The decision to restart chemotherapy was made some weeks ago. We were fine tuning calendars but I knew it was coming. I have not talked too much about it with anyone. Last time I talked about it openly and freely. For some reason I have not felt ready, or willing, to do that yet. Talking about my upcoming treatments felt like an obligation or a burden. Talking about it made it real and I was comfortable living in denial for a few more weeks. Last time we were surprised and the journey began in a matter of days, it caught us off guard. This time we have had weeks to think, plan and prepare. While the planning has been helpful it has also given me way too much time to be “inside my own head.”
Sunday was not a great day for me. Church was awesome! We heard from our local Young Moms program. Heard testimony of how partnership between JAM Daycare and Young Moms is working to change lives. Worship was very good, and the sermon was not too bad. It was a great day. Emotionally I was all over the place.
I did not want to start chemo again. I know what the journey ahead will look like. Been there, done that and it is not something I am looking forward to. Right after church I got a phone call from the people who deliver the chemotherapy drugs prior to treatment. They wanted me home ASAP so they could make the delivery. There was paperwork to fill out and instructions to get. I wanted to go out for lunch. Cancer wins, home to wait for a delivery. I was not in a good place emotionally.
Monday dawned, and it took all the strength I had to drive to the oncologist’s office. It was if starting treatment again was acknowledging the reality of my struggle. For the past few months people have been telling me how great I have looked. The truth is I have felt pretty good most of the time. I have felt good, looked good and yet my reality is that Cancer is slowly destroying my body.
If I chose to listen to all those voices telling me how good I looked. If I focused solely on the times I had energy and strength things were looking on the up and up. Spend a few moments in some scanner and the doctor can talk with painful accuracy about what is really going on. Even after the oncologist told me the lesions were growing, both in size and number I still felt fine, people still told me I looked good.
I am a fairly optimistic guy, most of the time. Given the choice between focusing on the not so positive scan results or other optimistic markers I will gravitate towards optimism. Heading in to start chemotherapy felt like I was being overtaken by the negative.
The office was busy and noisy. Cheryl was busy, and we did not have much opportunity for the back and forth banter which makes visits enjoyable. I sat silent waiting to be called back to the treatment area.
The nurses came to get me shortly after 10am. We exchanged a few pleasantries. They were pleasant, I was grumpy. My port was accessed, and the pump started working at 10:25 Monday morning.
Meghan and Jeri are terrific nurses. They both said they were sorry to see me back in treatment. I agreed, but honestly if I must be there I am glad to have them with me.
I sat in my chair listening to the whirl of the pump and in some strange way that sound was comforting. At first it was grating. Every time the pump activated my skin crawled and I wanted to jump up and rip the line from my body and run home. Slowly, as the hours passed, it became familiar. I relaxed both physically and emotionally. My breathing began to be in sync with the pump. I drifted off to sleep and when I awoke I was in a much better place emotionally.
Monday night I went home and sat down to rest. I enjoyed a good meal and took a short nap. When I woke up I watched a few minutes of the news…which quickly started to depress me. I ended up watching a marathon of The Office. One episode after another. The cast on that show was truly amazing. I sat in my chair laughing out loud as the craziness of life played itself out in this office. It was a nice escape from reality for a night.
Tuesday morning I was up and headed into my office. I spent the day shuffling papers and taking care of little projects all day long. I got some things crossed off the list and it is now time for a nap.
As today draws to a close it is funny to realize how much of this has slipped back into routine. Chemotherapy has started. We are adjusting the way we live and move. Now it is about patiently moving forward while the drugs do their work.
Sunday and Monday I was nervous. Nervous that this entire round was going to be filled with emotionally difficult days. Today I am confident I will be okay. In the future I will tell you how Jonah helped me reach this healthier place. For now it is enough to say I am better, not great, but better.
God is Good All the Time, All The Time God is Good