Overall, the cycle went well. Only mild pain (praise God) and insomnia being the prominent side effect. Naps are good. Naps are good. Naps are good!
I've had a few digestive issues, but they are improving, for which I am grateful. I'll be glad when they are all a part of history. Let's just say that there are some things that people don't talk about when they talk about chemo side effects!
As I've been waiting on healing, I've been contemplating what healing will look like. I don't know yet. I do know that I will probably never refer to myself as a cancer survivor . . . but I'll be happy to refer to myself as a walking miracle.
The term, "survivor," bothers me. The reference to "battle" bothers me as well. I'm also often troubled when people tell me I am "brave."
I don't feel brave at all. We all have a "fight-or-flight" reflex created in us and when faced with a choice to deal with a disease or to give up and die, most of us will face the disease head on. There is little bravery involved . . . God made us that way. We're designed to want to live.
While I have treasure stored in heaven and I truly long for home, I must admit that I don't long for my family to be separated from me now, nor do I wish to be separated from them. My earthly temple (my body) is designed to love those in my life and I grieve at the thought of leaving them prematurely (or at what I could consider premature). It is definitely more than okay for me to want to live and it is more than okay for me to pursue healing in every way possible.
When someone says they are a "survivor," it gives them a special status. That's fine. But what does it say about those who didn't survive? Did they not fight hard enough? Did they not have enough positive attitude? Did they not do the right things? Given the "survivor" mentality, it would seem that the answers would be resounding "NOes." They didn't do enough.
And that's just not true.
Cancer is so incredibly ugly. Heart disease is so incredibly ugly. We don't use the term "survivor" in reference to heart disease and yet, I think it's almost more appropriate to do so. Heart disease can, in many cases, be reversed by lifestyle choices. Most cancers cannot.
Enough about that for now. My role in this journey is not to take on the mentality of a "survivor," but to take on the robes of Christ and to follow Him wherever it may lead. My road is a unique one to me and my journey is different from others who are on similar journeys. As I've said before, I don't even pretend to understand all this. One day, I will see clearly!
As I've been waiting through this cycle, I've picked pears and made pear jam and I've experimented more with making bread. Success with the jam, failure with the bread! I tried to make too large of a loaf in the bread machine and it turned out to be a major bomb.
I've finished knitting a lace scarf and I learned a lot about myself in that process! I am not naturally a patient person, but I'm learning to be more patient. I had to rip out many, many rows of this scarf as I somehow got it twisted and had a huge section that was backwards. I almost threw the scarf away at that point, but Rachel convinced me to press on.
I don't naturally see the "right" and "wrong" side of a knitting project and after two years of knitting, I still find it hard to determine if I've knitted or purled a previous row. (An experienced knitter will be able to identify the mistakes I made (and left) in my scarf.) I'm looking forward to spending time at a local yarn shop that I just discovered today! They are literally just around the corner from me and I hope to have many questions answered.
I finally figured out (with the help of Youtube videos) how to use a cheap little thing called a flower loom. I've mastered one whole flower . . . and it took me about two hours to do that! It is hard for a middle-aged woman to learn new tricks sometime! I'll continue to try other flowers on the loom and may place one of each end of the scarf. (Since the scarf is so short, I'm going to give it to a little girl. Flowers will make it more "girly" for her.)
I continue to be amazed at our local library. I was so thrilled to be able to check out some specialty knitting books and I'm now planning my next project now that my scarf is finished.
I'm also continuing to learn more about cooking and to be more creative with our family meals. I want them to eat "real" foods . . . foods with few preservatives and as little processed food as possible. We still have a long way to go, but we're getting there. We are eating as much organic as possible and overall, we are enjoying our food. We do miss the food of northwest China, though. That is something I will never be able to replicate!
I was excited to make breakfast burritos one morning (scrambled eggs, turkey bacon and stir fried potatoes) only to find that I was the only one who really wanted and/or liked them! I thought sure the kids would love them, but nope . . . not their thing!