Monthly Archives: May 2005

5/28/2005

“Answer me quickly, O Lord, my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul… for I hide myself in you.” Psalm 143

There’s a difference I think between positive attitude and life-changing faith. There have been some who have commended me recently for having such an attitude. While I can appreciate such a compliment, I can just as easily demonstrate the lack of necessary willpower to sustain such optimism.

Today was my eleventh day of chemotherapy. Two days ago my white blood counts crashed and my body stopped replenishing fast growth cells from head to toe. Now completely susceptible to infections of every kind, I’m on 3 to 5 drip bags of IV non-stop, battling high fevers for 15 hours at a time, and wincing at the convulsing pains in my mouth and throat making it virtually impossible to swallow.

At one point at the onset of this expected phase in therapy, I was alone in my room, rocking on my bed, crying simply and desperately for deliverance. Asking only that my marrow would start making white blood cells again.

A positive attitude ends in itself. And while so incredibly necessary in so many aspects of living, when it comes to a battle like this, positive attitude is not enough. It will only carry me as far as I can go. And having lived life with me for these 29 years, I know that distance – I’ve traveled it many times – and it’s not very far. The infinite value of life-changing faith in a Heart-Changing God is that when and where we are weak, then and there He is Strong.

“You hem me in, behind and before. You have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” Psalm 139

We ask questions when rough times hit. “Why?” I find hope not because I believe I have the answer (though I’ve a hunch sometimes I do), but because I have an Answer Giver. And it is in His Hands that I am held.

Please be praying that my White Blood Count would skyrocket unexplainably.

Boy would that be fun.

Thank you for your concern.

Jeremy

Postscript: Chest X-Rays yesterday showed the tumor IS shrinking.

Advertisements
Categories: Cancer | Leave a comment

5/26/2005

Today I feel like a Cancer patient. My white blood count crashed yesterday. I’m now officially what they call “neutropenic.” My body has no defenses against infection. This was an expected and anticipated effect of the Chemo. I must mention again that all the other adverse and terrible side effects often associated with the therapy passed me by untouched. It’s been a good week. And we more or less knew that since the Chemo was dumped into my body (like an asteroid into the ocean) I’ve been strolling on the shore waiting for the wave to hit.

The waters are rising. I’m increasingly tired. I’ve got sores in my mouth and throat. I’m getting bedsores from two hours on one cheek. I’ve lost weight and am soon to lose my hair. I’ve been told to expect an infection of some kind. They’ll plug me back into fluids and give me drip-bags of antibiotics. I’ve affectionately christened my IV pole R2-IV, and have been pleasantly free from his leash for four days.

Again I must stress however that these are the expected effects of the therapy. As the Chemo begins and continues to do what it must to the Cancer, breaking down fast-growth cells and releasing them from my body, it does the same thing to all other fast-growth cells on board. This includes my GI tract, my hair follicles, and my bone marrow. The game now becomes one of waiting. I stay here at the hospital and they do everything they can to keep me healthy until my bone marrow recovers from the hit, adjusts to the Chemo, and begins making white blood cells again. This may take anywhere from three days to three weeks. Things will likely get worse before they get better, but they will get better. And I’ll get to go home.

Last night Jen brought in some home video of Aedan. Man I miss that kid. He’s been quite sick these days as well, snot-ball that he is. I got to see him a few days ago on one of my walks outside. It was great. He’d point at my mask and wave. And blow kisses. He’s running around like an eighteen-month-old boy should – into everything and loving every minute of it.

The goodness in life is very poignant right now. I know how complex the tangle is when you’re living in the grind everyday – it hasn’t been so long for me to forget that – but I pray we all find the capacity of heart for the joy God has for us in the things we so easily overlook or ignore, even in the midst of such sorrow as we may find ourselves in. I’ve known that sorrow… more so elsewhere than here, believe it or not. It’s in everyday life that we need God most – where we most easily forget how essential and how good it is that we Belong to Him. That’s why I pray for all you who are praying for me… may the Risen Jesus be as near you there and then as He is to me here and now.

