Chemo Eve

Tonight is Chemo Eve.  That is, I start my chemotherapy treatments tomorrow (Wednesday morning).  Chemo Eve isn’t near as cool or exciting as Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve.    I don’t even get to dress up like on All Hallow’s Eve (or better known Halloween).  Maybe I should dress up – that might make things more fun.  I’m taking suggestions, but keep in mind I don’t want to be kicked out of the place.   I think.

And that illustrates my emotional state leading into this.  I have actually had a hard time discerning what I am thinking and feeling the past few days.  Other than just feeling weighted down, bearing an awful load.  That’s especially how I felt Monday morning as I was on my way to the office.  Nothing a donut couldn’t fix, but then I actually become the awful load (Full disclosure:  I did eat a donut and it was really yummy).

With some more rumination, I do think I have ferreted out my predominant thought and it follows, in some ways, my previous thoughts about being on a bullet train to an unknown destination.  I am not primarily fearful, though it can’t be said that I am serene.  I am not primarily anxious, though it can’t be said that I am at complete peace.  I am not primarily worried, though it can’t be said that I don’t spend a good bit of times thinking (worrying?) about the list of potential side effects.

Nope, here it is:  I do not like being out of control.  Out of control of my body.  Out of control of my schedule.  Out of control of my future.   Out of control of my days and nights.  Out of control of my plans.  It is this that haunts and hounds me most, especially when I am not busy with work or the kids.

Some months ago, I called my friend and mentor in ministry after hearing about his diagnosis of cancer.  His is terminal.   I recall him telling me that one of the things he was wrestling with, and that we all have to do in some regard, is reconciling himself to the reality that he is not in control and never was.  Or some words to that effect.  I assented to that truth, as I agree and agreed then, in principle.   In principle, it sounds good and right.  And it is.  In practice, well, that’s another thing altogether.  Now, we are “cancer buddies”, as he says.   And the mentoring continues!

So, I wrestle with my dislike of feeling out of control.  Though I know the One who is in control.  Of all things.  Of this.  And so, what is left for me to do?  There is trust and dependence, but I will confess that those don’t come quite as easily as I would like.  What is left for me to do?  I must plunge myself in the waters of Scripture.  Let the words of Romans 8:28-29, 1 Peter 1, Psalm 121, and Psalm 46 wash over me.  I breathe the air of a dependence that is foreign, but ultimately life-giving, as this world is not my home and the air here is a bit polluted.   And while the water flows and I breathe deeply, I am also confronted, confounded and comforted with the reality that the Lord is not just doing this in me, but also through me. 2 Corinthians 4:11-12:  “For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.”   And, of course, I do none of this one my own.  But with and through the countless prayers of many – known and unknown.

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One response to this post.

  1. I’ll say a prayer for you as you start chemo. I’m not sure if you said somewhere what chemo you will be doing, but I’m guessing it’s the FOLFOX combo. If you have any questions about it, please ask! Take your meds on schedule the first few days, whether you think you need them or not. And be sure to tell your Dr. or nurses about ANY side effects you have. Drink as much fluids as you can, although if you are doing FOLFOX you won’t be able to have anything cold for a few days (not even room temp.). Orange juice doesn’t taste too bad warmed in the microwave! Don’t worry too much about eating healthy. After a while food doesn’t taste very good and you’ll just want to eat anything you can taste. Also, healthy foods, like fresh fruits, might not agree with your stomach.
    I like your post about the bullet train. That’s exactly how I felt. Everything happened so fast, and many decisions were made for me. I felt like I was on a train I couldn’t get off.
    I had to learn to take things “one day at a time”, or even one moment at a time. I would plan things for my “good” days in between chemo infusions, then end up not feeling well enough to do them. It was very frustrating. But I (and my family) learned not to make too many plans–we just took each day as it came. If I felt good, we could do something, if not, that was ok, we’d do it another day. Everyone knew what I was going through and understood if I couldn’t attend an event.
    Dig in to God’s Word–you’ll have plenty of time now! 🙂 The steroids kept me up at night and I spent a lot of time in Psalms, especially the ones David wrote. I often miss those middle of the night sessions with God. I felt closer to Him than I ever have. Four years later, I still draw strength from those times and the knowledge of God that I gained.
    God is in control–and He’s got your back! Hope everything goes well for you the next few months! E-mail me if there is anything I can help you with!
    Tina (A fellow survivor!)

    Reply

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