Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Chemo - Middle of the Night Reflections

Every time you venture out in the life of faith, you will find something in your common-sense circumstances that flatly contradicts your faith.  Common sense is not, and faith is not common sense; they stand in the relation of the natural and the spiritual.  Can you trust Jesus Christ where your common sense cannot trust Him?  Can you venture out heroically on Jesus Christ's statements when the facts of your common sense shout - It's a lie?"  On the mount it is easy to say - "Oh yes, I believe God can do it"; but you have to come down into the demon- possessed valley and meet with facts that laugh ironically at the whole of your mount-of-transfiguration belief.  Every time my program of belief is clear to my own mind, I come across something that contradicts it.  Let me say I believe God will supply all my needs, and then let me run dry, with no outlook, and see whether I will sink back to something lower.

Faith must be tested, because it can be turned into a personal possession only through conflict.  What is your faith up against just now?  'Blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in Me.'  The final thing is confidence in Jesus.  Believe steadfastly on Him and all you come up against will develop your faith.  May God keep us in fighting trim!  Faith is unutterable trust in God, trust which never dreams that He will not stand by us." - Oswald Chambers

This is a passage My Aunt sent me to reflect on during my battle with cancer.  It took me at least 3-4 times to read it and completely understand what it is saying.  And after finally grasping what it meant, I realized this was one the true reasons that I am going through cancer.  My faith is being tested to the point that I will always have unutterable trust in God to take care of me no matter what situation I am in.  To let go of the control and give it all to him.  To Let go and Let God as many of you have reminded me.  I need that constant reminder.  I have found myself getting anxiety attacks quite frequently since I learned about my diagnosis.  And these anxiety attacks happen when I am scared, and when I know I am losing control.  In fact, I was having a lot of anxiety way before my diagnosis.  I was going through a period in my life where I was not giving everything to God.  I was trying to control the outcome of everything in my life.  I think the more and more I can understand what Oswald Chambers has said, the anxiety attacks will start to go away.  Oh how I can't wait until that day when I will have complete peace and understanding so that I can just let it all go.  It will be tough, but I think I can do it.

Last night after Jason left (he stayed at watched Amerian Idol with me) I started to feel very alone in my battle.  They started another chemo drug and without Jason's support there with me I started to get very anxious.  They had to give me another drug to calm me down.  I haven't gotten much much on my mind.  I think I slept about 2 hours.  It is now 5:00 am and I should be getting ready to get up for a run with Heather and Kelly.  Oh, how I miss that.  I am starting to feel little weaker.  But I am not going to let that stop me from getting a couple of laps around the Oncology unit.  I am determined to keep my strength up as much as possible.  

I think my roommate will be leaving today.  It has been so difficult to have a roommate that has advanced stages of cancer and is agony and in pain.  It does not sound good.  I felt like asking the nurses if it was the best decision to stick me, a younger woman, who is starting chemo for the first time with a woman who seems to have been battling cancer for quite some time.  This has done quite a number on my mental status.  Afraid that I might be there some day, in agony and pain. However, because I don't want to be a demanding patient and because God just put it on my heart to pray for her things got a little better.  The Doctors have gotten her pain under control.  I think she slept much better than I did.  I have a beautiful view from my room overlooking the Mississippi River, but I can't see it because my bed is on the other side of the room and we are separated by a curtain.  I am hoping if my roommate leaves I can claim the other side.  It would be so nice to see some sunshine as I heard I will be missing some very nice warm days over the next three days.

Last night we got a little angel sent to us in the form of a nurse.  Jason knew her from college so it was nice to have a familiar face around especially after Jason went home.  She was wonderful helping me get through my anxiety attack.  The staff on the Oncology floor are amazing people!  I asked my nurse what it was the drew her to work on the Oncology floor.  She said she has tried other areas of specialities, but keeps coming back here. She loves working with the patients as they are a source of inspiration.

