This past Friday, I had my 15th round of chemo; the 2nd round with the 5fu chemotherapy. The last two rounds, instead of doing IV vitamin C prior to chemo, I have fasted for nearly 48 hours prior to chemo. This has done a pretty good job of protecting my healthy cells, or so it seems. I have had some nausea the couple days after the last two rounds of chemo but unfortunately, that is a side effect of the new chemo. I’m not sure if it’s simply the addition of the new chemo or if the fasting isn’t protecting me from side effects as well as the IV vitamin C. Thankfully, the zofran pills seem to be effective at keeping the nausea at bay so far. It’s not very fun feeling like you’re going to puke the majority of the day. It could be worse though…I haven’t actually thrown up..so that’s a win!
If you read my previous post, you saw that I have a liver MRI coming up. Well, apparently that wasn’t enough so we are doubling up and doing a brain MRI too! Yeeeep. On Friday, on our way to Seattle, I had a brief incidence of numbness on the left side of my lips followed by numbness that rolled across my left hand and then dissipated. I told my oncologist and he asked if I’ve had a brain MRI before, to which I replied that I had not. He said that we should have one done and stressed that the numbness could be nothing and that if it were a tumor it’d more likely cause permanent issues, not temporary ones. However, HER2+ cancer does like to go to the brain so it would still be best to have a baseline MRI. He seemed surprised I didn’t have one done when I got the Stage IV diagnosis 2 years ago (yep it’s been two years since I called to schedule the scans that confirmed stage IV).
I took a deep breath and said ok, well I’m not going to worry about it…there’s nothing that I can do to change it right now anyway. To which Dr Chue replied, “Pray. You can pray.” ❤️ This man is truly a gift from God. I conceded that he was absolutely right. I won’t lie, I went back to my chemo chair, hooked up to my med pole with pre-meds dripping and quietly shed a few tears as the “what if’s” raced through my mind. But God….he sent a friend to sit and chat at just the right moment. This friend moved to Seattle to be treated by Dr. Chue after I shared his info. This friend had brain mets when she arrived is doing pretty darn well and it was such a blessing to talk with her and be encouraged by her ❤️. I sat there, knowing this could literally have been low blood sugar or something benign but accepted that if it wasn’t, it didn’t change any of God’s promises. It didn’t change who I am and if shouldn’t change my trust or assurance. I quietly talked to God and once again felt His peace cover me…and I went about my chemo day as usual, free from anxiety and doubt.
I told my parents what had happened and my dad, being a paramedic, asked me a few questions about the numbness. He mentioned a few relatively benign issues that can cause such an incidence, one being low blood sugar. I told him I had wondered about that because I had been fasting and about 20-30 minutes prior to the numbness, I had chugged my green tea (which can drop blood sugar) rather than drink it slowly like I normally do. He’s been to a few calls where a stroke was reported (single side numbness/limpness) and upon arrival, they test blood sugar first. In a few instances, the patient was hypoglycemic and giving them glucose brought them right back. So…..God only knows right now but there are other explanations. I have back to back MRI’s scheduled for 9/11 beginning at 4:15pm. I would so appreciate prayers!
I’ve had so many people say to me they don’t understand how I can have such peace amid all these trials and our pastor’s recent two sermons really explain it so I will share my notes from his sermons. Our pastor preached on Psalm 18:1-30 two weeks ago and Psalm 18:31-50 this week. If you are interested, you can listen to both here. Psalm 18 was written by King David. In this Psalm, David sings about the following attributes of God.
God Hears– He hears our prayers, our cries. As parents, we sometimes tune our own children out. But God hears EVERY. ONE. OF US. He isn’t too distracted, irritated, or annoyed by us.
God Moves– He moved the Red Sea and the walls of Jericho. He moves in ways that seem impossible and his actions are strong and decisive. Ps. 115:3 “Our God is in the heavens and he does all that he pleases.”
God Judges- This is the attribute that many people take issue with. “How can a loving God judge?” To which I ask you, do you want to live in a community, society, country, or world without judgement? That child rapist….ehh free to go. The drunk driver who killed a family? They just made a bad decision and are really a good person so we’ll give them a pass. NO! A resounding NO! None of us want a world without justice so why on earth would we think an eternity without justice would be a good thing? When someone like Jeff Epstein gets away with child trafficking and won’t have to face his accusers, when justice was not able to be served, we can rest assured that he WILL stand before GOD and will be judged PERFECTLY. God will settle all accounts.
God Empowers- When we know that the all powerful God does all these things listed above, we are empowered in this life. He is not just a God, He is MY God! I have strength, joy, power, and confidence BECAUSE of God.
Does God make a discernible difference in the every day? YES!!! Romans 8:32 tells us that The Father gives us his greatest possession to meet our greatest need (possession=Jesus, our need=redemption/reconciliation) so we can trust that he will give us lesser things to meet our smaller, mundane needs.
God provides Strength and Stability– God is our rock; a mighty fortress. His stability is our stability. v.36 ” You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.” A wide stance gives stability compared to a narrow stance. Even in paths of life that seem treacherous, God gives us strength and stability. Without God, its me vs. stage IV cancer…utterly alone.
God provides wisdom for living– Ps. 1:1-3 telles us blessed is the man who delights in the law of the Lord, who meditates on it day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, who is fruitful, does not whither, and prospers. When we are in the word of God daily, we are given God’s wisdom. It’s not an “I got this” mentality…it’s a “God’s got this” mentality. A Christian who is not in the Bible is like a tree without water…they will wither and won’t bear fruit like a tree that is properly watered.
God provides protection- Consider that one of the most natural things a father or mother (mama bear anyone) does is to protect their family. God is our heavenly father and both earthly mothers and fathers were created in God’s image….how much more and how much better will He protect us? Well then why do bad things still happen? Why doesn’t he protect us all from every bad thing? Part of that answer can be likened to going to a physical therapist….usually it HURTS to do your stretches, to heal and improve. Sometimes growth hurts…..trust me, I know a thing or two about that! We live in a fallen world but….
God provides joy- Ps. 16:11 tells us that in the Lord’s presence is FULLNESS of Joy!
God provides us a future– Where is humanity headed? According to the Bible, humanity is headed for restoration. After Jesus returns and satan/demons are vanquished, the Lord will create a new heaven and new earth. Where every tear will be wiped away and the perfect creation God originally made will be made new again! In Christ, we have a future and a hope!
However, if Jesus didn’t die and rise from the dead, if we are all one big cosmic accident, then death is ultimate. The resources of our earth, the sun, etc will be used up and literally nothing we do will ever matter because eventually, it’ll all be gone.
Each of us has a choice to make in this matter. Will we consider The Bible and it’s teachings? Will we accept it as truth and trust in God for the past, present, and future? Or will we lean on our own understanding, trust our own minds that we believe happened by accident?
I will leave you with a quote from C.S. Lewis regarding Atheism (If you don’t know his life story on leaving Christianity to become an Atheist…..you should read some of his works)-
”Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”
So you see, I face more unknowns, more scans, but I face them with God giving me stability, strength, wisdom, joy, hope, and so much more. It is my greatest desire that through this journey, someone who read this blog, maybe it’s you, will come to know this God I call Abba….Daddy.