Thursday, Jul 31, 2014
Opinion

Choosing to fly above it all


Published:

Monday, April 8

Our eldest daughter, Erin, is here helping me with everything from showering to coloring my hair, since I still cannot lift my arms over my head. It does my soul good just to see her.

Erin and I walked next door to my Mom’s for lunch. That’s the farthest I have gone on foot since surgery. Along the way Erin was excited to spot a bald eagle circling high above our house. “Look, Mama,” she said. “That’s a sign from God. You’re going to soar like an eagle above all this.”

After lunch, Mom showed Erin all of her old quilts passed down from her great grandmother and an antique violin handmade by her great-great grandfather. Erin has taken up quilting as a hobby and has a newfound interest in family history. It was fun to see my daughter’s fascination as her grandmother shared stories about growing up in the 1930s on a remote farm in northern Michigan.

Home now, I’m exhausted but happy we were able to do all that together. It’s as if the pain of this illness is now being used to cement our family bonds. I wouldn’t have chosen this road, and I don’t believe God did either. But he didn’t stop it. Instead, he chose to use it for our good.

4 p.m.

I just got a call from the appointment desk at Moffitt, asking if I can stay tomorrow to see a third doctor, an oncologist. I agreed, of course, after I picked my heart up off the floor. There’s only one reason they would ask me to see an oncologist – to tell me I need chemotherapy.

It seems the only good news left was that I would not need chemo. Now that hope is dashed. I dread chemo even more than surgery. I have witnessed firsthand how devastating it can be. Oh God, how can I soar with eagles if I’m projectile vomiting 24-7?

Tuesday, April 9

Dr. Wells removed my drain, told me I could sleep flat and said, “Ditch the walker.” It felt so good to walk out of there standing tall, with my jeans actually buttoned for the first time in over a month.

Wednesday, April 10

I slept a little uncomfortably, but flat in bed instead of propped up in a recliner. It was good to make my own coffee this morning and move around without the walker. I feel I’ve been let out of a cage. Still, I’m a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of chemo. At least the doctor did say they have perfected it so now there should be no vomiting. Praise the Lord!

I suppose I could refuse. They did say the chance is slim that there’s more cancer. But if it comes back it would be in a different location such as my liver, or bones. Is that worth the risk?

Yesterday at Moffitt I overheard one patient tell another that she had breast cancer and a mastectomy 10 years ago, but now the cancer is back, in her uterus. All I could think was, they got the beast but not its nest, and now the eggs have hatched.

No, with God’s help, that will not be me. I must go through chemo, no matter how long and unpleasant the journey. I choose to rise above it because I know, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.”

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