I am getting weaker, and there may be days coming when I am unable to write. Know that I am grateful for the days of sunshine I’ve had thus far, and am fine with whatever storms may come. My heart has been sustained not by human ambition or strength of will nor by the medicines of man, but by the Merciful Hand of My Maker. He will hold me still. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. The boundaries are not pleasant because of where they are, but because of Who put them there. The LORD has made my lot secure, surely I have a DELIGHTFUL inheritance!

Suffering for a little while (and asking for that eternal glory which far outweighs them all),

Still His,

Jeremy Erickson

Categories: Cancer | Leave a comment

I’m so grateful for these last five days of wellness. Having felt so sick for weeks, and having gone through eight days of surgery and procedure to arrive in this place, it’s been really good to feel so well again. All last weekend, and through the good part of this week, I’ve been stronger, breathed better, slept more, and actually done more stuff than I have in a long while. The first three days of Chemotherapy, expected to be the worst, came off without a hitch. The potential for complications as the tumor began to dissolve and be eliminated from my body came and went with nothing to speak of. The steroids they put me on for this first induction round gave me the appetite of an ox, and I’ve been enjoying food here more than I have in a long time. I’ve been on walks around blocks near the State Capital, wearing a little blue mask of course (they didn’t have any Darth Vader helmets).

The nurses in the carousel have been listening to my CDs for five days now. Every now and then I play my guitar for housekeeping. Ron Foss stopped by my room my first day here and said, “you need some furniture. I’ll be back tomorrow.” We’ve since fixed up this little hole so nice the nurses often take their breaks here. Just hanging out and chatting while their break-time whittles away. This afternoon, the floor manager stopped by to see and take recommendations as to how they might make the Cancer Ward more homey. She took one look at several of the things we’d done (moved the bed, set up shelves, hung a mirror and some corkboard) and said that’s just the way things are going to have to be from now on.

I’ve been trying to get my cell phone fixed to send and receive text messages for three days now. Just yesterday, my repair ticket reached Tier 3 Customer Service. I got a call on my room phone… it was a girl’s voice. She said (while crying…) “Hi, Jeremy? This is Alecia from Cingular Wireless in Atlanta, Georgia. You made me cry today.” Apparently she had listened to my voicemail update before ringing the second number. She said, “I’m going to fix your phone, okay!” Twenty minutes later my phone worked and I had been crazily encouraged by Alecia in Atlanta.

We had a Bible Study here in my room Monday night. 12 of us cramped into this little space. We read Psalm 16 and had verses read here in 3 different languages. My visitors and friends let me teach from the Psalm, and I do believe it was an edifying time for us all. Besides the emails, phone messages, and visits, one of the most encouraging activities for me these days has been taking whatever opportunity I have to encourage the church. Whether it’s been equipping and preparing others to carry what responsibilities I must release in days to come, or merely sharing the encouragement and hope that God has brought to me in this place, I can relate to the Psalmist’s prayer in 119, praying from a particular affliction, he says, “May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in Your word.” Several desperation Psalms contain this sort of prayer, this sort of longing… in the midst of whatever suffering the Psalmist is in, his desire is to encourage the People of God. I get that here.

Categories: Cancer | Leave a comment

First three days of chemo are behind me. All good so far. Actually feel better this weekend than I’ve felt for three or four weeks. However, my blood counts are dropping (like they’re supposed to) and I should be receiving blood transfusions by the morrow. My doctors warn me the dark days of chemo are just round the corner. This coming week and next weekend may be the hardest yet of my life (they say I just might wish I were dead). This coming week is when I’ll need the most prayers. Please, no nausea. Please, good sleep. Please, good digestion. And mostly, that my heart would hide in God.

This has been a very rich time for Jen and I. The last two weeks have been difficult, ripe with suffering and the kind of depth that comes with it when held by the hand of God. We pray for that to continue. Praise God for my two Christian nurses, and what I’m beginning to believe is my Chinese brother for a doctor. Pray for my Oncologists and my Social worker, who in her notes for me yesterday wrote, “spiritual… delusional?” These people don’t get hope – don’t get the trust we place in the Good and Great Hand of God. They need to see strength and recovery they can’t explain. Psalm 16:5-6,9 has brought great comfort to me. It’s hanging on the walls all over my room.

Categories: Cancer | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: