I'm two weeks out from telling you there's no evidence of cancer in my body! I am tired and itchy, but oh so much better than I was in March! I don't know what the pain of cancer feels like, but I can tell you the treatment is a real killer! As it should be, I suppose. As of now, that's the only way we can cure cancer. Kill it!
I'm done with chemo and surgery. I have 21 out of 30 radiation treatments behind me. I feel like this marathon is in it's last couple of miles and I'm ready for it to be over! Here's what I've been busy doing since April:
Now don't anyone get funny and say I've been bending my glasses! I don't know why that's a continual problem for me. I've been growing hair! I realize this isn't something I had to keep "busy" at, but it is nice to have a new "thick as before" crop of hair growing on my head. I've been told if I went to NYC, there'd probably be lots of women with this style. Well, maybe...but, I doubt it. But it's much improved from bald, so I'm happy.
A Helen Keller quote that I haven't verified is, "Although the world is full of suffering, it's also full of the overcoming of it." I have a hard time putting myself into a group of "sufferers." Jesus suffered. The Christians in Rome who were eaten by lions suffered. The Lost Boys of Sudan suffered. (If you haven't seen the movie "The Good Lie", it's a fictional story of these people and I highly recommend it). Those who saw battle in any war suffered. And any mother who has watched her child die has suffered much more than I. There has been, however, a definite bump in my easy life. Maybe scripture said it best in John 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I have had some trouble, and the fact that the Lord reigns in spite of that fact, is a source of great peace.
George MacDonald, a Christian minister of the 19th Century wrote, "the Son of God suffered unto this death, not that men might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like his." This puts a different angle on whatever we want to say it is that "we suffer" from. Jesus' suffering was done autonomously, selflessly, and completely (unto his death). That's a lot to unpack. I can't claim autonomy. I did not want cancer. But then, Jesus didn't want to have the passion either. What was the agony in the garden about except Jesus saying, "Can't you think of some other plan?" But he struggled with it and finally owned the plan. He didn't say yes and then mutter under his breath that the Father made him do it. Autonomy is something I want for all of my life. Not just my journey through cancer. Secondly, Jesus' passion was totally selfless. There is no greater selfless act known to man. He's a sinless man taking on the sins of the world as his own. I can't even think of how I can take my cancer and even try to have it shadow such a feat. When I was offered to be in a clinical trial to help NIH learn more about the standards for treatment I said yes so my experience could in some way help those coming down the road. It's a very small thing, but there is no other way I have found my present predicament to be selfless. And, lastly, Jesus' suffering was complete unto his death. I hope Reverend MacDonald meant Jesus was a model for all those who need to endure. And that's where I am now. I need the grace to endure without whining and complaining. I really am much better than I was in March. Maybe that's why I have more energy to think about complaining! Lord, let me look to you and be revived!
C.S. Lewis may have said what I need to hear most. In his book, The Problem of Pain, he writes, "...nor have I anything to offer my readers except my conviction that when pain is to be borne, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all." Walt continues to shine the love of Christ on me in his faithfulness in good times and in bad. I am surrounded by my blood family who call, text, and email faithfully. I have the People of Praise who live daily with me and help with the big decisions like when to remove my hat, and those at church and elsewhere. In other words, I am flooded with the love of God and so I have all I need to endure to the end. I just need a gentle reminder here and there.
Thanks for sharing in this journey with me. I ask for prayers for my endurance, and a complete healing for my friend Geriann whose brain tumors are growing again. (January 27th post) She'll be retested in the fall, and I'd love to be the witness of her miracle.
Love you all!