I’m back at the hospital for more chemo. Yesterday we weren’t able to finish round one even though I was there from 9:30 to 5:00. I had a small reaction, nothing dangerous, to one of the drugs. Apparently many people do, the first time they receive it. That particular drug is given very slowly the first time for just that reason, and if the patient reacts, the drug is stopped, more anti-reaction drugs are given, and the drug is restarted even more slowly.
The Cancer Center where I was yesterday (the large room with all the recliners) is closed for the weekend, so I am in a hospital room with one other outpatient who is also getting chemo. Ken is a very courageous young father of six, fighting leukemia. He drives over a hundred miles to come here for his treatment every other day. When he was first diagnosed he spent 28 days in the hospital. He has an amazing attitude and is determined to beat this thing. We had a great talk about walking through cancer with God. He believes that God has put him here to help others through their battles, and with his fantastic attitude and positive outlook, he will help a lot of people find the real source of hope and help.
It is quiet in here now, Ken is resting. I can hear the different rhythms of the pumps on each of our IVs. My IV tube ends at a flat round disc with a small central needle, which pierces my port. The port is a round, slightly raised device that has been surgically implanted under the skin of my upper chest, just slightly to the right of my left shoulder joint. A tube from the port goes directly into a vein that leads to my heart. This enables the meds that they give me to get into my system much more quickly and be evenly distributed. And now that the port is healing, it is much less painful than starting an IV each time.
In this hospital room hangs a framed photograph of a field of dandelions, with one purple flower standing tall above them. The lovely flower rising out of the weeds seems symbolic to me, somehow, in a “beauty from ashes” sort of way. Out of all of this sickness will come life, out of the pain will come joy. Ken’s leukemia will bring hope and comfort to many. I hope that my cancer will continue to help me to see life more clearly, to strip away the petty and the unimportant and make the meaningful shine brightly. I hope that my cancer, even after I am cured, will continue to make me want to share the hope and joy I find in walking hand in hand with Jesus. I hope that my cancer will bring life out of the threat of death, and beauty out of fear and sorrow. I know that it has shown me the depth of love that my friends have for me, the concern and care of my church family, and it has tightened and strengthened bonds in an already wonderfully close and loving family. I love you all.
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.