Tag: #Chemotreatment

When Worry Assails

Many of my daily devotionals recently have been about trusting God. It’s not so hard to trust Him, but to lay your life at His feet, and to trust Him completely with the outcome.

I’m still working on that.

Looking back over my life some rather large mountains have been removed. Things happened that I had no control over, and I worried how to get through. Worrying about the future. It’s human nature to visualize ourselves coping badly in those situations.

It’s my nature to devise a plan, and fix it, but that is not including God. I’d rather have God lead.

He is the master fixer of my life. My life is very simple today, and I don’t stir things up like I used to. When a situation presents itself, I know it’s going to be an opportunity for God to show up, and show off. I will need to stay out of it, and respond as little as possible. The most recent being my Breast Cancer Journey.

Sitting here this morning, pondering my appointment with the Radiologist this afternoon, thinking my journey would be over by now. Having the lumpectomy a few weeks ago, and the Cancer being removed, we should be done.

Obviously not, or I wouldn’t be sitting here dreading my appointment! This is me worrying about the path ahead, and not including God.

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A dear friend sent me this earlier this week. She knew nothing of my upcoming appointment, so I’m sure it was God prompting her to send it. It brought the whole Breast Cancer Journey back into view.

‘You are living through a major expansion of your faith’, describes this journey perfectly. I’m uncomfortable, but that is okay today.

I told everyone that would listen that I didn’t want radiation. In my mind, after the surgery, I was done. It sounded good, but I must keep walking through open doors.

When I told my surgeon I didn’t want radiation, she gasped, looked at me and said, “Barbara. How can you come this far, and not finish the journey? This is the last leg of the path!”

Thanks to Chemo, I am not afraid of this path.

Chemo could have easily been the worst thing I’ve ever been through, but God was there. Chemo was a dark, and lonely path, but it could have been so much worse than it was. I wasn’t sick during it, and the only side effect I really had was the extreme fatigue. It knocked the wind out of me for three days.

I didn’t write much during those dark days, as friends tried their best to encourage me.

They would say, “You’re so brave”, and “You kicked Cancer’s butt”. Oh no darlings. My body was curled up in a fetal position in the middle of my bed, and I was gazing out the bedroom window depending on God to get me through it.

He did, and He will continue to do so. Radiation may look like an inconvenience to me, but it’s really an opportunity to be used by God. What I wanted to be complete, is obvious today, that’s it’s only a curve in the path.

After the Storm

I have a bowl of candy corn sitting on the dining room table. When I wake up, I eventually make my way to that bowl and eat a piece. I don’t buy it year round, or stock up at the end of the season. It’s one of life’s little pleasures for me that I wait for and enjoy while it’s here.

As I’m typing this, the sky is just starting to get light. I sat outside in the porch swing this morning at 5 am. It was dark, quiet, and cold to me. That is how you know a new season is coming in Texas. You put on jeans and a flannel to sit outside, instead of shorts and a tank.

Even though it was dark, I knew it was a new day. In time, the sky would turn blue, and there would be color coming over the horizon. It won’t stay quiet because all God’s creatures will begin announcing the new day. I love sitting and listening to the quiet.

How do you know there is a new season coming over the horizon in your life?

You can feel it.

Just like the change in air temperature this morning on my skin, I can feel a new season is approaching. My last Chemo was a week ago, so thank God that is over. As I sat in the porch swing this morning, my mind was showing me snippets of myself from this year. There was a time not so long ago, the pain in my breast would wake me up and I would sit outside.

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Once I went to the doctor, and received my diagnosis of Breast Cancer, the pain subsided. There has been no more pain, but to get me to the doctor, God used that pain. To get me on this path of healing, there was pain involved.

Maybe you are going through something painful right now. Let me encourage you to surrender to that pain, and trust that God has a plan.

My mind showed me pictures of sitting in the Chemo chair. Sixteen times at least, and each time took three to five hours. There was one time, my body had an allergic reaction to one of the premeds. They had to unplug me from that, and give me meds for the reaction, and start all over again.

That day I closed the place down, and sat in the Chemo chair for eight hours.

As you can imagine, the first lesson I learned was how to sit still. I’ve never been good at it. Oh, I could sit still if it was my choice, but to sit still with no choice was very hard for me.

