I had no idea that I would see this day, but God knew. He did not speak in my spirit as we usually do together, He was silently at work, I, was truly just the clay and He was the potter.
From the beginning I have described how chemotherapy has affected my body, my mental status, and my ability to endure dark, hard challenges one must face when put to the task. Survival was not a given, not even expected…yet in spite of all the torment, the torture, the agony…God has sustained me. Continue reading “Now I Have OverCome Chemo #5 and Lived To Smile Again”
On Monday, Dec. 24, 2018, I had an appointment with the PA to my Oncologist, for consultation. It was the holiday, and I was able to have Christmas without being bedridden. The Chemo Infusion team only worked half a day, so patients were able to wait for chemo until the day after the blessed holiday. Continue reading “I Did Chemo Infusion #3 and I am here to tell it.”
Since I went to the ER at UVA, on Tues. Dec. 11, with the IV fluids, I was given there, I have felt so much better, thank God. It took the edge off the weakness, and aches, and body pains. It did not affect the diarrhea, and the pain that goes with that, but I am so much stronger since that night. Continue reading “A Brighter Day”
Last Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, was my 2nd Chemo Infusion Class. I fared really well on Monday, and Tues, I was well enough to go to Dress Rehearsal for our weekend concert, as the prayers we sent up requested. God hears and answers all prayers: Yes, No, or Not Now. He sent a resounding YES!!!. Continue reading “Light Into Darkness”
Monday I had my second chemo infusion. It went two hours less than the first. When the day was done, I felt great, an extension of the blessed week before. Praise God. I am praying that I have this entire week feeling normal enough to attend our “O Come Let Us Adore Him fifth year concert. Continue reading “Chemo Infusion #2 My Second Course”
It took 13 days, 13 days from Nov. 12 – Nov. 25, to get through the gutwrentching, battle of the first Chemo Infusion.
Throughout my life, the one constant that made me feel alive, vibrant, confident, self assured, even at time beautiful, was my hair. Getting my hair pressed, getting my hair permed, colored, styled, coiffed. It all brought so much excitement, anticipation of appointment, and ecstasy to me.
I have never worn my hair close to my scalp, nor have I ever wanted to wear shortened hair, though on occasions there was no alternative but to cut some off after medication had damaged and caused breakage beyond concealment. It was never my desire, even when I became frustrated in those times where I could not keep up regular maintenance, through beauty appointments, and it was left to me to “make something work”, only then I glazed over the thought , “if I had a bald head, this would not be a problem. Then I would come to myself, and ask; “what nonsense are you thinking?, Snap out of it!” Easily I could dispel that idiotic notion.
Yesterday, my worse nightmare came to reality, much earlier than my timeline predicted, my head itched at the nape of my neck, instinctively, I scratched it, and as I retrieved my hand, a thick, long clump moved from my scalp. I reached up to grab it and, “oh, no, no, no”; “it’s not time yet!. Jesus, no, I’m not ready, I spoke aloud, as tears just rolled. I find that tears have their own will these days, and I am left to let them fall at a whim.
God had already prepared for this sudden turn of events when I would be home alone, and my hair would suddenly release its grip on my scalp. I had been preparing for the moment when I had to set my hair free, hair and I have been together for 61 years, since My Momma said I was bald for a year, from birth, and was the only hairless child she had. She and my Grandma used to say, “it took so long for me to get hair, and I ended up with the longest and best hair of all”. I always liked that. I was the best at something.
Of course, it was the bane of everyone else’s existence, bringing so much jealousy upon me from my sister, Joyce, and my cousins, and they were never shy about how much they resented me because of my hair. Laughable.
A few months ago, a barbershop/salon opened part-time right up at the Dominos, within walking distance to my house. Over the weekend, I noticed there was a sign to advertise on the building, just on Sunday, I saw this. He is only in after he leaves his regular job, so timing is everything to get service. Xquisite Barber and Beauty Salon, I thanked God right then, because I knew I might need that shop when the time came.
Tuesday, the time came, and I prayed he would be there and I could get him to cut off my sifting, locks, so I would not have to try to do it myself, or wait till Alex(my son) returned home, later. God heard and answered, and the owner, Pierre Gardner, coincidentally, I know his family and have worked with many of them in previous employments.
I went in and tears were flowing, and he was so kind, patient, and understanding. He talked with me throughout the entire process, was so gentle, and the tears subsided. What a blessed experience, that someone who does not work with people losing their hair from chemo, treated me with so much compassion, as I said goodbye to my oldest friend and comfort, my hair was more than for looks, it made me feel covered, and confident in who I was. It kept my skinny neck hidden, and my narrow face framed. It was my crowning glory that God had blessed me with, and I loved that He gave it to me.
Now, I have lost all the parts of me that I felt made me, the “me” that no one else could be, or immolate, or envy. The breasts, the hair, the life giving organs, the swift, speed of a gazelle I loved having, my physical stamina. I still have the one thing, my mind, and the ability to think, reason, remember, learn, and understand. It is not because of age that I have had to let so many things go, that I could accept, just as I was learning to accept my hair had turned gray. Gray is not a good color on me, especially not on my head, and not to wear that same color everyday. My hair has always been in the details of who I knew myself to be. Not vain glory, or in any form or outside show, but as much a part of who I am as my narrow cheek line, or my exotic, deep brown eyes, or my “Naomi Campbell” lips( as they called them in John Casablanca’s Modeling School). At home, the family always called my lips; “Uncle Johnny Lips, because my Grandma’s brother had the same shaped mouth, and I so good to be identified with Uncle Johnny, he was awesome.
