I am counting on the verse on the title line being true. I always need to look at the benefits of what I'm doing. Of course, the main benefit of chemo is that it kills cancer. Da. I guess that would be a good thing to remember. I wish that was enough to help me out when I'm not liking the side effects. It somehow is not. So here's the verse from Romans and I'm leaning into it this week: "More than that we rejoice in our sufferings knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope." May it be done to me according to this word!
I am finishing up a week of praying for those who are suffering with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. You know I'm the lucky one. I have cancer. People hear it and get nervous. Compassionate. Maybe a little scared. Your love has been lavished on me with gifts and cards and more. But the fatigue I feel as a side effect of chemo makes me feel like this:
(Thanks Cousin Doris for the picture. I related to it immediately.) But I have a light at the end of this tunnel. I am going to be DONE with chemo in 2 more weeks - maybe a bit longer to rid myself of the side effects. But think of the poor women with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. (Yes, they are mostly women). They probably feel like this dog above while the doctors can't decide what it is. Does it belong in psychology or endocrinology or immunology? Now they are arguing over changing the name of the disease. Meanwhile the women are losing years of their life. I am relatively sure their kitchen wall isn't covered with cards or their houses with fresh flowers and candy. Here's two beautiful arrangements from the NOVA Service Project Team and the sisters' household in Allendale Christians in Mission this week:
I am so blessed. Thanks everyone. And these flowers do cheer me up. I want to see the same happening for those who have Chronic Fatigue. I prayed for the right researchers to be moved to conquer this thing. Moved to find the right answers and help those suffering to find their lives again. Please join me. It's a worthy cause. I'm sure of it. If you've ever felt fatigue, you know you can't just make this stuff up!
I am reading a cancer meditational (I may be making this term up). Several Christian authors who have been through cancer treatment wrote short daily meditations. One of my favorite authors, Barbara Johnson, wrote "In this life, pain is inevitable but misery is optional. Purposefully choose to be joyful." How wise is she? You go Barbara! I don't think Barbara's with us anymore, but I'll bet she was joy filled to the end. It is a purposeful choice and I choose it.
Tomorrow Lent starts. I have two books to read: one on suffering and one on healing. I look forward to a time of growing closer to the Lord and understanding better what I can learn from this experience. During Lent, I am always amazed to meditate on Christ's passion and death and consider the love he has for all of us. The ultimate sacrifice that brought us life.
Walt and I meet my radiologist tomorrow after my treatment and learn more about the radiation I will receive. Next Monday we will meet the surgeon and finalize all that. I get an ECHO that week to check to make sure my heart hasn't been damaged by the drugs being infused. That's kind of nice (tongue in cheek here). I'm moving forward in this treatment plan. I see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I do think about these next two infusions and the fatigue they will bring. Remember in Princess Bride when they propped Westley up in a wheel barrow to storm the castle because really he was "almost dead"? That's how I feel somedays. But God loves me through it and I will end up with character and hope (Romans 5). Thanks for loving me. Thanks for your cards, gifts, notes, messages, comments, and "likes". You will never know how much it means to me. You are all instruments of God's love to me. Glory!