Next Monday, 10/31, I have an appointment with my oncologist and will find out when chemo is to start (probably next week or the week after I guess). Yesterday I went for an evaluation of an axillary contracture and lymphedema which has developed in my chest. Since surgery a month ago I’ve been daily doing post op exercises and proactively using the affected arm to reach with, etc hoping to avoid complications like this. Apparently I have extensive, deep scarring (beyond the incision) which is causing puckering , major indentations, restriction of movement, shortening of muscles, fluid collection, a burning sensation because of nerve involvement, and pulling when I stretch. Yikes-a-roozy on that unwanted list! It feels like a great big bummer that I wish didn’t happen. I begin the process of therapy today and am hoping this brings great relief to a chest which honestly kind of feels miserable at times.
Yesterday my friend Mardi shared a definition of fear that’s new to me on our way with Robin to a wonderful, healing arts cancer support group. I’ve been attending “Victory” http://victorysupportgroup.org/ once a month over the last several years. We sing, dance, talk, do a variety of art forms, have laughter therapy, and a bunch of other fun stuff. The meetings are a source of creative stress relief/ learning new coping skills, and encouragement. Last night we “stomped all over cancer” with Anne’s adapted, improved version with new, cancer fightin’ words to this other rendition of “These Boots Were Made for Walking” : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuOwXiEm_K4 It was empowering and we had a good time together.
Neato, huh? Mardi also told me about the results of a study that I just looked up that was summarized at ww.huffingtonpost.com/don-joseph-goewey-/85-of-what-we-worry-about_b_8028368.html. The article quotes, “It turns out that 85 % of what subjects worried about never happened, and with the 15 percent that did happen, 79 percent of subjects discovered either they could handle the difficulty better than expected, or the difficulty taught them a lesson worth learning. This means that 97 percent of what you worry over is not much more than a fearful mind punishing you with exaggerations and misperceptions.”
I have been anxious about and really dreading the 12 weekly chemo treatments that will be starting in November and at the same time I’ve been thinking about how I really don’t want to waste my time worrying about and dreading anything that God has allowed for a good purpose. Honestly, I am having a hard time shaking the thought that I have a dozen times ahead, each a week apart to hook up to a kind of “toxic poison” that’ll be directly inserted in the port I have that is in a major blood vessel in my chest. I’ll get another drug, Herceptin, every three weeks for a year to address the aggressive Her2 neu component of the “Triple Positive” breast cancer that I have again. This is considered a “Second Primary” cancer and not metastasis. Thankfully it has not spread to other parts of my body
Instead of dwelling ahead of time on how terrible oncology drugs are with their potential side effects and how yukky they can make you feel, I want to view chemo as a short term season of eradicating any remaining cancer; a temporary healing measure that is going to do me a whole lot of good instead of thinking of it as poison. I had chemo in 2011 and I have every reason to believe that’ll be effective again. There are medications available for side effects when/if they happen. God has made the human body wonderfully resilient. Soooo…out with trepidation! Out with worrying and being anxious about chemo! This might possibly be in the 97% of my “nothing to worry about quota”. If indeed it happens to be in the 3% of things worth worrying about after all, God will help me through. My scaredy cat tendencies are peeking out. Can you please join me in asking God to help me with my perspective on the cancer treatment ahead, fill me with strength, faith, joy, and hope and give me all the courage I need, when I need it ?
I am reading an interesting book (Thanks for the loan, Nita!) called “Forever: Why You Can’t Live Without it” by Tripp. Here is a quote that is an encouragement to me in this area of perspective:
“Knowing Christ lives in us makes it possible for us to get up in the morning when circumstances are hard…We don’t have to fear what things we’ll have to deal with that are just around the corner. Our rest is not to be found in our understanding of everything in our lives or the sense that we have what it takes to face our trials. CHRIST is our rest, hope, courage, and motivation. Because of His amazing grace and His presence now living inside us, we are never alone, never left to live inside thee boundaries of our own resources.”
Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4:6 (NLT)
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
6 Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.
Philippians 4:6-7 (Msg)
6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
“When a thought of anxiety comes knocking on the door of your mind you must refuse it entrance. If you invite it in, it will have dinner with you, and if it has dinner with you it will quickly move in and want to spend the night.”
Safe and secure wrapped up snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug in God’s loving Arms,