On Saturday afternoon, the aching started. The lower half of my body feels like the day after a long, intense run. Add some light labor pains through the hips. I tell myself to push through the pain and my legs will loosen up if I walk a few more steps, but then I remember this isn't that familiar "no pain, no gain" exercise soreness. This is chemo soreness, and I'll be getting much weaker before I get stronger. And then I push through any way.
Yesterday, my taste buds started fading ... as in, I can feel the tingle of the toothpaste, but can't taste the "minty freshness." My mouth tastes metallic and feels like I've been on a bender.
My gums hurt -- like I'm cutting teeth.
My head is full of pressure and my ears keep popping.
My stomach hurts. (But I'm not throwing up.)
And my heart beat is faster than normal. "Thump, thump, thump, thump," I hear it in my head and feel it shake my chest.
I was happy I made it to church yesterday. Today, I'm staying in and I'm happy about that, too. I'm finding comfort inside these cool, sunlit walls. The cat is curled up on a linen sack. The kids are quiet and relaxed. I have a front row seat to the flowers on my porch. And my favorite part of summer -- having the kids home for lunch -- was extra special today. I brought new life to leftover pork chops, and my son and I had a conversation about the Vietnam War and his grandfathers' service -- the kind of conversation you don't normally have time for between "brush your teeth" and "pick up your toys." And I got to belly-laugh with my daughter as she initiated our "important matters" of catching up on My Little Pony episodes together. That girl is a giggle box today.
It is a purely simple day amidst the complications of cancer and chemo. These simple moments are the ones I'll choose to remember from Chemo Day 4.
How's your day going? I bet I know. It's Monday. Your weekend wasn't long enough. You have too much to do. It's summer, and you feel the "Carpe Diem" pressure to cram as much fun and activity into the day as your clock and your body will allow.
But can you stop?
For a moment?
To look around and feel the air enter your lungs.
To see the beauty of your very existence.
Can you stop long enough to say, "God, I'm here. Right in this moment. Thank you for it." And can you wait for Him to respond, "I'm here, too... with you... for you.... and I love you. And I'll be with you for all of your tomorrows..."
Let's rise above the challenges and complaints of the day. Let's climb to gratitude and be fully aware of how great it is just to be alive and be Loved.
Because He loved us first,
"Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving." - Colossians 4:2
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