It has begun! I have had two radiation treatments so far, and things are going well. I am happy to report that everyone was right, radiation is a cake walk compared to chemo.
A couple of weeks ago, before treatments started, I went in for what they call, a simulation. They gave me four tiny tattoos and made a mold for me to lay in during treatments, to ensure they'll radiate to the exact same spot every time.
Here's the radiation site.
It's pretty easy. Every day, I go to Huntsman, change into a gown, then they walk me back to the "Vault." I'm always in #3. (lovely name huh? ha. Jake teased, "okay now Jentrie, you'll be in casket #1. Come this way. ;) ) I lay in my mold on a metal table, then they position me under the big radiation machine. Once i'm lined up, it's go time. Everyone leaves and they run the machine from outside. For about 30 seconds, I hear a clicking sound, which is the radiation coming from above, down to my chest. Then the machine moves down, back behind me, and clicks again for 30 seconds. That's it! Everyone comes back in, helps me up, and i'm done for the day. Easy! You can't see or feel anything as you're laying there. It's just like getting an x-ray. I'm probably inside the hospital for 10 minutes before i'm on my way home again.
As for now, no side effects, other than fatigue. But I can't complain about that.
I've enjoyed feeling well again! I was able to go on the funnest trip with my mom and sisters, then when I got home, I was lucky to have been asked to speak at a little Mother's Day luncheon.
I was terrified out of my mind, but walked away feeling like I gained far more than I could have possibly given. I couldn't help but feel the spirit so strongly, as I looked out and saw so many beautiful women. I felt of our Heavenly Father's love for His daughters, and I saw, and felt, of the power that we hold.
I was recently reading, again, in Alma, about the young 2,000 stripling warriors. These faithful, brave, and exemplary young men, said something to their leader, before battle, something that is so profound and powerful. It read,
"...they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it."
After having to go to battle against an experienced army, because of their faith, and living what their mothers had taught them, not one of them was killed.
All I wrote in my notes after reading those verses was, 'Be a mother like that!'
I am honored to be a mother. Like I've said, it is my greatest blessing, and my greatest trial. I am pretty sure I am not alone in my feelings, especially when I say that the pressure we put on ourselves, as women and mothers, to be this and to do all of that, is sometimes more than we can possibly take. Even reading about those amazing mothers who taught their children to be so strong and unwavering...though it gives me hope and a desire to be like them, it also makes me think, 'Great! How in the world am I supposed to teach my kids that too.'
Well, I am grateful for a mother who helped me find and know the answer to that... I am not alone in this, and there is someone who I can rely on. That is my Heavenly Father.
I know that He is the most proud of His daughters. He knows we are trying our best. He knows it's hard, and He knows we can do it. But, only if we rely on Him and let Him be our partner in raising the precious gifts He trusts us with. I know that if I let Him help me with this big job, we will be happy, taken care of, and I will receive strength and inspiration as I love my family. My children will know that I knew it, and that is all I could ever ask for.
Yesterday while at the grocery store, (speaking of mundane tasks. Does anyone else feel like they live at walmart?!) the cashier said to the woman in front of me, "Oh and Happy Mother's Day, if there's a baby at home." I have replayed that moment so many times since, and have not stopped thinking about what she said.
Here's what I wish I could go back and say to that (very nice and outgoing) cashier...
'Every woman is a mother. Every woman is a nurturer and helps in the great task of raising the future generation. Every woman has the ability to uplift and inspire and a duty to love and teach. Some women have had to find a way to survive after losing a child. Some women have to suffer through the heartache of infertility. Some women haven't had the chance to marry and have a family of her own. They are all mothers. So, next year, say Happy Mother's Day to every woman you see.'
I am so grateful for my mom and my mother-in-law who have gone above and beyond these last six months. They have been a mother, to not only me, but my children. The only thing I ever worried about, and really struggled with, was not being able to be the mom I wanted to be to my kids. I hated being a sick mom, but will eternally be grateful that my children were being taken care of by two of the most qualified, loving, and Christlike women I know.
This quite describes them perfectly. And is the very thing I am trying to become.
“Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.”
― Margaret D. Nadauld
Happy Mother's Day!
