Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I started the 2nd of 8 treatments today.  Today was a really tough day.  Not because of any pain or getting sick.  But because going for these treatments are kind of like being pushed through like cattle to slaughter.  Not that the nurses and doctors are unkind because they are really great and all have a positive upbeat outlook.  But with the nature of how this is done all of these people with cancer diagnosis are all there in rooms together.  Everyone in the waiting area or who are in the treatment area has either a diagnosis of cancer or a family member with one.  And their stories can be very heart wrenching.

One of the ladies I spoke with in the waiting area is two years into her breast care treatments.  She lost her mother to breast cancer and one of her daughters is also in treatment.  In addition they found a skin cancer on her husband and they did surgery which involved removing and replacing his ear and taking out a saliva gland, and later they found lung cancer, and later another cancer but I can't remember now which organ she was saying but that later spread to his lung and was of different origin to his other lung cancer.  On top of all that he also has Alzheimer's.  She said it has just become a lifelong battle.  She had a wonderful personality and outlook but my heart just went out to her.

While in the treatment area there was a 76 year old man and he had a friend there visiting with him during his treatment.  Sounded like one of his old running buddies or maybe a brother.  They were talking about when they were younger.  Things they got into together.  Talking about girls they had met or dated.  Made me smile.  But at one point he looked up like he was looking far away and said "I never thought my life would come to this."  Just broke my heart.

So, yes, today was a very tough day.  The treatments keep me up all night the first night.  Not sure why but it has happened to me for the both the first and second treatment and it was one of the side effects they advised me about.  Then I get sick with lose stools about the third or fourth day.  Otherwise physically I am holding up pretty good right now.

Spiritually I have been holding up pretty good too.  I had a wonderful report and had my surgery canceled back in August/September because I did so well with my first rounds of chemo and radiation.

I've kept a very positive attitude about this from the very beginning.  I know that I have not been promised to live on this earth for eternity.  We know as soon as we are faced with our first death on this earth that we are all headed to the same.  And my thoughts have been that if this is my time then it is my time and I have been blessed to know that it could be sooner than any of us had thought.  And I have faith in a promise from Jesus and faith that he will not fail me.  But when I go for these treatments and I hear these stories it is just really hard on me.  I've believed from the beginning this would be cured.  That the doctor's would follow me for 5 years and that would be the end of it.  But talking with these other individuals and their battles it makes me wonder if this won't be a lifelong battle for me.  Always having to look over my shoulder to see if this evil villain will be lurking somewhere behind me ready to attack again.  I know I have to take one day at a time and keep my faith.  I pray, not just myself but others, for healing and strength. 

My whole role in life always involved helping others.  I've always been the one that runs around trying to prepare for the storm and been the calm in the eye of the storm when it hits.  I can remember taking care of things even as a small child.  I moved in with an elderly lady for a summer when I was 12 to help care for her and stayed with my grandmother and helped care for her when I was 15.  We watch TV and so many of us have modeled our lives after shows.  Houses are nicer than they were when I was growing up.  Things are cleaner.  I am thinking of shows like Mary Tyler Moore, squeaky clean shows but they rarely show the messy side of life.  But I learned early there was no shame in the messy side but someone has to deal with that and clean it up.  Whether it is cleaning up after someone being sick or cleaning a bed pan I've done that and it never bothered me.  So it has always been a part of who I am.  That role has begun to change for me.  So I am learning to have to accept that.

My grandmother is the one that taught me there is no shame in being a caregiver.  The one the cleans up messes.  I'm missing her terribly tonight.  She was a my rock.  She is the one that taught me about the love of Jesus through her actions.