Monday, September 21, 2015

Doing Battle, Week 52

[Long post alert...apparently sleeping for the better part of four days causes me to be a little "word-y" :)]

Fifty-two weeks is also widely known as 365 days, 12 months or one year. I guess I had my little meltdown last week because "the day" came and went without fanfare. One thing I appreciate about chemo weeks is that there's no time for frivolous emotions. Its just buckle-down and do-what-you've-got-to-do time.

Time. You can't help but think about it often with cancer. When we found out the news, Shaun and I both had immediate questions regarding time. His was, how long do we have? (as in, when am I going to lose my wife) and mine was, how long is this going to take? (as in, can we get surgery done STAT so I can be recovered in time for the marathon I'm running next month).

Now, a year later, my questions about time are a little different. :) Over this year of living with cancer, I've learned some valuable, perspective-shifting lessons about time.

First, my measure of time is different than God's. That's not exactly a deep revelation, but up until cancer I kind of felt like He and I were doing the same pace....I had a plan and He put His stamp of approval on it. I got married when I wanted to (or at least soon after it was legal ;), earned promotions  in my career when I felt I deserved them, had kids on my timeline. While I always desired to be in His will, I didn't have to patiently wait for or endure much of anything.

Second, cancer has helped me hold loosely to this life I have here and I've taken great comfort in knowing, in my heart, that my life is just a vapor.

Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen in your life tomorrow. [What is secure in your life?] You are merely a vapor [like a puff of smoke or a wisp of steam from a cooking pot] that is visible for a little while and then vanishes [into thin air]. James 4:14

Knowing that my life is like a puff of smoke makes worrying about whether I live to be 41 or 91 seem ridiculous. Of course I love life here on earth and I hope I get to be at my children's graduations and weddings (which my surgeon continually reminds me is her goal) and beyond, and I wish I could love Shaun for a lifetime plus one, but a long life here is not one of my higher pursuits as it once was.

In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. He was [continually existing] in the beginning [co-eternally] with God. All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him not even one thing was made that has come into being. John 1:1-3

Third, God is patient with us when we ask How long, Oh Lord? He listens as we ask again, Why is this taking so long? Really...another day in the hospital? Why chemo...again? God is the beginning and the end. The Bible says a thousand years to us is like one day to Him. God understands that we are not operating on his timeline. Since he designed us and built us, he's well aware that he left out the part that can grasp how there is no beginning or end to time; how one thousand years can possibly equal a day.

The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness... 2 Peter 3:9

And fourth, His promises are true. He provides strength when we grow weary in the waiting. His presence can be so sweet in that seeking place of waiting.

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:29–31)

One year. Some of you have been doing our story with us since before Doing Battle, Week 1 was ever posted. You've come to this space week after week, wanting to know how we're doing, checking up on our family. Some of you have come aboard throughout the year and have added in your support. Many of you I've never met and will never get a chance to sit down with, coffee in hand and hear your story and share in your pain.

But from a very full heart, I want to thank you all for "being there". For caring about us, for loving us in very tangible ways, for trusting with us that God is using this for good. We've been so very blessed to know community in new and amazing ways. We are grateful, so very grateful for the ways, both big and small, you've joined with us on this crazy ride and been a means with which God demonstrates His love towards us. As a friend noted this week, along with the gas cards her family sent, God is in the littlest things of every single detail--relish His care and how He sends it to you.

He doesn't miss a single detail...all of our needs have been provided for. THANK YOU for being His hands, His feet.

A quick word about this week....

Treatment 2/10 was Wednesday. As always, we departed about 4 AM. The bumper-to-bumper starts about 6:30 AM anywhere near the city, so we like to be arriving right about then. We get parked and then get breakfast sandwiches at a shop next door to the cancer center.

By 8 AM we are comfortably settled into the waiting room.

This time the labs and the doctor saw us early, so we weren't there long. We learned that from our appointment two weeks ago that its not until after we see the oncologist and everything checks out ok that my chemo concoction is mixed and sent up, about two hours. Since it was a gorgeous day we decided to walk the 20 minutes to Times Square to get a change of scenery.

We had just arrived when I got a call on my cell.
Ms. Cour, did you step out for a moment? We are ready for you. 
Oh, I'm sorry, I thought it was going to be two hours before we could start treatment. 
Well yes, that's generally how its done, but they actually pre-mixed your batch.
Ok, we'll be there in 20 minutes!
No problem. When you get here, just come right in...we have a room waiting for you.

I felt so guilty because of the ever FULL waiting room of people, but I was thankful for God's favor. It takes about seven hours for me to get the full treatment, so all the better if we can start early!

This time we had two surprise visits. The first was from my surgeon. She discovered we were in the building but didn't have an appointment with her, so she and two nurses came to my tiny treatment closet, armed with all the supplies they needed to check on me. I never even moved from my recliner. I was floored that my highly-regarded, world-renown surgeon would do that...she's a rockstar. God's favor!

The second visit was from Amy and Colombo. They were in the city for the day witnessing a 20-year marriage vow renewal in Central Park. I was a little out of it, but it was definitely a bright spot to see them at the end of a long day.

We are rejoicing to have two treatments down, without incident. FOUR more to go.


Ashley Beth said...

It's truly odd to have a person I've never met face to face on my heart so often, but it is true of you! God brings you to my mind at minimum daily, usually several times a day. I pray and wonder and pray some more. A whole year later and oh how I wish you were through with this already. Thank you for the true reminders of God's timing and patience and life perspective. Praying today as always and wishing I could sit and encourage you and glean from what He's teaching you. Thank you for sharing here. Hugs to you today!

Amy said...

Aww...I love all the cards on display!

Amy said...

I was so excited about the cards I forgot to comment on your beautiful post. I've so proud of you for learning so much from this AND teaching others. That saying- you can bitter or you can get better......I'm so proud of you for daily CHOOSING to be better. I love you soooooooooooooooooooooo much times a hundred thousand infinity! xoxoxo

Meg A. said...

Man, I couldn't love this more! Such amazing lessons and TRUTH. So proud of your perspective and your choice to share with others. This year has been a marathon and you are the best, most accomplished marathon runner I know! Can't wait for you to cross this finish line and go back to the ones that require sneakers...that day IS coming! Love you lots!

The Bug said...

Such a lovely post - and I'm so glad you have so much support. I'm thinking that in a couple of months I'll move you from my church's general intercessions list to the "continuing recovery" list :)

Melody said...

Can barely type through my tears. I heart you!

Jackie said...

Always praying for you...Team Lisa from afar. :) Much love to you, you are thought of so often. Love that you share with us what God is showing you.