Bad week. Cancer stinks! I feel like a bloated balloon immediately after eating and get hungry 2 hours later anyway! I have what I call gasoline breath. My medical team politely calls it a “metallic taste side effect” and encourages me to only use plastic utensils. I feel like I’m sleeping half my life away. I hate greasing up my hands because they are so dry!
These are only just some of the “side Effects” that don’t seem like a side issue to me at all. I never even felt what cancer feels like! It’s the treatment that is making me crazy!
Ok. I’m a girl who grew up in the 60’s. The above is my way of fighting for the day. It feels like handing me a foam bat to beat everything and everyone that’s annoying me. I found it therapeutic at one time in my life. Here’s a picture of it below.
It’s fun for a second, but ends up totally unsatisfying. The 1960’s are over - at least for me. Thank God. So what do I do? Cancer treatment does stink and I am tired of rearranging my life to its beck and call. So how do I “fight like a girl” and come out victorious?
Well, I was talking to the Lord about it. Tomorrow at about 3pm I will be ½ infused of all the chemo planned for my “personalized fight against cancer”. They try to make it sound special, don’t they? One thing is thing for sure. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. So how does one get encouraged at the halfway mark? So…darn…that’s right. I forgot to run that marathon. I need to know:
What does the coach say to keep you going at the half way mark?
I thought of the Blessed Virgin Mary and how she “wonders” (ponders) at the hard words about her life given by Simeon. “He (Jesus) will stand as a sign of contradiction, while a sword will pierce your own soul”. That wondering must have made her stronger. I thought of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta who fought everything by prayer and doing good to others. She certainly didn’t focus on herself! I’m having a hard time not focusing on myself. I remember when I was a grad student I decided I would not miss any community meetings because of deadlines. After all, it was only because of the goodness of the Lord that I had the opportunity to get my MSN. Wouldn’t it be foolish to become so study focused that I ignored worshipping the one who from all good things flow? This worked very well. I got my degree and even though the research could’ve been better, I learned enough and more and grew in my love for God at the same time. But cancer treatment isn’t like that. I went to Mass on Sunday. With every change of position (I’m Roman Catholic. We sit, stand, and kneel alternatively. I think at one time we all had ADD and needed help to focus. This is a joke. Kind of.) Anyway, with each move I’m thinking will I make it? Am I shaking? Do I need to sit down? Maybe I could just wait in the car. It was totally useless for worship and so I’m going back to my “follow your body” instructions from the doctor. If I’m not feeling right, I’m staying home. This will probably mean missing more things in the second half of therapy. But maybe, just maybe, it will be a joy filled time alone with the Lord. I could certainly give him more of a chance in that area!
My dear daughter, Katie, started a Novena to St. Peregrine who was miraculously healed of cancer. Yesterday the Novena ended. Maybe that’s why I had the hardest of days. It could very well be a spiritual battle. Doing novenas is not my particular spiritual culture, but my parents did one for me as an infant and I have had asthma my whole life with no hospitalizations or big deal of any sort. Here’s the prayer for the novena. I thought praying the daily intentions would certainly arm me for a darn good battle against any attack!
Day 1 – Pray for us, that we will not let sickness bring us to despair
Day 2 – Pray for us, that we may persevere in hope
Day 3 – Pray for us, that we will have the courage to offer up our suffering in unity with the Cross
Day 4 – Pray for us, that the loneliness of our suffering will be consoled
Day 5 – Pray for us, that the fear of death will be replaced with the hope of everlasting life
Day 6 – Pray for us, that our suffering will not rob us of joy
Day 7 – Pray for us, that in our pain we will not become selfish but ever more selfless
Day 8 – Pray for us, that this sickness will teach me to depend more and more on God
Day 9 – Pray for us, that our lives will glorify God alone
After reading this and taking another three-hour nap some good news started to come in.
- If I’m not sick tonight I get to go out to dinner and a movie with Robin and Mary to celebrate our tap dance class run by none other than Grandma Birdie (Robin). How blessed am I to get to dance tap with them!
- George, my 20th grandchild, had his birthday video posted on facebook by his mom. http://couchofred.blogspot.com/2015/01/happy-birthday-george.html What a great year of new life and this year will make him a big brother! Walt is calling the new baby Black Jack because he’s number 21 for us. Don’t worry. It won’t stick.
- One of my dear friends sent me a picture of her and 2 of her friends at a tea. One of them had made a floral hat with an old bra. Now that’s feminine creativity at it’s best and I’m about to have some used bras! Look out! (Sorry gentlemen who read this. It’s a girl thing. I’m getting over self pity here.)
- We have been trying to help an old man in the neighborhood who doesn’t live in a safe environment. More happened toward getting him a new home yesterday than all the days in the last 5 years combined. That’s a lot to rejoice over.
- And last but not least, I offered my sufferings 2 weeks ago for my family (always) and my friend Geriann who had surgery 12 days ago on a benign brain tumor. Like me, she had hundreds of people praying. The doctor came out of surgery and announced they were able to get “much more” than they expected. Go Geriann! Go doc! Go prayer! Now Geriann is free to go back to West St. Paul and continue to build a neighborhood where God is known and loved and neighbors and really neighbors. She is awesome! I’m so happy for her and her family! This week I will continue to pray for my family and focus on those who need healing from divorce. May God grant them (the whole family!) peace and a new start to move forward!
And so, my anger is gone and I have won a battle. Probably not my last, but it’s won! Now help me out with some marathon coaching (you are very good at this), and I’ll continue to fight like a girl: I’ll listen to my body and go in for my halfway dose tomorrow and find out what more of the “accumulating effects” will hit me over the weekend. I will ponder the course of treatment along with the promises of the Lord. And when I’m feeling not so bad, I’ll find some way to reach out and do something good for another. I am happy I have you in my court. Oh, please say a prayer so I can get out with my friends. I’d be much obliged!