(Previously published August 31, 2010)
One down and seven to go.....not that I'm looking to the end, but thankful to have the first chemo treatment behind me and an inkling as to how I should feel on my treatment day and the days following. Last Thursday (first chemo day) was the hardest hitting.
I came home feeling fine and then by early afternoon began going downhill.....nausea, flu-like symptoms, and really, really tired. Thankfully, I was able to sneak away to the bedroom and lay down for a long nap. I didn't awake feeling much better and had little to no appetite, but a little more strength after the nap....enough to take me to the football field to watch the boys practice.
Friday, I awoke feeling pretty much the same. I had to go back to the oncologist Friday morning for my Neulasta shot.....which helps boost my blood counts so I am ready for the next chemo treatment. The dose dense ACT chemo schedule is a one week on, one week off schedule. The Neulasta enables patients to get chemo every two weeks, instead of every 3. But, it sure is an assault to the body! I told the nurses that I was still feeling nauseous, so they prescribed another anti-nausea medicine to take with my other two. I was told that if I was going to experience bone pain from the Neulasta, it would be apparent over the weekend. Praise God that the bone pain never came!
Friday came with mild nausea....kind of how I felt when I was pregnant, the nausea was there, but I could push through it and still function. I still didn't have much of an appetite, and overall just felt run down and tired. Everyone has been telling me to listen to my body, when it needs rest....give it rest. I am heeding that advice and very thankful that my 13 year old is adept at running the household, so I can sneak away for naps.
Friday night we had been invited to a friend's house for an end of summer swim party. The kids were so excited to go, and whereas I was tired, I wanted to go for the kids. Disease is hard that way. As the body is afflicted and trying to heal, it is tired and weak and the daily joys and pleasures can be robbed as the lack of energy and pain prevails.
My children have begun to see that side of disease. That my body is tired. That I have to lay down more often. That I'm not able to do all that I did before cancer became a part of our lives. I pray this is temporary. And whereas I know this is teaching them yet again a deeper level of compassion, that they are gaining perspective on human suffering, that they are learning themselves to go to God with their fears and trust him, and learning lessons on selflessness, the power of prayer, and on and on......I don't want them to see me this way. Selfish, I know. I want them to see me whole and healthy. I want to protect them from seeing me weak. I want to be fully engaged, always. I want to be available when they need me. I want to give them a full and happy life, without this disease defining our daily schedule and lives.
And yet, this life and their lives is not about what I want. It is about what God wants and what He wants to do in an through me. Once again, I am learning the lesson of letting go of my daily schedule and my kids to the Lord in a whole new way. Of laying down my wants, for what God wants. And that maybe as my children see me with their eyes as weak, they will see a God at work in me that isn't. That maybe, the very way I desire my kids not see me physically, is the way that God wants them to see me, that we all can be taught more about Him. God is the definer, I am to be the servant, who follows after Him. His wants for my children. His dreams. His schedule. His plan. So quickly I get wrapped in the physical, what I see with my eyes and what I know, what I feel. God is concerned with my relationship to Him....my faith, my love for Him....the pursuit of holiness: His holiness.
As I sat down this morning for another Vit. C treatment, I pulled out My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers....guess what the title was? "Destined to be holy." There it is in one phrase, what God desires for us from this life taken from 1 Peter 1:16 "
"....it is written, Be holy, for I am holy."
As Chambers writes, "We must continually remind ourselves of the purpose of life. We are not destined to happiness, nor to health, but to holiness. Today we have far too many desires and interests, and our lives are being consumed and wasted by them. Many of them may be right, noble and good, and may later be fulfilled, but in the meantime God must cause their importance to us to decrease. The only thing that truly matters is whether a person will accept the God who will make him holy. At all costs, a person must have the right relationship with God. Do I believe I need to be holy?"
Holiness, as Chambers states, means absolute purity of your walk before God, the words coming from your mouth and every thought in your mind-placing every detail of your life under the scrutiny of God Himself.
And so in my physical weakness, I am placing the mother child role and relationship under the scrutiny of God Himself. I am placing my physical pain before Him, my thoughts and my words. Every word and every thought of mine is not holy. I continually go before the Lord asking for forgiveness in this area. And by His grace, I am forgiven and press on pursuing Him and His holiness even more. That this very cancer, that which to me is ugly, which robs me of time with my husband and children, which causes me to retreat bed.....will draw me into an even deeper relationship with the God who created me and calls me to be holy. That this journey will go to the heart of sin deep within me and in the end, be the tool needed to cleanse away that which is unholy. Oh may I not run from this, but embrace it.
And so......Along with the nausea and tiredness came a weekend filled with a whole slew of activities: away football game on Saturday, Harescramble race Sunday morning....Barclay took the two older boys to the race, I stayed back at home with Luke and Jed as I needed to be at church for Women's Ministry fall Bible Study registration and then Luke had an afternoon football game.
I thank God for His mercy and grace as He brought me through this chemo treatment. Saturday was again defined with nausea and just an overall tiredness, but I made it to Seth's 1st football game. By Sunday, my strength was being renewed. I awoke that morning with no bone pain, very mild nausea and beginning to feel like myself again. Off we went to church and then Luke's football game.
Monday morning, my energy was restored, the nausea was gone and another school day was underway. I am thankful that I get a week of reprieve from doctor's appointments and treatments...only one appt. today for Vit. C. It is nice to be back in the throes of being a mom with some semblance of normalcy. But as God reminded me today.....healthy or sick, weak or strong....the circumstance and day to day is constantly changing....but he doesn't. My happiness cannot be based on how I am feeling that day. My happiness, my joy, is found in God alone and is available every moment of every day. What matters is that I am pursuing Him and allowing Him to use my weakness through this cancer that He may be shown strong. That He posses me, not this cancer. May He shine when I am laying down, sick and weak....or when I am standing up.....healthy and strong. Either way....I am His and continue to daily pursue His Holiness.