Thank you LORD for this new day. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your closeness. Thank you all for continuing to pray for us and support us.
For the most part, it was a quiet week. Theresa sees the surgeon Monday and gets Herceptin on Thursday. We also hope to talk plans with her oncologist either this week or the next. I have written about how the chemotherapy caused havoc on Theresa’s body and that after three of six treatments, she had to stop. Well in March she had significant gastrointestinal issues due to the Chemo. Most of that resolved, but a few issues have lingered and this past week has become something she can’t ignore. Her appetite has been down, but the intestinal issues have caused her not to want to eat either, because of the resulting symptoms she has to deal with. We hope to get this looked at and hopefully taken care of in the near future.
In response, in gratitude for the extra time God has given Theresa, she has been very careful with her diet. She has avoided all refined sugar and flour. She has gotten rid of the caffeine in coffee. She fulfills her sweat tooth with fruit. And she has been more careful to eat a low fat vegetarian diet. Her determination has been impressive. There are those who believe diet doesn’t play any role in causing or preventing cancer. And in reality none of us really knows the multitude of interplaying factors that set cancer in motion, and which of the many treatment options available, are of value for a particular person’s cancer. As each person’s cancer is their particular DNA mutated in common ways but also in unique ways. There are many directions to pursue, and we have been given many opinions on what to pursue. Yet our pursuit has been on our knees before our all knowing, all present, all powerful Father asking for His guidance in this. And as many have professed, He has never failed, but always comes through.
Each week I have written of the blessings and promises of our Father, and He has been so good to us. What I haven’t written much about is the daily worry that at times moves to the forefront of our minds and at other times takes a back seat to the other tasks and emotions of the day. Cancer is such that you rarely win (that is, advanced cancers that have spread beyond the local area). For a time, you may think that it is gone, but it usually comes back explosively. And I guess it is this knowledge and Theresa and I both being in medicine, that makes it harder. Our experience over the years seeing and taking care of many living with cancer is valuable in what we are going though, but also makes it harder. Early in this process, I was asked if being a doctor made this harder. My answer at the time was no, because being so allowed me to expedite her care, know the right doctors to help, weave through the complexities of the healthcare system, review decisions made by referring to the medical literature, formulating the right questions to ask to make the right decisions and knowing how to care for Theresa through each stage, with medications, dressing changes, preventing complications or side effects.
Over time though, the other side of being so focused has pressed itself forward, to what is the inevitability of what will come, but not knowing when. In my practice of medicine, I am a tuned to details, changes, subtleties that training and practice hone. These become automatic, and at home, are always on. In a way I am always evaluating, looking for trends. I am acutely aware of Theresa’s grimaces, the times it takes her longer to get out of bed, her changes in behavior, eating, her GI issues, energy level, fatigue. My hyper-acute analyzing also heighten’s my concern and worry that what I am seeing is a pattern of decline, instead of just having a “bad day” or something that can be easily treated and resolved.
I have just described what it is like to be a workaholic. A place where many of my patients live, who are caregivers, taking care of a love one. Where work becomes primary and where all else in life doesn’t bring joy. Many of the symptoms they experience, I too have been noticing: forgetfulness, change in sleep patterns, feeling of being overwhelmed, little things looming as insurmountable obstacles, no interest in putting the energy in fun activities, and always being serious.
Yet God has given me habits that have sustained me in all of this and He truly has been our help. I crave my daily hour of intimate communion with our Father, where my perspective is refocused on Him. I exercise most every day, while listening to music or a good book, burning away anxious energy. In addition I have a servant’s heart. I serve my wife, my family, my patients, my coworkers and office staff and in so doing serve Our LORD with a grateful and humbled heart. Despite the difficult road we travel, the limitations of my own personality and humanity, God has shown His lovingkindness and faithfulness to us. God is great; there is nothing He does not know; nowhere He is not present; nothing He cannot do. God is good, He inhabits our prayers; He fills us with Himself; Surrounds us with His love; He sustains us with all of who He is. Reread Psalms 139 this week.
Thank your for your prayers and following along with us.