Thank you Father for being with us this very rough week. Thank you for helping when Theresa couldn’t take it anymore, thank you for your provision in the midst of the storm. Thank you all for your intercessory prayers, specific prayers, and for your heartfelt engagement with us on this journey.
Last week I ended with Theresa’s (our) roughest week yet, which continued into this week. Theresa’s experience with chemo is not the norm. Once again the rare occurred. The pain and struggles I described last week, continued this week and are due to a serious side effect/complication of chemo, that Theresa can have no further chemo. Remember that Theresa is getting a combination of two receptor blockers (antibiodies) and one Chemo drug – which is essentially poison and poisons both the cancer and her healthy cells, while the receptor blockers for the most part target the cancer cells only. She will continue to get the receptor blockers (which is believed to be causing the dramatic response, though her pathology predicted otherwise). About 0.3% of people can get a pretty severe neuropathy due to the Abraxane (one of the class of taxanes- taxol being the the first). Theresa’s was so severe, that further chemotherapy would lead to severe permanent side effects making life miserable. There are no further alternatives with Chemo (which I am glad for, since the cure has been worse than the disease).
The nerve injury, which is hopefully temporary, has been extensive. The constant electrical shocks all over her body lasted 48 hours and slowly improved over the week, so now she only has it in her lower legs and now intermittent. The numbness in her fingers and toes haven’t improved yet, and the numb lips, chin, tongue and hard palate also haven’t improved and bother her the most, making it hard to eat and drink fluids. The gastrointestinal issues has persisted. This side effect, paralytic ileus, has been hard to manage. She didn’t eat or drink through Monday and had to go in for IV fluids Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We were able to get her GI tract moving some during that time, but that hasn’t continued. When listening to her GI tract, there is a very rare sound heard and not often. We are trying things to jump start this, but so far not much is happening. We anticipate more of this for another week before it tries to recover. I anticipate she will be going in for IV fluids again this week as she is getting dehydrated again and can’t eat. The ileus is pretty painful as well.
This is a trying time emotionally for all of us. To see your spouse in agony and not finding anything that helps, and when you do help it makes it worse, has been exhausting. We tried a medication called gabapentin to help with the nerve pain, but she got hives from it and she can’t have benadryl or prednisone to treat the hives due to having allergies to that as well. With the constant pain and discomfort, she hasn’t slept for days, which makes it all the more difficult to tolerate. And pain is always worse at night, such that she now dreads nights. She is gaining for sure, but she is still very sick and I am uncertain if we can continue manage her symptoms at home unless they improve soon. The constant deep bone aching that comes with chemo is also wearing on her.
This time has been filled with tears, head rubbing, prayers and anguish. Yet there have been times of relief and calm. This path has been dark and difficult, but it has caused me to cling to the promises of God, to engage Him day and night, to be broken before Him, to be prostate before Him, emptied. A few verses a friend sent me were very helpful this week. “Have compassion on me, LORD, for I am weak. Heal me, LORD, for my bone are in agony. I am sick at heart. How long, O LORD, until your restore me? Return, O LORD, and rescue me. Save me because of your unfailing love” Psalms 6: 2-4 NLT, “I am worn out from sobbing. All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears. my vision is blurred by grief; my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies (which cancer is one of them). Go away, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping. The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD will answer my prayer.” Psalms 6:6-9 NLT “Bend an ear, GOD, answer me. I’m one miserable wretch! Keep me safe – haven’t I lived a good life? Help your servant – I’m depending on you! You’re my God; have mercy on me. I count on you from morning to night. Give your servant a happy life; I put myself in your hands! You’re well-known as good and forgiving, bighearted to all who ask for help. Pay attention, GOD, to my prayer; bend down and listen to my cry for help. Every time I’m in trouble I call on you, confident you will answer.” Psalm 86:1-7 MSG “But it is still my consolation, and I rejoice in unsparing pain, that I have not denied the words of the Holy one.” Job 6:10 NASB. My devotional had the words of George Matheson blind preacher of Scotland from time past “My dear God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked you a thousand times for my roses but not once for my thorns. I have always looked froward to the place where I will be rewarded for my cross, but I have never thought of my cross as a present glory itself. Teach me, O Lord, to glory in my cross. Teach me the value of my thorns. show me how I have climbed to You through the path of pain. Show me it is through my tears I have seen my rainbows.” And a second reading from Charles Spurgeon “God trains His soldiers not in tents of ease and luxury but by causing them to endure lengthy marches and difficult service. He makes them wade across streams, swim through rivers, climb mountains, and walk many tiring miles with heavy backpacks”.
Father in the midst of this crucible, I honor you and praise you and thank you for both the “weights and the wings” (A.B. Simpson), the difficult and the blessed, for we have to draw upon You. You are the manna from heaven, the living water. Thank you for this path. Thank you for being with us. It is all about you.
Thank you all for your prayers. Continue to pray for resolution of Theresa’s ileus, bone aches, numbness, and profound fatigue. Thank you for walking with us.