Today was my first day of chemo here in Victoria. The medical staff was wonderful, so kind and caring. That has always been my experience with them and that makes the medicine go down a little easier.
Since it was my first day, we got started late. I was there at 8:30am but didn't leave until 2pm. I won't say that it was comfortable or easy but they did everything they could to help me get through it. I wasn't miserable for sure. When 2pm came and it was time for me to leave, I was ready to get home and get to bed. And that's just what I did. I'm typing this email from bed after a long nap.
My friend, Loyd, was not allowed to sit with me during the treatments; no one is. They don't allow family or friends to stay, for the protection of the other patients whose ability to fight off infections has been compromised. It all has to do with white (or red?) blood cell counts that are lowered because of the chemo. Slowly, the language is beginning to make sense.
Sitting there alone with other people who share the same fate is not a bad thing. Conversations are started and stories shared. Most of them saw a priest and the talk turn to the blessings and gifts of God in the midst of a terrible and terrifying disease. I visited, smiled and laughed with them but then selfishly I put on my headphones, listening to an audiobook, took out some knitting needles and yarn that will eventually become a scarf for my sweet and compassionate nurse who attended to my needs.
I received my schedule for the next several months. In truth, it doesn't look that bad. Today was my four hour session of chemo. Tomorrow I have an injection to help my body cope. Weekly, I have lab work completed to monitor my body's reaction. And 21 days later I repeat the cycle again, six times over again. My challenge is coordinating the schedule here with the ongoing schedule at MD Anderson. There is already a conflict and I've tried to reconcile the schedule with little luck thus far. I have time and it will be done so I'm not worried.
It is easy to pray when one is scared, miserable or sick. It is next to impossible for me to pray when I'm on top of the world and things are going my way. My prayer then has more to do with how good God is to me, and usually more about me than it is about God. But when I feel that my body has been hit by a truck and fear is running high, I find that my prayer has less to do with me and my strength and more about the help that can come from God alone. One of my favorite verses is, "My grace is sufficient for thee for my power is made perfect in weakness...For when I am weak that He is strong." (2 Cor. 12: 9-10)
I suspect that it means that I'm feeling better when I start preaching in my note after simply intending to let you all know that I did fine today. Too many words to let you all know that I'm good. Your prayers and concern are not taken for granted.
Gratefully yours for all the love and prayers, now returned to you,
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