Recently, in my Facebook memories, a picture popped up of Bri and me with dear friends who were our campus ministry leaders at JMU many years ago. I wrote:
On Friday, they stopped by to see us, and it was sheer gift to laugh and cry, to reminisce and to dream, to see through it all God’s faithfulness to them and to us. They have taught us so much in the twenty-plus years we have known them, but always, always it comes back to this: He is faithful.
I have been quiet last week. Part of it is that I had chemo and was down for a few days. Part of it is that there are things going on in life that aren’t for me to write about. But they are hard places that Bri and I and others are stepping into as helpers.
On Tuesday of last week, my faithful Daddy by my side, we tromped into the cancer center with our bags of books (we bring several because you’re just never sure what mood you’ll be in and what you want to read) and awaited my appointment. After seeing one of my oncologist’s colleagues, they sent me to my chemo chair. I’m at the point now where they just tell me where to go and I walk the halls with Dad to find my spot, waving at the nurses, many of whom I consider friends. After chemo, we made our way to another part of the hospital for my MRI of my arm, stopping to grab a ham sandwich and some coffee.
They were wonderful and the MRI went smoothly (or as smoothly as lying in a tube six inches from my nose with my hands strapped to my sides can be.) I am so thankful I’m not claustrophobic.
Afterward, I returned to the cancer center for a few more things and getting my port deaccessed. I was at the hospital almost eight hours, and weariness oozed from me as I climbed in Daddy’s car to head home. The phone rang not two minutes later. The doctor had received my MRI report and there is NOT cancer in my muscle.
Deep breaths. Thank you, Jesus.
It appears to be physiologic which means injury of some sort. I will discuss with my oncologist when I see her again. In the meantime, I do struggle with pain in my upper arm, shoulder and neck. By the end of the day it feels debilitating, and I. Am. Done.
Next week I will see the radiation oncologist to discuss treatment for the adrenal gland, and we will move forward from there.
Deep breaths. Help me, Jesus.
Y’all, my hair is coming out in droves. Handfuls when I shower. Our vacuum is more full of my hair than Cooper’s. I know this treatment that I’m on can cause thinning but this is way more than thinning. And I wonder if there is a connection to the cancer in my adrenal gland. And I wonder at what point I will shave my head again and go back to wigs and scarves and hats. And that makes my heart very sad.
But in the midst of sadness, He brings joy. I was able to help plan and celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary party for my parents on Saturday. There were quite a few moments where I had to catch my breath and swallow that lump in my throat as I looked around the room and saw so many people who’ve known me since birth. The hugs and the tears and the laughter and the celebration. What an impact my parents have made on the lives of so many. (Bonus: I ordered way too much food so we have lasagna and salad to feed us for the week.)
All in all, I am doing okay. I’m thankful for the “yes” God gave us with regards to my arm. He is worthy of praise no matter what the answer may be. And I have friends right now that the answer seems to be a lot of “no” right now. God loves them no less. We are all moving forward to the final “yes” when we see our Jesus face to face.
In the meantime, we cling to truths that our friend Dan has ingrained into us with his life and teaching:
Look at the cross, delight in the resurrection, hope in the future, share with the world, encourage the saints. God can. God cares.
He can, y’all. He cares.