So, as predicted by the chemo documents, and Dr. Christiana Brenin, “you will lose your hair”, and so it came to pass, on Tues. Nov. 27, 2018, just a few days before my next battle with the chemo demons on Monday December 3, 2018. What fresh hell will Chemo Infusion cast upon me? I still have eyebrows. I noticed the hair on my body, arms, underarms, legs, little as it was is all gone, and those pesky hairs that I had to pluck from my chin, and the cheek area on my face, didn’t grow back since Chemo Infusion One, so that is huge blessing.
I am not sure that Chemo won’t take my last breath, but I know I want to be here, to live, to survive. I felt so horrible with the first infusion, it is hard to imagine coming through five more like that, and four more of half of the meds from the first session, that will be in the second session, then more after that. I know it is all in God’s hands, and I believe only in what He has for me. My church, Calvary Chapel Fluvanna, and my choral group, Voices of Faith are presenting our 5th Annual “O Come Let Us Adore Him”, Christmas Concert, on December 8, and 9, 2018 at 7pm, and I am praying that after Mondays’ Chemo Infusion, God will lift me up off my side effects, sickbed, pallet, and lower me into my seat among the rest of my fellow singers, so that I can coherently, spiritually, be present and do what singing I can with the voice He has graced me with. I pray God will bless us in this offering up to Him and that, as it could be my last, it will be like the prelude to the Glorious Choir I will sing in for Him in Eternity. Bless Us Lord, and Send All Whom You Desire to Be In Attendance, to the services next weekend, and please be merciful and let me be among them, in the choir, singing and praising your Name. Amen.
1 O God, You are my God; I shall seek you earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory.
3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You.
4 So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.
5 My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.
6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches,
7 For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
8 My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.
9 But those who seek my life to destroy it, Will go into the depths of the earth.
10 They will be delivered over to the power of the sword; They will be a prey for foxes.
11 But the king will rejoice in God’ Everyone who swears by Him will glory, For the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped.
Thank you for your comforting words, Lord. I meditate on You both day and night, and I know Victory is in You.
There are no two days alike. Monday, I felt I was turning the corner from the sickness and pain, till evening, and all into the morning hours. Tuesday, I was wiped out. Wednesday, I was not so sick early in the day, but around 3pm, it all starts to go down, and into the early morning hours. Thursday, I was not feeling strong, and was under the weather all day. Then came Friday, I woke early, feeling excited about daylight, and was well all day long, all evening and into the night. Saturday, early in the dawn, came with a sharp, piercing pain in my head, it felt like a nerve that needed to be clamped. This lasted all day, regardless of the Tylenol intake, and this lasted all night.
Come Sunday morning, Jesus woke me around 3am, and we spent all morning together. I had no more headaches, and no other pains. Still dealing with pain in exit departments, and diarrhea still my constant companion, but other than that, I feel good today. Praise God!!! I got to go to church today!! First time since November 12th when I got the chemo. Hallelujah, Glory to God!.
I don’t know how I will feel from one day to the next, but I thank God for how I feel today. I still can feel a little vertigo, but a little vertigo is nothing, by comparison. I have one week to go before chemo infusion #2. I pray I can enjoy this week, I pray that I am able go practice this Tues. and Bible Study on Wed.
Next week, I am praying that I can make it through the week and be blessed to participate in our Fifth Annual “Come Let Us Adore Him” Christmas Concert, at my wonderful Calvary Chapel Fluvanna. Such wonderful people, so filled with God’s Holy Spirit. God has truly blessed me to be with the most awesome choral group, The Voices of Faith, who are spirit-filled prayer warriors all day, every day, such an absolute blessing to me through all I have endured. That’s God!
I attempted to post this on Sunday, but when I went to retrieve an image, I lost the post. I decided to wait a day to see if it would come back, and here it is. I only want to add that God is so awesome, today is Monday, and it was two Mondays ago that chemo took me down, and out of circulation. Each day was worse than the one before, and more horrible than I could imagine. No sugar coating on this blog. It sucked with a capital “S”. I have been sick, deathly ill many times, but, this is something spawned from all my previous aches, pains, near death experiences. I can not imagine what fresh hell on earth each new chemo class will teach me, and whether or not I am strong enough physically to endure, so I want to be present while I can. Today, I feel great, by weakness standards. I got out to church yesterday, then walked around outside a bit, and today, I took myself to handle my business that has been on hold since I got knocked down by chemo. Thank you God, for blessing me to be able to get up, and out, and handle business, and come back to write again. I have even laid out the formats to four of my book projects. I am on a roll. I have seven days before the next chemo infusion, and I want to make the most of it. Live life, as they say; “To the fullest of my capacity”.
Today is Thanksgiving Day! I am here, I am alive, I am turning the corner. I found myself wondering why I didn’t think twice about accepting the doctor’s orders that because I had HER2 positive I would concede to take the chemotherapy because my surgery went so well, and I was healed, and back on my healthy track? I could have just gone along and trusted that there would be no recurrence of the cancer in my body, I could have lived a normal life for the time it was out of my body, but, I wanted to be smart, and give myself the assurance of not coming back to this place again, one, two, five years after I get comfortable, and have to relive this cancer nightmare, that is why I chose to put myself through chemotherapy. Continue reading “Being Thankful In Little or Much”