December 4, 2008
This is one of those emails that should have gone out 3 weeks ago but as things would go…it obviously didn’t. Mostly because I didn’t feel like writing it. Actually, I still don’t feel like writing it but so many people have asked “how are you doing?” that I feel it’s getting rude to not respond. And since I’ve decided to respond, I’ve also decided to be brutally honest.
My last treatment was on October 27th and was by far the worst one out of the 8. My white blood cell count was “dangerously low” so I needed to have a booster shot to make it all better. Please…what a joke that was. The reaction to the shot was so horrible that I was virtually flat on my back for over a week. Of course, because I am destined to continually do things different than norm, my body did not have the side effects that I was told I would have – I had an entirely new cast of side effects. Woohoo!!! Such joyful times. Ugh. It’s been 5 weeks since I’ve had the “booster” shot and I’ve had a series of the worst colds I’ve had in my life. I’m assuming that if I hadn’t had this wonderful shot, I would have been dealing with pneumonia! Just saying...that’s where my logic is taking me.
Anyway, that’s when I began wondering whether or not I was to continue treatments. The peace I’d had about treatments was totally going away. I pondered reality…could this possibly be because I reacted so poorly to the treatment? But as I began to feel better, the lack of peace would not go away. Usually, it’s when I’m beginning to feel better that I also begin to have the courage and will to continue on. However this time the lack of peace kept increasing so I began praying for the LORD to reveal to me – “and please could you make the answer in black and white” – whether or not I should continue. My prayer life has not been what it once was so it was very crucial to me to have an answer that was undeniable. Yes or no. You see, I was supposed to have two more treatments with the last one ending on December 8th. I’ve been emotionally fried for months so I didn’t know how I could manage getting through 2 more treatments AND football AND Thanksgiving AND Christmas. But I also have been building a wall between the LORD and myself so I really needed to hear clearly…I truly did not want to be disobedient.
Going against my natural bent, I decided to call my doctor and tell him my concerns. It’s nearly impossible to tell the medical community “I don’t have a peace about continuing” so I knew that I would also have to have “legitimate” reasons. I spoke with my nurse first and told her all the physical issues that I was dealing with and included the fact that I just was not comfortable continuing on. I explained that the more I continued the deeper into discouragement I was going. Deep discouragement does not equal physical healing. She was very compassionate and really understood where I was coming from. She promised to pass all the information along to my doctor but also cautioned about reality…Dr. Link would most likely push me to finish the final two treatments. I mean, come on, it’s only two more (I know that’s what many of you are thinking…those words came out of some of your mouths). It could have as easily been 200 though because THAT’S what it felt like.
So, I waited for Dr. Link to call and “shockingly” he called when I wasn’t home but he did leave a message that I will never forget. He actually agreed with me!! He told me that he wanted me to take a break from treatments through the holidays and come back to see him in January. He made it clear that he still wanted to actually talk to me so when we did connect, he repeated the same comments he had left as a message. Plus, he wanted me to promise him that I would make an appointment for January to have scans redone and to come in and see him. I promised. I think he was so relieved that I actually talked to him before I bailed that he realized that I really was in a bad spot. I had received my black and white answer and was elated…for a day.
This brings me to today. I am “relieved” that I did not have to continue with treatments – feeling a bit like I’m on vacation - but I am in NO way excited about anything right now. I have no idea what the scans are going to reveal in January so I have no idea if Dr. Link is going to want me to have any more treatments. The treatments I’ve already had have wreaked havoc on my body but not to the degree that they would have had I not been so healthy otherwise. I have had a real awakening lately as to just how fried I have become…trying to do chemo treatments during football season, the first semester of school, and preparing a son to go to college is simply the most brutal test of endurance I’ve had in my 45 years of life. Plus, my relationship with the LORD has gone from extremely intimate with a strong confidence in Him to a complete lack of confidence - not only in my faith walk but in every area of my life - and no intimacy with the LORD at all. Thankfully, I am not walking this alone. The LORD has put someone in my life who is very discerning and wise and will help me out of the pit.
So, there you go. That’s how I’m doing! Pretty swell isn’t it?! Oh…and it only took me 4 days to get this written up!!! So, the next time you ask me “how are you doing?” know that I most likely will not give a detailed answer. It’s far to exhausting and I really don’t like to dwell on it. I am working on staying strong knowing that right now I am incredibly weak. It’s a lot of work retelling my story. And it’s very discouraging. However, I really do care that you care so I don’t want to blow everybody off. I will send updates when I can. Otherwise, I still desperately covet your prayers and know that if the LORD brings me to your mind, He will also tell you how to pray. My current prayer is that my scans would be clear in January. I don’t have a date for the scans yet because I need to wait on approval from my doctor/insurance. I want to be done. I want to get to the second part of my healing which will be some sort of surgery process. I have SUCH a long way to go and I am beyond tired and frustrated and burned out. However, I must also say that the LORD has been really gentle with me and for that I am eternally grateful and relieved.
I look forward to the day when my emails to you are more chipper! Thank you so much for caring and thank you so much for asking. I most definitely do not feel alone in this!!!!!!!!
Take care and have fun preparing for Christmas!!! Lots of love and hugs to everyone…