These past three days have been a test, not only of my endurance, but, of my resolve to remain positive throughout this journey. Pain, can and does, dim our view of the positive aspects of life, where every molehill becomes a mountain we have to cross that seems insurmountable. This kind of thinking is so foreign to me. I have always tried to look for the blessings and the God given, sometimes supernatural grace that enters into even in the most difficult struggles of life. Gratitude can light up the darkness, when I have eyes that see through the spectrum of faith. Romans 8:28 is something I hold onto during those dark times, “We know that all things work for good, for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”
It started, with my weakened condition from the weekend and my trip to the Infusion center for IV fluids on Monday. Yet, even in that place, blessings abounded. There was a woman in the infusion chair next to mine getting her Chemo cocktail of deadly poisons. She seemed so put together, she looked nice, and she was smiling and texting on her iphone, apparently in a very good mood. I lay there in my recliner feeling awful and wondering how she could possibly be so cheery in this place. After about an hour, I couldn’t take it any more and I questioned her, “You look entirely too happy to be here, what’s your secret?” She looked at me and smiled compassionately, “Well,” she said, “Last year at this time I thought I would be going out in a pine box.” “It gets better,” she went on. She continued, “It’s rough at first, but it gets better.” That’s all I needed, a spark of hope from a stranger, a stranger who had traveled the same road as I was on and who had come out strong and whole. I truly believe God sends us earthly, angel messengers, so often, at exactly the moment we most need them.
One of the things no one told me about was that Chemo causes temporary insanity – well, it did for me, and I’m sure it will happen again. On the way home from the Cancer Center I told my husband, “I can’t deal with my hair any longer, it’s got to go; I’m getting a haircut.” He looked at me sideways, “What?” he asked, “Isn’t your hair going to fall out soon?” “Not soon enough for me,” I exclaimed. “It’s got to go!” So I called my beautician and told her I was ready for that “pixie” cut she had told me about. The insanity part is that my hair was already relatively short and its never any trouble because I just wash it and let the curls take over. But, on this day, my hair was looming over me like one of those “mountains.” My beautician thought I was jumping the gun with the haircut too, but she gleefully started chopping it off until it was only about 1″ long all around my head. My husband, bless his heart, took one look at me when I got home and said, “I kinda like it.” He is such a sweet man!
Did I mention I was stubborn? The doctor had told me that some people have more trouble with the Neulasta injection than with the chemo. It can make your teeth hurt and all your bones ache unbearably. Well, I had the audacity to think that I was not going to be one of those “some” people. Hadn’t the doctor also said that he thought I may just sail through Chemo because I was so healthy to begin with and in great physical condition? I was wrong – again – I’m a “some” people! Let’s get back to the stubborn part; I refused to take pain meds, thinking I could tough it out. I didn’t want the side effects of painkillers. Even though my friends all advised me to “take the darn pills” I fought it until I could not bear it any longer.
My husband was upset with me because I would not sit and “rest,” which annoyed me because he didn’t understand that sitting only magnified the pain I was in and caused me to focus all my attention on it. At least, when I was walking around the house doing this or that, my mind wasn’t focused on the pain.
Determining not to take the pills was foolish, and I knew that. Growing up with three brothers had toughened me up. I can remember when my older brothers, after I had done something to annoy them, would twist my arm behind my back and tell me, “I’m not gonna let you go till you say uncle.” Well, that was a challenge I had to accept, even though I knew they were bigger and stronger than me and that eventually, I would have to say “uncle” or suffer the consequences of a sore arm. So, in my mind taking the pills was giving in to the bully of pain running through my body. I wanted to conquer it by sheer will. As with my brothers, I lost that battle. Finally, around 6 p.m., in tears and so angry that I had to say, “uncle” to taking the pills, I gave in and took one. It took a while, but I got blessed relief. I have a call in to the doctor’s office to see if there is anything I can take that is an alternative to the pain meds. We shall see what he has in mind.
Now, to the blessings of this journey. Each day, there are friends, I like to think of them as encouragers, who will call, text, or message me. They check up on me, always assuring me of their thoughts and prayers. Many of them send scriptures to me that are SO very helpful. We don’t always talk about my cancer, but about mundane, “what are you doing today stuff” which is fine with me. I love to hear about what is going on in other people’s lives. I am genuinely interested in what’s going on with them and it certainly makes my day more interesting
Yesterday evening, just when I was at my breaking point, a friend texted me this beautiful prayer that was right on point with how I was feeling. No one can tell me she was not a God sent angel for me! This is the prayer she sent:
Praise God for all the wonderful people He has sent into my life!