Oh… My achin’ back, or should I say… broken?

Monday morning the oncology team let me know that an MRI had revealed that the pain in my back between the shoulder blades was actually a vertebrae they called the T3.  The cancer had attacked that vertebrae and had eaten the front of the bone so much that the tumor was about to sever my spinal chord.  I was fortunate that the fall I had taken a few weeks before hadn’t actually severed it.  The vertebrae above and below the damaged one were almost touching on the front side.  The MRI also revealed that my T10 and T11 were both fractured and the T10 was the worse of the two.  Because they couldn’t administer chemotherapy they wanted to start radiation that same day.  Some time that morning a neurosurgeon came in to let me know that someone would be coming by to fit me with a back brace.  He gave my nurse instructions that I wasn’t allowed out of the bed, at any time, without it on.  About an hour and half before my first radiation treatment, the SuperTeam comes in.  The entire church staff. Melanie had stepped out of the room for a breather and Pastor Earl asked her what was going on.  She filled him in on the back report and told him that I was refusing radiation.  The doctors were so adamant about the necessity of the treatment to prevent paralysis that they told us they would give us time to think and they would be back. He asked how long before the treatment. She told him about an hour and twenty mintues. I remember telling the Lord, the doctors, & Melanie, that I didn’t want radiation and that I wanted my creatinine level to be a 1.0 in order to start chemo. I knew too many people that had been hurt by radiation.  I was scheduled for 1 treatment per day for the next 12 days.  I wasn’t looking forward to this. We finally all came into agreement that I should go ahead with the radiation and Pastor and the SuperTeam prayed a prayer of protection over me.  They spoke the Word and brought the peace of God into the room.  During their visit, a couple of nurses came in and quickly backed out when they saw the team. When the nurses on duty later asked me about that third team I said, “they were the only team that really mattered… my church staff. One of the nurses who told me she was a believer said that she actually felt the Glory of God when she came into the room. On the second day of radiation they were marking me for tattoos that I would be receiving before the next treatment. After coming out of the treatment unit on the second day I was met by a rather panicky,radiation doctor. The main thing I remember was how big her eyes were and how stressed her comments were making the technicians. I said, “Doctor could you hold on for a moment? We haven’t met but you seem very stressed about something and I need you to calm down”.  I guess my voice was rising a bit because I noticed a couple of the techs were vacating the procedure area.  She looked at me and said sternly, “Mr. Clay, you apparently have no idea of the severity of your condition. Even now you are beginning to lose the function of the lower half of you body. The test are showing that it is getting increasingly harder for you to move your legs.” I just looked at her and said, “Doctor, are you aware that I have pitting edema?”  She looked at me and said, “No, I wasn’t. May I have a look?”  The fact was, I couldn’t move my legs easily even if I wanted to because the swelling was restraining the movement.  I could walk with assistance but the pain wasn’t worth the effort. The funny thing is that I never saw that doctor again.  The next morning about 10 minutes before my next radiation treatment one of the doctors from the oncology team came rushing in and announced that my 5:00 am blood draw revealed that my creatinine level had dropped to 1.0 and that we were starting chemotherapy immediately!  No more radiation! God had answered my prayer in just a few short days and saved me from radiation damage. To this day, I count that first sequence of events as a victory.  As usual, Satan doesn’t just roll over and play dead when you win a battle. He had some other things up his corrupted sleeve…

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