After I came home full of Chemo, my body would just shut down. It would lay in bed for days, and not want to move. I had to tell it what to do. Drink water, and go pee. Sit up and eat something. Three days was as long as I could go without a shower. Just standing in the shower was a major feat. I had to teach my body every week what to do to stay on this path.

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So, what about the heart?

God showed me this week I have closed my heart off as to protect it. My body has been in survival mode for months, so it would seem, my heart followed suit.

Just like teaching my body that everything’s going to be okay, I had to tell my heart this morning too. I could feel the hardness melt away, and it open up again. I can feel it beating.

The storm will cause us to hit the pause button on our life, and just try to survive. I am not the same person physically, mentally, or spiritually after Chemo. I believe I am better, and will continue to grow.

We can either sit in the darkness, usually alone, or wait patiently for it to be light. Today I can feel the warmth of the light not only on my skin, but also in my heart.

How to Fly

I’ve written quite a bit about this Breast Cancer Journey. Talking to a dear friend earlier, it made me realize I haven’t really summed up the changes in writing. It’s easy for me to forget all the small things I went through. My journey has been relatively easy compared to others, but maybe that is so I can encourage them, and continue writing.

All of the hair completely fell off my body. The hair on my head was messy, but the rest went without a sound. I was looking at my arm one day, noticing the longish hairs thinning out. The next time I looked, it was gone, and replaced with a layer of fuzz.

The same with my legs. The sun came through my bedroom window one morning and revealed a layer of peach fuzz. It almost seems cruel to shave them because they fought so hard to get here.

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It’s easy for me to look at this now, and see how God has gone before me. I had no idea what to expect, but He knew, and He has been with me every step of the way. Thank you Jesus.

The doctor told me, this last round of Chemo would show me extreme fatigue. I thought I knew what tired was, because my body was very tired. No…extreme fatigue is something completely different. It’s extreme!

I will be doing something, or planning to do something, and my body just marches off to the bedroom and lays down.

Sometimes I sleep, and sometimes I lay.

I lay differently now. Where I used to curl up under the covers, I now lay on top with my favorite throw. During the night, I get hot, and then cold, so it easier with a throw instead of sheets and blankets.

Pillows are thrown all over the bed, so I have many positions to choose from. The body will heal itself if we only be still and let it do what it was designed to do.

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I cannot drink coffee anymore. Anyone who knows me, knows this is huge. It tastes awful, and makes my body feel bad. I don’t get hungry, and feel no hunger pains. After losing almost 20 pounds, I learned I had to make myself eat regardless of my body being quiet.

It’s like my body only wants good things.

Oh, I’ve eaten cookies, and cake for quick calories, but my body is not happy afterwards. Just like we are coming into the new fall season, God is making me new. Everything that I thought was so important before Chemo, is really not important at all. God has scraped my plate clean, and is preparing me for new.

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” I have carried that verse with me this entire journey. That has been my daily lesson. I haven’t really done anything in this journey to help it along.

I don’t have an agenda anymore, but somehow everything gets done. All I needed was to surrender myself to Him, and trust Him completely. He has caught me every time I fell across my bed, as a reminder to rest my body, so I will be strong enough to fly.

The Potter’s Wheel

I was talking to my daughter yesterday about God, and how He has always taken care of us, and our every need. We don’t have any needs, and I don’t really see Him dropping the ball.

I woke up counting how much time I have today, before I’d be sitting in the Chemo chair.

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This whole Chemo thing has been a battle between God and me. I would like a softer, easier route, but He sees some things that need to be burned off. Stubbornness being one. I told my daughter yesterday one of the first things I learned through this is, I’m not in control of much. She sees the rough edges I so proudly wore being burned off, and made smooth.

I was also thinking this morning of when I first started Chemo, and was my perky, confident self walking into the room. After the first few sessions, I didn’t feel much difference. It was when I woke up one morning to a pillowcase covered in long brown hair that it knew it was about to get real. When I showered, it fell out and stuck to my body.

I recall trying to get it off my skin, but there was so much I just stood in the shower and cried. It was like the cleansing, Part 1, had begun. What may not have been affecting me much on the inside, was drastically changing what I saw on the outside. Knowing other things in my life I had been though, and won, I remember thinking, “I can handle this.”

