Weakness & Chemo #7

I had chemo #7 (third Taxol treatment) Thursday, and have the next one this week. That marked the halfway mark for the 20 total weeks of chemo.

I’m doing better with the fears and other issues, because for the most part I avoid thinking about them. God helps when I do. I’m not going to talk much about them because that makes me think, and so on.
Psalm 34:4 reminds me, “I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.”

I’m going through an interesting time of life. I’m officially the weakest I’ve ever been–I’m completely exhausted because of all-things cancer/chemo, have some sort of ailment all the time, and am constantly struggling just to get through the day. Obviously I have the ongoing vulnerability aspect from having made the cancer journey so public, but to top it off, I have stopped covering my head which ends up being a public proclamation that I am a weak cancer patient.

The interesting part comes in because despite the resounding weakness, I feel absolutely empowered in every way. It is an entirely novel feeling for me so I struggle with attempts to describe it. However, it affects everything. For one, I have absolutely no shame about being bald. I feel unattractive when I look in a mirror, but when I interact with people I don’t shrink back or hide because of it. I apparently am very approachable now because I am frequently stopped by strangers who want to tell me their own stories of healing. Something about choosing to be an ear for those people makes me feel strong. I’m entirely confident in how I look, feel, what I do and what I say. Not because there’s anything about me to be confident in, but because my faith is stronger and standards have changed. “When I called, you answered me; you ade me bold and stouthearted.” Ps 138:3. It’s SO cool!

Paul discussed some version of this phenomenon in 2 Cor 12:10, but I couldn’t understand it until now. “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” It is so true.

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Chemo Treatment #5 (Taxol 1/12)

I’m a little late on this one. Had my first Taxol treatment yesterday. There were a lot of upsides–Rassam felt my lump again and reported, “there’s nothing there”. I think he meant “virtually nothing” though. There’s still fibrous tissue there that needs to be removed, regardless of the number of cancer cells that might have been hiding in there (I believe 0). More good news was that I feel find today, no side effects at all from the treatment. I did get sick from the pre-drugs yesterday, which turned out to just be Benadryl pumped into y IV. That was miserable but short-lived.

Much more importantly, I’m learning a lot more about prayer and faith through all of this. I guess beforehand I really thought of faith as believing in God and Jesus, that the Bible is true, and that God can do anything. Now I think of real faith as deeper than that. It’s the literal trust that certain verses in the Bible are intended for us. Right now. “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor 6:2b). We can’t keep running around praying with question marks at the end…”God, will you please heal me?”. NO! We should pray for wisdom (unless our sinless hearts are already lined up perfectly with God’s). Then pray with full belief that He will do it. “God, you alone can heal me, please do this for me!”.  It sounds so stupid and obvious as I write it, but it reflects a huge change in my thinking and faith.

Early on in this journey I told you about how several members of my church came and prayed and anointed me with oil. They did this because of the passage in James 4:14-15, “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.” Before they came over I felt like I should request that only those who believed I would be healed would actually do the praying. But I chickened out because I thought it was better to get prayer from people who wanted me healed than no one. Right before they prayed, an elder announced that he did believe I would be healed, and that meant so much to me. I want to be like that. I can’t say for sure if he was the only one who believed it, but he was definitely living out the command. It is the prayer offered in faith. Not faith in God. Faith that God would listen and heal me.

James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” I think an example of this in the Bible is also when Peter walked on the water. He was up there and doing alright until he noticed what was going on. Then he seemed to doubt and started sinking. He was literaly being blown and tossed by the wind!

I am going to continue to pray boldly. I’ve seen tons of answered prayers already this week. My current MO is to pray for wisdom first, and if it seems like something I should pray for, I pray it with the full expectation that God will answer.