Since I was diagnosed with cancer last summer, I’ve experienced a whirlwind of doctors and clinic visits. From the biopsy to surgery, scans and tests, and then chemotherapy… My calendar was full. All of this while supporting my Beloved Bearded Spouse on his cancer journey, trying to work full time, and still wanting to have significant time with family.
Yeah. It was a lot.
When I was in the midst of it all, I just did the next thing. Chemotherapy treatments, booster shots, transfusions, infusions… you just do it. The drive to live outweighs the inconvenience, the pain, nausea, and the GI challenges. (I’ll spare you the details.) I put my trust in my oncologist (who is a wonderful human being, by the way,) and pressed on.
Now I’m starting to catch my breath. I’m halfway there to finishing frontline treatment. Chemotherapy is complete, and I’m resting and preparing to start radiation treatments in a few weeks. The toll of chemotherapy is starting to show. It’s not just hair loss… it’s EVERY hair loss (nose hairs, eyelashes, eyebrows…) It’s the inconvenience of heartburn. It’s some lingering neuropathy in my feet. It’s fatigue that zaps my energy and my initiative. It’s a DVT that’s still resolving. It’s low blood counts. (And that’s what they call “well-tolerated” chemotherapy. )
I don’t write to complain about any of this. It’s simply that in retrospect, I realize all that I went through… and am amazed. I didn’t end up in the ER. I didn’t have severe complications. I didn’t catch COVID or the flu, thanks to the flexibility of working from home.
But I didn’t do this alone! Besides my husband and family, who have been loving and faithful through the hardest days, I have a group of people who have been praying consistently for me. They are in my “prayer pod.” Whenever I sent an update, they would pray. I shared that I was having trouble getting to sleep at night. Each night, someone prayed. I had overwhelming nausea and fatigue. They prayed. And they sent notes, prayers, and even playlists so that I could refocus on the Divine Love that surrounded me. My church kept praying, encouraging, and supporting me, too.
And then – there were the people who inconvenienced their dinner hour by bringing something to us. Meals arrived, month after month, week after week. I look back now with a little perspective, and I am stunned. I have felt the love of God like never before. As my college friend Billy Crockett said in his song “He is the Wind” I have experienced “the One who wrote His love across our story” in fresh, precious ways. I hear the gentle thrum of God’s presence wherever I have traveled these last few months.
Not that it hasn’t been hard. It’s been impossible.
After my last chemotherapy treatment, I went in for a bolus of fluids to help keep post-chemo nausea at bay. Outside my window, I watched a pair of turkey buzzards float by on the thermals. I saw two crows chase a red-shouldered hawk. I watched the clouds clear the sky overhead. It’s still early spring, but I’m watching nature slowly revive the trees and grass… and I feel this revived energy as well.
Billy’s song came back to mind… and I wanted to share part of the lyrics with you:
He is the wind
That sends the sails across the water
He is the wind
That blows the clouds across the sky
So when you feel the wind
You’re really feeling Him
Who blows His Holy Spirit into life
He is the wind…
(Thanks, Billy. This song has given me many a holy hug over the last months…) You can listen to it on Spotify here:
So I’m halfway there to finishing my frontline treatment. In all of this, the heartache and the physical challenges, the Holy One’s faithfulness shines through. And to all of you who have been my companions on this journey… Thank you.