Week in Review
Last Monday we traveled the seventy five or so miles to the East Memphis office of West Clinic so I could have the requisite scans. It's not a bad trip, not a bad procedure. It's having no coffee until afterwards! I usually begin the process, not focused on labs, all that liquid I have to drink or how still I have to lie on the scanner table, but focusing on the coffee that awaits the completion of all the little details. Last week my focus was both on coffee and trying to be warm in an over cooled waiting room. Afterwards we wasted no time in stopping by the coffee cart and getting outside to the 95 degree weather to wait for Kia to get the car. While sitting on the bench I could not help but notice the colorful lantana planted in front and the butterflies having a wonderful time flitting from plant to plant. How appropriate the message!
Butterflies signify new life; they illustrate beauty that can appear from unattractiveness; they make me think of possibilities of newness. I have new life in Christ; in Him I am a new creature. He took the ugliness in my life and replaced it with the beauty of His life. Cancer is ugly; it can be life ending; it can destroy who we are if we let it. The West Clinic has wings as its logo and Wings is the name of their newsletter. As I sat there, just briefly, I reflected on the the imagery of wings, of butterflies, of freedom. Through the ugliness of treatment, cancer patients are often given new life, given the freedom to grow and to share with others. Maybe you had to have been there, but it was a special moment for me and I am grateful for it.
Tuesday morning I saw our primary care doctor who seemed to be far more concerned about my lowered blood counts than the TIA episodes. I entered his office huffing and puffing, out of breath from the short walk from waiting to examining rooms. He advised me to be sure the oncologist was aware of my counts and I assured him that I have labs every time I go and the counts dictate whether or not I am treated. He did straighten out the problem we were having with the insurance not wanting to allow a particular prescription.
During the week I had a couple more episodes of what I call "dead leg." My left leg gets numb and tingly and I have trouble moving it. Sometimes it is a passing symptom; other times it stays with me an hour or more. I had it all day yesterday, but determined that I was reacting to the treatment on Friday and/or the anti-nausea pills I had. Today, I'm tired, but no "dead leg."
I saw the oncologist Friday and thought the visit not as conclusive or informative as I would have liked. I like details. I want to know what to expect. I got no details and still don't know much. He did give us some information that I rather expected from what little I know about the Avastin I've been taking. (It is the non-chemo drug that has shown great promise in the treatment of several kinds of cancer.) Unfortunately, in some rare cases it can have some neurological side effects, so it's being withheld for the time being. My mind naturally goes into the "what if" mode. "What if" the Avastin really is working and what will happen if I can't take it? "What if" I continue with it and it causes a full blown stroke? One could go crazy with the "what ifs" in life!
Often the night before we see the doctor in Corinth, Tom and I both have restless nights. This past Thursday I tossed a bit before drifting off, thinking of some of those "what ifs" and how I would respond. Then this calmness came over me as I pictured 24/7 on the ceiling. I let God have those questions and I went to sleep picturing myself being carried in the arms of Jesus. He never looked so strong and I never relaxed so much!
So the journey continues . . .