Pressed in on every side…

I don’t want to be one of the angry bloggers. I don’t want to complain all the time. I do want this year to end already. I want my septic and/or electrical system to miraculously be fixed. I want the cars not to need tires and brakes and fuses and oil changes and headlamp bulbs and…you know…stuff that costs money. I want people to ask us how we are and if we are having problems and how we can best be served in those areas without having them jump to conclusions about our spiritual health. I want people to stay at the church…or if they must leave to do so as graciously as possible. I want radiation to start already so that we can get to the end of it. I want insurance companies to act like…well NOT like insurance companies. (Not only are we trying to get next year’s coverage squared away – with limited success; but we are also now waiting for pre-authorization from the insurance company for radiation – which can take 30 days. I was also hung up on twice by said company. Displeased is putting it mildly. Furious not an overstatement.) So I’m a bit put out with the doc’s office that failed to send the request sooner. I want to treat Adam with respect in the midst of his fluctuating chemo-brain. I want others to do so as well. I’m not doing super well at that sometimes, and I’m afraid I’ve infected everyone. He is doing so much better…he’s mostly back to being himself…just a less inhibited version. So chemo turned him into me. I’m SO SORRY. Though his temper is still less volatile…. Sad…. So we’re sad and tired and frustrated and trucking along because that is all there is to do. Please God, can we have a few easy days?

We’re tired. We feel

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Hard Things

Life is full of hard things. I get discouraged by little disappointments as much as by major catastrophes, and I don’t think I’m alone in that. Dealing with Adam’s cancer diagnosis and treatment this year have not changed my concern over my kids’ issues with school, friends, activities, and behaviors. I have also had plenty of time to be occupied with my personal angst…. I’ve had days where I couldn’t stand to look at facebook or twitter – happy posts made me rabidly jealous (or I didn’t believe them) and sad posts grieved me as though the struggles were my own. Did I mention a preoccupation with my own angst? I don’t think I can call this year anything my a year of crisis. Medical crisis, emotional crisis, political / financial crisis is even in there. But it was never a year of spiritual crisis. Not liking the ugliness of a fallen world – even feeling rage at it – doesn’t make me mistrust God. It makes me know that He is better than this world. That this is temporary and that is a good thing. This is the only world I know, and without a picture of its brokenness, I would paint it as heaven in my mind. I have a real hope – not just in the world to come, but in my life here and now, that there is purpose even in suffering. I think of the verse that says “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you face trials of various kinds” (James 1:2). How I wondered at that verse as a child! How can trials make one happy? For me, it’s not that. The beautiful mystery of trials and suffering is that I still have joy. I’m not happy and I rage…and I have joy. “Oh look – joy in the Lord. Huh. Where did that come from?” Duh. So I consider. And yes, I know the rest of the sentence is about perseverance and being made complete in Christ. All that is a peek at why, but I am still considering the simple fact that I can consider it all joy. My mind, heart, and soul are simply too scattered to think, feel, and know only one thing at a time. And some of those things seem inconsistent with each other. But there you have it. Joy. So crisis doesn’t mean loss of hope. It’s not always something to be afraid of. It’s one of the hard things, but it isn’t without meaning.

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Not so angry now….

So, I haven’t been writing here much recently. All I really had to say was that I was angry – the toxic kind of anger that had no productive side and did not spur me onto greatness in literature. Or any other kind of greatness either. Think of it as chemo hangover: I was so tired of being in charge, of having cranky kids, of “keeping” my crazy husband (who definitely needed a keeper), and of cancer in general. Some of those things have abated a bit, but others rage on. Still, I am better and so glad for it. Adam was marked today, so he has officially begun the final leg of the treatment journey. The marks are “not yet permanent, but they will be eventually.” We don’t have any idea what that is about, but we can say that as tattoos go, they are pretty tame. We shall therefore be thinking of more kick-ass versions to add to his collection after this is all over! And maybe I will finally go through with getting one myself. We are, however, fairly cheap when it comes to things like this. Stay tuned for further developments!

In other news, our post-chemo celebration is coming up on Saturday November 9th. We are working out the details of paying our special musical guest, Jeremy Casella, but we are really excited about the evening. He will also lead worship at our church on Sunday, so come to one, the other or both!

A long overdue update

So…there isn’t really much to update. Chemo has been history for three weeks and all we can say is “good riddance.” But everything else is about the same. Chemo brain is a pernicious, persistent pestilence. I hate it. Not as much as chemo itself…but almost. I miss old Adam. Thankfully, we are all getting more and more glimpses of him. He is eating better, staying awake more, and is slightly less…erratic. He goes in to the radiation oncologist next week to be “marked” for radiation. That actually means that he’s getting tattooed. Which does make me smile. He wants a cancer survivor tattoo also, and this marks a huge change for him. I have wanted a tattoo (or at least had the safety to say so since I could blame him for not getting it) for many years. The time may come, if the desire remains as chemo brain fades. In the meantime, I torture him with ideas of what marks they could put on his hips next week. In fact, the marking appointment is scheduled for his dad’s birthday…what a tribute! But alas, this is not a creative inking…. And then radiation begins. We have been in deliberate denial about this coming treatment – it is our way of letting today have only today’s allotment of trouble – but it is coming time to think about how the next several weeks will look. We have another six days of willful ignorance, and then we must face decisions, planning, and whatever trials radiation will bring. Pray for us all. We are so tired of this, but we want to finish well. At least…I really hope we all want the same thing. That may one of the biggest prayer concerns!

In the meantime, I feel like I am seeing and hearing about cancer everywhere. Those who are being given ever worsening news about their prognosis or recurring tumors or failed treatments. The hope they have in the face of this suffering is humbling…and the fear can be crippling: there but for the grace of God go we all. So we take one breath at a time and fight to be thankful for what we have. We seek to be helpful and also receptive to the help of others. We try to be a couple and a family when we each prefer to selfishly wallow in our grief. And I cry a lot. And sometimes yell. “But aren’t you glad it’s over?” OVER?!?! Only chemo is over. Everything else marches on. God bless us all. Because those who mourn will be comforted.