James has spent this week getting prepped for cancer treatment. On Tuesday we met with the radiologist who first expressed sympathy for James's diagnosis and then continued to be upbeat about James's treatment. (Truly a special breed of people who are a) brilliant enough to be doctors b) compassionate enough to deal with cancer patients and c) "odd" enough to be upbeat and positive among people who are often scared, depressed, or even, sometimes, dying.) We all had a good laugh together when the power went out. The three of us were sitting in complete darkness while we waited for the doctor to get out his phone-flashlight. I told him it made us feel really at home to have the power go out and that we'll remember our "China-moment" with him for a long time.
James came home from that appointment marked up with Xs all over his chest, back, and stomach and special instructions printed in bold on his discharge notes, "DO NOT WASH OFF MARKINGS." (I am still trying to imagine the special kind of person that reminder/rule was written for.)
The radiologist will finish mapping out James's tumors early this next week (not to be a jerk to radiologists, but this is apparently a very complicated process...shows how daft I am), and then James will be scheduled for those daily treatments. James will have at least 33 radiation treatments. The radiologist believes that thankfully, James will not have symptoms from radiation until about half way through. After 20 treatments, the radiologist will reassess (via CT) and determine how much more radiation James needs.
Yesterday James had his port placed for chemo and blood draws. It involved two small incisions in the upper left corner of his chest. The port is placed under the skin with tubes feeding into his veins. Right now it's just a big bulging lump under his chest, but starting Monday, it will allow for quick hookup to chemo and keep him from having IVs put in, or having to be poked for routine blood draws. It is very painful, though James is not one to complain. He seemed to be doing so well this morning that I asked, "Does it hurt?" He responded, "How could it not?!" Good point.
We continue to be thankful for all of your prayers and emails, daily reminders of God's grace to us in this time. We are all trying to adjust to this new normal - not only of spending a great deal of time at the hospital meeting doctors, getting poked, sliced open, or drawn on, and/or drinking bad coffee with bad TV...but life in America too. So much has changed that it's truly hard to believe that just a month ago I was drinking genuinely delicious coffee in our restaurant made by our staff while my kids played with their toys in our house with their friends. Most days it feels very hard on most of us to have given all of that up, at least for the time being. We find ourselves continually surrendering ourselves to God and His plans for us, trusting Him to bring very real good out of this bizarre and difficult season of our lives. We know He will and wait expectantly to see more of Him.