Last Friday, I completed my third chemo infusion, with three of my four daughters, lovingly, generously at my side. I was so excited that I was not getting a shot that potentially protects my bones, because the side effect of that shot is extreme bone pain. Kind of crazy side effect, but that’s what happens. My girls and I went home from the treatment; we were hopeful that the pain this week would not be as bad as last time.
By Monday, however, my pain overwhelmed me. All I could do was to lie as still as possible and breathe. Sometimes, the pain was so intense, I would forget to breathe. The pain was defining my moments, that were stringing into hours. My knees were and are particularly painful. I describe it like this: if you have ever fallen on your knees, on cement or pavement, and hit really hard, that’s how it feels. Bang, you hit the cement, bang, you hit the cement, bang, you hit the cement, hour after hour. No let up.
Oxycodine becomes my new best friend, and we hold hands and wander into a kind of dizzy sleep. The knee pain is constant, but my brain is in a fog, so I have moments of being tricked into thinking the pain is less. I am being still, so I wonder to myself what I can do. Then, I laugh at myself, because that’s just silly. I’m down for the count, flat as a pancake. “I can’t do anything,” I say to myself. (Why am I such a doer? I mean really; take a break!) “Well, I could pray,” I say to myself after a few minutes of painful breathing. The pain has stripped away the desire to do anything else, and so, I begin praying. I weakly pray for every family members I can remember(think chemo brain); then I go onto praying for friends. I think of Eileen, Laurie, Trisha, Sue, Tom, Lupe, Konnie, Betty, Karen,Kara’s kids and so many more. I bring marriages, children, parents to Him. It’s just God and me, in the pain, having a conversation. I’m not moving one inch, I’m being still, my knees are banging on the cement, and I am entrusting my people to the God who knows me and loves me. The pain doesn’t rob me of my faith.
If I can trust God in this kind of constant pain, in this dark valley of the shadow of death, with the people I love, then I know something miraculous is happening. Once in a while, I ask God to take this cancer from me, however, my over-arching thought is not self-pity. Instead, it is, “Let me bring my dear ones to the God of the universe that loves them.” It’s quiet, but truly, it’s a let’s all scream and shout kind of victory of my faith.