“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” … “That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So, there is nothing new under the sun.”
So begins the book of Ecclesiastes.
Treatment 12Monday morning I will have my twelfth (12) chemo treatment this round. This is a huge thing. The goal when we start my aggressive chemo treatments is that my body will be able to endure twelve treatments. I am excited to reach this marker. When I had my first treatment this round back in February 2018 it was hard to imagine reaching twelve treatments.
The truth is I have been here before. My first twelfth treatment was on October 24, 2016. “That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So, there is nothing new under the sun.”
I have some thoughts this Sunday evening as I ponder that which has been and that which will be.
God has been gracious and my body has handled this round of chemo much easier. I am not sure why. Sure, I have been weary and have needed naps on a regular basis…but I have also been able to do much more than I ever did back in 2016.
For the past few days Nancy and I have been spreading mulch on our back hill. I unloaded and spread about two yards of mushroom dirt the other day. Back in 2016 at this point in my treatment I needed a walking stick to move around. I have given up trying to understand what is different…I am simply thankful.
Mental & Emotional
I believe a big piece of this cancer battle is mental and emotional. In 2016 I was walking this road for the first time. Everything was new, each step forward was a first step. This time I have been surprised by some things but the path was at least familiar.
Following my diagnosis and the start of treatment in 2016 I wrestled with my own mortality. I came to grips with the fact that cancer may be the thing that ends my life. At the same time I was given a great gift. Wrestling with these deep issues granted me clarity. Faced with limited energy and the potential of limited time I got very clear on what was important and where I was willing to invest my time. Saying “no” got much easier.
I Do Not Walk Alone
I entered this round of chemotherapy at peace with who I was and any future that lay before me. The anxiety and stress of wrestling through such weighty issues was not a major piece of this round of treatment. Yes, there are moments when themes from the past move to the front of my mind. Fear and anxiety still weave their way into my world in the dark of night. When fears swirl I remind myself of how God continues to walk with me. I am not alone. I have walked this path before and I have learned I do not walk it alone.
“That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So, there is nothing new under the sun.”
The truth of my reality is that somewhere in the future I will take a break from treatment. That break will last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. A second truth of my reality is that baring a miracle there will be a time when I will once again begin chemotherapy treatments. “That which has been done is that which will be done…nothing new under the sun.”
“The preacher” in Ecclesiastes speaks of wisdom, folly, work and how we are to move through life aware of God. Then he says,
“Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked? In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other,”
Be joyful in all things. Be joyful no matter where the path of life leads. In prosperous times, when tumors are shrinking and numbers are good, be joyful. When the dark days of adversity come, when tumors grow and numbers do not look good, be joyful. “That which has been done is that which will be done…nothing new under the sun.”
Tomorrow morning I will enter the room for my twelfth and final treatment of this round. I have been here before. I am joyful for this day of prosperity. No matter what lies ahead God goes before, beside and with me.
God is Good All the Time…All the Time God is Good!