This post is #122 in a year-long series ... Through this series of posts I plan to share our family's experiences during our 17-year-old daughter's year-long battle with brain cancer, which began in February of 2008. My desire is to process through the events of that year from the perspective that a decade of time has brought ... for myself, really. But if you'd like to follow along, you're welcome to join me.
October 29, 2008
Hannah's Facebook status from ten years ago today ... "Hannah is gonna give God the glory when all this is said and done ... no more radiation!"
The picture above was the calendar used by the technicians at CARTI to mark Hannah's radiation treatments in the month of October. Adding stickers to calendar seemed a bit juvenile for someone Hannah's age, but boy, did we celebrate when she stuck that bumblebee on October 29th. She completed similar calendars when she went through radiation the first time in the months of March and April.
When these calendars were combined and all the stickers were added together, they totaled 52. 52! Who gets 52 radiation treatments to their brain?
We were so thrilled that Hannah had come through these 52 radiation treatments relatively unscathed. The dreaded side effects outlined at the beginning of the process, for the most part, had not manifested themselves. Yes, she was bald, her blood counts had taken a pretty good hit, and her throat was mighty sore, but overall, she seemed to be doing remarkably well. We knew there were a number of negative long-term side effects of full brain radiation, but we brushed those concerns aside. After all, what could we do about those? The radiation had been necessary for Hannah's survival, and in about a week, an MRI would reveal how successful it had been.
My email from a decade ago ...
Well, it's official....Hannah has completed her second round of radiation treatments! We were told that she will have an MRI in about a week, and if it shows any remaining tumors, she may have to have some additional radiation, but it would be very targeted, and would just be about 5-10 sessions. Of course, we are praying for a clear MRI, with no sign of any remaining tumors! All together, she has undergone a total of 52 radiation treatments, and she would really like to be done with them for good! We are so thankful that she has come through all of this radiation without experiencing any of the really severe side effects which were described to us at the beginning.
Tomorrow, she will have blood work at our local doctor's office in Hot Springs--no trip to Little Rock needed. If her platelets are low, we will go back to Children's on Friday for an infusion, but that should be her last time to need platelets, since they should begin to rebound on their own soon.
"I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10). This verse pretty much says it all...God has given us supernatural strength to get through these last five weeks. He has also used His people to bless us in so many ways...we are so thankful!
Brad and Jill