That night I was feeling remarkably better than with previous treatments. The kids and I went for a walk. A 2 1/2 mile walk actually. It was great! None of the weird brain humming noises. No chemical fuzziness. Really this week has felt pretty darn good. I did experience a few symptoms, but when you compare it to the last round? this was minimal. They were still annoying and uncomfortable at times. Gentle reminders that I am still in fact fighting cancer and undergoing chemo treatments, but friends, that's what Tylenol is for. And let's just say that my nurse is not the only one with great distraction techniques. I am becoming a skilled master in the art of diversion. If I don't want to think about having cancer and dealing with chemo, I fill my house with teens, snacks, and more snacks. Done! This trick never fails me and I love having them all around.
A few weeks back, a new friend from Boise asked me a question. I think he just wanted to see where I was at mentally and to challenge me to really think about the cancer, and look past the obvious. When I responded, I was kinda just throwing up whatever popped into my mind as I sat pondering the question. He asked simply, "What am I gaining or learning about myself in this whole process?" My response to him was this...
"I am gaining an empathy for others with cancer that before had been held at bay by fear. I am learning so much. One thing in particular is that it isn't always about me, even if it is about me. What I mean is that since I have allowed God to use me through this I have been put in the path of so many people that I would never have even met had it not been for this situation. I think this has strengthened my trust in God because he has allowed me to see some of the fruit. I trust him more with his direction for my life even when it doesn't make sense or I just plain don't like it. Another thing along the same lines is that it has slowed me down enough to see those around me more clearly. I am used to being fast paced, get it done, centered around my world, my kids, my families needs. I have said repeatedly, I wouldn't raise my hand to do it again, but I wouldn't change it either. I could keep on going. I am learning that God is enough, period, that Blizzards cure a variety of illnesses, and that it is overwhelming and humbling to be blessed by both friends and unexpected people. My kids and I have experienced an outpouring from very unexpected people and have been very touched. Sometimes there are no words really.
And...... that I am one bad ass cancer fighting chick, who intends to kick the crap out off this mess and come out of it with a cuter hairdo."
He asked if he could share my answer and I figured why not right? The responses kinda surprised me. People I didn't know sending supportive, kind words and prayers my way. I know I was sure encouraged by a friend who shared openly about her experience and I want to do the same. Sometimes I feel like I am a willing and active player in a super natural chess match. I never know where the other team will make their next move or how it will affect my team, but I am engaged and ready. Sitting on the sidelines passively watching is not what I am called to do. If I had to say which piece I would identify with, I think it would be the queen. Not because I want a crown, after all it really wouldn't fit well on my smooth, round, bald head right now. I say the queen because she is agile and can move freely about the board. She can move where she needs to move and defend whom ever she needs to defend. She can go on the offensive and play aggressivly when it is necessary or sit back and wait for the opportune time to strike. I want to be like this. I want to be ready to move when he says move. I want to act when the time is right and I want to be willing to sit and wait when prayer is what is needed. We are all given a life time clock and the choice to play and stay engaged. I don't know all the moves, but I am willing to learn and ready to play.
You know, on second thought.... I am probably that crazy, wildly entertaining, often inappropriate, court jester who doesn't mind being being laughed at cause after all..... that's his (her in my case) job! I got kicked out of the serious and intellectual game of chess because I laugh at my baldness, make ridiculous wise cracks about my cancer, and generally throw out all reasonable side effects in favor of an ice cream treat! It's way more fun to laugh and it helps others feel more comfortable being around me. I see this truth when I am around little kids. They ask what's on their mind and are completely comfortable telling me how weird it is that I have no hair. I make a goofy face, chuckle and agree whole heartedly.... and it's all very good. These dear one's make me smile, a lot!
I had planned on sharing this entry yesterday, but that obviously didn't happen. At this point in the day, I have completed round 2 of Taxol and Herceptin. Once again, God allowed me to come through the treatment with minimal side effects. I also got to have some great chat time with several different friends. I realize this is going to sound strange, but cancer has been great for encouraging me to be purposeful and intentional with my friends. I get to have some great conversations about things that really matter. I will always treasure this and really hope to maintain this perspective. We make time for what is important in life and I have a much clearer picture of that now.
I know that many of you who read this are mighty prayer warriors, so I would like to call upon you for some overtime. Several people I know are in need of prayer.
A very dear friends' daughter is in the hospital. She had emergency abdominal surgery to fix a problem they didn't realize she had until now. Prayer for a full and speedy recovery and peace for the family.
Another friend had brain surgery almost two months ago and is still fighting with seizures and balancing medication. She is having to pray through a big decision this week and is looking for clarity and wisdom.
A 10 year old boy is having to go through some major surgical procedures to remove or disconnect the left hemisphere of his brain to help control seizure activity. Wow! 10 years old. Scary. Prayer for him and his family in all aspects.
Prayer for Chad, a friend who is actively purposing to help families going through major medical scenarios in life. I pray for strength for him to walk along side those who are hurting, financial provision to make it happen, and wisdom to use his gift to honor and bless those he is in contact with.
Prayer for a friends daughter and unborn grand baby. Mom is experiencing some problems. I pray that this little one continues to stay on the inside a while longer to develop strong healthy lungs and a healthy little body.
I have multiple people in my life right now who are experiencing depression and anxiety. I pray Isaiah 26:3 for them.
I have at least two friends I currently know of that are on the cancer journey as well. Pray that they would experience the presence of God and the encouragement of friends and family and healing for their bodies.
And I know 5 people who are several years along in their fights and are at varying different places in that. I pray for continued strength and hope.
I would love continued prayer for my cancer journey. I find that I get tired more often, I have aches and pains in weird spots, and I wrestle with not over thinking things. I know the road ahead is long and at times that feels discouraging and I can find myself feeling down. I continue to feel this strong prompting to write, so I would ask for prayer that I am sensitive to the Holy Spirit and what it is he wants me to write about.
We are happy to celebrate with the following graduates: Christian, Shanti, Sarah, Joy, Sarah, Alex, Hope, Autumn, and almost Mark. Way to go guys!!!
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. -Psalm 62:5-6