As I write today, I’m more or less confined to my lounge chair still feeling the effects of my last chemo treatment. I did not have the neuropathy pain this go-round, which gave me such a huge sense of relief, but there was (is) a whole arsenal of other unpleasant side effects that chemo has hit me with over the weekend. I’m still in its nasty grip.
So far since my cancer diagnosis, I have missed out on our anniversary cruise, Stampede Week, camping at the lake with all the kids, camping weekends with my husband, church services, and this past weekend the No Greater Love Christian Music Festival. We live near enough so we could hear the music drifting on the wind coming from the grounds of the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary in Cochrane, but I couldn’t join the crowds and enjoy the music in person. I contented myself instead with watching some of the videos NGL posted online. I don’t malign the fact I can’t participate in some activities I had planned to be a part of this summer, but it’s hard to look forward to next year when the day to day now is an endurance on its own.
I am in survival mode, living with and through nausea, unable to sleep at night, but so fatigued I can hardly move about my home. It’s hard to adequately describe what my body has gone through this past weekend, but it’s like being pulled apart from the inside out. No pain, but feeling constantly sick has worn me down. Oh, and I’ve lost six pounds in three days. ‘Nuff said.
My “help me” prayers have been two to three sentences in length, if that. My husband took over adding the specific details when I couldn’t find strength to voice the requests myself. He has watched helplessly as I struggled these many days. At one point, after helping me up the stairs to bed, he just hugged me while I wept into my pillow. I voiced my defeat, while he prayed me to sleep.
Why do I share this? My last post was so hopeful, filled with praise. I am thankful I was pain free this round, but cancer and the chemo that combats it are insidious bedfellows. There is no “easy” way to get to the other side of this. I can’t sidestep this, nor can I quit, even though the physical and mental toll on me is profound. Really all I think about this go-round is a great “cloud of witnesses” that surrounds me.
Hebrews 11 is a list of the faithful greats of the Bible. Men and women who despite setbacks, personal challenges, persecution, and more, lived their lives “by faith”. They were great overcomers, mostly ordinary individuals who are remembered in Scripture for their extraordinary faith. They were not perfect people. In fact, some of them were actually quite flawed in character, but God used them even in their weakness, to make them great for His purposes.
I have my own “cloud of witnesses” who have gone before me, who faced cancer with dignity and great faith. My mother-in-law, Laura, who battled breast cancer, raised her three children and shared the Gospel with them, with me, with family and friends and even when she was confined to a wheelchair in her last years witnessed to all who would listen. She knew her priorities. My mother, Ellen, who determined to put the needs of others before her own, while breast cancer and debilitating blood clots ravished her body. She faced her battle with great courage and strength. There are others: Vicky, Mary, Sarah, April, Michael, Jasmine and many more whom I know and who have battled, or are currently battling cancer in some form or other. They are heroes to me!
Let me also mention the “cloud of witnesses” who are watching MY journey with cancer in the here and now. My family, my friends as well as those who read and follow this blog are watching how I face this health challenge. Will I be found faithful?
Pray for me, dear ones.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning it’s shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3