Monday, May 30, 2011

Radiation, running, cream

Radiation... I am now going into my third week of radiation. Only five more treatments to go. I have already been through 10 and I must admit that this experience has been much more pleasant that chemo. After a few doctor's appointments to set me up with a mold of my upper body (I got to feel like Han Solo when they were making this thing) and to line me up underneath the laser, I was ready to go. My routine is that I go in, scan my card, go to the dressing room, get dressed in a gown, the nurses come and get me, put me in my mold (I really do not know how a claustrophobic person would be able to handle that one), and zap me! I am in and out within 10 minutes usually. That is way better than six hours of chemotherapy.
Radiation does make you think though. It was such a surreal experience the first time I went in. You do not feel a things, however, all I could think was, "How in the world did I get here?" I would have never guessed that I would be doing this at the age of twenty-two during my last summer at home. Yet, here I am laying underneath a laser. Thank you, God, for medical technology and please let this take it all away.
Running... I am back to running and working out now. It is a slow process of getting back into shape but I am thoroughly enjoying it. Running makes me feel like I am doing something, that I am fighting something. It is hard to feel like you are fighting a disease when you are horizontal on the couch all of the time. Running is active. It is a struggle. And it makes you feel like you are battling. Exercise is also one of the only things that seems to ward off some of the fatigue that comes with radiation.
Ice cream... Radiation is a cake walk until it comes to the radiation sore throat. Because of where I am receiving radiation (on my neck) it makes my throat feel very sore. The only way I know how to describe it is like swallowing two ping pong balls but they are stuck in the upper part of your throat. It hurts really bad to swallow, so I have been doing soft foods like Jello, pudding, protein shakes, and lots and lots of ice cream. Thankfully, Janie, my sister, works at an ice cream parlor and brings me home ice cream all the time. The throat thing really stinks, but I may never have the opportunity to eat ice cream like this again. Just take joy in the small things!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Reflections of a graduate

This past weekend I graduated from college. As I went to graduation practice, met up with friends, and finally walked in commencement, I mulled over what the last four years have been like. Here are some of the lessons I have learned.

* Sometimes, you know where you are going but you do not know exactly why you are going there and that is okay. I could not put my finger on why I was going to High Point University; all I knew is that God was saying "go" and I could not resist.
* Living with someone who is unlike you can be difficult, but you will grow a lot.
* Having good girl friends is essential. Girls, thanks for so many laughs and great conversations.
* We must never think that at any particular moment "we finally got it" or "we arrived at perfection." You will always look back on your freshmen year with fondness but also with the thought that "Man, I was an idiot back then."
* Change happens! and in reference to the above lesson...this is a good thing.
* Creativity in life is a must. In classes, in projects, in entertaining yourself on the weekends, and in reforming dining hall food to look more appealing.
* Spontaneity can be a wonderful thing.
* Late night milk shake runs are a must. Loud music on the car ride there is preferable.
* Studying with someone else leads to great conversations on class material and on life.
* Taking classes with the "crazy" professors is always best. They have more zeal for the subject matter and you will learn in this environment.
* People will enter and exit. Treasure the moments.
* God changes hearts, not you. He calls you to be faithful and He does the work.
* There are moments when you will feel panicked. Whether those moments happen during a late night study session or in having to do something you have never done before. Trust. Not yourself or your abilities. But the Lord.
* Alone time is good.
* Take a fun class every once in a while, something not in your major. At what other time in your life are you going to be able to take a film class.
* Do not sign up for a class just because it sounds challenging. If you do not like Economics or Greek and Roman history, do not sign up for Honors History: the study of the economics of Greek and Roman societies. Poor life choice!
* Encourage one another.
* Grades are not everything.
* Sometimes, things just build up and then the breaking point may be something little and seemingly insignificant like a green bean on your pizza from the dining hall. Prayerfully deal with things as they occur. Do not think you can handle it all.
* College kids like to dress up. Dances always seem to have themes. Therefore, it is important to find a good local thrift store.
* Coffee is necessary. Make friends with the baristas.
* Exam time will always remind you that you are human and not all-knowing.
* Life does not happen just like you visualized or planned. And that is okay.
* There are moments when you realize how awesome God is. It might be on the drive home for fall break as you get to see how the leaves have changed colors. It might be as you study astronomy. It might be as you stand on the side of a volcano during study abroad. It might be while you are alone in your dorm room and you feel small compared to all that is going on around you.

These are just a few lessons. Above all, I realized what Paul said in Philippians; knowing Christ is the highest pursuit. All else changes and fades.
Congratulations graduates!