My daughter texted me a cute giphy, while I was hooked up to my IV yesterday for my 3rd round of chemo, of Bon Jovi singing, “Woah, we’re half way there! Woah, livin’ on a prayer!” For those of you less techy types, a giphy is a little snippet of a video, a meme, an animated sticker like an emoji to convey an emotion or celebration and the like. Yesterday, Laurelle’s little pick-me-up was to celebrate my half-way mark of my chemo treatments. It’s way more palatable to say I’m halfway there rather than remembering I have three more treatments to go! Fractions have never been my friends but in this case I’ll take it!
I know that the next days ahead will be the challenging ones if the first two go-rounds are any indication. I will be relying on prayer, and hopeful that the new pain meds I’ve been given will combat the neuropathy pain that has plagued me the last two rounds.
Yesterday, I took special note of the dozen or so individuals who were sequestered as I in our somewhat private cubicles at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary. Each of us hooked up to our IV’s, some with family keeping them company during their chemo session. My husband, sitting beside me, patiently waits with me and looks up seafood restaurants on his phone. It has become our custom after my treatments to go for a fish feed dinner. It is a way for me to get in a good meal that has staying power for me, and it is a date night at the same time. Bless his heart!
I don’t know the names of the people around me. I don’t know their individual stories. They all wear their battle scars. The ages are varied. One young woman, accompanied by her mother I’m guessing, wears a ball cap over her bald head. An elderly, but stately-looking woman is asleep in her chair, her wig slightly askew on her head. Her granddaughter knits in a chair beside her. A middle-aged man, jokes with the nurses. He somehow forgot about his appointment and frantic family members finally found him outside having a smoke. (I will never understand people going through chemo smoking. Just sayin’.) He’s obviously a favorite patient with the nurses. He is upbeat and positive, with a hearty laugh. His hacking cough however, bemoans his journey with lung cancer. An elderly man is wrapped up in a blanket. His face is puffed and his eyes dark-circled, indicating a hard-fought battle. His sweet wife brings him a glass of water as she kisses his cheek and tucks the blanket around his legs lovingly. These are the faces of brave warriors. I bow my head and offer a prayer for each of them.
I know what each of those dear ones will face over the next week when the side-effects hit each one of us. Each of our chemo “cocktails” will determine the extent of different side-effects but each of us will battle through it, as I will, because we have no choice. The people who sit beside us are counting on us to weather the storm so we can memory-make with them a little longer.
Life is fragile, handle with prayer.
I embroidered a wall-hanging with that phrase when we were first married. Looking around that room yesterday, my thoughts were on the fragility of life and the fact that if it were not for the prayer warriors in my life, praying that morning and everyday for me, I don’t think I could face another treatment, let alone three more! Prayer sustains me. I am “living on a prayer!”
My friend sent me a wonderful verse today: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:1-3
I would never egotistically think that my mission today compares to Isaiah’s then. However, I gladly claim the promise of sharing a “crown of beauty” an “oil of joy” and a “garment of praise” with those I have contact with in person and online. It is a hard journey, but God is ever faithful. He is with me. He answers prayer.
I can rejoice because I am halfway through my chemo treatments and everyday I AM LIVING ON A PRAYER!
Just for fun, and since I’m a Bon Jovi fan from way back, I’m posting the “Livin’ On a Prayer” video for those of you who would like to rock out with me…and I dedicate it to Cathy M….