You will have significant experiences.
I hope that you will write them down and keep a record of
them, that you will read them from time to time and refresh
your memory of these meaningful and significant things.
Some may be funny. Some may be significant only to you.
Some of them may be sacred and quietly beautiful. Some
may build upon another until they represent a lifetime of
special experiences.
- Gordon B Hinckley

Monday, May 25, 2015

Radiation Starts Tomorrow...

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for your continued support!  I’ve received so many texts and emails lately just checking in on us…it’s been so heartwarming.  I must apologize for the delayed update.  These days I’m barely getting everything accomplished before it’s time for bed.  Then, it’s wake up and repeat.  I’m not wanting to complain but things have been overwhelming.  I remind myself every morning that all this is temporary.  How anyone would ever survive this experience without their family and the multitude of supportive friends is beyond me!  We are so blessed to have people we can lean on.  Ok, enough whining.  

Zac starts radiation tomorrow.  Our insurance never did budge on their decision.  I can think of a few choice words to call them but instead I choose to believe that this alternate plan is part of God’s greater plan for Zac and our family.  His radiation oncologist came up with a “comparable plan with a negligible increase in radiation runoff to the surrounding organs” to quote him exactly.  This new plan is really the best we can do.  We can’t wait any longer to fight the insurance as it is the radiation that is holding Zac back from returning to work.  We’ve already lost two weeks to this battle.  It’s time to accept the things we cannot change and move on.  

Zac’s apprehensive about the radiation.  The doctor discussed the side effects at such length that I think we are both nervous about how this is going to go.  Nausea is most common and hits patients immediately after treatment.  Zac will  take an anti-nausea medication 30 minutes before every treatment to help with that.  Luckily the nausea dissipates in the hours following the treatment, unlike chemo where is can linger all day, every day.  The second most common side effect is extreme fatigue.  He’s so tired already that imagining more fatigue is almost incomprehensible.  I know he’s feeling bummed as he’s just started feeling better.  However, the effects of radiation are cumulative, so I’m really hoping that he will feel pretty good for the first few weeks as the radiation cumulates.  But only time will tell.  

This week Zac finally started feeling closer to his old self.  He’s still very fatigued and sore and he’s still learning to accept his physical limits (although they are temporary), but he’s felt his best since the surgery.  He’s started getting out of the house more and now that he can pick up Reece, he’s able to participate more in family life.  That’s been very helpful for all our attitudes ;-)  He continues with physical therapy twice a week.  Zac’s uncle, who is a physical therapist in Folsom, took the time to find Zac’s physical therapist here.  She has experience in rehabilitating back surgery patients like Zac, where the area of insult is very large.  Coming back from this type of surgery isn’t a few month process…it’s likely to be a year before Zac’s back at his baseline function.  Reminding him that his progress is going to be slower is a daily conversation in our house.  He is impatient and frustrated (rightly so) and all of this has been a lesson in learning how to support him in the way he needs.  

This upcoming Saturday we will march in the 2nd annual Central Coast March for Babies to honor Everett.  I’m giving the opening speech and am so excited to march again.  It’s been nice to have something to look forward to and another place to put my mind.  Last year’s walk was so inspiring and I’m looking forward to feeling that closeness to others who have walked our journey.  Last year, Everett was the only surviving child being honored that day…the only surviving child.  We have been so blessed in this life!  If you want to walk with us, let me know and I’d be happy to send you the information.  

As we start on this new challenge, please pray that Zac experiences minimal side effects from the radiation.  Please pray that the radiation only touches the tumor cells and none of the healthy tissues near the tumor.  Please pray that this treatment will bring healing and closure to this chapter in our lives.  Thank you for loving us.  We couldn’t do any part of this without you.  You have blessed our lives and made a difference for us just my being you.  Thank you!


The Bollinger Family


  1. Sara, I never go on facebook, but for some reason did tonight... and then somehow ended up here. I think it's because I need to be praying for you guys. You, Zac (especially), and your boys will be in my prayers every day now. Sometimes life gets busy and you forget that there are people all around you going through things that are bigger than you, and the laundry, and the dishes. Whatever you guys might need, whether big or small, I'm just a phone call away. And my dishes and laundry can wait. ;) You are an amazing person to have endured so much in life already and still have the ability to inspire people the way you do! I am a better person for having known you, truly!
    Love you guys,
    Sara Marsalek

  2. Our thoughts and best wishes are with your family as you continue this journey. No one better than your family good things happen to good people, stay strong and know we are thinking of you.......