I have to ask. Do you hurt the cancer as much as you hurt me? I sure hope so because you do quite the number on me. I hate the way you make me feel after treatment. I hate throwing up. I hate begging for pain meds and being disheartened when they aren’t enough. I hate tossing and turning in my bed begging the Lord for sleep. It’s sad for my little boy to only see me horizontally for 2 days. So, after all that, I always lay there wondering if you are doing as much against the cancer as you are against me?
I see how you and your chemotherapy friends put people in quite an emotional and practical ‘pickle’ that few people understand. The topic of quitting treatment is uncomfortable to all. Including me. But this past week, in the 2 days post chemo, I understand why friends that have gone before me have surrendered and sent up the white flag. It’s quite difficult to knowingly subject yourself to the pain of drugs like you. You go in our veins for a short hour totally painlessly and then you wreak total havoc on our bodies for 2 days straight and then unpredictably in the following weeks.
You don’t do much for our quality of life and allowing us to enjoy the people and things we love. You make us isolate and withdraw just because our brains and bodies don’t have the ability to interact. You keep us home instead of out enjoying sunshine and weather and people and events we would enjoy. You keep me from the privileges of taking care of my family with even the most basics of housekeeping and laundry. You make me watch the world through the window instead of engaging with it firsthand. You keep me from being able to lead bible study and go to lunches and go for walks and greet Scott and Lincoln at the door when they get home.
And what’s the point of extending life if you can’t enjoy it? What’s the point of giving me more time if I can’t enjoy the people I love and want to be with?
And then, after all those thoughts and questions, you let up and give me a reprieve. And then I am so thankful to the Lord for His relief that I am almost giddy with excitement about being at church yesterday and being with friends for the Super Bowl. Taxotere, you tortute me and then the Lord uses you teach me how to appreciate the little things in life that I have often taken for granted: standing up for :10 to fold laundry, sitting on the couch with Scott to watch the debates instead of laying in the bed in a separate room without even wanting the noise of the television on, mere interest in food even if I can’t eat very much, and desire to see friends even if they see the same site over and over (me in my pajamas on the couch!).
You are not for the faint hearted, Taxotere. As Scott and I discussed, we understand more clearly now why Dr. O asks so many questions about how I feel and then asks me ‘are you sure about this decision before I approve your chemo? I hate beating you up like this…’
Yes, you beat me up. And make me miserable. And we just hope and pray and thank the Lord for good scan results that indicate the cancer we hate may actually hate you as badly as I do.
This wasn’t the first time you’ve done this to me but it was definitely the worst. And I don’t want to live with a spirit of fear but I have had thoughts of dreading this happening again on February 25-26 after chemo on the 24th. But next time I will be better prepared to ask my people to be extra girded in prayer that you, a means of both good and evil, will be strengthened to do war against the cancer but with less war against me.
Taxotere, I need to remind you that you are subject to the will of my God. He doesn’t need you to heal me but He is more than able to use the miracles and minds of medicine if He so chooses. He hates cancer because it brings death and He loves life. He enables men and women to use their intellect to fight diseases such as this with medicine. And He enables it to work because He made the body and holds all things together. He hates the way I feel in this broken world and broken body but loves me so much and holds me close during the hours of torment. He never leaves my bedside. And He sees and hears each of my cries for help. Thankfully, I never feel alone. And He sends dear friends to text or call or deliver food or check in just when depression wants to knock at my heart. And my God is creating in Scott the most amazing semi-single dad with confidence and connection with Lincoln and it’s a sheer joy to watch – or listen to if I’m just hanging on horizontally in the other room. My God is taking care of my family. My God is using your destructive powers to destroy cancer cells while sustaining me. My God is able to bring good and glory and sweetness even in the midst of a hard season and even in the midst of a horrible couple of days.
So, Taxotere, while we have a love/hate relationship and I continue you as long as the Lord allows, I also want you to know that I’m not scared to break up with you if it’s too hard on me and my family. I don’t want to be controlled by you or by fear of you because I know my God is able to sustain me with or without you and He is able to grant me peace and joy in life as well as in the face of death.
If the Lord wills, I will see you again in 16 days and I will be ready – covered in prayer and protected by the Lords providence. In the meantime, can you please lighten up on my breasties while putting the hurt on their cancer? You’re a meanie some days!
Goodbye for now. And since you’ve exhausted my body I will go back to my happy nap (without pain) with the confidence that the Lord holds me and my people.