Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ravel and Fray

The mechanical whir of his chemo pump breaks intermittently into the night quiet...I feel a visceral reaction to it every single time. This methodical interruption keeps a steady flow of poison coursing directly into My Love's heart in forty second intervals, a series of blasts that are both harming him before my very eyes and, hopefully, giving him his best medical chance at beating this beast.

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.
(This is my accidental selfie, when I thought I had turned my phone to video. It was on "square." Thankfully I didn't talk too long before realizing it.)

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 " 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.
Tomorrow we meet with the surgeon. He has determining say on whether or not this blood clot will delay or fully waylay surgery. I don't know what the next step will look like, but I feel that we are on another precipice of change...our great desire is that we move into a phase that includes surgery. More than that, that Eric be completely healed. It is all so out of my control. But for my part I will continue to entreaty and plea before God, I will seek wisdom and listen with careful detail to what we are told, and when the ugly tells of ravel and fray make evidence of themselves yet again, I will, hopefully, ingrain just a little more deeply this hard learned lesson of trust and surrender.


David said...

This is beautifully written: compelling and heart-touching. You and Eric continue to be in our hearts and prayers. It brings back a few memories, but even more helps us empathize with you, and moves me to pray for you both more fervently.

Denise Hughes said...

Thank you for sharing! My heart continues to feel for you. And we continue to pray and ask God for His mercy to completely heal Eric and everything else that needs healing.

uncle gary said...

You are amazing the hands of God you stand tall..hands that are to you and family

carla williams said...

Miss Sarah Girl! Im at no words at this point. I still pray that Eric will beat this. Pray Frank will beat his. THey said no more cancer, but the healing is ongoing, right now. God is testing, but forever forgiving, and always loving.. We love you guys so much.. Your loving Hill Country Clan...

SaraSeashell said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you...Love each of y'all so much!! Yes, ABSOLUTELY praying that they will both beat this, Aunt Carla! As much as I want to receive that clear promise, I have not been told he won't be well either! There's room for astounding miracles and full healing every single moment until otherwise...and I would probably even argue and seek resurrection after that! :) Thank you all for praying and loving us through this.

Shelly Reinschmidt said...

Lovely words...God is generous in His grace and mercies! Take rest in Him...surrender. I know for me when I was ready to give up God blessed me with words from my daughter, strength in knowing even at the worst moment it would be my best! I would have victory and an eternity with Jesus! My daughter who was 9 at the time said...don't worry mama we will be together before you know it! God's time is faster then ours! Out of the mouths of babes. It was at profound moment I knew if I were reunited with Christ my girls would be fine. I do not know how non-believers cope with this world and it's chaos. I really don't. Rest

Sherri Beggs said...

My sweet Sara, I cannot tell you how this sends me back in time to the place where I lived your current life. I also cannot tell you that I know truly of your journey, because everyone's is unique. What I really want to convey is that I continue to hold you, Eric and the kiddos up in prayer and trust that God hears all of our pleas for Eric. Take refuge in His love for you all and in His promise of salvation. And please, if there is anything further, stronger or tangible that I can do for you...don't hesitate to ask. Much love to you all.

SaraSeashell said...

Shelly, Sherri...Thank you. Just thank you. :)