Yesterday I got a chance to add some artwork made by Mackenzie and Kendall and pictures up on the wall.  They are constant reminders of what it is that I need to accomplish here.  And that is get better so I can see them grow old and eventually watch them get married and meet my grandchildren.  I know in my heart that it will happen.  It is just going to be a long process.

Prayer Requests:  Please pray the chemo side affects will continue to be subtle.  I am guessing by the end of the day today I may start experiencing them a little more.  Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your messages and words of encouragement.  What amazes me is that some of you have been quoting scripture that have always been a source of comfort to me.  Especially the on about God's power made perfect in weakness.  This was a verse that was with me all along through our journey with Mackenzie.  And it was first verse I opened to in my Bible when I learned my diagnosis. So when I read your notes with scriptures that confirm the ones I am reading it gives me hope and strength! Please keep them coming!


Heather said...

Sue - we miss you so much in the morning and can't wait to have you back - let me know if you need a friend to take some laps of the oncology floor and I will be right over! I can bring the Chariot and we can share the challenge of pushing that too :>). Mark says he will lend you his GPS for a mileage counter :>)
You are constantly on our mind and in our hearts, we know that God is with you and pray that you can feel his arms around you each and every moment.
You are amazing - hang in there.

Anonymous said...

Good morning Sue! I had a feeling I would find middle of the night reflections from you, so I checked your blog early. It is so amazing to see how God is touching your life. And the things you are learning about "control" are the things WE ALL need to learn, so thank you for the inspiring reminders that God's got everything in his hands! Everything! I love you and am praying for you. I'll try and call today. . . would love to visit soon!



Anonymous said...

Hang in there! We all know you are strong enough to take on the challenge. Andy and I are following your journey and have you in our thoughts. Be SURE to catch some sunshine from that window! :-) Maria

Anonymous said...

You are such an inspiration Sue! You are a hero to many. You have such a will to fight and I know that you will pull through this. We are praying for you and sending you good thoughts. When I dropped off dinner last night at your house, Mackenzie was like a ray of sunshine greeting me at the door. She was so happy to see us, and of course wondering where Emma was. And Lucy was chasing Kendall down the sidewalk, lots of hugs of course! They are so sweet, and are in such good care with Grandma and Grandpa's. I'm always amazed at how resilient children are. You truly are blessed! We love you and are sending you good thoughts today!


Susan said...

What a great post. You are an inspiration for other women that are going through the same thing or will be. You love the Lord and it shows. HE is there through it all. Praying for a good day.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue,
As many have said, I also have been very blessed by your posts. I miss seeing you, Jason, and the girls. I'm going to have to stop by before I leave for the summer. Your perspective on this experience is so amazing and such a testimony! Because I tend to be a literature fanatic:), I love to find poems and inspirational stories. As I was looking today, I found this piece by a woman who battled cancer in the past. Her perspective of seeing cancer as a learning experience really reminded me of what I have been reading in your posts, so I thought I would share:
Making Friends with Cancer
By: Dawn Nelson
You make friends with cancer by heeding its call to consciousness, by letting it change your life. You slow down. You pay attention. You stop doing things you don't really want or need to do. You prioritize. You pace yourself. You respect your body. You spend time with those whose presence is healing.

You make friends with cancer by noticing the small miracles that occur daily--the chorus of bird songs in the morning air, the intoxicating fragrance of one pink rose, the melody of raindrops, the heart melting sweetness of your children's smiles, the eternality of an ocean wavy, the exquisite beauty of a setting sun, the presence of your beloved--which, before cancer, you may have overlooked or been to "busy" to enjoy or appreciate.

You make friends with cancer by letting love in. You open your heart. You tell the truth. You ask for help. You accept the profound generosity of friends. You let whatever you may have given return itself to you.

You make friends with cancer by allowing it to remind you of what is actually important in life and what is less so, by forging a relationship with it that fosters new insight, by seeing the uninvited guest as an opportunity for learning and growth.

You make friends with cancer by accepting the myriad gifts and joys which life offers. You don't waste time complaining about things you cannot change or which you wish were different. You dance when you can, you weep when you must. You notice what you have instead of what you don't have. You practice thankfulness, and forgiveness.

