Hope

Two days ago, I woke up dreading, sad, weary. I was headed to chemo. Even though I “only” had two rounds left, I still had two rounds left. When each day is a long, hard battle, two weeks feels like forever. It was two weeks in which I knew I would continue to decline. This drug has had a cumulative effect on my body, and while the first couple weeks felt pretty manageable and not so bad, every week since had been harder than the previous.

Now, just two days later, everything feels different. Things are not very different, but my outlook is new so it feels that way. For the first time in treatment, I am nine days post-chemo. My last 10 Thursdays have been hard days–ones that I just planned on staying in my chair, dozing off and on, too wiped out to do anything even as simple as reading. Today, though, I have hope. This Thursday will be different. It already is.

Though I am tired from the activity of getting up and ready for the day, my mind is alert. I didn’t get up, get ready, and sit down in my chair to sleep. The cobwebs are beginning to clear some in my brain, and thinking simple things through is beginning to be less frustrating. I realize that the chemo recovery will take months, maybe a year, but I can feel small changes daily and I am embracing every little one.

I am so grateful that, though my hands and feet are far from normal, the intense pain and itching is less today.

I was able to clean my kitchen yesterday–though it took me all day, with many rests, I did it. I am making small, attainable goals with scheduled rests between each one. It is important to pace myself, and I know myself well enough to understand that setting the bar low is the key. For example, yesterday, I would set the goal of putting away the dishes in the drying rack and washing one sink full. It felt good to reach that goal, and though I needed to sit and rest then, I was okay with that because I had succeeded. Using psychology on myself, y’all.

One step at a time, one task at a time, one day at a time. That’s how I’ll manage this recovery. And you know, it’s not a bad philosophy for life in general. Make an attainable goal, reach it, rest. Repeat. I do understand myself well enough to know that if I’m not careful, small goals will become frustrating and I’ll get discouraged. That’s where the continued prayers of the saints around me come in. So many people are praying for me–lifting me up to the Giver of Life–that I’ll make it through this. If you’re one of those, I give you my sincerest thanks.

I’m off to read (yay!) my devotional and my Bible. That’s my next goal for the day. After that, I’ll make another, and another. Keeping my eyes on Him and each task before me, I’ll make my way through this day. It’s gonna be a good one.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13 ESV