Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Blue Sheet

I've become the bald woman wearing a slip shuffling around her backyard to fill bird feeders. It's not that I started out my morning with that intention. It's that... well, I am bald. And I have to wear a slip because my port site had a painful allergic reaction and it needs air. And, well, I want to see the birds. My husband positioned the feeders perfectly so I can see them from a reclined position in my bed. Let me tell you: watching birds sure beats "Who's the Baby Daddy" on Maury.

I've been running a fever on and off since yesterday afternoon. That and the chemo have me a little loopy -- strange dreams, body aches, fatigue, hot and cold sweats. The fever is a problem if it hits 100.4. Mine is 100.1 so I guess I'm good. All I want to do is sleep. Sleep and lay in silence. Everything else feels like too much work. 

Last week was a busy week getting my port, having the second round of chemo, and having my first Neulasta shot. I guess it's helping. I pray it's helping. I don't want to go back in the hospital. 

School starts next week. I should be buying supplies and shoes. I just can't today. I'm getting used to making these daily assessments. I make them every day in my mind, and sometimes I have to make them on paper. 

Every time I go in for chemo I have to fill out "the blue sheet" to let my doctor know how I'm doing on that particular day. (They're checking patients' distress levels.) Here's how I filled it out Thursday:

One time I colored the thermometer all the way to the top and got a stat visit from the hospital social worker. "Ma'am, I really do have good coping skills," I reassured. "I'm just still nervous." It's one thing to trust God for the outcome, and it's another entirely to be at peace with the agonizing medical process. It's the part between the going-through-it to get to His perfect will that scares me sometimes.

How would you fill out the blue sheet today? Enlarge it, look it over, then come back. I find freedom in checking off tiny boxes and naming my fears. It's actually sorta fun. But the problem is they take the sheet, and we never discuss any of it (unless it's extreme distress). I check boxes, admit fears... and then... nothing. It's on to treatment for me, and the blue sheet goes in my chart.

Here's what I've learned about this practice. It pales in comparison to what happens when I take my list to God. I don't need a blue sheet and a special day to assess my soul. Every morning and every evening, I need to take inventory with God. He cares about my every concern and can meet my every need. And I don't even need an appointment.

What can you take to God today? What can you allow God to take from you?

If you're new to prayer or trusting God, just keep it simple. There's no formula or religious ritual. Just talk to Him. Be still for a while. It can start with a whisper.  "God, I need you. Today, I feel afraid/lost/broken/rejected." Just start tuning into Him daily and begin accepting His love. Email me and let me know how it goes. Tell me how I can pray for you! 

Before I close, I have to share something. When I feel as bad as I do today, people often ask me why I bother to write. The writing isn't for me or about me. The cancer isn't even about me. The blog is how I point hurting people to Hope. I know they're hurting because I hurt, too. There's a world of people with "blue sheets" that don't know where to take them. What can you do today to get outside yourself and help someone in need? We're all in this together.


Oh LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. - Psalm 30:2

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