Friday, March 27, 2009

The Real Enemy

I have discovered that the mental battle against this disease is just as hard (if not harder) than the physical battle. I know what the physical symptoms are and can for the most part treat them with a medication of some sort. But the mental battle deals with the unknown. There is not a quick pill for that.

Today someone that I knew died of liver cancer. He was such a kind man and I really cared for him. He was only diagnosed a short time ago. He went peacefully with a smile on his face and for that I am thankful.
When I heard about his death, I was on the way home from Jacksonville to Orlando and was at that moment stopped in a 3 mile back up of traffic. My mind started reeling. The questions and doubts began again. I thought about how my chemotherapy has not made me as sick as some people I have read about. "Does that mean it's not working?" I asked myself. I once again thought about the staggering statistics of metastasis with my type of cancer. "Is it spreading as I sit here?" Is the bone pain I have from the chemotherapy or has the cancer spread to my bones?" "How do I know I am even beating this?" By the time I got to Orlando, I was mentally exhausted.

Carl and I went to Cheesecake factory for dinner. I stared at the menu. Why did making a choice on the menu like such an overwhelming task? When we finished eating, we were going to walk around the mall but we didn't because Carl thought I was too tired. I wasn't tired! My mind was tired. I wanted to walk around the mall and think about nothing as I looked in the store windows. But, we went home.
I asked Carl what he might like to do for his birthday. Did he want us to do something together, or have a get-together at the house with a bunch of friends or invite friends to go out to eat together. He said "whatever you would like". I know that he wants to make it easy on me. But I thought I might scream. I can't seem to make choices about anything today. I don't want to decide anything! I knew this was unfair to him and I was disappointed in myself for not planning anything.

I went out to the swing and sat looking at the night sky. The moon illuminated the cloudy sky with a soft hue. Where are the stars tonight? Why do I look up and see only clouds? Have I cluttered my mind so much that I can't see clearly?
"Lord," I prayed, "I know this is not how you want me to feel. Please speak to me."

In the quiet of the night I thought about my mom. She had always taught us that if we really wanted God to speak to us, we could open the bible to any page and ask God to reveal Himself to us through the words we were about to read. So I went in and got my bible and opened it. It opened to the Book of Psalms. I started at the top of the page. Psalms 13. "Oh Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with this anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand? Turn and answer me, O Lord, my God! Restore the light to my eyes or I will die. Don't let my enemies gloat, saying "We have defeated him!" Don't let them rejoice at my downfall. But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because He has been so good to me!"

My mom was right. God had just supplied my prayer and my answer! David was a man of God. But he too struggled with anguish and questions. He spoke in his psalm of the enemy. I now realize that the enemy in my life is NOT the cancer but the doubt, and I will not let it rejoice at my downfall!
Lamentations 3:23 reminds me again that He gives us new mercies fresh every morning. When I wake to the new morning, I will "sing to the Lord because He has been so good to me and I will trust in His unfailing love!"