Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Doing Battle, Week 62

Treatment six/fourteen is DONE and Shaun took the pump off on Sunday then I got a much-anticipated shower. Friday I was given treatment with the agreement that I would go on Monday to get a shot to boost my white counts. Getting in the car for a five hour round trip was not on my want-to-do list, but Amy drove so at least I could sit back and relax and we got some time together. The nurse said it was remarkable that in fourteen chemo treatments, this was my first shot. I can't take any credit for it since I never did figure out how to will white blood counts to increase, but I suspect it was the prayer that covered me constantly. And now that I know that I could have been getting shots but didn't, I'm so thankful!

Today is the first day that facing a screen doesn't sound like an awful idea to my stomach so I'm trying to process some of what I'm feeling. Amanda told me yesterday that her teacher was asking how I was feeling. Amanda responded, "On a scale of 1-10 she feels like a 3 or 4 but if you add her joy in there, that puts her at a 10!" :)

I'm DONE with treatments. What does that even mean??

For sure it hasn't sunk in. Maybe it will in two weeks when its time to go again but we don't have to. Right now I am battle-scared and so very weary. Images float through my head of Union soldiers walking back home after the surrender terms had been signed to end the Civil War. Yes, they had won the war, but it was very costly and their lives would never look the same.

Crazy as it sounds, after fourteen months of living and breathing all of this, I have quite a bit of trepidation about treatments coming to a close. Obviously much of this is out of my control, but actively treating cancer at least gives the illusion of control.

At the beginning of all this, I thought I'd just do the couple things they asked me to do and have all this behind me. What I now know is that I will never hear that I'm cured. They will tell me they can't find any cancer in my body but there is always the possibility that some rogue cells escaped radiation, surgery and chemotherapy and are floating through my system to appear at a later date. I'm not a worrier by nature so I wonder how long I will be looking over my shoulder.

But what I also didn't know at the start of this is that the length of my days would become much less important to me than how I spend my days. I cannot control how long I live but I can control how I live. So I'll need to give fear the boot and put my sitting-duck mentality to rest because that is not a place I can stay. God promises to make beauty from ashes and I am curious to watch the plan He has for me unfold, post-cancer.

On Friday we met with the oncologist. She smiled, shook my hand and said "see you in three months". I'll do scans at three months, six months, a year....

In the meantime, we'll continue to work on healing my surgical wound and at some point the meda-port will have to come out. The visiting nurse will continue to come to the house every other day, as she has since July, and try different things to get the wound healed and resolved. What a gift home care is!

There is so much for me to process and undoubtedly I will over the coming weeks and months. I feel like mourning for all that was lost, all that was taken away. I feel relief that "I made it", when there were several dark nights that I wasn't sure I would. I feel adrift, wondering how to re-enter the world, afraid I won't be able to handle the expectations. I feel scared that cancer is waiting to pounce on me again. My heart breaks for the souls I left at the cancer center, waiting for their next treatment, or worse being turned away because there are no more options. I feel thankful, so very thankful to be at this point. I'm grateful for the lessons I've learned. I'm grateful for the people who have been with me at the beginning, the end and all places in between.

I'm sorry if this post is not the victory dance you might have been expecting after my last treatment. (I wasn't sure what to expect myself.) The tremendous pain and deep beauty of it all rests heavy on me today. Bear with me while I get back on my feet and figure out which end is up. :)
















11 comments:

Melody said...

This is beautiful. Thanks for sharing how you're feeling and what you're fearing. Love you.

Melody said...

Also, Amanda's quote is precious. Also, also, there is no rush to figure out which end is up. You take all the time you need to process, to mourn, to grieve, to heal, to re-enter the world of expectations. We're all still cheering you on, and we're not going anywhere. We got this.

Ashley Beth said...

Praise God! Thank you for your honesty. I can't imagine the upside-down feelings you must be having. But I praise God that you are at this end of this enormous trial and I trust God will show you the next steps to take. Also, what a gem Amanda is! Just the fact that you've shown that much joy through it all speaks volumes about what God is doing in the lives of those around you (and yours!).

Meg A. said...

Oh my word, Amanda's quote?! Goosebumps. From Day One, we knew you'd be a shining light of His goodness and faithfulness to everyone you encountered along the way...of course that also meant the kids too, clearly! I cannot begin to imagine how many emotions you must be processing and will continue to process. But I'm so thankful you know the One who holds your life and your heart in the palm of His hand and He will continue to care for you even after the bumpy road of treatment has ended. As someone who loves you, I am THRILLED the treatment part is over! And prayerful and expectant that, while life may not be the same as pre-cancer, your heart will continue to heal and you will continue to trust Him! Cheering for you and proud of you even when you don't feel it! xoxo

LuAnn said...

This is your story and you can feel anyway you want! Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Amy said...

Amanda! Once again speaking wisdom. It feels good to be on this side of chemo, but I totally echo your sentiments....and Melody's. Take all the time you need. You're a good, little soldier with many battle scars to heal. We are here for you. Love, love, love you! So proud that you have endured so much and won. Amanda's quote alone is a medal of honor.

lee boyd said...

And...now...abides...

lily said...


Thank you for writing from your heart and being so honest. Your words always touch my soul. I pray for God's peace to envelope you as you
discover your new "normal". Your description of the soldiers is a good way to describe what you have gone through. You are my hero. We are all so thrilled that your treatments are over! Amen and so be it! Love you.

Jackie said...

I cannot imagine all of the emotions you must be feeling, Lisa. Praying for you/with you as you enter this new season. Like you said...I cannot wait to follow along and see what God has planned for you. So thankful you are surrounded by such amazing family and friends - and Amanda - oh my goodness. That girl says awesome things!

Brent Grosvenor said...

Wow. Powerful and very moving words and assessment. This is most certainly something for us all to "take in" and remember for all other life experiences. I thought the same as others here when reading Amanda's quote. You continue to be an inspiration and I am learning from you. The Lord is walking with you through this "process" and next chapter.

The Bug said...

I think you summed up "post cancer" feelings very well - it's hard to do a happy dance at the end of a war. You've handled it all with such grace & faith - and I REALLY appreciate that you took us along for the journey. I expect that maybe "Doing Battle" might change to something like "Notes from the Other Side of Battle," but I'd like to continue to read about your thoughts as you process all of this. Feel free to just say I'm DONE though :)

P.S. I feel like a book of Amanda-isms would be a REALLY COOL thing to have!