You make friends with cancer by not hiding from it or hating it, but by acknowledging it, accepting what it has to teach you and continuing on your Journey, one step at a time.

I hope you find that encouraging. It is evident that you are allowing God to use this experience and change you through it. Blessings on your afternoon! Andy and I are praying for you!


donna said...

Hi Sue: "God's grace is sufficient" is the verse on my heart for you today. How can we know that if we aren't tested? You are experiencing the ultimate test. You are a beacon of light reflecting the Holy Spirit's grace and mercy. He is using you, precious child of His, to minister to others. (II Cor. 1:3,4) Isn't that one of the tasks we are given on this earth - to be JESUS to everyone around us? You are doing that! Giving HIM the honor and glory shows us that we can too, no matter what. Thanks for speaking to me in your experience. You are loved, Donna Lundborg

Anonymous said...

After reading your post yesterday, you were on my mind constantly. I was praying you through the night because I couldn't sleep thinking about what you were going through. At about 3 am I almost drove down to be by your side and just pray for you. I know the Lord can hear me from home but I want you to know that you are covered in prayer. God can heal and He will heal. I will continue to pray that the Holy Spirit will lift the anxiety off of you.
With Love,
Julie Johnson Dahl

Anonymous said...

Hi, Sue,
I cry every time I read your blog. You are so transparent about your fear and your thoughts, they moved me deeply. You are actually doing your run now, a spiritual one!! Of course a few laps around the oncology lab don't hurt either. I am sending you one of my favorite bible verses:

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Hang in there Sue, you are in our prayers every night.


Anonymous said...

Sue! That's so great what your Aunt sent you. I can say Amen to all that!!! I posted a note to you on the 21st but realized I scrolled all the way down to the bottom so it probably posted under your very first blog entry just in case you did not get it. You can tell I have never done the blog thing before.:) Anyway, make sure you read it, if you have not. I hope to talk to you soon. Your parents told me today you felt a little worse. We will keep praying for strength for you to handle the chemo. We love you much!
Michelle A.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue,
You have been on my mind a lot and I cannot imagine what you are going through. Please remember the words of Pastor Joel when he said "there is nothing you will go through that has not first passed before God's eyes". God would not allow it unless He knew you would be able to withstand it by relying on His strength. You are strong enough Sue and you can do it! God is there with you... lean on Him... crawl on His lap... rest in Him.
I was given this beautiful paraphrase of Isaiah 43:1-5 that I want to share with you.
This is what the Lord says- He who created you, He who formed you, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you; When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy one of Israel, your Savior; You are precious in my sight, and I love you, Do not be afraid, for I am with you."
May you feel the power and presence of God and may He give you rest and peace. God's mighty healing hand be upon you.
Love and prayers,
Nikki said...

Sue and Jason,

How much this brings back memories of the blog for Mackenzie on CaringBridge those few short years ago! God brought you through that and He will bring you through this as well. My very favorite Bible verse is: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path." I recall picturing Mackenzie held close and safe in God's hands the many months and the many trials you all went through, and now I picture you in the same way, held to His heart as you travel this unknown and scary path.

You are on prayer lists all across the country now, and across the world. Feel the power of all those prayers, be confident and know that there is a miracle in store for you. Your faith and trust are inspiring; hold on to them with all your heart and soul!

Thank you for being so open and sharing with those of us who care about you; you are an extraordinary person.

By the way, we know a man in Minneapolis who had the very same sinus cancer that you have, over ten years ago. He only wanted to live long enough to dance at his daughter's wedding when he was first diagnosed -- he got to do that, and now enjoys his granddaughter as well. He might be someone to talk to, if you don't already have enough of those!

I look forward to following your blog all the way to complete and total recovery and remission. God bless and keep all of you through this situation.

Love, Bev (Johansen)

P.S. The spruce tree your family gave us in memory of Frank is thriving; one of these days it will be big enough to decorate at Christmas. Stop by and see it (and us) sometime when you are in Platteville!