Right now I am part a phase 1 drug trial of a new drug that is unique targeted to my type of cancer. It doesn’t even have a name yet, just a number. I get that drug, Herceptin (an antibody that blocks the her/2 receptors of my cancer) and a small bit of the hard stuff. Since I only get a small bit of the hard stuff, I am experiencing only mild hair loss and no nausea (Thank the Lord!!!) But the new drug does cause moderate to severe diarrhea. I have had some rough nights, but overall this regiment is easier than some of the others I’ve had (this is the third combo they have tried). It seems to be working because my lesions have gone away, yet another praise.
The problem is that I have to go every week for Chemo—every week!! With that comes all the hassles that come with sitting in a chair for four hours a week—what to do with the kids, falling behind with my work, neglecting household duties, being tired for a couple of days—not to mention the side effects, though mild at times. It is so exhausting dealing with going every week. It was really tough at first. I swear that the girls moved slower and were more stubborn on Thursdays, the day of my treatment. That just doesn’t seem fair! I have resigned myself to having to go each week, but is it too much to ask that getting to and from my appointment and arrangements with the kids go smoothly? Twice I’ve gotten colds that delayed my treatment thus giving me a nice break, but leaving me miserable for several days. Again, shouldn’t there be some rule where you shouldn’t have to get colds while you have cancer? Yes, I know it is actually the opposite since my immune system is compromised.
I’ve gotten used to going now. It is part of my life. I have decided that those things that I have put off until I was done with treatment can no longer be put off. God has clearly told me that I have no excuse not to serve him and obey him. Some changes I’ve made willingly and with excitement—I started a women’s Bible study at my church (Last Monday of the month this summer—all are welcome, message me if you are interested). Others I am resisting. For example, I need to write more, exercise and eat better. Especially, the eat better has become evidently clear. What I eat has much more of an impact now. My bowels have a way of vividly rebelling against what I eat.
The point is that this is my life. There is no point in bemoaning my fate or shirking my responsibilities. Whatever my lot, I am a child of God and must serve him. He continues to show me grace and comfort each week. His grace is sufficient. In my weakness, he is strong. This is my new normal.
I am reminded of the life of Daniel. There are some real crises in the life of Daniel—and some real triumphs as well. Who could ever forget the exciting story of Daniel and the lion’s den? But for the most part his life was one of prolonged captivity—punctuated by dramatic events that highlighted Daniel’s continued faith and God’ s response. He was a slave—though an honored one and one that experienced some sense of power. Every time the Babylon rulers exercised their authority as religious ruler and objects of worship it reminded Daniel that he was a slave in a very real way, but slavery was his normal, no matter how unpleasant. Still, the king of Babylon said of him that he served his God “continually” (Dan 6:20). He had to learn to act with integrity and serve God in the day-to-day drudgery of a life he didn’t ask for.
This cancer has been punctuated by dramatic moments that have called out from me every ounce of my strength and then allowed me to rely on God’s strength and see his enduring goodness. But for the most part it has become old hat, the drudgery of a life that I didn’t ask for.
Daniel couldn’t wait for his bondage to end to serve God and neither can I. I still need to use my talents to glorify God, to take care of my kids and husband. Just because I have chemo each week, I still have to put up with days when my husband is irritable, the house is a mess, my four-year-old resists using the potty. This is my life—I didn’t ask for it, but I can still bloom, have success despite, even because of it. I am asked to act with integrity and serve God in the midst of my bondage to the chemo chair.
Maybe you are experiencing your bondage to a life you didn’t ask for and find unpleasant. A town you had to move to that is lonely and doesn’t feel like home. Perhaps a constant struggle with a rebellious teen. A marriage that is experiencing a winter season. Maybe a medical condition like my own. You may not be able to control the situation, but you can control your reaction to it. God is still faithful. Let him comfort you. And above all, never stop obeying him and serving him in the midst of your circumstances. Like Daniel, you will find yourself blooming where you are planted.
Psalm 119: 49 Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. 50 My comfort in my suffering is this: your promise preserves my life.56 This has been my practice: I obey your precepts.