Seven down and five to go!
I honestly don't know how anyone could travel this journey without God. Before the chemo today, I had my appointment with my oncologist. He is an incredibly intelligent man and in fact is the head of the education of all the residents and fellows at MD Anderson. He is also a bit on the conservative side in his approach to treatment. My anemia was actually worse than last week. (So much for the liver and onions). I told him I had to go back to work full time in a couple of weeks and asked if he had a magic pill for the fatigue and shortness of breath. He said the iron takes awhile to show some effect and he didn't want to transfuse blood or give iron infusions just yet. So we will see how it goes when it comes time to go back to work. Infection fighting cells are still down, but I have been very blessed in not getting sick. Thank you, Lord!
I asked him about follow up CT scans when we were finished with treatment. He then spent quite a long time telling us about this type of cancer. He said that many people spend their time after treatment going from one CT scan to another worrying over the results. It dominates their life and often causes emotional problems. When in fact with TNBC, if it comes back somewhere else it is not curable. The survival rate is no different if the cancer is found earlier or later. So basically, when treatment is finished, I wait. If I experience any unusual symptoms, such as a headache that doesn't want to go away or a cough that lasts for an unusual amount of time or unusual bone pain, then they would do a CT or bone scan to see if it's back. That was very difficult to hear. I think I knew that in the back recesses of my mind, but hearing it from him, spelled out so clearly, was really hard. Neither Carl nor I spoke as we headed up to the 5th floor for chemo as I am sure both of our minds were reeling from the doctor's conversation.
But God, never lets us journey through a desert without providing us exactly what we need along the way!
When we got to the 5th floor, GiGi and Elaine both greeted us with warm smiles as they always do and handed me a note. It was from my friend Ann, who had walked over to see me, but had an emergency back at the hospital and had to leave. Written on the note were the words to a hymn. The words were perfect. Of all the hymns in the hymn book, God led her to that one because He knew I needed to hear just those words. It was His way of saying, "You will not walk this journey alone. I will provide all that you need."
We walked into the chemo infusion room and my very favorite nurse Myra (Maggie as she likes to be called) was to be my nurse for the day. Carl and I were both happy. And God said "I will provide you exactly what you need for this journey."
Carl sat right there with me as he does week after week. The conversation from earlier was hard for him also. He watches all that goes on. He listens to all that the nurse has to say. He looks at all the labs. He helps with whatever I need. His presence says a thousand words without uttering a sound. And God said, "I will provide all that you need for the journey."
Ann, came back over for a few minutes, in spite of the many things she had to do, just to offer a hug and her prayers and encouragement. And God said ."I will meet all of your needs on this journey."
When we got home our pastor and good friend, Steve, called to check on us and see how our day went. To offer a listening ear and to lift us up in prayer. And God said "I will give you all that you need for the journey."
Sometimes, when the mountains before us seem extremely high, it is difficult to keep moving in faith, for the human spirit is weak. Sometimes we let our feelings take over instead of trusting in His promises. But I know that God walks the journey with us. He will provide all of our needs along the way for Isaiah 58:11 says, "The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."
"Thank you Lord, for walking with us. When the mountain seems too high, the path seems unclear, when it is dark, when we stumble, when we are afraid, you are there. You provide all that we need. We never have to journey alone. Help us to put our hope in you. Amen"