Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Mountain Lions and Chemo Talk and Gratefulness
Last night I had two weird dreams.
In the first dream I was running through a soybean field (I grew up in the Midwest where soybeans and corn are the main field crops) and fleeing from cougars (mountain lions). There were numerous lions chasing me, one after another. I kept looking back over my shoulder and as one got close enough to grab me, I turned and bopped and bashed him royally with a cleated shoe. My blows were severe enough that each one was knocked to the ground and left battered and bruised and down for the count. I think I battled 5 or 6 of them before the dream ended. (Whoa! Some kind of defense! A cleated shoe??? Cleats! Like baseball or golf shoes! I've never owned a pair in my life! Where did THAT come from? But I won't complain for the shoe and its cleats surely did their work in protecting me from those lions!)
In the second dream I ventured uptown, stopped at several stores, and greeted numerous people. Upon returning home I was completely surprised that I had ventured out in public without covering my stubbly chemo hair...and not a soul commented! (Do you suppose I should venture forth and check this one out?)
Weird dreams. Very weird. Perhaps the mountain lions represent the cancer cells that the chemo is battling and bruising and defeating. Today was my third session. The nurse was very pleased to hear how well I am doing...no nausea...minimal fatigue...decent appetite most days. We did discuss the ramifications of the immune system being compromised during the 3-week intervals between treatment. The white blood count starts out on an even keel, plummets nearly to the bottomless pit, then is revived again by several daily shots which cause the count to skyrocket, then gradually lowers again to a norm. That is, they are at a norm until the next chemo session when the chems again do their work on the fast-growing cells in the body which, of course, include the cancer cells, blood cells, hair follicles, etc. And since the chems kill off those destructive cancer cells, I'm more than happy to deal with the rest of the deal.
(By the way, we would never have discovered the cancer if I had not asked for copies of my lab tests. The doc did not notice (but I DID) a higher than normal reading for one blood component, the alkaline phosphatase. It was higher than the normal range. This precipitated my doing a google and finding that this could be caused by a number of things, including gall bladder, liver disease, cancer, bone problems. I had been experiencing slight discomfort under my lower right rib when reclining so I asked for an ultrasound of the gall bladder which indicated a large gallstone. The resulting gall bladder surgery revealed the ovarian cancer. Major surgery to remove the bulk of the cancer left me in the hospital for eight days. The process of healing was slow. Now we are half way through the six chemo sessions, and I seem to be doing very, very well in terms of the effects of the treatments.) We believe this finding the cancer was God's providence, His provision, His doing. And we are gratefully looking forward to future days that we might not have had if the cancer had gone on undetected.
Today's scripture? James 5:14-15. "Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him." I recognize that this is not a guarantee that God will provide instant nor even permanent healing. God often uses illness and weakness to humble us for our own good benefit. But in submitting to this verse, and asking my elders to anoint and prayer over me, God gave me tremendous peace of mind that I was under His complete and good care. I knew that surgery would sap me of strength and it surely did. But now I see us as picking up speed as we go through the physical process of submitting to medical care. God has been good to me and my family through all of this and I am truly grateful for his provision.