Chemo Round 13.
I'm 3 hours in. Nestled in my chair, warm blankets tucked in all around me, my hands holding frozen gel packs (attempting to close the capillaries in my hands so I don't get neuropathy), eyes closed, a few tears sneaking down my cheek. The sound of the infusion machine drip drip dripping chemicals into my body keeps me awake. The effects of Taxol start to wear on me right about now.
Jack is sitting right next to me. We just finished another game of rummy and we are at the point where it takes too long for me to make a play (chemo brain, it's a real thing) so we take a break. I close my eyes, rest my head to the side and try to get through the next hour relaxed.
He plays a game of solitaire on the table attached to my chair, occupying himself with anything other than taking in his surroundings. This place opens your eyes. It makes you appreciate what you have. What you're going through. That others are going through the same suffering and emotions you are. The physical demands, the weariness, the psychological whirlwind. Some days are easier than others, but today is hard.
I'm done. I'm so done. We are 5 months into this battle and I'm weary. 2 months left. 2 more months and I get a fresh start. People keep saying "you'll be back to your old self soon!" I hold onto that and I appreciate the positive encouragement, but I can't help but see things a little differently.
I will never be my old self again.
There are parts of me that are gone. Parts that needed to go. Parts that didn't contribute to a better me. Parts that hurt people without being aware. Parts that broadcast too loudly. Parts that are unproductive and selfish.
Suffering changes ones soul. Ones perspective. Although the depth of this battle has been brutal at times, I wouldn't have it taken away for anything in the world. Because that would mean that I would have lived the rest of my life the same way I lived the first 44. It would mean some of my blinders were still on. It would mean the relationships that have rooted themselves even deeper than before may not have been given that chance. It means balance and peace, forgiveness and grace. It means everything.
I wipe the tears from my cheek and I'm happy. Truly. Only God can give joy and hope amidst pain and suffering.
As I open my eyes I see my sweet infusion nurse..."Ok girl, all done for today. See you next Tuesday"
Okay. I can do that. With a smile and a greater understanding of what it means to be present and loved. This phase of the journey is almost over and I am looking forward to that fresh start. To seeing sunshine everywhere again, to being a light and to being love. To feeling whole again, to having the energy to take care of my body the way I want to. To feel like my brain is back on track and not fuzzy all the time. To take care of my family again. To be there to help someone who needs to hear words of hope.
So, thank you friends. For loving the old me and the new me. And cheers to being almost done with this battle!! And remember to be grateful for the goodness in your life, those you love and who love you. Hold onto God's promise that He leads those who call out to them and holds them in his hands.
"Rejoice in your sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:3-5