Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Ding! Ding! This round of cancer treatments ended...but Keep the Boxing Gloves On!

Last week's oncology appointment delivered good news!  My numbers are better than ever! 

And I felt pretty good that day!   

Sure, along with the recent rounds of treatments there have been bouts of agonizing symptoms...sure, good days are totally unpredictable...but...

I high-fived my PA..."Wait until next time you see me," I said. "I'll be a new person...someone you've never seen before!"

We laughed.

Admittedly, the ongoing treatments present challenges. 

"It's like having a wild animal living in your system," I told the oncologist. "Sometimes it attacks with force. Sometimes it's in the corner, growling.  Sometimes it's just there...in the room...making a presence..."

I described the agonizing flu-like symptoms. 

"It’s like someone took my skeleton, poured gasoline on it, and lit it on fire..." 

Dr. D. nodded. "That's what the drug is supposed to do," he said. "That's normal." 

Since ongoing treatment targets cancer cells and destroys them, it causes the flu-like response. Although they can't get this cancer into remission, we're fortunate that the drugs, despite their side effects, are keeping it at bay.

So...hooray...it's working! I was elated!

But the very next day, I awoke in agony...the familiar screaming bone pain, nausea, muscle aches, headaches...it all returned...full steam...

That evening, I felt discouraged. My day, spent wrapped in blankets, felt so useless. What's the point of this existence? Is this worth the fight?  

I saw my prayer book on the counter, untouched all day. 

But I left it there. I didn't whisper a prayer. I didn't turn my thoughts to God. I just didn't.

Instead, I whined. I complained. I felt grouchy.  

I knew I was making a poor choice, but I allowed it. I knew better.

Today I awoke, still racked with pain. I recognized the voice of frustration rising within...No way, I thought.  I remembered my prayer book on the counter...Today has to be different. 

I got the book. I can't say I was enthusiastic. I can't say I was invested. I just chose not to repeat yesterday's frustration, so I started reading. I'm not even sure I’d call it praying. I just started reading.

Here's some of what I read:

Dear Lord, make haste to help me. 

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to make music to your name, O Most High,
to proclaim your love in the morning
and your truth in the watches of the night.  (Psalm 92) 

Let us listen to the voice of God, let us enter into his rest.

As I read, something beautiful began to happen. 

That conflicted spirit within me seemed to rise above the tortured body. I kept reading:
Extol the greatness of our God.  (Psalm 145:1)

My spirit seemed to soar, to free itself from this suffering body, to free itself to surrender to the will of God, and, finally, to rest with the One who holds my life lovingly in His hands. 

Outwardly, today resembles yesterday. I've been laying around. I don't feel well. I haven't accomplished anything.

But today's different. I don't feel useless. I don’t consider it a waste. I'm not grouchy.

I gave this day to the Lord, allowing him to take over and place value on it.

And all is well.

When I'm out of strength, music is another beautiful way for me to pray. Click here to listen to Shout to the Lord by Hillsong, and thanks for being here!

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