*Can you guess which flower is my favorite? :)
As I was writing this, I was reminded of a beautiful post my husband, Jake, wrote last year. He has a heart of gold, and a heart that loves me more than I deserve. He is my greatest example, my best friend, and my biggest fan. I thank him every day for working so hard to allow me to fulfill my dream of being a mother. He loves his Heavenly Father, and His son, Jesus Christ. Here is his beautiful insight:
I generally refrain from voicing my beliefs online because there is so much hatred and negativity out there, but I feel strongly that I have to share what I know to be true. I, like many out there, do not have all of the answers, but there are a few things I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, and one of those is that Motherhood is Priesthood. It is God’s literal power given to women to perform His work. I have felt God’s power in my life many times, but I have never witnessed it so tangible and so real as when I watched my wife give birth to our children. In this act, I saw God, real and alive in her. She was sacrificing everything, even until the brink of death, to give birth to one of God’s spirit children. This was not a power given to me, and this is not a power that I had, or will ever have, the capacity to carry. In those moments I was helpless, small, and in awe of the majesty, strength and courage found in my wife and in the Priesthood power that was hers alone to carry. I not only witnessed God, but I witnessed his Son in my wife as she alone bore that burden, responsibility and privilege. God’s love for his daughters is real, and the power he has given them I will never possess. I know to many out there it seems unfair that woman have to sacrifice so much, but in those moments as I watched my wife hold my children after giving herself completely to them, I saw celestial love. I saw two perfected beings, united in a bond that was theirs alone. We don’t speak of our Heavenly Mother much, but it is my firm belief that this is in reverence to who she is and the special power she alone holds. I also believe that God our Father and our Heavenly Mother are one, and they act in perfect harmony, just as the Father the Son, and the Holy Ghost. So, when we speak of God and His attributes, we are speaking of our Heavenly Mother as well.
I have been given different Priesthood responsibilities in my household, as well as in the church because there is work to be done...not a work in organizing the church but a work inside of me. If I am to be worthy of the Godliness and power that my wife already posses as a woman and mother, there are sacrifices and changes I must make, through the righteous exercise of my Priesthood power. I truly believe that a lifetime of Priesthood service will not even come close to the purity and perfection that I witnessed in my wife, and continue to witness on a daily basis as she cherishes, loves, and cares for our children. She is fulfilling the greatest and most important of all Priesthood powers and it is a power that I cannot fulfill. The world wants us to believe that there is a power and a prestige that can only be found as woman break “traditional” roles and achieve status in the workplace. They want us to believe that motherhood is degrading and that a woman who chooses this life is selling herself short. She is not. This is a lie, and conducting a meeting or organizing a calling chart does not come close to the power of motherhood.
Are there imperfect men who think that their Priesthood makes them better than woman? Yes, but amen to the power and authority of that man because it is null and void. Do I think women can, and should, progress in the workplace? Yes. In fact, I currently work for, and with, woman who are some of the smartest and strongest people I have ever met. Politically is there more to be done? Of course, but our society needs Mothers who are unflinching in that role. You can work or not work, you can be whatever you want to be as a woman, and I will teach my daughter just that; but I will never let her, for one second, think that Motherhood is anything less than the power of God given to her. Is that a burden? Will it require sacrifice? Yes, but it is also her privilege to know God the Father, our Heavenly Mother, as well as their living Son Jesus Christ in a more real way than any man ever has, or ever will.
I know there are some women out there who cannot bear children in this life, and some who are not members of my faith; however, I want those women to know that they have these same powers inside of them and as they use the inherent Priesthood powers given to them in all that they do, they will make the world a better place.
I don’t really have a following and I probably won’t get many comments on this post, but if there are negative comments, I ask that anyone defending my points here do so with the spirit of Christ. And please, do not spread the hatred and contention that pervades the internet, both believers, and non-believers alike. Simply share your witness of any truths that you feel my post contains. I love my wife, I love motherhood and I love womanhood. I pray every day that I might be united with my wife as I strive to be worthy of the sacrifices she has made for our family and the Priesthood power she carries. Womanhood and Motherhood, are truly Gods power on earth.
- Jake Williams