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Monday, May 24, 2010

Life Breaths

Radiation is really “easy” as many have told me. The treatment itself includes undressing, laying on a table while technicians line up all the lines on my body with the visible laser lights set as guides to direct invisible and poisonous cancer-killing rays of radiation aimed at the tumor bed and surrounding tissue of my body. I can’t feel a thing or see a thing. I can hear the machine as it delivers the dose of radiation. As soon as it stops (it runs for less than two minutes) I cover myself and wait for the technician to come and lower the table. Then I get dressed and walk out the door.

This all takes about fifteen minutes unless they’re running behind on the machines. If I take my son with me and drop him off at the childcare facility and go pick him up afterwards, my time in the hospital stretches to about thirty or forty-five minutes. Not long.

That's why I feel guilty for resenting once more, cancer's intrusion into my life. I have an "easy" treatment, a "good" prognosis. Most days I'm the angriest at the drive. The drive is a killer. I spend most of my day in the car. I leave first thing in the morning. I get home in time to rest just a bit before the bus comes bringing the older children from school.

That’s been the hardest thing here to get used to. Traffic. I can’t run to Sam’s or the grocery store or Lowe’s. The two-hour trip to Wal-mart has become a half-day ordeal and trying to deposit a check at the bank takes over an hour these days. And that's why I'm a little angrier than usual over cancer commute.

Traffic may be normal for lots of you but not me. I lived in a great little town where I could jump in the car and head out to run errands and get anywhere and do almost anything in under thirty minutes. Not kidding. Spoiled, I know.

I get cranky when I don’t have any time. You know. Time to sit, rest, think, write, clean, cuddle. Just time. I don’t have time right now.

Sometimes I think I just need a little grace in the face of cancer. There are days when I feel so guilty because I see so many suffering so much more around me. There are days when I think I've had quite enough of this cancer stuff thank.you.very.much.

I'm reading this great book by Paul Wolf called My God is True! Lessons learned on cancer's dark road. It is an amazing book! I feel like I could have written it myself. I would love to have Mr. Wolf, his wife Christy and his three children over for dinner to sit around the kitchen table talking and lingering over coffee while our children run and scream in the backyard.

His journey is similar to mine. He had cancer. He had treatment. He is now cancer free. He realizes that everybody who experiences cancer is not so fortunate. Some do not walk away with no evidence of disease. Some have lots and lots and lots of treatment plans before finding one that works. Some never find one that works.

But he says something that strikes a nerve with me. He says "a little bit of cancer goes a long way." That is the truth! No matter what the diagnosis, prognosis or treatment, a little is more than enough!

So I will be angry at losing these weeks but I will keep it in proper perspective.

The verse that has been rolling around in my head is Psalm 90:12. “Teach us to number our days aright that we might gain a heart of wisdom.”

A very popular theme in cancer is Psalm 139. The loving refrain of how God formed me in my mother’s womb and had written each of my days in His book before one of them came to be has been a balm to this sickness and hope for my healing.

I began to think of these two verses together. I mean, if God has already numbered my days, He should teach me how to number them myself, right? So, I began to ask. I have been telling God how frustrating it is to lose this time. My best hours are spent driving. By the time I get home, I am tired. By the time I can muster enough energy to do something the children are home. Cancer treatment is just tiring. And I really hate that.

Today I feel like God just spoke straight to my frustration. He spoke beyond the things I know. I know He will restore what has been stolen from me. I know I don’t even have to worry about time because with God I have all of eternity. I know that as long as God gives me a “today” He has things here on this earth He wants me to accomplish. I also know that for today and tomorrow and the next day, those things He wants me to do will happen in the waiting room at a cancer hospital.

And today I began telling myself that by giving these few weeks to fight this monster, I will be adding years to the end of my life because God knew that I would be here for these six weeks. So as I add years to my own life, I will ask God what else He would have me do “today.”

And I pray I would begin to learn how to number my days.

Teach us to use wisely all the time that we have. Psalm 90:12


Renee Swope said...

Checking in on you sweet friend. Praying for you and asking God to redeem all that time in the car with His sweet companionship and maybe some great teaching tapes or audio books. Have you read Lysa's newest book? If not, I'll buy you an audio version and send it to you. I'd love to bless you! I love you to pieces and am sorry this is so hard and so exhausting. Wish I was there to ride back and forth with you!!!


PS> Your house is GORGEOUS.I am coveting both of your tables. They are exactly what I have been wanting for years!!!!!!!

Cecelia said...

