(Previously published October 11, 2010)
I sometimes wish there were more hours in the day.....but these days those hours might be spent sleeping.
That's where I've been the last couple of days. Going to bed early and rising later than I should share. So not like me, but coming to terms with the new and hopefully temporary "me."
Treatment on Wednesday went well. Well, as good as chemo can go. Surely not my favorite place to be, but God uses that time to open my eyes to so much pain and suffering around us. To fill me with compassion unlike I've known before. To see those chairs filled week after week causes my heart to ache for each person God puts before my eyes. I've had the privilege to hear from some of their hearts as our paths cross in the chemo lounge (as I call it.) It is my privilege to usher their name up unto the Lord, or sometimes just their description.....as God knows their names intimately. Their faces are forever etched upon my heart and mind.
My sweet friend and ministry right hand, Adrianne, came to treatment with me, as Barclay was only able to stay for a bit. There was a slight bump in the road as we waited for my blood work to come back. Each treatment is contingent on good blood counts, as chemo goes to work not only on the bad cells, but also the good. My hemoglobin came back low. I am running around a 10 and normal is 12-16. That would explain my overall fatigue. I have found recently that even after sleeping a full night, I wake up tired.
They were still able to give me my treatment, but now will be watching my blood counts weekly versus every 2 weeks. As of now, my oncologist isn't doing anything to help elevate the levels. I see Dr. Bazzan (Integrative MD) on Wednesday and will talk more with him about what I can do to help bring the numbers up. Ultimately, I know that God can raise these levels, so can I ask you to pray that God raises them as only He can?
The post-treatment days went according to the previous weeks. Wednesday night I was met with extreme fatigue and nausea. I crawled into bed around 7Pm that night. Thursday, I felt a bit run down, but able to function throughout the day. Precious friends offered to help with the children that day. After Thursday morning Bible Study, the older boys went for a playdate and Faith and Jed went for an overnight with other friends. They were all thrilled to have the afternoon off from school. I headed back to the Cancer Center for my Neulasta shot and then home to find this waiting for me.
Dinner had been brought in and was tucked away in our fridge with the overflow welcoming me on our kitchen island. This huge mum and pumpkin the topping on the cake. To say that we have been showered upon by the love of many is an understatement. My heart cannot encompass the generosity, love, and true beauty that we have experienced through friends and the body of Christ. We have been the recipients of God's love in action. Thank you seems inadequate but all that I have right now. I can't wait to shower His love back on each of you in the years to come.
And then set beside this bounty was yet another token of God's provision and His hands this side of heaven...While driving home from the Cancer Center, I had called a friend to ask her how to cook beans. With low hemoglobin, beans are a good source of iron, especially since I have limited my intake of red meat. Her beans rock! After asking her what I needed, she offered to make me a batch of black-eyed peas. Well, she sure was speedy and had not only made the beans, but had run them to my house, sitting them in the midst of the bounty and greeting me upon arrival. And yes, they were yummy. Still eating them over brown rice.
The fatigue really hits me by late in the afternoon. I made my way to bed early on Thursday, slept until 8:30 Friday morning. Friday was the hardest. As my body fights against the chemo, it is like fighting a nasty flu. My body has trouble regulating its temperature, my eyes feel hot, my muscles ache and a general run-down feeling sets in deeply. All of this, on top of nausea that lays as an undertone upon the body. I laid low all day Friday.
And then Saturday, and new day dawned. We were off to football, once again. The body pushes through the drugs, and the light begins to show through the clouds. Energy comes in small bursts and life begins to feel manageable again. A sigh and thankful heart that another round is behind me. One step closer.
My body is tired, but my heart faints not, for the God of the universe is sustaining me daily. He continually meets me in my weakness and shows me His greatness. He reminds me that I am "kept by the power of God through faith." (1 Peter 1:5) He is holding me so tightly in His grip. There is no other place I'd rather be.
Back in August, God spoke this verse to my heart in my quiet time. He has brought it before me again, a reminder of His sustaining power....
"The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive, And he will be blessed on the earth; You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed." Psalm 41:2,3