I have now been done with chemotherapy for 5 weeks! I am still feeling a few of the side effects of chemo, but am doing well, Praise the Lord! The hardest part has been the fatigue. I have said before that chemo fatigue is different from being tired or exhausted, at least for me. I usually am able to take a nap a few mornings or afternoons a week, and go to bed early a few times a week too. With chemo fatigue I will take a nap, but I don’t feel refreshed or more energized when I wake up. Just taking a shower and getting ready for the day can zap all my energy. I try to get as much done as I can while I’m up, because I know when I sit down my body just wants to shut down and I can barely keep my eyes open sometimes. (I’ve been trying to write a blog post for a few weeks now, but whenever I sit down at my computer I don’t last very long.)
I find myself again relating to Paul, this time when he talks about his “thorn in the flesh” in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10:
“Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I have been relying on God’s grace and His strength, and He always gives me the strength to do the things that He wants me to do. His strength is perfect when my strength is gone! I’ve really been challenged lately to “take pleasure” or “be content” in whatever situation I am in. It’s easy for me to look ahead and say it will be easier when I get my energy back or when my cancer treatment is finally complete. But we can say that about any situation we are in: if only this will happen, then things will be easier and I can be happy. Happiness depends on our circumstances and only lasts a short while, but true joy comes from God and we can have it anytime! It shouldn’t be our goal to make it to the end of a situation and then be happy again. We can be content and have joy as we are going through any trial, because God’s grace is sufficient and His strength is perfect in our time of need. My devotions lately have challenged me to 1) Trust, because trusting God protects us from worrying or obsessing, and 2) Be Thankful, because when we are being thankful we are not criticizing or complaining. Focusing on trusting my loving God with my circumstances and being thankful for all the blessings I have from Him helps me to have peace and be joyful in the midst of anything I am facing.
On Tuesday, I will begin radiation treatments. I will go for radiation every weekday for 6 1/2 weeks, 33 treatments. It will only take about 10 minutes each day, so will take longer to drive there and back than it will actually take for the radiation. 2-3 weeks into the radiation is when I should start feeling the effects.The biggest side effect will be fatigue again, but I’m used to that! 😉 Due to my fair skin, I will also get to deal with the burning, itching, and peeling skin where the radiation is directed. But this should subside a week or two after radiation ends. My oncologist did warn me that since I had the Gemzar type of chemo, the effects of radiation could be increased. That is why we waited an extra couple weeks to let more of that get out of my system before getting started on the radiation treatments.
They tell me that you become good friends with the nurses and techs that you see each day during radiation. Will you pray with me that God will give me boldness in my opportunities to share Christ and be an encouragement to those I meet through the radiation process? God has allowed this trial in my life, and He has been faithful to carry me each step of the way. Thank you all once again for your continued prayers and encouragement as I continue this journey!