The State of Affairs v.2.
The hard chemotherapy is [hopefully] one-third done. Just four rounds left to go. That amazes me. And then I catch myself feeling amazed and get cautious for a minute and worry that we might need to add rounds or that the cancer might come back in a year or five. But then I come back to today - the only place that really matters right now - and marvel at the fact that we are one-third done. Just four rounds left to go.
I've always thought that some numbers - although only one digit apart - sound like they are separated by a whole lot more space. Like fourteen and fifteen. Fourteen seems much smaller than fifteen - the space between them so much larger than the space between seventeen and eighteen. I feel that way about four and five too. Five felt like so much more than four. And don't get me started on how I felt about six.
Just four rounds left to go.
* * *
I was told that chemotherapy would stall my surgery recovery a bit, and its proven true. While I feel eons better than I did just two weeks ago, my body reminds me daily that we are still in recovery mode. I am learning to be patient with it. I am learning, slowly, to love my body in its bruised and battered state. I try to tell it daily how much I appreciate what its doing - what its already done - and how hard I know whats its gone through has been. In all of its scarred and swollen mess, it has protected my life, and for that I am grateful.
Even so, the fact that we are draining my abdomen again tomorrow is an annoyance. I have to admit, its been slower growing this time around, but I had high hopes that we wouldn't be going back again. Chris - the nurse who has walked me through several of these - had warned me of this, predicting one more visit before I was actually done. I am really praying he predicts these things as accurately as he predicts the number of liters they drain from me each time. Fingers crossed.
For as much as I am grateful to my body for all its tolerated of late, I still cry. I have not, actually, gotten used to being bald. I cry before leaving the house each morning. I avoid mirrors. Even in middle school - when my mother got me an ill-advised perm - I was not as revolted by my reflection as I am these days. I wonder if I will ever see myself as feminine, attractive, acceptable again. Being in public is difficult, even as others tell me that my shaved head makes me look beautiful and "bad ass". I don't see it. Yet. I'm beginning to wonder if I ever will.
* * *
Today we did the first set of blood work for round two. The good news - the chemo is doing its job. The bad news - I'm already on restriction - back to a mask, no public places, no sick people, the hospital for a temperature over 101.5. I may need to sell my house when this is all said and done. I will be so tired of the space. So tired.
For as small as my world was after I got sober, its shrunk even more when I am limited to "safe spaces" for days upon days. My house, my office, and my coffee shop (which I've deemed safe in order to maintain limited sanity and because they don't judge me when I go nuts with my own cleaning of tables or chairs) are my world right now. This is a huge difference from what it once was. Part of me loves it. Part of me is crawling the walls.
* * *
My therapist asked me last week if we needed to talk about "death or thoughts of death." When I immediately told her we didn't and she asked why, I almost surprised myself with my answer.
"Because I'm not going to die from this. God has told me that."
Its not that this was new information for me. God revealed this many weeks ago. But I hadn't said it out loud, in such a matter-of-fact way, before. And hearing the words come so strongly from my mouth took me a bit by surprise.
This knowledge has changed my focus some. Not always. There are still times each day where I rage, cry, kick pillows, and get frustrated. But when those moments calm, when my heart opens, I remember that this - this time here - this space - it temporary. I can't know what is coming - just as I couldn't know this mountain lay ahead on my road just a few months ago. And its in what we cannot know - both in this life and beyond - where God's glory will be reflected.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2. Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)
Now, I'm a planner, so the unseen is an uncomfortable place for me. But I choose place my hope daily exactly there - in what is unseen. In the ways this trial will ultimately bring Him glory through my life. In the ways that my faith will continue to be strengthened with each day I walk with Him down this road. And in the fact that when my time does come, what waits for me will be beyond my greatest daydreams - my wildest imagination.
For as tempted as I am to read ahead to the last page, I know what lies there are surprises greater than I could know to ask for.
And who wants to ruin a good surprise?