First Week After Radiation

“‘I will not leave you as orphans…'” — Jesus, John 14:18

From James:

This was the first full week without radiation. (Radiation ended on February 2.) We are adjusting to a new routine at home. The trip back and forth to Baltimore made us long for the way things were before the diagnosis. Well, I suppose we would long for those days regardless, but it is comforting to have a routine that does not involve getting irradiated.

So Young is resuming activities that she hasn’t been doing regularly in quite some time. Since treatment has ended, she plays a very active role in getting the kids ready for school every morning. She has started making everybody’s breakfast and packing lunch for them. I help, although I have to admit that I am now spoiled in this regard. I drive the younger kids to school, and Mom picks them up. So Young often makes dinner for the family, but I am making dinner more often now and am actually excited about the opportunity to cook more.

We are still receiving meals — twice a week or more — from generous neighbors, friends, and family. My work bought us a number of frozen meals from Let’s Dish that we are eating as well.

This week was rather busy, with So Young spending time with friends on most days. One difference between now and just after the diagnosis is that we don’t worry as much about her being home alone. In fact, she enjoys it, because it gives her an opportunity to rest and organize things (she has become a big organizer). She also tries to get a run in every day. Training for the half marathon starts February 21!

So Young is in good health generally. Her major symptoms are vision loss from the tumor  and tiredness from the radiation.

Her vision is still quite bad. She can’t drive (of course) and struggles to read and therefore usually doesn’t try to. There are signs that her eyesight has improved, however. With effort, she can read words with relatively small fonts. She can cook, although identifying the “done-ness” of meat is hard. My mom and I insist that So Young’s vision has improved, but So Young still thinks it is because she is just adjusting to her condition. She says that in the middle of her eye there is “static” and that there are spots of darkness. She says it’s sad but tries not to complain, which really is true. She might get frustrated, but she doesn’t whine about it at all. We are hopeful that in few months her vision will be restored.

So Young takes a nap every day if possible. When she can’t, she feels tired, and there is a cumulative effect if she lacks rest over a few days. The steroids she is taking also (paradoxically) keep her up at night. (One praise is that So Young is weaning off the steroids, which have helped in many ways but also have bad side effects.)

A lot of people ask how the kids are doing, and frankly they are doing great. There was  period where we had some difficulty, but the structure that my mother provided, along with firm discipline, resolved the problem for the most part. I don’t know that there are no psychological effects in the children, but they seem just about the same as they were before the diagnosis.

One quick anecdote to show how we’ve been blessed in this situation. I’ve told a few people about this. We have received a lot of money from our friends at Ambassador Bible Church and my workplace. We received a generous amount before, all of which was used to pay doctor’s bills. (I only use the money for So Young’s medical treatment.) More recently, I was taking an inventory of the amount I was about to pay, essentially outflow from my bank account to the various healthcare providers. I then added up how much I had received from the church and work: precisely the same amount I was about to pay to the doctors. If that isn’t a sign, I don’t know what is. It is as if God is saying, “Yes, I know this is hard, and sometimes you might feel abandoned, but I love you and am with you. You are not alone.”


3 Responses

  1. God does love you and all of His people. I am very thankful to all of those who shared so generously with our family. May God richly reward them today and always. Mom

  2. I’m so glad to read that things in your house are slowly returning to a sense of normalcy. Just want you to know that you’re in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Thank you, Charlotte, for checking up on me and all your encouragement! Love, So Young (A.K.A. Ruby)

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