Awaking Not Okay
I have never been a morning person. Waking in the morning has been hard for me. I have enjoyed my morning sleep, it has been some of the most restful and peaceful time of my life. I have always been envious of those who could get up with the dawn. My grandfather was one of those people. As a child I would try to get up before him. I would rush to the living room, trying to be in his favorite chair before he woke up. It never happened. I was always second. He was always there before me reading his Bible and praying. Morning has just not been my time of the day.
The longer I have gone through chemotherapy the easier I have found it to get up with the sun. I still go to bed at the same time. I just cannot sleep as long. I find myself restless and tossing in the early morning. Sometimes I fight myself back to sleep. Other times there is something on my mind and I need to get up to write or read. That was my reality this morning. There was no fighting myself back to sleep today.
As I lay awake Nancy and I started to talk. I have long accused her of waking me out my peaceful morning slumbers. I think Nancy sometimes does this by merely looking at me until I am startled awake by the unnerving sense that she is staring at me. Over the past twenty six years she has denied my accusations. I have stopped “blaming” her and now chose to believe I am startled awake because I want to spend more time with her. My new thought, while having less to do with reality, is better for our marriage and makes her feel good.
Our early morning conversation? “Today is one of those days I am just not okay with this.” The words just hung out there. We then talked about our journey so far and where we envision it heading. There are days when I can say, “this is life, we will walk this journey as it comes and be okay with it.” Then there are others, like today, that begin or end with feelings of “I am NOT okay with this.”
A few days ago I was talking with Rayann, my sixteen year old daughter and she gave some wisdom as only people her age can do. I was doing the “old man shuffle” (please, take no offense…it is just descriptive of the way I move today) down our steps toward the car. In the middle of the stairs I stopped and said, “I cannot believe I have cancer…this is ridiculous.” Without missing a beat she turned, smiled and said, “Yeah Dad, but you are beating it, beating it with your big stick.” We both laughed and moved on toward the car and my next appointment. Throughout her life I have used the phrase, “beat it with a stick” to encourage both my children to actively confront the different obstacles they have come up against. I am not sure it is the best advice, but it conveys the idea that we never give up. I want my children to keep moving forward and not let things get in the way of reaching the goals that they have set for their lives. In Rayann’s mind Cancer is something that needs to get beat with a stick…a big stick…until it is no more.
I am up early today. I am not okay with this “new normal”. I am ready to beat it with a stick, a big stick.
Chemo Treatment Number 7 (or 5)
Monday was chemo treatment number seven (if you are counting up) or number five (if you are counting down). I am counting down. This treatment has been a little different than my last one. I have been tired. I have taken naps more than normal. Yet I seem to be holding up and doing better than I expected. To be honest I was nervous as Monday rolled around. If my treatments kept getting harder and my stamina continued dropping I was not going to be a “happy camper”.
My parents visited this week. It was the first time I have seen them since my diagnosis. It was good to spend time together. They are selling their home in NY and it looks as if they will be moving close to us here in PA. Nancy and I are excited about this new stage of life for them and glad to have them near us so we can “do life together”. As the time for transition moves closer it is hard to think about leaving a place you have called home for over forty-seven years. There are lots of memories and everything you look at holds a story about a special family event. If you think of my parents offer a prayer as they journey through this transition.
I spent time in my home office this week. I worked on the preaching schedule for the next year (Aug 2016 – July 2017). It was good to spend time looking forward and thinking about what topics and themes I want to cover next year. This has been a practice of mine during each year of my ministry and I have found it helpful and centering. There was something very life giving about sitting down and beginning to work this through even as I walk through my treatments. I made it into the office on a couple of occasions and they were very productive times. I was able to get a lot of work done in a short period of time. This was encouraging. Now, I did take a nap after returning home each time…but I was able to be effective and efficient.
All in all this week has gone much better than I had anticipated. It has been busy and I was able to keep pace while not running my body down.
I am looking forward to a chemo free week and then on to chemo treatment number eight or four (depending upon how you are counting).
Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers.
God is Good All the Time…All the Time God is Good