Monday, October 29, 2012

A Countdown of Reflections

  This time next week, I will have been in isolation for about 12 hours.  I'm told I probably won't feel well at all (some accounts are very encouraging...they use words like "miserable" and "wished I could puke.").  On top of that, I will be away from my family, which in it's self is enough to worry me sick.  And in the middle of my preparations for the upcoming "vacation," I realize that I have been woefully neglectful of my dear friends.  I have not posted any progress reports or updates for ages.
  Yet, you still pray for me.  I know you do, because I've met so many of you in stores and had cards and emails and notes and phone calls and friends who you run into who you ask about me.  Thank you.  Those moments of pure love have been used by God to sustain me.  I'm doing really well, and I know I have your prayers to thank for it.
  There is a reason I haven't written recently.  One is, there's simply not a lot to say.  It's been a waiting game.  A long, emotion-filled wait.  Nothing big has happened, but a thousand tiny things have flooded me with emotions.  Most of them are negative.  Fear keeps trying to creep in.  Anger, anxiety, confusion...they all take their turn.  I don't deal well with reality, as some of you may know.  I hibernate.  Much reading has been accomplished in the past couple months (my most effective form of hibernation).  I also don't want to be discouraging to anyone who may be about to travel in my footsteps down this same path of cancer...on top of all of that, I am tired.  In preparation for the radiation treatment I'm going to take next Monday, I am starving my body of iodine.  It's not a fun process, and each day I have less energy than the day before.  In the past, I have used my smart phone to post (not a simple task)...the thought of "swyping" all my emotions has just been too much.  But here we are, one week away from the day that has been looming as a dark spot on my horizon since July.  And while I try to straighten my house so the babysitter will be able to find everything, I also need to straighten my emotions and priorities so that I go in as sound as possible; in spirit and mind, if not in body.  Plus, we just had "real" internet hooked to our computer, and my feelings come out so much smoother on a keyboard than the tiny screen of that phone.  :-D
  If I've painted a gloomy picture of me over the last couple months, you only have part of the picture.  Mostly, things have been good.  And those good moments have been providentially timed to raise me from the bad ones.  I have had a lot of time with my family.  It has been so good for me.  Holding my kids, cuddling with my husband, laughing with my sisters and talking (I mean really talking) with my mom for the first time in ages.  I have lost a ton of weight.  27 lbs since July.  Enough that someone sympathetically told me, "I can tell you've been sick!"  The weight loss in someone else might have been scary, but for me it's been thrilling.  I have struggled with losing my "baby weight" for a long time.  I have been careful what I eat...until I give up in frustration because it doesn't seem to matter anyway.  I have had spurts of exercise, but never the energy to stick with it.  All of that can be traced back to the thyroid issue.  I think it was working well enough sometimes, and not well enough others.  Or maybe only half was working, and that half could only give enough for my whole body part of the time, but not most of the time.  This would account for me losing weight and then gaining it back with no apparent change in lifestyle at all.  Also, there have been all of those dear people who have taken time to stay in touch with me.  Personal messages in one form or another that say they care.  I'm not fighting alone.  The faces that flash through my mind as I write this are enough to make me weep for joy.  I do that a lot...the weeping part.  Mostly for thankfulness, joy, love...when it hits me, it is so tangible that my only response is tears.  The other tears, they come when I hold my children, or see pain in my husband's eyes.  This is not an easy road for me, and even so, I often feel that my part in this story is so much more simple to play than his.  I can feel the good changes, while he only sees me going through the hard things.  The weight loss is hard for him to take, because it's happened so fast that I do look ill.  My thyroid medicine helped my energy levels so much, and now I have gone these past few weeks without it, and he sees me getting worn out easier again.  And maybe it's worse now, because I know the cause.  I don't just push myself through like I did before I was diagnosed.  Now I know I'm not going to have the energy, so I don't do as much.  For him, I'm sure it's like watching me get sicker instead of better.
  I'm trying not to be negative, but to still be honest and open with you.  I have so many things to be thankful for.  I really am thankful.  But even while I'm thankful, I have a hard time dealing with some of this.  It is so hard to have no control at all of your future.  Do I trust God?  Absolutely.  Do I have to remind myself every single day that I believe He holds me perfectly in His hand?  Yes, and often several times a day.  The emotions hit me like waves.  I rock and sway violently and get dunked in icy water as they come at me.  I don't just hold onto God as my anchor; I cling to Him desperately, knowing not much more than that He holds me exactly where He wants me.  I don't always have time to recover from one wave before the next one hits.  The sea doesn't always calm between each dunk.  Sometimes the sun stays mostly hidden for days.  And then I feel guilty.  Where is that perfect peace that I had early on?  Has my faith grown weak?  How can it have, when God is the only thing I know is sure?  And just when I think I must be failing Him in my emotionalism, I remember that even Jesus knew sorrow.  He knew anxiety.  The very God-man sweat drops of blood because of His extreme distress.  What a blessed savior!  To endure such agony of mind and spirit as well as body.  To be sure it was recorded so that one day I would read and know that He understands.  Again a wave comes, but this one is warm and soothing and healing as I cling to my anchor.  There are more cold, dark days to come.  But I am not alone.  He has given me people who love me, to cheer me, to hold me, to comfort me, to cry with me, to pray for me.  And He himself has endured much so that I would be encouraged.  And I am.  I will try to post every night between now and when I go in to the hospital next Monday.  I am going to count down this week with reflections of encouragements God has sent my way.  Things I haven't had the emotional stamina to share with all of you until now.  Now seems to be the time.  Now He gives me more calm, more peace, more joy.  I pray these posts will do the same for you.

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