Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chemo #4 Saved by the Belles

I hadn't realized how discouraged I have been over the last chemo cycle until I tried to get ready to go to chemo this time. It was like getting a squalling 4 year old to settle down for the dentist. Finally, I had to call in the big guns: my mom AND my sister. They came to take me in and stayed to distract me with a scrapbooking project. Good thing, too, I really don't know if I could have frog-marched myself in for another round of dreadful.

My doctor was sympathetic, looking over all the difficulties of the past three cycles. She agreed to reduce the dosage of the worst chemo drug. And I soaked again in the icy water during that infusion. I'm also trying a regimen of drinking ionized, alkaline water that is a standard of care in Japan.

So far the worst symptom I've suffered this cycle is a short visual migraine. We are only two days into the cycle, so I'm still on alert for the next version of ick, but I'm grateful for no burning in the hands and feet and no infections elsewhere.

Did you ever notice how often David says in the Psalms, "I will sing", "I will give praise"? It's not "Isn't life grand? I feel like singing!" Looking at David's life, I notice that he had sad, hard times more often than not. His marvelous praises were more an act of will than a bubbly high-five. I'm there. I will give praise, even though I can't manage the sparkle.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Revenge of the Toxins

While I continue to be daily grateful for almost pain-free hands and feet, the chemo toxins are having their revenge in new mischief. This round,they have hammered my mucus membranes, burning eyes, sinus, and digestive tract. I have contracted infections in sinus and urinary tracts. I am stumbling around like the Mummy, shedding the seared remnants of skin cooked in the last round, honking inarticulately, eyes too filled with rheumy tears to see where I'm going. Plus, I always look embarrassed; the burning is happening on my face.

I think I really scared the guy standing behind me in the grocery line. He happened to catch sight of my face under my hat brim as I turned to collect bags. He jumped back like a guilty three-year-old. Robert, who had very prudently driven, brazened it out, grinning at the guy as he took my load and escorted me to the car. Gotta love that boy!

To console myself, I am holing up (as much as possible)to draft that Great American Novel I've always wanted to write, as well as assisting Petra with the libretto for her musical tribute to the American soldier. Good times. The spirit is not fettered; it will take its own revenge.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Humble Orthodoxy

So often we falsely contrast truth and grace. I like this little film riff on Josh Harris' new book, Dug Down Deep. Words & visuals beautifully woven. from Covenant Life Church on Vimeo.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Seeking True North

When I started chemo, several friends who have survived cancer advised, "When you begin to lose your hair, just take charge and shave it all off. You need to have some way to take control." I liked that idea. Me over cancer. Me wryly living that dream all of us women have embraced on some dark bad-hair day of simply shaving it off and starting over. I'm a take-charge kinda gal.

But when the hair began to fall in sheets and clumps, I knew there was something else I needed to affirm. I have cancer because God is in charge, not me. All the things I have taken charge of have been taken from me - at least for a time - because I need to remember that truly I am NOT in charge. And however it looks from here and now, that is a good thing. So I needed something to remind me that I will seek God's direction and be still under His guidance.

No, I didn't shave. I tried to enjoy the emotional satisfaction of actually being able to tear my hair out when things got intense. But it wasn't fun enough. I knew I was just waiting in a trackless darkness for God something.

Then Richard Fudge's Visual Prayer Journal project came across my radar through the Creative Edge Artist's Network. He and God arranged for the Journal to reach me during my most discouraged cancer time so far. Designing a page that reflects my determination to wait on God's direction helped me come to terms with the feelings of helplessness, and to frame my prayer for His will to be done in and through me.

The background is a map of the Arctic Ocean sea floor, the darkest, most trackless place on Earth, a place where even a compass is useless. As the tsunami of troubles obliterates all known landmarks, God's Will is the only true north my heart will seek.

Photo is True North by Kim Anderson, 2010. Click on photo for a larger view.


Related Posts with Thumbnails