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That was my first mistake. It’s not about me, and what I can take. It’s about God, and an opportunity to make me stronger.

The entire process started off slow, and relatively easy. After my fourth Chemo, I could feel it building up inside of me. One week in between treatment wasn’t enough. It was a gradual build, just like a slow spin on the potters wheel.

The spin became more intense, so by the time I had my 12th treatment, I didn’t know who I was anymore. I surely didn’t recognize the woman in the mirror.

After my 12th treatment, I had a three week break.

The doctors told me I wouldn’t see any hair growth until months after my last treatment. The mirror showed the edges softening. My eyebrows came back dark grey, and fluffy, and I have a thin layer of hair on my head. It feels soft, and fuzzy, like a peach, and it feels new.

After the 3 week break, the fire got intense. The Red Devil, (A/C) stepped in for the burn down. My thought has always been, God is going to burn this tumor down, and that will be the end of it. I guess I didn’t think that I would also be in the fire with the tumor. After today, just one more treatment. Can I do this? No way, but God can do it, and He will.

Cry It Out

I just needed to write. There is something about it that pulls all the frazzled ends back into my tapestry of life.

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This is one of my favorite pictures, and I used it in a Blog written one year ago. To think of it today reminds me, this has been my year of waiting. I don’t mind waiting. God has given me plenty of practice, so I’ve become relatively good at it. It helps when you know what you’re waiting for. This week it was a call.

A week ago Monday, I had a call from my breast surgeon to see when I wanted to schedule the lumpectomy. We talked about Chemo, how I was doing, and when was my last treatment scheduled.

It felt like two doses of The Red Devil had been harder on me than the first 12 weeks combined. I still had two more doses to go, and in all honesty I wasn’t sure my body could take it. She said, “Maybe we can go ahead and do surgery then.” A light came on at the end of the tunnel.

She had to talk with my doctor, but she felt confident the lump was plenty small enough by now to be removed. So, the waiting began. I didn’t expect it to take this long, but 10 days later I received the verdict from my doctor. He said, “No.” That was when I had to cry it out.

I don’t know what God’s plan is, but it broke my heart when He said, “No”, to that plan.

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Did I mention the part where I got so pissed off, I called and left a message with my nurse that I wasn’t coming to Chemo next week? I was nice, but it happened, and it got her attention! She called me right back, so I didn’t have to wait long at all on that call.

So, I’ve gotten disappointed, angry, and cried, all within two hours time. I’m over it.

I try not to let my emotions get the best of me. I have always tried to keep it all under control, and let things like this just roll down my back. It normally works because I know a large part of life is a test.

If I can look at it as a test, and God as my teacher, it really inspires me to pass that test. I felt like I was failing the test, but then I realized, this test isn’t over.

I will know it’s over when God gets the glory from this journey. He gets the glory every morning when I wake up, but He is a Master at showing off in my life. He knows I love spectacular endings, so that is what I’m waiting for. I don’t see it yet, but I know its there.

A New Path

I backslid this morning and went down to the corner store for a cup of coffee. I’ve barely had any coffee with this round of Chemo. The trip to the store wasn’t about coffee after all.

Three days ago, I wrote a Blog and mentioned a song by Phillips, Craig, and Dean. Randy Phillips have been associated with a church in Austin, TX called Promiseland for years.  Standing at the counter of the store this morning, a lady walked up and started talking to me. I had met her before, and it was such a blessing just to take the time to catch up.

We walked outside, and she said something that quickly got my attention. She asked if I was familiar with Promiseland Church Austin, and I told her yes. They are bringing a satellite church September 11th to Lockhart, TX. Literally 10 minutes from where I live. We exchanged phone numbers and made plans to go together. So glad I went for that coffee.

This is how God moves in my life.

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I saw this Meme earlier this week and saved it. Didn’t really know why at the time, but today, it makes sense. I noticed that this round of Chemo was trying to kick my butt. I’ve been on a vicious cycle of eating, and sleep the week of, and my quality of life was suffering.

