Posts Tagged With: crohns

Sick-Boy Cycle

Jo Isaac – Joseph Isaac: “May the Lord add Laughter.” We are praying for laughter. Both for a change in circumstance – one that might yield the fruit of laughter – and of disposition – one that might be more prone to laugh.

Those of you who still read this blog know that my months-long silence is a digression from my posting pattern of the previous two years. This has not been for lack of a story to tell. There’ve been other reasons for my silence.

If I could I would tell of a long winter. Of psychotherapy and depression. Of prednisone induced Bipolar II and mood stabilizers. Of 12 months of not writing. I’ve had the wind knocked out of me, in a way. Gut-punched while stepping out of the ring. Things were supposed to get better. But since last summer and the completion of chemotherapy I’ve stopped writing to ease my painful hands. I’ve got weak wrists. Haven’t been able to seriously play guitar for two plus years. Any creativity’s been thereby stifled. Dreams and momentum are doubled over, gasping for air.

In October of last year, Crohn’s disease relapsed in my body. I’ve since had to begin taking 6MP: a mild chemo drug that effects the immune system in such a way that there may be a possible link to the onset of certain types of lymphoma. Like the kind I got the last time I was on 6MP. Though it’s not proven, and it’s hard to be certain, the medical profession admits it is at least a potential instigator/catalyst to cancer. I’ve seen several doctors on this issue. There’s really just no great way of treating Crohn’s in the medical world.

Every treatment comes with a potential catch. And though the cancer connection is as of yet hypothetical, it is nonetheless a mental/emotional blow. Feels a little like we’re starting the cancerous cycle all over again. The sick-boy cycle. Question: “Will I ever be well again?” The answer seems to be given in a Crohn’s relapse and its subsequent treatment: “Forget it, sick boy.”

Clinic visits and doctoring are still a significant part of every week. Weekly schedules revolve around such things. Makes it hard to exist as anything other than “the patient.”

We have been genuinely enjoying the summer. July at least. But the pleasure seems an event, or pocket/exception, in an otherwise stark landscape/era of ambiguous despair. This is either the beginning of better times, or another precursor to hope deferred.

Jo Isaac is a prayer, and perhaps part answer to that prayer. He has been a delight. Sleeps well. Takes a bottle. He has unlocked untapped affections for the other two boys in me. Love and delight has been exponentially multiplied in his presence. I’ve enjoyed being a dad more these days than ever before. We’re praying he is this way a harbinger of better times.

I write now out of that need for prayer. Prayer for direction. Clarity. Strength. Hope. Hope. Hope. While I was on chemotherapy, hope was based at least in part on the fact that chemo would one day be done and I would be healthier than before. That day long ago came and went. Didn’t anticipate chemo leaving quite the mark it did. Fatigue from the fight with cancer and its treatment has been known to last for years. This is made worse by effects of Crohn’s and its treatment. And this chronic, undiagnosable pain and its treatment.

This is the backdrop for the persistent question of vocation and provision. Man’s got to do something. To work. To contribute. While I desire most to be a writer and itinerant speaker (and music would be nice, too), my hands hurt and don’t work well. The same could be said of my heart. Speaking then is also made difficult. I was in ND in March, right at the bottom of a mid-winter sinkhole, my heart was depressed and slow to hope. Speaking that week was very difficult, and I have doubts about how beneficial it is for my audience when I speak out of such a place. And it is a place I’ve found myself in more often than not this year.

Other jobs are made equally difficult, even unattainable, by these persistent ailments. Our current living arrangement is nearly perfect and the least expensive way we could live in the Cities. Still, the sum of my disability check and Jen’s wages renders even this unsustainable. We would soon sink were it not for charity. We float only on the good graces of generous people. And these days, just barely. Family, mostly. And a few good friends. The gratitude weighs heavily on my heart for some reason. The words “thank you” get caught in my throat. The pursuit of wellness for this body has become an expensive venture. And the weight of it is often debilitating. So pray, please. Pray with us. Pray for us.

I would not be writing or posting this if there were not still some faith in me. We are expectant. We are praying and asking others to pray with us that God would provide something, somehow, in such a way that we would laugh. We are considering paths for our future and asking God for discernment, words, and courage. We are praying for new ways of living. Pray with us, please. And rejoice for the prayer, the promise, and the life of our little Jo Isaac.

Thanks for checking in.

Still His,

P.S. I will be speaking/preaching in Illinois and St. Michael, MN three Sundays in August. This also in the midst of yet another Crohn’s flare-up. Again, your prayers are more than appreciated.

Categories: Cancer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Anticipating Easter

How things are.

The boys are healthy. Happy mostly. Jen is bigger. Baby’s good. Due late May. Still shuffling rooms. Trying to make out what life here will look like with three kings ruling roost. Jen’s as beautiful as ever. I’m impressed daily by her ability to manage a mess like this with such a predictable composure. And she works. She has a job and she does it well. It thrills me to be near her.

I’m treating another Crohns episode. Steroids again. Started fresh two weeks back. Less fun this time. The two months between last round and this one were the darkest months I’ve endured in a decade. Intense emotional/psychological unrest in the absence of the drug that synthetically raised me for the holidays. Feeling like a puppet on a string. The puppeteer being whatever drug is in my system. Or not in my system. Hard to trust me when me is jerked around so easily by necessary chemistry.

Began psychotherapy a few weeks back as well. Pray for Bob and Tom and Bryan. They’re a couple of the professionals helping me sort through me. I know two of them to be brothers in the faith. Committed to Christ and the caring practice of psychology/psychiatry. I am hopeful this will be beneficial. Having a hard time with reentry. Not just the physical stressors either – the bad belly, weak wrists, aching back – social/emotional muscles have atrophied as well and as badly. Faith muscle, too, maybe. Hard to tell when medicine’s got the best of you.

Easter came early this year. So early it hardly seemed like Easter. Eggs were hid well beneath six inches of snow. I related to the disciples locked in a room following Good Friday’s not so good goings on. At least from their perspective, things went horribly wrong. No doubt they were grieving big time. No doubt they were asking, “Now what?” They lost their leader to a gruesome death. They watched their friend die. The last three years of their lives hung over and haunted them like an investment poorly made. Frauds and fools each and all.

That’s where I am. I’m in that room right now, too. Or worse, like Thomas, I might be off somewhere else grieving by myself when the Lord stops by for some fish. Everyone else saw him, but I didn’t. Guess he’ll have to catch up with me later.

But I believe the tomb is empty. I believe it with my head, and parts of my heart believe it, too. But there’s a cold corner in there somewhere that needs a shot of Easter. Wish I could say I was one of the women carrying pretty smells to the tomb, or one of the guys with the legs who ran to see, but I’m pretty sure I’m locked up in that room with the rest of them.

And the good news for them is good news for me: locked doors are nothing to our Lord.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Still His,

Categories: Cancer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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