustrophobic it might cause some stress. If you use your imagination it might feel something like a facial sauna.
Shape and appearance wise, it looks kind of like the headpiece of an Egyptian mummy. (less the gold trim!)

Getting Ready
When my turn came for radiation treatment I entered a room that was rather cool temperature wise. Soft music was playing in the background.
Like most special hospital rooms with special equipment , the unfamiliar environment effect was enhanced by the presence of equipment and machines I had never seen before.
Two friendly radiologists greeted me and apologized for the delay. I was asked to lay down on the hard table ,arms by my side,a block under my head and a styrofom pillow to elevate my knees.
They explained the procedure. My job was to relax,breath normally and wait for the process to finish. First some pictures to make sure the alignment was perfect,and then the radiation. You don't see or feel anything through the process which lasts about twenty minutes.

I see and feel things all the time. Too nosy to relax! Once on the table I get a chance to view the machine. At the head of the table there is a device which rotates a camera and radiation device around your head. It hums and chirps as it does it's job.
Looking up,you see a white ceiling that looks as if a large circle has been cut into it. The inside of the circle is black and has a number of little bright lights scattered through it. It is similar to lying down and looking at the night sky. Quite an effect.
Then comes the mask.
The mask is secured and clamped.
It is tight. Very snug indeed .
You take a breath and ask for grace to stay calm. I didn't do too bad at all.

During the treatment I envisioned the radiation as God's healing rays. Beautiful healing rays carrying the prayers and power of Jesus and His Church.- a gift of life.

May His healing rays wash over you and every need in your life.

All in all today went well.
The only turmoil in my heart and mind is wondering what the effects of the combined treatments will be. I know that the Chemotherapy's effects will settle in after a few days and my white cell count will drop. I also know that the radiation will cause throat irritation,loss of appetite,loss of saliva and possible remove my ability to eat.

But, armed with a feeding tube,great staff around and the gift of faith, we will overcome!

One of the things that made my day easier in terms of getting ready was a letter from an old friend and parishioner from a former parish . She has been through something very similar to my illness and has taken the time to share her story with me via email. She helped me prepare for today,and has blessed me greatly. Thank you my sister.

Thank you everyone for all the notes of encouragement.

The other was St. Martin's on Sunday.
I was able to conduct the morning worship services with the help of Revd. Brian. The encouragement and love I receive from the Church is much more than just a feeling. I have carried a strength that comes from outside - the gift of faith generated by my life in Christ and my life in his beloved Church.
During the worship and around the time of the Peace, Revd. Brian wisely called the Vestry members forward and asked the congregation to join their hearts in prayer as he anointed me for healing.

It was a powerful time for us all. Mine and Karen's hearts were blessed greatly.Healing flowed to us all.

Here is a passage from James (chapter five) that speaks about healing power in the Christian way of life.

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord and the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.

Thank you for the gift of faith and fellowship everyone. May God bless you daily,and keep you in the light of His love.


Anonymous said...

During the treatment I envisioned the radiation as God's healing rays. Beautify healing rays carrying the prayers and power of Jesus and His Church.- a gift of life.

Beautifully put. I love you.

Joanne Laite said...

We are praying for you and Karen that this road you are about to travel isn't too bumpy. You know where we are if you need anything.

The Laite family

Anonymous said...

Hi Rev John,
We're keeping a close watch on your blog and praying for you every day. If you would like your favourite chair delivered to Torbay for your stay there, we may be able to get it delivered to you. Let us know.
Sending our love,
Deryldene and Geoff

Anonymous said...

That Computer trouble that delayed things , wasn't like you had with your computer and everything was gone to French was it? Make sure you get the English version, I enjoy your sermons ( I really do, I'm trying be sure when my pass becomes my future I have the picture right ...see I really do listen ) but I don't speak French so I wouldn't understand them ...

Take Care , Give Karen a Hug for us ( I know she likes them) and we may see you before the weekend ...

God Bless

Garry & Ada & Family

Sandra said...

Praying everyday for the healing powers of the Great Physician to surround you and Karen. Reading your blog has given me encouragement and strength to continue "hanging in there" as Dean battles pancreatitis again ...

Anonymous said...


Attwood Collette said...

Hi Rev John;
Just returned from another great Mint Brook Camp.Thought of you often & the many wonderful moments shared with you there.The weather was beautiful,which allowed us to have a fire @ night.While singing & praying I asked God to surround you with his love and healing.I thought of your many prayers for me and my family.I thought of your love for our many campers.I thought of how much of an example you have set for so many young people.I have seen my Jesus through you and for that I have been so blessed.Hang in there & remember you are loved by so many.

Stella said...

Loved what you said about seeing the radiation as the healing rays of God. Over the past months, whenever I pray for you and don't know where you are geographically, that's what I do. Imagine you surrounded by the white healing light of Jesus. :-)