Praise God! I have made it past cycle one and despite the pain I had to endure, I must admit, I would not have wanted it any other way. I am not saying I enjoy pain, what I am saying is that it caused me to keep my mind focused on my Savior. I think the truth of it all is that if we always experience happiness and contentment, we would never learn to put total dependency on Christ. Let’s face it, when everything is copacetic, we look at our circumstances of what’s bringing us happiness, rather than what God has done. However, when we experience pain and despair and life’s spinning out of our control, that’s when we look to God to save us from our adversities. Don’t wait until you need Him to seek Him!
The Office Visit…
It was two days prior to my cycle two chemo infusion and I had lab work done to ensure that my blood work indicates that I am in optimal health for treatment. Additionally, that same day I was scheduled for an office visit to meet with the doctor. As I waited in the room, the physician assistant came in. After she inquired how I was feeling, I was telling her about my experience with my first cycle of chemo and what I planned to do differently because I felt that I should have taken it easy instead of going on a long walk on day 2 post chemo. Surprisingly, she said that the walk had nothing to do with my pain, which is inevitable because I will experience pain as a result of the side effects of the chemo. Then she went on to say that sometimes the recovery time could be a little longer than the first. I was shaking my head in despair and I said to her, “Well, you know what, I am trusting God to see me through this so I am going to pray my way through this one.” With a sweet smile, she responded, “Ok, that’s good!”
Ironically, my usual doctor was not there, so I had the opportunity to meet another doctor on the team. I must say, the team of doctors who are treating me at Baptist are wonderful. After introducing himself, I was surprised at what he said. “So, I heard that you wear a cape to your chemo. What’s that about?” Oh boy, I’m not sure he was ready for all my enthusiasm as I went into detail about my chemo cape. I shared with him my whole purpose of the cape and that it was sewn for me by one of the teachers at my school, Mrs. Artilles. I went on to say that this cape reminds me to Fight Like A Girl, which was a slogan I chose because it’s a wonderful reminder of how courageous girls are and that their strength isn’t indicative of their physical attributes but rather their determination to fight despite all odds. I told him about the boxing picture on the back of my cape with the scripture of Romans 8:28, “For those who love God, all things work together for good.” Lastly, I told him what the CFC embroidered on the chest meant, that I am a Champion For Christ because in Him I put my trust for my healing. Wide-eyed, his response was, “Wow! That’s cool! I have never heard anything like that before.” Mission accomplished, I got the opportunity to mention Christ so that He is given the glory of why I wear this cape that makes me feel like a Super Girl!
The truth is, when Christ reigns over your life and you put total dependence on Him, knowing that with Him everything is possible, you can rest assured that He will supply you with the strength you need to face any “giant” in your life, big or small.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
It’s Chemo Day…
After registering, we were in the waiting room when the medical assistant from the chemo department walked over to get me. She greeted me with a hug and was so very pleasant. Walking in confidently to the chemo building, I received such warm welcome from my new nurse. I was told that they wanted me to be comfortable and be able to rest, so instead of giving me the recliner; I was going to have a bed instead. With my husband leading me in prayer, asking God to allow the infusion to go well, to direct each flow of the chemo that it will target every cancer cell, and to keep me protected from any complications, I was mentally prepared for what was forthcoming. Feeling assured and trusting that God will take care of me, I was not feeling worried or anxious, so I decided to take a few pictures showing off my chemo cape as I made myself comfortable in bed.
Since I had applied the numbing cream to my port prior to arriving at Baptist, I felt absolutely no discomfort as my nurse fitted the needle over the port. Everything was going smoothly as scheduled, I couldn’t help praising God and glorifying Him for allowing my body to be receptive to the chemo. My nurse tried to wait until after she did the flush before she administered the Benadryl. I took that time to read some scriptures and journal a bit. Once I received the Benadryl, it was not long after that I could feel my eyelids getting heavy. Dozing off for a little while, I could hear my husband trying to wake me to give me the salmon meal I had asked for. Despite the drowsiness, I still managed to open my mouth to eat because I had told him prior that I was hungry.
It was a long eight hours and during that time I just kept thinking about the sovereignty of God and what a good Father He is. There were moments that I was thinking, “Wow, could this really be?” The transition from one chemo bag to the next was just flawless. There were no complications, everything running like clockwork. I felt that God was showing me that all I had to do was rest in His presence; don’t worry about a thing, because He was going to show me what He’s capable of doing.
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
Before I knew it, all the staff had already left. It was 5:38 p.m. and I was the last patient there. When my nurse handed my hubby the “Person Appointment Itinerary,” he began to input in his phone all my upcoming appointments. I had to say to him, “What are you doing? Do that later! They are tired and ready to go home.” “We are out of here!” I said. I had to praise God one more time on the way out for an unbelievably awesome chemo infusion day.
What Happens Next….
As I lay my head on the pillow in prayer, I couldn’t help but wonder what the days ahead might be like for me. Did I have the assurance that my God is able to spare me from the debilitating pain and side effects of the chemo…ABSOLUTELY!!! I guess based on past experience from the first chemo, it was a matter of count down to when the pain would choose to creep up on me without invitation. At those moments of wondering, I wish I had reminded myself that my body is God’s temple and no weapon formed against me shall prosper without His authorization.
Day one and I felt absolutely amazing! I wanted to live in the moment and just continually keep my mind focused on God that even when there is doubt, God is able to do remarkable things despite the mustard seed faith I might have at the moment when doubt surfaces. I continued to seek scriptures reminding me of God’s promises and that I needed to choose to ignore the devil’s lies that the pain is inevitable because these side effects are a part of the chemo treatment. The same words that the physician assistant had told me were the same words the devil was trying to use to invade and destroy my thought process.
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7
I decided I would choose not to become fixated on the what-ifs but instead to live each day praising God for being merciful. I decided to have a mini photo shoot outdoors, my hubby being the photographer, just to live in the moment.
As the days progressed, I continued to marvel at the goodness of my Savior. No abdominal pain, no tightness in the chest, no fatigue, no nausea. The blessing of it all is that I still had an appetite. During the nights when I would get up to use the bathroom, I would praise Him, praise Him, and praise Him. I would fall asleep and wake up in the mornings with praise on my lips and a song of worship in my heart. There has been mornings that I would awake and intentionally sit up to make sure I was able to do so without having any abdominal cramps. I would get on my knees thanking God for giving me the strength each day to move about.
The side effects would typically kick in about day three or four and when I got to day six and still not experiencing any side effects, the devil tried to sneak his way in to disrupt the path of praise I was on. I remember wondering if the pain was a bit delayed and whether it was going to start in a couple of days. There were days I couldn’t help thinking that this must be the “calm before the storm.”
It’s so important that when the devil tries to cripple us with negative thoughts, that we recite scripture, confirming the Word of God. What a difference it makes when we take back the control of our thoughts and not allow the devil to rob us of our joy. I did exactly what I told the physician assistant that I would do, that I was going to praise Him through it. Praise Him for what He has done and thank Him for what He will continue to do through His omnipotence.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
It’s now Day 11 and I am still doing amazing! My only side effect that I continue to experience from my first cycle of chemo is the numbness of my feet, which occurs mostly in the nights. I can’t help but think that God removed every single side effect except the numbness in my feet as a constant reminder of His Word:
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.