Thankfully, this last week passed fairly uneventfully. James finished his first round of chemo and has continued on with radiation. This week he'll continue with radiation which is relatively easy. It shouldn't cause any new symptoms, it's painless, and helps kill cancer. And their waiting room has free Seattle's Best coffee.
We cannot say enough good about the radiation team. (I promise it's not just the free caffeine talking!) When people come in daily to be "zapped" for 5 minutes or so, you'd think it would be pretty easy to be really mindless about what you're doing. (I mean, not to be crass, but how much attention do you pay to things you put in the microwave on a regular basis?) Instead of just going about their work, however, they are actually paying attention to James and noting if there is any change in his condition from one day to the next.
Because of their attentiveness, James has gotten on some meds that are helping manage his symptoms, and that has obviously helped him pass through this last week fairly easily. He's now on a daily dose of steroids to help control his cough; it works better than the cough syrup he was on, and also keeps him lucid. (Bonus!) He has developed mouth sores, a common side effect of chemo, so he now washes his mouth with this weird chemical solution that - of all things - is banana flavored. His tastes have changed too, but he is eating quite a lot - we both feel like it is a lot more than normal. (And chemo has not taken away his ability to eat really spicy foods either!) Unfortunately, he is gradually losing weight, though no one has gotten concerned about this yet. James also tires easily, which is strange for me to see. He is not nauseated nor is he losing his hair, two side effects we were expecting/dreading. James is continuing to exercise a lot too, which is fabulous (and somewhat surprising to his doctors). So, as far as cancer treatment goes, James is really holding up very well.
Next week we'll start the second round of chemo and will move closer to the awaited half-way mark with radiation where James's cancer gets checked via CT for shrinkage/obliteration. In the meantime, we are just trying to be faithful as we walk this path. We complain less and are more cheery more often, but we get tired. We get annoyed when mentioning a symptom to the doctor means we get home 4 hours later than we planned. We find it just really weird to need medicine every day. And it's a pain to go to the doctor every day (every. day.) (No, seriously. Eeeeeevery day.), and to know we're not even half way yet. Nor do we even have confidence that any of this is actually working. That's strange, right?
So, we need your prayers. We do have confidence that God is at work, no matter what the tumors are or are not doing. We continue to be at peace with whatever God has for us. And our hearts continue to grow in "being still" - which for us has a lot to do with just being OK with where God has us for this season. We are thankful for the care James is getting - through doctors and through you all, who continue to pray, email, and send cards and meals. Thank you so much for your faithfulness. You lighten our load, remind us we are loved, and strengthen us to keep on going. We couldn't ask for anything more! Have a great week, and we will do the same. And who knows - you might even get an extra blog post to surprise you. =)