Friday, September 4, 2009
Day 57 and 500 Witnesses
It is now Day 57 post chemo and I am sporting a crop of puppy fur. Soft. Even. White. Puppy fur. (click photo for a closer view)
But, hey, I'm happy. I'm feeling well. I'm still on the clinical trial and will continue receiving Avastin (or placebo) every 3 weeks for another 20 sessions. Avastin has no effect on the hair and minimal side-effects. The puppy fur will thicken and become normal hair again. Soon. Day after tomorrow. Or the next. I'm counting the days.
Looking back I remember the chemo as hitting me hard. Not as hard as the debulking surgery and the resultant hospital days. But hard. Looking back I think if I had to do this again I could do it. (Of course, I never suffered the nausea that so many do, so I'm not sure I want to risk another time if it means nausea! I really would rather not go there!)
It may seem rather weird, but in spite of the unknowns that cancer brings, I'm glad that I've been where I've been. I'm glad. Because it was good for me. Cancer forced me to take a good long look at Death.
There were many nights when I lay in bed and contemplated what cancer might mean in regards to my future. A couple years? Five years? Ten? Would there be pain? Early Death? There were numerous nights when all the possible worst-case scenarios marched through my head. The chemo can knock you low. But the thinking can knock you lower.
I let myself look at all the negatives, all the dread outcomes. Then I had to set them aside, one by one, all my worries, my concerns, my fears. I had to set them aside and return to the hope that we have in Christ. I was forced to look at my faith. That was hard to do because at the moment, in the midst of it all, the cancer seems the most real thing. It took deliberate discipline to set it all aside and to bring my fear and to bow down humbly before the throne of God. And to bow down in gratitude that Christ has conquered death for us. Thanks be to God that we need not fear death.
It is in I Corinthians 15 where Paul speaks of the resurrection to the believers in Corinth. He reminds them once again of the gospel...that Christ died for our sins...that He was buried...and He was raised on the third day (I Cor. 15:3-4). The key issue is the risen Christ for, as Paul says, if Christ is not risen then there will be no resurrection for us!
And so Paul brings out the evidence...that the risen Christ appeared to Peter, then to the disciples, then to more than 500 brethren at one time, then to James, then to the rest of the apostles, and lastly to himself. (I Cor. 15:5-8).
Folks, that's a lot of witnesses. Put 500 people on the witness stand in any courtroom and your case is won! The verdict will be unanimous. And the jury will have its decision in about two minutes.
Move forward to I Cor. 15:20-26 where Paul points out that while in Adam (as sinners) we die, yet in Christ (as His people) we will be made alive.Then beginning with verse 42, Paul explains the resurrection.
Paul concludes with this, "But when this perishable (this physical dying body) will have put on the imperishable (our bodies made new), and this mortal (subject to death) will have put on immortality (no longer subject to death), then will come about the saying that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' 'O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?'" (I Cor. 15:54-55)
Death does not hold tight those who belong to Christ...any more than it was able to hold Christ Himself. Because He lives, we will also live.
Thanks be to God.