Friday, September 24, 2010

Just Call Us the PowerPort Twins!

Hubby and I shared a unique experience today. An experience that you probably would not wish to share. We sat in chairs side by side.

You may well ask, "Why is sitting in chairs side-by-side a unique experience?"

My reply? The uniqueness is that we sat side-by-side at the clinic receiving our respective chemos for our respective diseases. We each have PowerPorts implanted just under the skin below our collar bones and I call us the PowerPort Twins!

Our ports allow the nurse to simply plug the chemo line right into the port, much like you might plug a phone charger into a wall outlet. There is therefore no need for multiple needle sticks trying to find veins for access. (I LUV my PowerPort!)

Fortunately for Hubby, his chemo (decadron and velcade) takes minutes, not hours. I, on the other hand, spend nearly four hours receiving my chemo cocktail of benedryl, zantac, aloxi, and decadron, (all to prevent allergic reaction and nausea) and the chemo drug Avastin which was recently shown by clinical trial to be beneficial in extending remission time for ovarian cancer patients. Right now I'm in remission. For how long? Only God knows.

Hubby has an extremely rare disease labeled "Light Chain Deposition Disease". It is an auto-immune disease that drops stuff ("light chains"; I can't explain it to you) into the kidneys, effectively plugging the kidneys which then go into failure. He began dialysis about two weeks ago. Dialysis takes four hours, three times weekly.

LCDD has a nasty side-effect of also depositing "light chains" in other body organs...the heart, lungs and liver. This is not good! So far, we see no evidence of that having happened. Dialysis will work to replace the function of the non-working kidneys. But it cannot work in place of heart, liver lungs. The hope is that his chemo protects those organs by halting the deposits. Only time will tell if the chemo works. It seems to be...but we will not know for certain for some months.

Wouldn't it be nice to not have to deal with the waiting and wondering?

Will Hubby's treatments work for him?

Will my remission be two months? six months? two years? Do I dare even type "five years?". Wouldn't it be nice to have a definite timetable for the remaining part of our lives? It's so difficult to plan your life as if you have ten years when you don't know if you have six months. My mind goes back and forth with both scenarios for both of us. It's rather dizzying!

I do know is uncertain for all of us. You need not have cancer or some rare disease to meet Death. Let me tell you about my 92-year-old friend R.

I knew R through our interest in quilting although I hadn't seen her for quite some time. She resided in a senior assisted apartment in the small town north of us. My friend R often drove her electric scooter several blocks to a little quick shop for a few groceries. Each trip meant crossing a set of train tracks both coming and going. I don't know the whys or the whereofs but last week something dreadful happened. Somehow R's scooter tipped and she fell onto the tracks. Witnesses who saw her fall were unable to reach her in time to save her from the oncoming train.

I'm still stunned by it all. The scenario goes through my mind...what were her final moments like?....and what about the train is he dealing with this?...and the are they dealing with having witnessed this tragic scene. This woman was a good Christian woman and well loved in her community.

So I repeat my words above. Life is Uncertain...for all of us. We will each face death one way or another. It may come with cancer. It may be a train wreck. It may be any one of a thousand scenarios. It can happen at any age in any manner due to any circumstance. Life is Uncertain.

Living with two serious diseases in the household has caused us to do some serious thinking about death. We're quite open with each other and we talk about it. And that's a good thing.

We want to face death (whenever that may be) with grace and peace and no fear. It is so easy to fall into doubt and fear of the unknown things ahead of us. And so I (and Hubby) cling to the words of the Bible...the promise...the promise of Life in Christ. We trust God's provision for us, even in these present circumstances.

Today I leave you with I Corinthians 15:1-58 and particularly verses 51-57 where Paul writes the following regarding the earthly and eternal...our bodies subject to death and our eternal bodies.

51Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
For this perishable body (earthly body subject to death) must put on the imperishable (eternal body), and this mortal body (body of death) must put on immortality (eternal life).
When the perishable (our earthly body) puts on the imperishable (our eternal body), and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
"Death is swallowed up in victory."

"O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?"

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I hang onto those words and I treasure them. This is a promise. From the One Who Never Lies (God Himself!).



Mrs. Spit said...

Those words form part of the Anglican burial service, and I read them and I think back to the priest saying them at my son's funeral and I realize, there are few words more sorrowful and more triumphant in the whole of scripture.

Laurie M. said...

You've encouraged me tonight as always, dear sister. May God bless and heal you and your husband. I hope you will both have many happy years left among those of us who will miss you when you go.

Chez said...

WhiteStone, so much to digest here. I would like to re-read it and email you. Now, I really will do that as soon as dinner is over this evening.
My thoughts and prayers with you both.

Caroline said...

I will type 'ten years' for you.

Persis said...

Your trust in God encourages my heart, sister. Praying for both you and you husband.

Gregg said...

Great section of scripture and a wonderful promise for those who know the Lord and great encouragement for those to come to the Lord.

Kelly said...

A lot to think about in this post.

Losing both of my parents to cancer when I was a child has always been a reminder to me that death can come at any time. There are no guarantees.... but there are promises, and I hold fast to these.

I love the scriptures you've shared. I HAVE to trust God and rest in His promises.

Dorothy said...

I am so sorry about the loss of your friend, R. You are perfectly right that we all face death one way or another and we never know when its coming. Those words of Scripture are such a comfort though! They are a treasure, indeed!

Martha said...

Dear God, Please give us all peace and healing-for our minds and our hearts. Please comfort all of those who knew R, and please comfort us with the knowledge that she is in your presence with no more pain or suffering. Her death makes no sense to me, my heart breaks for her family. I am without healing.. Lord have mercy on us.

Weird that you just wrote about death and needing to think about 1 Cor 15, I was just writing something today using the same, and was waiting to re-read it before I posted it.

Bless you sister.

Debby said...

This makes the third time over the last couple days that I've tried to leave a comment. You have a strong faith my friend, and even as you travail this rough and uncertain time in your life, your faith shines brightly. You are an inspiration to me, and I'm sure to many who read here. Life is uncertain (oh how my heart broke for your friend!) but God is certain, and God bless you for the number of times that I've read your blog and been reminded of that fact.

I drive to school five days a week, and I use that time to pray. You and Jim are in my prayers. You are also frequently in my praises.

Karen said...

May God continue to bless you, friend. Thank you for this heartfelt post. Thinking of you and sending prayers your way! :)

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

If we're going to hang our hearts onto some words, those are fightin' ones, sister. Today I live in both frameworks... the perishable cloaking the imperishable. It's a beautiful picture for me... thinking of this treasure within my earthen jar. I think it also very good to ask and examine the hard questions for a while. It's one of the gifts of my cancer.

Perspective in this "valley" that you so beautifully expressed in your e-mail. I've been thinking a lot about that. Maybe you could write about it sometime? Maybe not. Maybe it's just something between you and God.

Thanks for being a support to me. I'll get my power port on Friday. Chemo begins next Tuesday.

PS: Prayers for both of you tonight!

S. Etole said...

All any of us have is one day at a time ... and a Lord who strengthens us each day to live it to the fullest.

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

What a beautiful post...and what an amazing attitude....Blessings to you and your husband