Shawn and I have purposed church attendance and made it a core family value for the past many years. We have a child with high needs who does not tolerate the noise and commotion of a church congregation and, so, many a Sunday it would have been waaaaaay easier to just give up and stay home. It has been a chore, a struggle, an exhaustion, a joy, a feat, an accomplishment as we have hustled and cajoled and fought for the routine on a Sunday basis. But, we persisted and now have four children who understand that church attendance is a core value and something our family chooses to do together. Yay!!!
Staying home the past many weeks to avoid the germs of children's church and of the many people coming and going and coughing in the service has been strange. And lonely. And disconnectedness-ing. I don't like it.
Being where we are in the chemo cycle, it was safe to go today and I felt strong... so we went. And it was a whole different range of emotions. Wow. I think I went through them all in that hour and a half time span. Seriously.
I felt 'normal'... not really an emotion, but I'm redefining it as such because "normal" just means so very much to me these days. I felt happy... and at home... and where I belong... and connected... and seen... and not missing from life... and present... and in God's house... and sad that I was so happy to be there... and jealous for our life before cancer... and hopeful for our life in remission... and hopeful that remission will be sooner than later... and then afraid of the opposite... and proud of my parents for getting us to Sunday School and to church all those years... and grateful for the foundation of Bible truths that were laid over me/in me/ on my heart/ in my mind my whole life... and super grateful that those truths, laid then, buoy me now... and overwhelmed by how many things I felt sitting in church... and heart-full for the kindness of friends who came over to say hi... and achey-arm-ed that I couldn't hug them... and bashful about the "sorry... germ-free zone!!!!" as I leaned away from their offerings of hugs and handshakes and human contact... and relieved that they totally didn't mind and were happy to oblige if that meant keeping me safe/healthy/successful in beating this cancer... and pleased-as-punch to be part of such an amazing group of people... and just plain happy to have a church home that loves us so much... and heart-warmed in the knowing that there are so many people who truly-love-and-care for us... and wishful that I can ever begin to repay the love and kindness... and scared that I will never be able to repay as my heart wants to repay... and overcome with the need to just bawl my eyes out at God's love for me... and a deep heart-desire for every single person and blog-friend and acquaintance I know to have a church home and foundation of faith that I have... and wonder at how all these things could dance around my heart and mind and soul all the while singing and praising and listening to the words and music and message of this morning's sermon. [deep breath]
I came to the van exhausted... in that punch-drunk-happy sort of way that just feels... goofy and good.
And I just smile and shake my head and all I can say is this: God is good. All the time.
And now tonight, after an impromptu awesome lunch with Kori and Roger at their house... and then Keri stopped in for a visit which was bonus... and after a relaxed afternoon watching the SuperBowl HalfTime Show (do people actually watch the game?)... I am now working a little harder than I like to not panic and fret about the CT scan tomorrow. I don't want to go. I just don't. It is way easier to just chug along and know that God is doing His thing than to have to navigate the medical necessities. And I have to drink the dye. And my tummy is so sensitive since chemo that I'm afraid of feeling icky. And I can't eat after midnight... and I am queasy and shaky in the mornings and tend to need to eat right away... and then there will be an IV... and labwork as is the routine the day before chemo. And I am sick of needles. And the hospital. The Cancer Agency I like... it is peaceful and kind and quiet and sanitized there. The hospital moves at a different pace, and there is the general public, and all those "3,359 people have touched this door" which freaks me out... it's a lot of emotional work to just get myself in the hospital doors. Sigh.
It's 7pm... the paper said "after dinner"... technically that could mean 8:00 or 9:00... right?! Sure... Can we rewind? I'd really like to go back and do this morning and this afternoon... now I am nervous and a bit snippy at the kids... not snippy out loud really, just emotionally... ready for them to stop talking and kibbutzing (fooling around)... and, you know... just my nerves. Really, I'm glad they are in my space, like puppies... I like that. I love them. It's funny to have watched them lined up on the couch with iPods, iPhone, iPad today... a rare and special treat for them... a funny social story for me.
Rambling. I do that a lot. You are such good listeners and my brain and my heart are full tonight.
Chemo is Tuesday at 11:00. I am sort of excited-nervous. I don't mind going to chemo. The nurses are so nice, the space is fairly peaceful. I tune out the other patients, I'm somewhat anti-social to whatever goes on outside of my little cubicle...if it didn't seem rude I would pull my curtains shut and wear noise cancelling headphones. My Mom likes to people-watch... so the curtains open is my gift to her... plus then she provides these little commentaries that crack me up. It's win-win. I love my Mom. I am so grateful that she can and will and does come with me. I feel relaxed with her there. She is an amazing caregiver and I am absolutely blessed by her observing and serving way. And, she's my Mommy. And I super-need her.
And I'm feeling... trepidation... about cycle 2. The chemo teach workshop thing told us that chemo is somewhat cumulative. That the second chemo is a little more... more to work through... than the first chemo. That the third is a little more... and so on. Each time you start off maybe a little less strong or well or something. I'm not naive. That makes sense to me. I also believe that for every stat there is a worst case and best case scenario... and I am fully expecting to be a best case scenario... someone needs to be, gets to be... and I say "Me!" Plus, with you all praying and asking, and God hearing and answering... I know it will all be as it should. And I have peace in that. And I am grateful for the good meds. And I am thankful that "your kind of cancer responds well to chemo" and I rest in the fact that God is bigger.
So many thoughts, so many emotions. I really do spend most days in a sort of skimming-the-surface and keeping the thinking and emotions balanced or at bay. There is a phrase "peace that passes understanding" that speaks of the kind of Peace God gives that just plain makes no sense. And that has always been my experience of God and I am so grateful that He is faithful and I accept that peace.
My specific prayer request today is this:
- that the dye won't upset my tummy, that the CT scan will be a smooth process
- that the CT Scan will show GOOD NEWS and SUCCESSFUL WORK by the chemo
- that I won't be a scaredy-cat... that I won't be afraid... that I won't feel panic... that I won't have fear
- that the chemo will be a smooth process, that the side effects will be manageable, that I will not have the killer heartburn this time
- that the cancer is shrinking to GONE! In Jesus' Name I pray for a full and complete and miraculous delivery from all cancer in this body and now.
- that our family will be immune to all germs and that I will be extra-protected, too
- that my white counts will stay high and strong and healthy, that my body will be strong
- peace for me, for Shawn, for the kids, for my parents and siblings and in-laws and extended family and friends and all of you who are holding us in your hearts
Sincerely, thank you.