"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
This is the verse that I posted yesterday morning on Facebook as I prepared to leave for the hospital. I was up against Chemo #2, and I was feeling anything but strong and courageous. I needed the reminder that Jesus was going with me.
Four hours later, I was more terrified and more discouraged than ever before. After a lengthy wait (what is it with doctors' offices, anyway?!?), I was not able to take the chemo treatment. Dr. F determined that I was still not recovered enough from #1 for my body to accept the Doxil. The stubborn and horrific mouth sores and a new skin issue were enough reason for him to pause and re-think. He decided that the dosage of chemo should be reduced, and we will try again on Tuesday. If the reduced dosage is still problematic, I may need to make a decision about continuing treatment.
Talk about discouraged. Discouraged barely scrapes the surface of what my heart feels. I wrote this to a friend who is traveling her own cancer road: "...this SUCKS. I am so sick of cancer dictating everything about my life, even down to what I write on (and cross off) my calendar. I hate it that I feel like I'm free-falling and that this old world is taking huge chunks from me....my energy, my body, my family--ugh. I want so much to be a light, but the darkness is so DARK."
She described back to me that I'm right (love you, H!), and she feels as if she is in a dark house, just looking for slits of light. Yeah. Just a crack here and there, Lord, would be enough to help me plant my feet. A tiny flashlight to navigate my way out of this. That's all I need. And you promised to go with me. WHERE ARE YOU?!?!?
Ding-dong. I didn't move to answer the door because I was busy feeling sorry for myself, and I was sure it was just one of the neighborhood kids who seem to flock to my house every day after school.
"Mommy? Somebody's here. It's for you."
Standing in my entryway was an old teacher friend of mine (by old, you must know I mean "from way back," not "aged"). We feel tender toward each other, but we don't have much opportunity to run in the same circles much anymore. She said, "I don't know what's going on, but I felt like I was supposed to stop at your house and bring you dinner."
Friends have faithfully been bringing food while I've been ill, but yesterday was our "off" day. It hadn't occurred to me that I needed to conjure up a meal to feed my family. I burst into tears.
And just like that, the light re-appeared through the crevices of my darkness. With two carry-out pizzas and a plate of brownies, God proved--again--that He is faithful. That he is real. That he cares. That he uses ordinary people to do his work. And that I never, ever, have to feel terrified or discouraged.
I may go on Tuesday and be turned away again. I may receive treatment and go back to being isolated with my crazy red skin and wretched mouth sores. I may be forced to make the terrible choice of giving up the one drug that could save my life in exchange for valuable, quality time. I don't know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future: Jesus, the Father of Light.
"Suddenly, God, your light floods my path; God drives out the darkness." 2 Samuel 22:29
P.S. Because I couldn't have chemo, I could go to a high school football game with my trio of cowboys. How 'bout this guy?