Life sometimes get really crazy and busy. I think if we are honest, most of us are guilty of rushing all the time. It seems as though we don’t even take time to enjoy the simple things. We’re busy working and raising families and most of us don’t even know how to relax.
We take so much for granted and we miss so many beautiful things. When is the last time you sat outside and listened to a bird sing or watched a squirrel scampering up a tree? Or just took a stroll around the block?
Sometimes in life we get dealt a blow that catches us off guard and one we’re not prepared for. And then you stop what you’re busy with and try to figure out the next move. It’s then that life slows down a bit and you begin to seek perspective for the given situation.
April 2004. I had my diagnosis and my battle plan. So, now what?
To prepare for chemo, Jim and I had to take a class. Can you believe they make you go to class to learn about this stuff? It was quite informative and gave me a breakdown of all my medications and what to expect from them. The class was filled with people just like me, though their situations were different. We were all there needing a little hope and direction. It was good!
For the weeks leading up to this point, I began to think about a lot of things. I guess that’s pretty natural for someone facing a life threatening situation. I began to put a lot of things in perspective and look at things differently than I had done my entire life.
The petty things that I would hear people gripe about began to annoy me. We spend way too much time complaining about things we have absolutely no control over. And I am not going to suggest that I haven’t done the same thing, but I had to put things in perspective.
First, I had to be thankful! Thankful that this wasn’t my husband or children that had been diagnosed. Yes, they were there by my side the entire time, but I was thankful it was me.
Secondly, I had to realize that it could be a lot worse. I gave my family a motto, that we continue to try to live by: If this is the worse thing to happen, we’ll be okay.
Third, I realized my other motto: it’s only temporary. This life is actually temporary. The day we are born, we begin our journey to death. Life and everything in it is temporary. So many people live for the temporary highs that things can give them, but if you think about it, it is all temporary.
So I took my class, everything was in order and now we were scheduled for chemotherapy. They told me I would be there all day but I had no idea what to expect. We checked in early in the morning and were there until about 5 in the afternoon. It was a really long day.
I had a nurse named Ellen. She was precious. She took the time to talk me through what she was doing and how things would go. I loved her. My chemo regimen involved 6 different medications that would be given through IV. My doctor said they were giving me the big stuff. YIPPEE!
From the time I began my journey, God placed people in my path that were encouraging in specific ways to me. Every lab tech, nurse and employee that I saw at Sammons Cancer Center were great, they truly minister to their patients. But as we were getting off the elevator the first day of treatment, there was a lady that we encountered that was a Lymphoma survivor that began to talk to us. She encouraged my heart so much that day. She had celebrated 10 years.
The days following treatment were discouraging in some ways. After about 48 hours, I began to get really fatigued. It was a tiredness that is worse than any kind of tired. My head began to feel a bit foggy and all of a sudden, it tasted as if I had metal in my mouth. All perfectly normal side effects of treatment. By the time I would begin to feel somewhat normal it was time for another dose, every 21 days for 6 treatments, with scans and blood work in between. Not to mention my doctor said my hair would be gone in two weeks and he was absolutely right.
My hair fell out completely in about two weeks time. I was able to see what I look like bald. Losing my hair would be temporary. Hair loss was not the worse thing that could happen for sure. I think that bothered others more than me.
My daughter, Sarah, gave me the name “Monkeyhead” because of the fuzz on top of my head. That made me proud, because as hard as things were from time to time, we could also find some humor. Sometimes I still get cards with that name on them, which I don’t mind.
Life gets difficult sometimes given our circumstances. I know for myself, finding humor in the hard times is good medicine. I decided I could cry, which I did from time to time, or I could find something to laugh at. I am so thankful for my crazy, silly and wonderful family that make me smile and laugh often.
I can confidently say that no one is immune from challenges of their own. One of mine just happened to be cancer. I learned many lessons from this journey.
My relationship with Christ grew in a tremendous way. I became dependent on Him in a new way. Instead of getting up in the morning and tackling the things on my agenda, I truly began to ask God to help me find strength for each day as I thanked Him for the day. I know what it means that when I am weak, He is strong. God is faithful!
No matter your burden, challenge, heartache or challenge, God can handle it. He will help see you through and you can depend on Him.
I can’t imagine trying to go through this journey on my own strength.
“While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NKJV)