The following article is part five of a five part series on a personal experience with Breast Cancer written by Yvette Register
My Breast Cancer Journey: Radiation
ORLANDO I completed my final chemotherapy treatment the last week in August. I was so excited. I remember how I cried my first day. On the last day I grinned the whole time. When I was done I got a chance to ring the bell. It’s a ritual that everyone gets to do when they have completed their last treatment.
I had a three week break before starting radiation to let the side effects of chemotherapy subside. During that time I met with my Radiation Oncologist and radiation technicians who placed markings on the upper part of my body in preparation for treatment. With all the lines drawn on me with a marker, I thought I looked like a human Etch-A-Sketch by the time they finished.
Next, my doctor referred me to a lymphedema therapy specialist because of the swelling in my left arm due to the removal of lymph nodes during surgery. The specialist also works with me on stretching exercises to help restore the range of motion in my arms due to lack of movement over the past several months.
In addition to the above, I celebrated my birthday on September 3rd! I thank God for allowing me to be here for another birthday and for the peach fuzz like hair that is starting to grow back on my head. I’m seeing a lot of gray, though. I said to myself, “Lord I’m not trying to be ungrateful but can I have some brown hair, too?” Don’t worry I’m very grateful to see my hair slowly return.
On September 20th I started the first of 28 radiation treatments. I was done in 15 minutes. That was much better than my five hour chemotherapy treatments. I didn’t cry either. I was prepared for the possible side effects of fatigue and skin irritation. But I was a little nervous about the thought of possible damage to my heart and lung because of the location of the radiation treatment. As I lay on the table, for the first treatment, and the radiation machine started moving around my body I thought, “OK beam, please don’t damage my heart!” Then I realized that the Lord will take care of my heart, too!
Over the past five weeks I have taken you on my breast cancer journey. I’ve covered the diagnosis, assembling my medical and support team, the surgery and my chemotherapy experience. Now I have caught you up to my current radiation treatments. Next week I will begin my fourth week. I’m looking forward to completing my treatments on October 27th.
I’ve come a long way! In February, I came to a detour in the road of life. It was as if the Lord was asking me, “Will you still trust Me now that you have breast cancer?” My answer, “Yes, Lord, I trust You even more now!” He has wiped away my tears and conquered my fears. And He will walk with me in the upcoming years as I continue to go through follow up with my doctors.
As a breast cancer survivor you understand that there is a chance that it could return or show up in another part of the body. My colleague’s late wife, Cindy, taught me a valuable lesson that helps me stay focused. I call it the win/win situation. If I live I win because I get to be here with my family and friends. If I pass I win, because I get to spend eternity in heaven with the Lord.
I’m not worried about leaving just yet. I have to tell as many people as possible about the good news of Jesus Christ. (John 3:16) I have to let as many breast cancer survivors as possible know that they can go through their journey boldly with faith in the Lord. And I pray that I’m here for my son, AJ’s many life experiences.
I thank the Lord for everyone He placed in my life to help me make it through these last nine months. My family and friends have been there every step of the way. Also, the prayers of many continue to help me through the healing process.
Last but not least, I would like to thank Dr. Calvin Collins of the Orlando Times who allowed me to share my journey in this five part series. Because of him I have been able to reach many people and share an experience that has helped strengthen my faith in the Lord. I hope my breast cancer story has been encouraging. Feel free to pass it on to the women you may know who are traveling a similar journey. Tell them Yvette said to live boldly and never stop trusting in the Lord.
(Yvette Register can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
My Life is in Your Hands by Brooklyn Tabernacle