Friday, October 12, 2012

Rest Easy

Round 5 of Esther's chemotherapy began yesterday. As hard as these rounds of chemotherapy have been, this is just about the end of her "induction" phase as the treatment will ramp up with MIBG and then the "consolidation" phase (high dose chemotherapy and full stem cell transplant).
Yesterday, Esther struggled with some nausea towards the evening and threw up her lunch. Some of her meds got delayed and we were stuck in the clinic almost the entire day. Today, she at a nice big breakfast and then was sleepy from the meds most of the rest of the day. It's been a very low key day.
When I look at the picture below (right before her chemo started) and think about her when she was drifting off to sleep tonight, I can see the affects of the chemo and her meds. She barely cracked a smile today as her system was just getting hammered by the second day of some very powerful chemotherapy.
Then I was chatting with our nurse later in the day about all the chemo rounds so far. When I said we should be going home on Monday, she commented that it's nice to have such short rounds of chemo. What? Short? I almost laughed. I have not thought of these rounds as short! But it barely took me a minute to think of one of our newer friends, still here, nearly 6 weeks after finishing a 10 day round of chemo to try to fight AML Leukemia. With Leukemia, there's no meds to help boost your ANC like Neulasta or Neopogen because cancer is in the blood itself. It's made me think about how long Esther would be in the hospital post chemo if not for her Neulasta shot (always the day after chemo ends) or the Neupogen that super boosted her for her stem cell extraction. Esther has spend a lot of time in the hospital but God has been gracious to us that it hasn't been more.
As we drove to the hospital yesterday morning, I was particularly hit by a newer song by Andrew Peterson called "Rest Easy." You can listen to it here. I love how this song goes past circumstances and surface level anxieties and right to the heart of the matter. I won't quote the entire song here but just note the chorus:

You don’t have to work so hard

You can rest easy

You don’t have to prove yourself

You’re already mine

You don’t have to hide your heart

I already love you

I hold it in mine

So you can rest easy

In the midst of a hectic week getting ready for another round of chemo and the stress of trying to prepare for the MIBG treatment and our travels, this song has just spoke to my soul this week. In the midst of the craziness and trial, the biggest detail that matters is settled. God is for me. God is my Heavenly Father who loves me and demonstrated that by sending his son to the cross to get me back from being cut off from him. I have nothing to prove. I don't have to hide. I don't have to pretend. I don't have to choose numbness in the pain. I don't have to choose this world or sin for my satisfaction. I can rest easy.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

This verse used to be a joke to me. What could that possibly mean - His yoke is easy and his burden is light. That just sounded ridiculous. It's a burden and yoke! But I think I'm slowly understanding what Jesus means. Jesus means for me to surrender to him, to his will, to his agenda. Surrender is the key. Will I stop trying to do this on my own or will I rest easy in him and by surrendering.

I spent today in the hospital with Esther as she received a very intense chemo and we worked to try to stave off her nausea. We're surrounded by other patients going through the same, some very sick. The number of oncology patients here this week is very high. On top of that, they were short 2 nurses today. And yet, it felt like a very light day. I enjoyed being with Esther even as she struggled with her attitude. I was very encouraged. Where did that come from? Certainly not from my flesh. The lightness of my day in this environment came only from the gift of his peace and that surrender.

I watched a storm roll in this afternoon. It took my breath away. I literally saw the rain moving and the ground changing from dry to wet as it moved across the land with the lightning and thunder very close as well. And yet I watched it all from the peace of our room 8 floors up. Such power but so beautiful and such a reminder as to who my ultimate peace comes from and will continue to come from.

The next 2 days will likely be more difficult but I will strive, by God's grace, to keep surrending and to resy easy in him. I'm sure my flesh is going to put up a fight though! Thank you for praying for us today. Your faithful prayers are not in vain and I was very thankful to Jesus for the lightness of his burden today.


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