Well, here I sit in the big green chair, one more time—mask on, fighting back the gagging reflex, but thankful for God’s grace. Barring a future recurrence, this is my last time to sit here for chemo-therapy. God has been good to see us through to this point.
Tonight in church, two of our teens sang a song that deeply touched my heart. I’ve been familiar with this particular song for probably more than a decade, but tonight it meant something special, so I thought I would post the lyrics. It’s called “We Press On”:
Well, I woke up today, all mentally zoned for the last treatment. We arrived at Kaiser at about 1pm where the nurse told us we needed to meet with the doctor. Uh-oh. A few moments later, we are sitting in his office talking about low blood counts. As it turns out, my white counts were too low for treatment and I have to wait for three more days.
At this point, I almost got on my knees! I put on the most pathetic expression I could, I asked “what will happen if I have treatment anyway?” I literally begged him to reconsider. To no avail. I was so ready to do this last treatment. But the doctor said it was too risky. We have to wait until Thursday, which is really crummy timing.
It was the only time in seven months that I have begged for chemotherapy. I actually can’t imagine ever doing that again. I’m sure God has a plan in it, and I don’t want to end up in the hospital because we wiped out my blood counts. So, I’m coming down off my hours of emotional prep and planning to enjoy the next few days of sanity.
So, treatment #12 is still lingering out there, sticking it’s tongue out at me and threatening to make me nauseous. And so we wait…
The past twelve days probably represented my most difficult post-treatment days yet. I’ve had two good days, thankfully. One of them is today, and the other one was Thursday. Ironically, I had planned to take Dana away for the day. We had a wonderful time—starting with four hours at Disneyland (at which time I ran out of steam.) After dinner, we attended a symphony.
Just wanted to give a quick update on this past week’s treatment. The worst hit on Saturday and Sunday, along with some new side effects I haven’t experienced up to this point. Sunday afternoon and evening the chemo cave was as dark as it always is, and all day my mouth hurt. Actually, it was pretty much my whole head, but especially my tongue. Felt like I was chewing on a cactus. Strange. And no medication would touch it.
Today, Monday, the mouth pain has decreased, but I’ve been on the edge of nausea all day—more than usual. I was able to go into work for four hours, conduct some meetings, and work on some projects. Tonight I’m hoping for enough energy for Dana and I to take Lance and his date out for dinner before she goes home for the summer.
Treatment #11 happened yesterday. It was moved from Monday to Wednesday due to our Senior High Spring Banquet at Disneyland.
For all of my fellow-hodgkins friends who are reading this, don’t worry—it was awesome! It was like a five course dinner at a fine dining establishment, including an amazing desert. I wished I could have stayed longer and had seconds. :)
Have you ever hit a wall in some aspect of your life? This is something that I haven’t written much about, but walls have become somewhat of a regular occurrence in this cancer experience.
First, there’s the physical energy wall. For instance, I can tell I’m getting a chest infection, so last night we asked the doctor for a prescription. I started the antibiotic, woke up feeling decent, and went in to work. Then at 2pm—WHAM! My body said, “I’m done…” I can’t explain it. It just happens—a wall, out of nowhere. No energy left, and no will power is enough to overcome it. My only option is to go collapse somewhere.
God has been so good to us! Treatment #10 did it’s usual damage, but God gave strength at all the right times. Thursday night we colored Easter eggs with the kids, Friday we spent some time with some new staff members that are joining our team soon. Then came an AMAZING Easter weekend. God allowed me the strength to participate in the Easter musical rehearsal on Saturday all day, and the the musical in the evening. We saw God work in a great way over the weekend. Many trusted Christ in the musicals and services, and I cherished every moment of celebrating the resurrection and worshipping the RISEN SAVIOUR! It was AWESOME!
Just got home from treatment #10. I got sick again during treatment. Bummer. I’m in bed prepared to medicate up and knock myself out for the night. I’m wishing I could get ahold of that vasnic stuff that George took on the second edition of Father of the Bride. You know, “See you next Thursday, George!”
The good news, there are only two treatments left. They have increasingly become more miserable, but the end of the tunnel is in sight. Thanks to all who are praying for us.
After an extremely taxing week last week, this week has been good. Up through yesterday I was really weak and fighting off chest infection and sickness. Though I worked a little each day, I tried to mostly rest and get healthy for Monday’s treatment. I’m glad it was a light week. Today I finally started feeling like I’m getting the upper hand in strength and a clear chest. Just in time for treatment #10.
Have you ever rushed through your day at a frantic pace, crossing off as many things on your to-do list as possible? Have you ever finished a busy day, collapsed into bed, and wondered what you did of value that day? Have you ever sensed, deep inside, that you’re getting a lot of “stuff” done, but something is still missing? It’s easy to do a lot of good things with our time and life, but to miss the really important things—the things that matter most. And when we do, our conscience is unsettled. Perhaps you feel that way right now.
I’m due for an update. This week was another mixed bag of blessings and challenges. Youth conference was awesome—nearly 3,000 young people gathered, many trusted Christ as Saviour, many made other great decisions. I managed to be a part—though my brain would debate that fact. Between a lot of praying friends, and probably some adrenalin, the Lord allowed me to lead services, teach youth workers, and preach once—but treatment #9 was knocking on the door the whole time. I wasn’t in my right mind—but that actually works out well when you work with teens, because none of them are in their right minds either. :)
Just a quick update. I know many of you are praying for me in regarding to this week’s conference. Treatment #9 yesterday was a real hassle. Got sick in the middle of it all—nearly twice. Came home in the evening and literally crashed—sleeping by 6:30 until this morning. Didn’t throw up any more. I’m doing a little work, answering emails, but feeling crummy as usual.
I’m guessing I’ll be in bed resting most of today and tomorrow—to save up some strength for Wednesday night’s conference. My white blood counts were very low yesterday, but treatment proceeded any way. That means I have to be even more careful about shaking a lot of hands and being around crowds. Not a good recipe for a week of youth conference with nearly 3,000 young people attending.
At least healing is in progress—for that I am deeply grateful. Sorry nothing humorous today… my nutty side is under the influence of chemicals too powerful for funny. Shingles seem to be declining—not as quickly as I would wish. Thanks for praying and stopping by!
Only THREE MORE chemo treatments!!!
I woke up this morning, grabbed my computer, and came to McDonalds. Today is a family day, but sometimes I like to get up earlier and get some quiet private time with the Lord and to think. And, since McDonalds has wifi, and the loud ladies across from me have left, I thought I would share a few things.
It’s hard to believe this struggle with cancer has consumed the last six and a half months of our lives. In some ways they have trudged by, and in some ways flown by. Looking ahead, there are still at least three months of treatment left, and probably a few months of recovery before this season passes—if that’s the Lord’s will. When all said and done, from contracting the cancer to recovering from treatment will probably end up being a two and a half year trial.
The Lord has been teaching us a lot. Here are a few life lessons from recent weeks:
Just checking in for those wondering what’s up. Mainly, just itching! Shingles have declared an all out mutiny, and while the sores are healing, the itching is now driving away my last remnants of sanity. My new best friend is a bamboo back scratcher that Dana picked up at Walgreens. And I’m thinking of building a bed of nails to sleep on until this passes. I’m sure I would sleep better.