If you have seen me this year, you have probably noticed the trouble I have in moving around. My body hurts when I stand up, sit down, or walk. I have to use my right hand to guide my left arm in order to close my car door, to get mail out of the box, or to lift anything heavier than a few ounces. I can’t open tops on bottles, use a pair of scissors, pick up my granddaughter, or release her car seat buckles without difficulty. I had resigned myself to the strong possibility that I would never be able to move as easily as before, would not be able to walk daily as I used to do, and would have to rely indefinitely on my handicapped car tag.
Notice the use of the words had resigned, would not be able, would have to rely in that last sentence.
Friday was my regular three-week chemo date. I didn’t expect to see my oncologist, but I did. I had no list of questions, and so I asked if anything new had come up. Nothing had.
That’s when I found myself telling him in detail about my physical struggles and that every day my symptoms seem to be worse, not better, which I guess is consistent with the buildup of the drugs over time. When he said I needed to tell him when the pain became unbearable, I replied that wouldn’t happen because I would handle whatever I needed to handle. That’s when he said, “Yes, but why should you have to do that?”
So here’s what has changed. I am on a new anti-estrogen medicine to see if something else might be easier on my body. I’ll see an orthopedic surgeon soon to discover if the difficulty I have in lifting my arm has another cause. In six weeks there will be another assessment, after the next chemo on March 22 and scans on April 12. I’ve always known that I’ll have to continue taking anti-estrogen medication for the rest of my life since most of the cancer cells are estrogen-receptor positive, but I’ve never expected to continue chemo indefinitely. Now a possibility exists that the chemo may come to an end sooner rather than later. If the side effects outweigh the benefits, I’ll be able to stop chemo.
That’s the hopeful part of my visit and of this post: My prognosis is good. In fact, there’s reason to believe that I’ll “survive” the cancer and the side effects even if the tumors remain in my lungs.
In this blog, I haven’t asked before for what I am asking now: Will you pray that God will make it clear to the oncologist what steps to take next? Will you pray that I have the strength to handle and move forward whatever the outcome? I trust in the Lord’s plan for my life, and I know I can deal with pain and can stay positive. On Friday for the first time since my diagnosis a year ago, I felt that I might be able to be myself again and enjoy the life I used to have.
I know that many people pray for me because prayer is the only reason I can get up in the morning and go through my day. I’m not asking for a particular answer, only that the answer will be clear.
This verse keeps coming to my mind: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him” (Psalm 28:7).
Whether I feel like this for the rest of my life or not, I will praise Him because I know that God is still good all of the time.