We are so sick of cancer.
It's wild what you can become accustomed to, and we have fallen into a terribly uncomfortable cadence of life that includes biweekly chemo, a slowed pace necessitating lots of down time with just a few bursts of high activity, and much exhaustion resulting in many naps (on Eric's part) and some telling signs of ravel and fray (largely on mine). Sadly, it's often not very lovely.
I posted a video update on Monday, and went outside to record so that it would be a prettier setting than the grey drab of treatment rooms. Eric wasn't up for being filmed, but with new information at hand I wanted to get a few quick details out to friends and family. I gave a short monologue, ran back into the cafe to grab Eric's breakfast (incredibly, he actually eats during chemo), and headed back downstairs to him. It wasn't until later, after posting, that I watched back through the video myself, and my first thought was I look so tired.
In addition to being tired, my stress tells include a general malaise toward or outright neglect of any tasks that require scheduling and consistency - sorting/filing mail, straightening up our home, timely arrival to events, replies to phone calls/email (I'm sorry), and a myriad more. Creativity feels impaired - our Christmas tree, while still up, is all but undecorated. Well, except for three paper snowflakes, which are actually sheets of the children's old homework we used to practice for a Children's Church project.
Oh, and this...we missed removing it when we assembled our new tree, and decided to leave it on and just pretend it was an ornament. Because sometimes things like that make me laugh.
But quite possibly my very best high stress tell would be periodic outbursts of strong emotion. This has looked like crying in the middle of Sprouts over meatballs, and more tears, of joy, in the midst of small accomplishments or extended kindnesses. It has taken on the shape of a voice in the crowd (erm...mine), calling out the injustice of an individual's lying to the Catalina Express ticket taker while trying to jump line and board first. It was entirely unnecessary, and I wasn't really all that invested in boarding order, but all too quickly words flew out that I wished I could immediately rescind. On another night, I nearly ruined an attempt at a "normal" evening out with friends by screaming "HE HAS STAGE FOUR CANCER!!!" in the middle of a crowded concert at a fellow, albeit insensitive and not entirely without her own share of fault, concertgoer.
Thankfully, my friends love me anyways. Even if I embarrassed all of them. Especially Eric. But he has continued to mock scream those words at me periodically ever since that night, so I'm not quite so sad for him.
Here's what's hard - the ravel and fray, for all that they might be normal, are proof positive of the degree to which I am trying to carry so much of this myself. God continues to whisper "Trust...trust Me." And there are so many places that I know I just am not. This blood clot complication has tucked itself into a crevice in my brain, and has burrowed deep. I feel afraid, until I surrender that fear and replace it with love and there I am able to find peace...until I give fear purchase again.
In previous situations I have asked God for a promise, for specific words from Him that I can hold on to through the painful parts. With each of our children He gave me verses that I clung to with a vengeance in the face of every odd and statistic, knowing that He had promised that they would live. I have asked for the same promises through this, and He has told me no. That we've already done difficult things in that way before, and I am being grown into somewhere new. He continues to call me to trust. And I continue to tell Him at least daily how much I don't like it.
But after Monday, when I felt so very full to bursting of worry, fear and doubt, I again remembered to turn it over to God. I remembered how little control in all of this I have anyways, even if cancer weren't in the picture. And I began to see how much I was trying to force through on just my own sheer will and wanting. I released it, again, to Him. Immediately He reminded me that He is moved by His people's entreaties, and listens to their pleas. That restoration is His, and we are able to move in true purpose only after having a humbled heart. And that The LORD, He is God. He didn't give me a definitive promise of healing, but He spoke.