If January was the figurative spring in this story, February was the unexpected, unexplainable, freak blizzard that dumped three feet of snow all over, covering green grass, black dirt, and budding flowers. The snow will quickly melt, the garden will recover, and the grass will grow, but that storm sure set things back.
Perhaps this is what I should have expected, what with two prescribed blood tests per week for a month and all. It was nice, and most definitely a gift that I stayed out of the hospital, but three slow-passing weeks of utter fatigue can get to a guy. It wasn’t just the fatigue, either. I watched too much T.V.
Speaking of the Olympics, most of you know this, but there’s been some steroid-use in my life these last few years. I was on prednisone for Crohn’s prior to the cancer, and the treatment for lymphoma included a couple passes of the stuff, too. It’s nothing that would negate my gold medal, but medicine like that shuts down adrenal glands right quick, and they don’t recover in a hurry either. Six to twelve months is what I’ve heard, and that’s without any subsequent steroids, which won’t be my case. Maintenance therapy includes one week of prednisone every month for the next year.
So I guess what I’m saying is, could you pray with me that I’d find strength and stamina (and good spirits) some other way? There’s a whole lotta life to be lived, and there’s a whole bunch of people (myself included) expecting me to start living it really soon. You remember what it’s like to have to go back to school after Christmas Break? Well, this wasn’t exactly Christmas Break, but imagine crawling back into life after nine months of relative simplicity and inactivity. Though suffering took much time and much of me, it was a relatively uncomplicated routine. Life’s normally not much like that.
Good things have happened these last three weeks: Girl Scout cookies are in, and things always look better with a caramel delight in hand (and three in your belly). I’m within two pounds of 130. This is the first time since last May that I’ve been anywhere near my normal weight. Eli’s taken quite a liking to me. He smiles huge when I talk to him. He’s been sleeping through the night, too. Aedan’s in his big boy bed now – he can get out whenever he likes – so we’ve been up earlier and earlier these days. We made it to the Rochester L’Abri Conference a few weeks back. And although I was too exhausted (and Jen too occupied with Eli) to take in every session, the ones we made were good for the insides. Good conversation, the drive was nice, and I sat in a hot tub for the first time in a year.
There’s really so much more to be thankful for, and it does make a difference when I make an effort to “count my blessings.” I really should’ve been doing that more these last few weeks. I’ve more or less been quite a grump, avoiding people for the fear that I might say something I shouldn’t, and biting my tongue just enough to stay out of trouble. Still, home has been the refuge a home is meant to be. Jen’s incredible. Few could live with me when I’m like this, and she does it with such grace. Aedan’s been full of good cheer and humor, beyond a doubt one of my favorite people to hang out with. And Eli’s been just plain pleasant and easy-going, with occasional (and short-lived) bouts of unstoppable wailing. But even his wailing has some pleasing overtones, so long as he’s in a room down the hall with the door closed.
We’ve got plans to drive north to see my mom and dad this weekend. It’ll be the first time there since October. I’ll wrap up this week with one more blood test (shouldn’t be any need for a transfusion… my white counts are low but okay, and you can’t fix those with a transfusion anyway). Next week I meet with my doctor for the first time since I was in the hospital last. I think we may be beginning maintenance therapy then, and I can start seeing a physical therapist and all as well. I’m hoping some exercise will help my mood some, as well as building back some stamina and such.
Anyhow, thank you all who are reading this for hanging with me. And much gratitude to many for the continued support. We’ve been abundantly provided for. My apologies for not posting an update in awhile. You’ve probably noticed we’ve made some significant changes to the website. That’s been partly what has occupied me recently. Take a moment to browse, if you have the time.
Lastly, to bring perspective to my detailed accounts of fatigue, my grumpy disposition, and frivolous mention of cookies and hot tubs, I noticed the front-page headline in the New York Times today was: “Refugee Crisis Grows as Darfur War Crosses a Border.” The plight of so many in Sudan has come to weigh heavily on our hearts since a few months into my battle with cancer. Several refugee families belong to our congregation. Their relatives are still over there. We’ve posted a link on our “Connections” page to World Vision. There’s a convenient way there to provide some practical relief to families in Sudan in the midst of their suffering. Please take a moment to read up on the details of their need and our ability to help, and consider whether this might be an opportunity for you to do so.
Thank you for your concern for me in my suffering. May the help you’ve offered me be as accessible to many.