My daughter was visiting a friend last weekend, and this gave me time to ponder who I wanted to be, versus who I was becoming. I was allowing my current circumstances to dictate my quality of life. I  made a list of what I wanted to accomplish and started working on the list.

I’ve acquired a new curiosity for life.

The things I listed are things God has shown me, that I had put on the back burner due to lack of energy. It was time to look at what I wanted, who I wanted to be, and get to work. My body has been through hell, and I’ve been caring for the inside with good nutrition. It was time to show some care to the outer shell, so Yoga began.

I started doing Yoga 3 years ago and loved it. It makes my body happy, and I’m a firm believer in using your body to strengthen itself. This lead to reading more about it, and downloading some other books that I’ve been curious about. Strengthening the mind, and body so to speak. I got everything accomplished on my list, so today we have a new one.

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Rebuilding myself from where I am today. People have often said to me, “Keep fighting.” That sounded strange because it didn’t feel like a fight. The Chemo was fighting the Cancer, but I discovered what I was fighting for was my life. Not to get lost in the circumstances, and not to become my circumstances. I am not the same woman I was in March.

I said to someone yesterday, “This has been a remarkable journey.” He said, “I’ve never heard it described that way before.”

That is probably true because it’s easy to let the Chemo become bigger than you. Get curious about life again. Muster up all the strength you have, and use it to start over. This journey is coming to an end, but it took me straight to a new path.

Back to Chemo

I fell asleep early lastnight. Netflix continually lost the audio of the show I was trying to watch, so I just gave up, and shut everything down, including me. Perks of adulthood.

I woke up around 3:30 am, and remembered what day it is. My three week break from Chemo is coming to an end. Today is the Monday before Chemo Tuesday. There are so many feelings that go along with that thought.

My first thought was, this is #2, out of four, so I’m almost halfway done. I am learning so much along this path, and one thing is, God is big.

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I’ve had  this Meme for a while.

Just pondering it’s meaning, and today I see what it means to me in so many ways. There are no surprises to God. He knows our life story, because He is the Author, so me going through Chemo is no big shock for Him.

Looking back, I can see how everything just fell into place. My daughter and I have lived on our own, with God’s guidance, for almost 4 years. It was my job to keep her safe, and care for her the best way I knew how. Living life together, one day at a time, has brought me an extreme amount of joy.

Today, it would seem, our roles have reversed thanks to Chemo.

I didn’t know I would be battling Breast Cancer this year, but God did. It gives me great comfort knowing He has already gone before me to fight this battle, and God always wins.

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John 13:7 says, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

My daughter started driving the day she got her permit. We were leaving the DMV, and she asked, “Can I drive?” That was about a year ago. She learned to drive with my Ford F150, and I told her, “If you can drive this truck, you can drive almost anything.” It was hard for me to sit in the passenger seat at times, but she never put a scratch on it. She’s an excellent driver.

Daddy stepped in at Christmas, and gave her a car. Actually, he bought her two. The first one he bought, was her dream machine. A canary yellow, 2010, Chevy Camaro SS. I was amazed, and told him, “Uh, No.” She had been dreaming about this car, and he had searched the ends of the earth to find it. It was the hardest thing ever for me to say no.

He then bought her a more sensible car. Still sporty, but safer. Great gas mileage, and a thumpin’  sound system which is vital to her. He still has the Camaro parked behind his office. I am sure she drives it every chance she gets, but she now sees why it was a no. It’s way too much car for her at this age.

IF she hadn’t started driving when she did, I wouldn’t have a live in driver to Chemo.

What started out as something that had to be done, has turned into something she wants to do. She wants to drive me, and care for me in this way. It was very difficult for me to allow this to happen, but I knew I couldn’t drive myself. Chemo has helped me surrender to areas of my life that I couldn’t before.

I have to let people care for me.

Today, I will clean house, and restock the fridge.

Even though I don’t know how I will feel after Tuesday, I can prepare. Healthy snacks are a must after Chemo. I think I’ll buy flowers too. The last time I encountered The Red Devil, I slept for 3 days. It took another 2 days to feel somewhat human again, and 6 days to have a clear thought.

I may not know much of God’s plan, but I know He has one. I would have never imagined Chemo would be a part of it, but this path is only temporary. He is teaching me patience, because we are nowhere near done yet.