Wee Hours

It’s been awhile since I’ve seen 2:51 a.m. The house is so quiet. My only company is Harry, the hamster. He’s wide awake and boasting of his endless energy by running incessantly on his little wheel. All the other people and pets are sleeping. Even my buddy Duane is snuggled in somewhere.

I went to bed about midnight and lay there until my muscles got restless and I had to get up. One of my chemo pre-meds is a steroid that causes hyperactivity and insomnia. Thanks to dexamethasone, my dishes are done, the wood stove is stocked, and I’ve solved a number of problems in the quiet of my own head. I’m still not sleepy but too tired to read, so Andy Griffith is probably next.

Chemo went well today, though it was long. I continue to gain water weight, and the solution lies in the juggling of two drugs that may be the culprit. The problem is that with so few treatments left, by the time we figure it out, I’ll be done. My oncologist and I decided that it is in my best interest to continue as we have been, accepting that this is the way it will be until treatment is over. My last echo looked great and my kidney numbers are excellent, so there is no reason for concern–it’s just hard to watch the scale climb. God is stretching me in more ways than one. Perhaps He is trying to show me, once and for all, that my value does not lie in the shape or size of my earthly body. I would never judge another as harshly as I judge myself.

My friend and I had a great day. I was unusually tired, but we still managed to have good conversation and laugh a lot. We both needed that. We had Mexican food for lunch and I was able to taste that a little, so that was nice. It’s possible that my greatest love in life after God and family is Mexican food.

It’s now 3:05. I’m going to cuddle into my nest and see what Barney Fife is up to in Mayberry. Hopefully I’ll doze off. This sleepless night has changed my plans for tomorrow–it won’t be safe for me to drive my daughter to the clinic. It’s okay. Flexibility has become my life this winter, so we will reschedule and see what else the day has in store.

I pray that no one is awake at this hour reading. I wish you all sweet dreams and peaceful rest.

Dark

I’m up another three pounds. I watched my food intake. I drank water. I was as active as I could be–maybe more than was wise. Still gaining. I’m told this is just how it will be until treatment is done. Every medication I’m on gives weight gain as a side effect.

Increase Lasix. Wear compression stockings. Exercise. Put your feet up. Watch your sodium intake.

God is allowing me into dark territory. I honestly don’t know why weight is such a struggle for me–most of what is happening now isn’t my fault. I also don’t know why He calls me to walk this path into one of my darkest places.

From what I know of Him, there is great purpose in this part of my journey. If I can remain surrendered and walk willingly, there will be freedom at the end of this road. My God does all things well, and does not delight in my struggle. He does not allow things that will not bring grace and peace and freedom–eventually.

Life is a refining process, and this is part of my process. In my humanness, I’d like to believe that I will break through the other side and end up more like Christ–and skinny. But maybe there is a more important outcome. Maybe what happens in my heart is the issue, not the numbers on the scale.

For all the years I have struggled with weight issues, dieting, not dieting, complete and utter frustration and rebellion, tearful seeking of God’s purpose and freedom, I have never reached a moment of rest, peace, and contentment with my body.

Sometimes I think it just isn’t a big deal–half of America is overweight. Every church function involves food. Christians are overweight just like everyone else. Does weight really matter? Am I just vain?

Then the pendulum swings the other way and I think it’s a matter of my own self-control, or lack thereof. I think that I need to be thin and fit in order to truly represent and glorify God.

I hate this. All of it. And yet, here I am. So the choice I have is this: do I rest and “let God work it out,” or is that the easy way and I need to be putting my head down and counting calories, time on the elliptical, etc even while my body is fighting cancer and its treatment? I just don’t know.

Please see my heart. I am not railing against my Creator or sitting in the depths of despair. But I am frustrated and confused. And so, I’ll start there. . . acknowledging my feelings and laying them down before the Lord, who will bear them for me.

Step by step, ounce by ounce, I’ll keep walking.