Great post, Lisa. I have my sketchbook and camera with me, and take pictures, make pictures while I wait. We got a car with a DVD player in it and listen to favorite tv programs while we drive. Sirrus radio has a lot, too.
When I was about 9, and had just started wearing a training bra, I got that rash on my back that they call a "Christmas Tree Rash". My daughter got it when she was about 11 and we learned that, no matter what you do, it just lasts for 14 days. They told me to just use caladryl on it.
However, when I was a kid, they were using x-rays for everything. So, my mom took me to Waco to a dermatologist and he advised an x-ray treatment. I lay on a table as the dr. moved some kind of metal cone shaped things all over my body. I was sooooo embarrassed!
My mother had told me that, if I would be good,she would buy me a banana split in the drugstore downstairs. So, we got a banana split and I didn't get to the end before I started throwing up. I vomited in the street and all the way back to Calvert. I never could eat a banana split again!
A few yeas ago, I had a tumor in my thyroid gland, that grew from the size of the end of my finger, to baseball size in a few months. They were concerned because so many people my age were getting thyroid cancer because of all the x-rays we got as children. We even got x-rays to see if our shoes fit!
Mine turned out to be benign, but I lost half of my thyroid.
I felt sure it must be because of the radiation sickness I had so long ago.
Be patient, Lisa. Think how lucky you are to be able to get treatment, to have your family, a new home, friends, and ability, and you can drive! Look around at how so many are so much worse off than you are, as you mentioned on your post.

Denise said...

This is just a tiny bleep on the radar screen of your life sis. God has so many more huge, fabulous bleeps yet to come. I love you.

Tea With Tiffany said...

I'm so sorry for this cancer battle. Thank you for pausing to update us. I am still praying for your healing. God is in your today and in your car and in your waiting. May you sense Him now more than ever. Love ya

Melanie said...

Oh my goodness! I literally posted a very similar thought on my blog less than a half hour ago and then I read yours. I feel like God is waving this with bright flashing lights in front of me today... "number my days"... my life is "but a breath"... Wow, I am blessed beyond words by your post. Thank you for writing the words God gave you. I am sure of it, and thankful to you tonight.

I am still praying for you and will continue to do so. Although we have never met 'in real life' you are my sister and I will continue to hold you and your family up in prayer.

In His Love,

~ melscoffeebreak.blogspot.com ~

Andrea said...

I love your new perspective...about adding time in the end! I am continuing to pray as you fight the battle before you.
Hugs, andrea

PS: I have an urgent prayer request at arise 2 write.

Lelia Chealey said...

Love to you Lisa. This is such wise advice. Thank you friend.

Laura said...

I am praying for you, Lisa. Harder now that I know you have to deal with traffic! Yuck. I know the stress of that.

I'm sending love and hugs. Wish I could give the real thing!

Sonja said...

oh.so.good Lisa!

Your perspective is being shaped by God, so it's clear and right.

I also understand the parts of you that get tired and frustrated... so does He. Still... He is holding you in this journey, as He does all of us. So go with today's new song in your heart for tomorrow.



PS... LOVE your new house, it's just beautiful.

MommaMindy said...

I had just moved from small midwest town to the Seattle area when I was diagnosed with cancer. The commute was so hard, just as you expressed! I learned to pray diligently about the driving- for safety, finding my way and less frustration. We purchased the Bible on CD's to listen to in the car. We learned to relax and just enjoy the commute, because it was now a part of our life.

May the Lord bless your commuting and may He fill those hours with His peace and His purpose. Praying for you!

Sandy at God Speaks Today said...

Hi Sis,

I hate that cancer is robbing you of so much...even your time. I, like you, don't handle the time crunch very well. I hate spending my whole day in the car. I hate doing things that suck my time and sap my energy with no redeeming value.

So I will pray with a new perspective today for you. As I'm stuck in 4 carpool lines--loathing the things that suck MY time--I will focus on you, my friend. And pray for Cancer Grace.

By the way, I'm so thankful your prognosis is "good" and your treatment "easy."

I love you, dear dear sis.

Bernie said...

I am sure all having long commutes feel as you do.....be patient my friend and I agree, God will give you this time back. Anytime spent with God, talking with him, praying to him is never wasted and we both know God is good....Hugs

Sniffles and Smiles said...

You are right...it is a small investment to make now...and in time, it will seem like distant history!! Mostly forgotten...even by your kids...Hang in there, dear Lisa! Still praying nightly for you!! Love, Janine XO

Gretchen said...

You are unbelievable. So thankful the Lord uses you to remind me to count my blessings (even on a heavy traffic day) and number my days aright. xxxooo