So today is the day before the new round of chemotherapy starts. Seems a bit hard to believe I’m here again. And as one might expect, it’s been occupying my thoughts a fair bit . Generally, I think I’m doing pretty well except for a few days where it all seems a bit overwhelming and impossible to ignore. Those days when there is a meeting with the oncologist, a test or a procedure, all seem to make it just a bit more real, a bit more imminent .
Physically I’m feeling pretty fine. Well, not totally fine otherwise I would not have gone to get checked out. There is no pain generally. Some days there are moderate twinges in the chest from time to time that make me aware that something is going on. Other days seem totally normal and I wonder if perhaps nothing is going on. My gauge through this is how well I feel on the bike, especially when I’m on the trainer indoors and doing a workout that drives some serious effort. Again, some days it feels pretty normal and other days I wonder “Are you breathing harder that usual?”, “Is that heart rate higher than is typical” or “Seems like that last interval was harder that it should have been”. I’m glad I’m still on the bike, able to ride hard, and keeping a routine. Certainly good for my fitness, weight and it keeps my mind off other things.
Mentally, it’s been an interesting time. Certainly cancer is serious stuff and nothing to be made light of, but the first time round everything was new, exciting, terrifying and totally unknown. In a way it was like an adventure. Certainly an adventure nobody wants to go on, but in a weird way it made it a bit more tolerable. That newness and adventure certainly wore off as the six cycles of 21 days each seemed to be an eternity towards the end.
This time is different. Many things will be the same but with a different twist. The process is familiar, but the drugs are different. And then there is the looming bone marrow transplant a total unknown and I’m glad to keep it that way for a little longer. There is anxiety about the unknown and I certainly feel it. How will I react to the new chemotherapy regime? I’m believing for the same or better than the last time where I almost felt guilty that I felt pretty OK through the whole process and somehow got off easy. Very thankful for that! Many have to endure far more that I did.
Spiritually I’m in a good place. Perhaps the best I’ve been in my life so far. Since retirement in 2017, the health challenges for Shirley and I in 2018, and on into the present I’ve managed to establish some good habits for me. Habits of regularly reading God’s Word, meditation, and journaling. These three things are what I now think of as the trifecta of well being or flourishing. Thankfully, retirement has afforded me the time to develop these habits, and circumstances have drilled some of them home. Reflecting now, after seeing and experiencing the benefits, I’m wistful that I didn’t carve out the time for them earlier in my life.
I’ve had some amazing encounters with God in my devotion and prayer time especially since the diagnosis of the recurrence of the lymphoma. His is my strength and refuge in times of trouble. My confidence is in Him. One of my “go to” bible passages is Psalm 91 especially verse 16 “with long life He will satisfy me”. I’m not satisfied yet so there is a long life ahead for me.
In a nutshell, feeling strong, confident, peaceful, upbeat and optimistic.