Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Radiation Rewind

December.  It's the most wonderful time of the year, right?  Had this been a 'normal' December, I would have been pulling out the cute holiday t-shirts for school, scheduling a quick family photo session for the perfect Christmas picture, and coming up with all kinds of activities and outings for my kiddos to keep us occupied over the break.  By now you can guess that this December has been anything but normal.

December 1 - 5:  First week of cranial radiation treatments.  Paige had gone through the simulation a few weeks earlier, so she knew what to expect.  However, the newest leg of this journey had us all a bit on edge.  Of course, Paige was amazing--as usual.  On the very first day, she checked herself in and didn't look back when the technicians came to get her.  I think she was on a mission to get it over and done--I was actually glad she didn't turn around that first day, as this momma had some very watery eyes.  Watery, teary--take your pick. 

Thankfully, radiation is a relatively quick procedure.  It actually took longer to get her into position than it did to administer it.  In fact, Paige estimated the total radiation time at just over 20 seconds.  These short appointments were very different from those long clinic and chemo days earlier in her treatment.  More than anything, this stuff wore Paige out.  She was more fatigued than I'd seen her in quite some time, and she experienced headaches (this was to her brain, after all) that we were able to get under control.  The two-day break of the weekend gave Paige a chance to really, truly rest and let her body prepare itself for the following week.

December 8 - 10:  The last few days of treatments were basically a repeat of the previous week.  Fatigue and headaches continued, but these side effects were still manageable.  We had a countdown going, and it was pretty incredible seeing Paige come out and ring the bell after her eighth--and final--radiation treatment!  What an awesome way to wrap up this leg of the journey!

December 16: Still feeling the effects.  It's now been almost a week since Paige has received radiation.  While the headaches have subsided, the fatigue continues.  Her doctors said this could last a little while, but we've learned to be patient through this process.  We take it one day at a time.  One victory at a time.

It does look like radiation is going to take Paige's hair.  Most kiddos get this treatment at the end of the last phase, when they're still pretty bald.  Delays and make-up doses of chemo gave her hair the chance to start the growing process.  In fact, my girl had a nice little covering of hair working for a while--and then it hit.  That weird feeling on her scalp she refers to as her hair 'jumping ship.'  Again.  To say she is upset about this turn of events is an understatement.  The first time around devastated Paige--her long, beautiful hair came out little by little, day after day, until it was all gone.  The second time she had the littlest bit of peach fuzz until a series of very intense chemo treatments took it away.  This time was different.  She was getting more comfortable, more confident.  While it's not something Paige wanted to experience a third time around, I've gotta say she rocks the look--and she knows it!  Besides, that hair will come back before too long.

Come to think of it, this really is the most wonderful time of the year.  My girl knocked out radiation treatments before Christmas, she's getting healthier and stronger every day, and she is here.  Can't ask for anything more than that.

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.   Romans 5:3-4

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