Chemo treatment Round Four started with a kick to the curb yesterday. I did not see it coming. Honestly, the whole session was off from the normal. I arrived five minutes late instead of early and then had to wait 20 minutes. As I sat in the waiting room, I watched a man with whom I presumed was his elderly mother want to abandon her to the process. I have made the decision to attend my treatment up until now alone so that I can rest in the chair and just be present. My fatigue may change that decision but I have not yet decided.
Anyway, back to the son and his mother. At some point he said he was going to leave and be back in five hours. Her face fell. She covered her eyes with one of her hands and I could tell that she was crying. I am certain that he could feel every single eye in the waiting room boring into him. He sat down and agreed to stay. Eventually I got called in and she was called a few minutes later and escorted to a bed in my sight line; the man with her exited as soon as he could. I felt a bit of sadness for both of them. Chemo is not for the weak of heart.
I sat in one of the chairs and the nurse was not one of my usual ones. She seemed a bit something–I cannot quite put words to it still–but whatever it was, I found it unhelpful. I started to wonder if I had difficult patient written on my chart. She asked me several questions and then told me that my blood counts were low. She sort of seemed surprised that I was still having chemo and then went on to say a bunch of things that were not particularly helpful to me though I have heard others talk about them. My desire to stay in the moment and not leap ahead got whacked I suppose.
As the nurse left me to get what was needed, my attention wandered over to the elderly woman. She and the nurse caring for her were laughing. She asked the nurse if anyone had ever told her that she had a gorgeous smile. I could almost see the nurse beam even though her back was towards me. What a very sweet woman, I thought.
As I was settling in and the infusion begun, the clerk brought me an envelope that I was expecting full of forms and reports. I decided to have a peek and as I read through it, I experienced an overwhelming anxiety as I turned the pages. Simply reviewing my medical process for the past 14 months horrified me. Concise and clear, there was no denying what I had survived. Among the notes, I found an error that made me wonder if anything else was incorrect. I stopped reading it but my brain was buzzing. I closed my eyes and tried to pray. I often do my morning prayer in the chair so I pulled out the missalette and found comfort in Romans 12: Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.
I lost my patience somewhere that morning. I closed my eyes and tried breathing but instead the tears came. The nurse’s words had obviously rattled me somehow and I tried to reign in the fear and anxiety. One of the nurses that I know swung by and asked how I was doing. The tears leaked out again. I shook my head. She quietly pulled the curtain around us and let me talk. All this stuff came spewing out of my mouth. She compassionately listened and then asked a couple of questions to bring me back to more solid ground. She assured me that I was making the right decisions. She placed hope gently back in my lap.
Later that evening, I began to feel ill the way I do in Week 3 of the round. Thus it begins. Even today, I am not yet back to normal. I suspect that I will have some tough decisions with the medical team about how to carry on. I know that I must rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering and persevere in prayer. Right now, the later seems possible. That is where all of you come in. Pray with me that all three may occur and that I may cling to hope and rest when I need to. I must continue to let go of my normal life and say that in sickness I can still praise, honour and serve God. The struggle has kicked up a notch and I will not lag in zeal but I will try to be ardent in spirit to serve the Lord as it says elsewhere in Romans 12. I am holding fast to good. I have got 11 weeks left and I pray that I may know what the best thing is to do.
When have you felt that getting up from a fall will take every ounce of energy you have?
Who has been an angel that has placed hope back in your lap when you needed it?
Carrier of Crosses,
I feel as is I am kicked to the curb
No slow progression any more
I am done with the ease into suffering
and thrust forward on this journey
crashing headfirst to the ground.
I want to rejoice in hope
but I need patience to suffer.
Help me to persevere,