Grateful — to you — in the slide
This morning when I awoke, I could feel that “the slide” had started. The odd taste that had permeated my mouth since Monday’s Red Chemo was gone. I woke relatively energetic after a too-short night’s sleep, thanks to the steroids I’m taking. After calling the oncology nurse, I started antibiotics for a toenail infection (hangnail) that is hurting–a sign that my body isn’t in strong fighting form. My appetite is odd and continues to change daily; I crave really good steak, Dewey’s Pizza’s Harvest Salad, Spaghetti-Os, baked potatoes, and apples dipped in peanut butter. I feel woozy, but not alarmingly so. My voice is weak; when I speak I feel it takes a lot of effort to create words that project at an appropriate volume. It’s the combination of these little things that I call my Chemo Haze. I’m up, and doing a smaller — yet still important — version of my day, but things are just a little hazy. Physically, it’s totally tolerable. Mentally, I love chemo; chemo is on the team of the Good Guys. Spiritually, I breathe in and out my request to God for a miracle: 48-1/2 years. Emotionally, this has been a hard month. Legitimately hard, to be sure. But, yes, hard. I can admit that; I can show my weakness there.
People, you people, have been reaching out to do some really nice things for us, and I find it has been my emotional salve. It tempers the one area that is raw and ragged by this month’s developments. It is these things that really shatter my haze and perspective and heart. I believe the good is winning. Love wins.
I got an email today from a twenty-seven year-old canSURVIVOR who has a big scan coming. I was able to connect over our shared craptacular cancers and we, I hope, bring peace and strength for each other across an ocean as strangers. The specifics of being a cancer patient create a reverential connection.
A couple, whom I’ve met thrice, I believe, arranged for Nutcracker Ballet tickets for our little foursome. Going to a special Christmas performance was on my list, but I’d crossed it off as an unnecessary expense. I think God answered my silent prayer through this couple’s overwhelming generosity.
A stranger sent an oddly heavy box to the PO Box. Upon opening the box, I found a lot of chocolate. This Stranger Friend explained in her note that she is a choco-holic (as am I), and that she had sent me 130 pieces of chocolate–one-a-day during my chemo regimen. She went on to say that she herself is fasting from chocolate during the next 130 days in my honor, and that she will be praying daily through her chocolate cravings for me. This love, LOVE, comes from a stranger.
A mentor friend presented me with a bracelet that embodies these verses for me to wear during this season: A cord of three strands is not easily broken (Ecclesiasties 4:12) and Keep me as the apple of your eye (Psalm 17:8). I feel the prayers encircling my wrist.
A blog commenter shared that she went out to play foursquare with her children when it was thirty-nine degrees outside because she heard “do today well” when her children asked her to play. This makes me so happy for this little stranger family.
SuperGramma is still here, staying in my house. She’s serving and keeping all of the balls in the air; she’s doing it graciously and at personal sacrifice for herself. I’m not one-hundred percent sure, but I believe tomorrow might be the first Thanksgiving she has ever not shared a table with her own parents and siblings. Service; Love.
I’ve received several cards and gift cards and letters and verses and notes. I save them all, I read and reread them. When I am weak, it is you and your words and prayers that lift me up and buoy my spirit.
So many are sacrificing for me: in the form of gifts, of time, of thoughts. of prayers. In some ways, the choice to Do Today Well is a sacrifice. You must be kinder, softer, braver, more open, more free, more vulnerable.
This Thanksgiving Eve, I am grateful for my many blessings. Lord, help me to seek and trumpet the good in all I do.