Today I walked an unknown path, my first day of Chemo. The word Chemo holds such vivid emotion for so many and these emotions are hard and scary an unsettling. It’s a picture of someone lying bald in the fetal position too sick to stand up. It’s ports and IV’s and medicine bottles and special lotions and mouth washes and calendars chalked full of appointments. And it is so big that the only thing I can do is put one foot in front of the other and focus on my very next step or else I will be slapped hard with the vastness of what is before me.
And today I did just that. My sweet husband escorted me through the rain with umbrella in hand as I put one terrified foot in front of the other and walked through the door of the Chemo Center. And I sat in the waiting room and wanted to bolt for the door. It all just felt too surreal. Less than 3 weeks ago I did not even know I had cancer, and there I sat, hair one inch from my head, a hard plastic port in my aching chest, waiting for my name to be called. And at the sound of my name I broke. Something inside me broke and the tears fell harder than the raindrops outside and I sobbed and tried to catch my breath as one of my hands clung to my husband and the other to a shiny cross. As I walked back to the chemo room, barely able to see through the tears, my eye caught a gorgeous confident woman dressed in a hot pink shirt and the smile of an angel. She too was waiting to begin her first day of chemo, which I did not know at the time. As I sat sobbing uncontrollably in my new plush chemo recliner my eyes kept meeting hers and with each glance my heart would quiet just a bit because with each glance I felt kindness and understanding and love.
Without even speaking Karen got up from her chair and walked toward me and we embraced in the most warm and tender of hugs. And I wept on her shoulder as this brave woman preached to me of the truth of God’s love and that He will never leave us or forsake us and that God did not bring us all this way to not have a purpose for our lives. And that we would walk this journey together and be more than conquerors. And I clung to my new friend with a renewed hope and confidence and sat back down in my chair and began the 6 hour process of receiving the gift of chemotherapy that will allow me to live out my purpose, step by step by step. And Karen and I spent the day exchanging glances of hope and connection and bewilderment of where this beautiful life has led us. One thing I know for sure as the sunsets on this longest of days, God sent me my own personal angel today by the lovely name of Karen in a hot pink shirt, with a heart of wisdom and arms of love.
Karen was my silver lining.
With love and gratitude,
Battle Update: Many of you have sent me notes and messages today and I feel each and everyone of your prayers. I had friends sit with me over the long 6 hours while I had over 8 medicines (some to treat the cancer, some to fight the side effects of the chemo) pumped in my veins. I am exhausted!!!! I am not feeling the effects of the chemo quite yet as I am told that I will most likely feel ok for the first 24 hours. I have a bit of a headache and feel a little on edge, but besides that, I am doing ok and praying for peaceful sleep tonight.
I will have 5 more of these chemo sessions over the next 4 months. I will then continue on with only one of the chemo drugs for an additional 11 treatments and will finish up all chemo in about a year. The good news is that the drug used for the last 11 treatments does not have nearly as many side effects and my hair will begin to grow back. Also, I will be able to undergo surgery to remove both breasts and lymph node after I complete my first 4 months of chemo. It is still undetermined as to whether or not I will undergo radiation post surgery, but most likely will.
So I’m armed with all of your love and prayers and support and I don’t know how I could ever return the countless acts of service and sacrifice that you continue to so freely give to me and my family and I feel strong tonight. Because of you, I’m ready for battle!