Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Two Paths

Today was a very special day. It was my last chemotherapy treatment .

It has been a very busy couple of days at the hospital and I have been too tired to write anything when I got home. I teased with some of the girls at work this morning about how busy it was. I said "You know, it's pretty bad when you're so busy that you look forward to chemotherapy just to be able to sit down."

For me, this last treatment brought on mixed feelings. The past week, every time someone would say to me "Yay, your last treatment", I found it hard to share their enthusiasm. Some people might say, "What?? You should be jumping for joy today!" I guess it sounds crazy. But, even though I don't like the side effects of chemo, I had a sense of security that something was always going through my system to keep knocking out the cancer cells. It's kind of like when your child gets an ear infection and the doctor gives them an antibiotic. You feel relieved because you know he won't be sick as long as he is on the medicine. For 10 days you can rest easier, knowing the medicine is doing it's job.

Sometimes the walk on this journey seems like one of those maze games, where there are many winding paths that lead to a dead-end, but one path leads home. When it comes to the chemo treatments, I had wandered off of His path and started walking on my own path . But my path was a dangerous one. This particular path ends in cave. The cave is called "captivity." But God, in His mercy and faithfulness, showed me the two paths today.

Before work this morning, I spent a few moments in the locker room in prayer for the day. I just happened to open a book I had been reading as part of a summer bible study. It is written by Beth Moore. This was written in bold on the page I opened. "A Christian is made captive by anything that hinders the abundant and effective Spirit Filled life God planned for her."

I put my book away and began my day, but those words kept coming to mind. I knew in my heart, I was being held captive! Putting all my hope and trust in the chemotherapy and not in the hands of the Lord had held me captive. My worries kept me from living abundantly. God made it very clear what path I was on. So I decided to cross over the little wooden bridge from the "self-filled" path to the "Spirit Filled" path. I decided to celebrate this day and be thankful for God's hand in helping me the last 6 months, through all the chemo treatments.

As I walked out of the hospital to go over to MD Anderson, the sun shone brighter and warmer than yesterday. I inhaled deeply and breathed in the fresh air of the gentle breeze. I listened to the birds singing sweetly in the trees. And I asked His forgiveness for wandering off of His path and strength for the treatment to come.

When I walked off the elevator, I was greeted by Nancy, who has provided me with homemade chicken soup through the chemo. She gave me a big hug and a little glass breast cancer angel bear as a token for finishing the chemo. Elaine, the wonderful receptionist on the chemo floor came around the corner with a vase filled with the most beautiful pink roses I have ever seen. They were from my dear friend Ann, to celebrate the last treatment. They were beautiful in the window and brought a sweet scent to the chemo room. As I started the chemo, I thought back to the very first treatment, 6 months ago, and how overwhelming it all seemed for Carl and I. God has brought us such a long way. While I was waiting on the labs, Carl came by and surprised me with a visit. He had to teach today so Ann came over after work and sat with me while I had the chemo.

The best part about the last treatment came at the end. There is a special bell that patients ring three times on the last day of their chemo. It is loud. And it announces to all the staff and any other patients there, that someone has just completed their chemo treatments. Some of the staff gathered around with Ann, while I rang the bell. What a tremendous blessing to rejoice and celebrate, with my dear friend in Christ, all that God had done in the last six months!

So now it's on to radiation. But I am not placing all my hope and trust in the radiation. I have crossed the little bridge from my "self-willed" path to His "Spirit Filled" path.
My hope and trust is in Him alone. And I will praise Him for all that He has already done!!

"For those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope."
( Isaiah 40:31 & Psalms 52:9)