My sister Jay flew out from Maryland a few days ago to help me through this second round of chemotherapy -- and, oh, what a joy it's been to have her here with Ken and me (just as special as enjoying Kathy here a few weeks ago). Last night we were commenting how the Lord Jesus has used this cancer to draw 'the Eareckson girls' so much closer together...
While sitting in the back of the van yesterday, driving home from my second round of chemotherapy, Ken had on a CD playing low, "I Can Only Imagine." I had to swallow hard and push back the tears; not so much of discouragement, but of wistful longing for that blessed Day when disease and disability will seem like a long ago, half forgotten dream.
My second round of chemotherapy is less than a week away, and this time, I'll be getting the 'full' dose (the doctors reduced my first round to see how my quadriplegic body would respond). Knowing what lies ahead unnerves me a bit, but I keep hearing the Holy Spirit whisper Hebrews 10:38-39, “’But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.’ But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”
A friend asked, "Joni, what has Jesus been saying to you through all this?" I thought for a moment, realizing there have been plenty of dry moments depleted of all energy; times when I've felt, Lord, this cross, this quadriplegia and pain and cancer and chemo... where are you leading me?
This is something to celebrate! I've completed the first week of chemotherapy and today, August 13th, is the first time I have felt myself rising up out of that initial 'slump' of no-energy and feeling drained and tired.
When I read the many cards, e-mails, and posts on the blog, I feel humbled to be the recipient of so much prayer! And whether night or day, I’m urging my spirit to rise up and receive every endowment from God's hand that might come through your prayers – if someone wants to bless me through their intercessions, I’ll be the first to say “I receive it!”
Ken’s buoyant love for Christ and his even-headed way of dealing with my cancer can be directly attributed to several of his buddies who keep him constantly in prayer. But his best buddy through this challenging time has been Jan Janura. Years ago, Jan and Ken were Young Life leaders and roommates – Jan was one of Ken’s groomsmen in our wedding in 1982. Best of all, Ken and Jan enjoy fly fishing together plus keeping each other spiritually accountable through prayer and the study of God's Word as well as good Christian books. Thank you, Jan, for holding Ken close through this difficult time – for that, you are a big inspiration to me (and my husband).
Yesterday, we enjoyed a lengthy session with the integrative oncologist at UCLA -- Ken and I now better understand how what I eat (and when) will have an impact on how well I do in chemotherapy. Willow bark... whey... ginger... magnesium... vitamin D3... and the importance of protein in my diet (just to mention a few things), will be key factors in my daily routine; and all of it will lessen those icky side effects.
Today Ken and I are driving down to UCLA to spend the day with an integrative oncologist -- a fancy name for a cancer-doctor who specializes in nutrition and homeopathic remedies. We are very excited about taking copious notes and learning as much as we can about diet and/or herbal regimens which will bouy up my strength as I begin treatment this week.