"No, " he said, "but you will feel like you have a bad sunburn on the inside of your mouth and throat for a while. Oh yeah, and if you like steak now, you might find that it tastes like cardboard when your taste returns. By the way, did you want to add chemotherapy as well?"
"Hmm, then if I eat cardboard will it taste like steak?"
On Monday afternoon we had our first visit with a radiation oncologist at the University of Washington. We're not sure where we're going to have my radiation treatment as we're consulting with doctors from UW, Swedish, and the Flynn Center in Everett.
When we met with Dr. Parthanini, the radiation oncologist at UW, we were surprised to hear that the pathology report showed that my tumor was much more aggressive than anybody expected. It turns out that my tumor was a T4, the most advanced stage, rather than a T2, which is what they thought before surgery, based on the size. The cancer had actually spread from the tongue to the nerves and muscle tissue in the floor of my mouth, as well as to a single lymph node on the right side of my neck.
The good thing is that they were able to get the whole tumor out with negative margins all around. The bad thing is that with tumors with this type of aggressive behavior, they recommend radiation treatment and possibly concurrent chemotherapy.
I've been struggling a little bit just thinking about all the side effects of the radiation and how my life will change as a result. I wonder how hard life will be, or even how long it will be. Sometimes I think about death, but thats not a bad thing to contemplate, since it is our inevitable fate. It is so true that we must walk by faith and not by sight (2Cor. 5). Sometimes I wish I could see what is right around the corner in life, but we just don't know. One thing the Lord has been teaching me lately is to hope not in this life, but the life to come. It's really going to be so awesome to live on the new earth where God Himself will dwell among us and wipe away our tears. And there will be no more death, mourning, crying or pain (Rev 21).
By faith I love, worship and am satisfied with the sweetness and goodness of God in this life, but after I die how much more satisfied I will be when I truly see Him face to face!
When I was a young kid growing up in New Jersey I went through phases where I would be so afraid of what would happen after I died. "Would I just be forever lonely without my family? Will it be black and dark and empty? I don't want to give up my life here, I'm comfortable." I remember times when I couldn't sleep at night and just stared at the ceiling thinking about what happens after we die. Those nights I felt so terrified of it being dark, and lonely forever. One time I got up and went to my parents room and woke them up and told them that I was scared, but I didn't tell them what I was scared of. Then I went back to my room and tried to just not think about it. Then one summer in middle school I remember being gripped by fear of life after death for several weeks. I felt like I could die or the world could end at any time, and I was just so afraid of that happening because I feared the possibility of feeling such emptiness and loneliness forever. Needless to say it made me miserable thinking about it, so I just tried really hard not to think about it for the next several years.
Looking back on those terrifying and uncertain years, I now know why I felt like it would be so lonely if I died. It's because I had no hope of life after death. At that time in my life I didn't have a personal relationship with the Lord and I didn't believe the truth that Jesus died for my sins. In fact, I barely knew anything about the bible or who God is. So those feelings of loneliness were real, and they were right. If I had died back then, I would have been destined to spend eternity empty and alone and without God in hell, where there will be weeping and knashing of teeth forever.
I'm so thankful that I don't have to fear death like I used to when I was a kid. Sometimes I still struggle with fearing death, but not nearly as much as I did a couple months ago. I fear the pain that leads to death more than death itself.
Anyhow, enough about death. Pray that I'll live and that the Lord will heal me completely with radiation treatment.
No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.
Keith Getty & Stuart TownendCopyright © 2001 Kingsway Thankyou Music
1) For wisdom in choosing the right Radiation Oncologist
2) That the Lord would heal me completely no matter how aggressive the cancer
3) For strength to make it through 6 weeks of radiation
4) If the Lord wills that He would minimize the side effects of the radiation and that no other cancer would be induced by it.