I really thought that by March sometime I’d be in the clear – on the mend, back on my feet again – but instead of a springtimey rebirth, this is beginning to feel more like a mid-life crisis. And I’m not even thirty. I’d explain all of the emotional (vocational, spiritual, psychological, theological) issues if I understood them myself. But I don’t, so I won’t try to, at least not publicly.
Yet on the simpler side of things, an obvious reason for my disappointment might be the three and a half days I recently spent in bed, having fallen victim to a rather brutal cold. A subsequent loss of appetite and consequential weight loss have dealt another blow to my already slow-going recovery. My back’s a source of gut-punching pain as a result, and it seems the pain meds I’ve been taking for months are suddenly prone to make me nauseous.
But it may be the chemo. I took twelve methotrexate pills last Friday that may’ve caused the nausea, but I hope not. I’m scheduled to take those twelve pills every Friday for the next fifteen months. My doctor let me off the hook for this week, in spite of the fact that my white counts were better this week than last. He said it’d be good if I recovered fully from the cold first. Then we’ll try to nail down exactly which drug is making me so sick. The cold is one thing, but appetite-nuking nausea even one day a week for the next year is hard to stand up to.
I did feel better today. Part of the trick is taking my meds at the right time. The other is not eating too much caramel corn. Today I went for a walk, too. A good walk. I tried to nap this afternoon, but couldn’t. Sometimes the chemo makes me exhausted. Sometimes it makes me feel like crawling out of my skin. Sometimes it does both at the same time. I hate that. Every morning at four or five I wake up feeling like that and can’t fall back to sleep. Because of that earlier this week, come midday, I couldn’t stay awake. Now, for some reason, napping doesn’t work, so I took a walk instead. It helped.
Maybe that’s because I walked to the bakery. I didn’t intend to walk to the bakery. It’s just that, normally, when I walk around home, it’s to the bakery. This time, I was just going for a walk, and I ended up at the bakery. (How many sentences do you suppose one can write, in one paragraph, ending with the word bakery?) I walked around the bakery just looking at all the goodies, and noticed a jar of cookie pieces from the cookies that got broken before reaching the display case (ever feel like that? I do.).
They were free. So I reached in and actually found an m&m cookie shard that was nearly the size of a whole cookie. I ate and smiled, thanked the bakery lady (silently, in my heart), and continued on my walk. The sugar from that cookie gave me a nice little lift and I walked, and walked, and walked. When I finally rounded the corner near our house (it was sleeting then), I noticed a beautiful old lady from our church pulling up to our driveway in her white Ford Taurus. She rolled down her window and gave me a book called “Fighting Cancer With Christ.” We talked for a while. Then she drove off and I went back inside. It was a good walk.
I’m still sick, but there’s no question I feel better tonight than I did last night. I’ve received a couple of comments recently from some of you whom I’ve been delighted to find are reading my updates. Thank you. It’s good for me to know you’re out there – not merely as an audience for me to write to, but as friends pressing me forward with prayers to our God, engaging, as comrades, in what is beginning to feel like a battle for my heart. Please, comrades, pray for my heart. And pray for a clear way beyond this battle.
Jen, Aedan, Eli and I thank you for laboring with us in this way.