I am done! Chemotherapy is over. I made it. What began as a frightening, arduous time has ended as a blessing. Chemo, a blessing? Yes! I can honestly say it was. Let me explain.
When I made the decision to have this treatment, the one possible bright spot was that I would get skinny. That has been a constant quest of mine in the last ten years. In my mind, chemo would make me so sick that I would whither away to nothing, coming out of it 20 pounds lighter. This “blessing” eluded me. I really think I am the only person in the history of chemotherapy who gained weight. In fact, I am at a personal, all-time high in the weight department.
In a very well-delivered message on “How to Discover God Through Your Struggles,” Dr. Ron Dunn stated that many times blessings come wrapped up like curses. He goes on to say that this is something God has sent my way to do a work in me that He could not do otherwise. Also, he throws in the phrase, “Surprise. It’s God.” I love that! It perfectly describes how I feel about chemo. This medical curse became a vehicle of blessing.
First and foremost, God has flooded me with grace to walk through each phase of the past few months. It really hasn’t been horrible. When I talk to other people about what they are going through, I think to myself, “Chemo is a breeze compared to that.” It’s because god has poured out His grace on me for my situation. He’s with me and I feel it. It has literally been “by the grace of God.” What a concept!
My family and friends have taken such incredible care of me. This benefit was somewhat expected, but they went above and beyond any idea I had in mind. I could count on one hand how many times I cooked dinner over a four month period. People graciously brought food to our house time and time again. Babysitting was easily taken care of and my children never missed any of their extracurricular activities. There were many cards, phone calls, flowers and gifts sent my way to encourage me, too.
I can’t talk about the people blessings without pausing for a moment to highlight my husband, Ed. As one of my doctors so perfectly expressed it, “Everyone should have an Eddie.” There is no-one like him. He handled everything, never letting me feel guilty about what I wasn’t able to do. He is the epitome of patience. He cooked, cleaned, and made sure we were all taken care of. Many times he sacrificed his work schedule to be at appointments with me. I know it must have added a lot of stress to his life, but he never (and I mean, never) complained. Unbelievable!
My children were pretty amazing throughout everything, too. Jessica, the oldest, had to be right in there with Dad to keep things running smoothly. She babysat, helped Cory with school and made sure Olivia had plenty of playtime. Her level of responsibility was commendable! Cory always had encouraging words and hugs for me. His tender heart took many hits throughout this process, but he learned to rely on God and pray for mom. Olivia’s smile and funny little comments about my hair and eyebrows were treasures to this mom’s heart.
Doctor appointments held their own unexpected surprises. I loved my chemo doctor. It got to where we would begin and end each time with a hug. What a wonderful, inspiring man God had watching over me. I also met the most caring group of fellow cancer patients. We would be together for hours during the infusion phase, having a chance to just talk and visit. It took on the characteristics of a very much needed support group.
Psalm 84:5-6 “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the valley of Baca (weeping) they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools (or blessings).”
That verse makes me smile for many reasons. Chemotherapy should have been a valley of weeping, but God surprised me with pools of blessings. He made my desert walk a place of springs. I am blessed because my strength is in Him.
While I would have loved the expected outcome of shedding a few pounds, this pudgy, cancer survivor is very much aware that I am blessed. God has done a work in me that possibly could only have been accomplished through this means, and I am forever grateful.
(written one year ago. today is my first anniversary of being cancer free)