Posted in Cancer, Self Help

Effects

My son woke me up at 2:30 am this morning. That was definitely OK, but I had a hard time falling back asleep.

Who doesn’t have a lot on their mind lately, right?

I’ve been worrying about the usual life conflicts these days along with this virus, but more recently I’ve been focused on other issues.

Some of them have to do with the chemo treatments my husband is receiving right now and the effects those treatments are having on him, mentally and physically.

I read about “chemo brain” and “chemo rage” and his well being and how he is doing with all this concerns me. Many cannot understand how all this makes me feel, and I cannot understand what he feels. It is a vicious mind game that wears on my sanity.

Never mind the obvious effects of this horrible disease, the effects it has on your body as it invades it and the effects of the treatment to try to stop it. He and I are both battling from different ends of the spectrum. And then, there are our children.

I want to fight this, but this illness, the responsibilities and the effects bring a whole new level of stress to our lives, which in turn requires a higher level of faith, trust and hope.

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23:1-4

I cannot explain the overwhelming moments, days, weeks I have as a mom and wife being responsible for a household, finances and taking care of someone I so desperately want to get through this without the added worries of life.

Being a caregiver is difficult, and if you’ve never lived that life 24/7 you can only imagine what it’s like.

I gladly accept my job, the challenge, because it is what I need to do, but I am not going to lie….this is the HARDEST thing I have ever had to do in my life.

I know I need to just give it to God, but like I said this has all moved to a higher level. It’s time to up my game.

With all the new challenges this virus has brought to us I feel engulfed in yet another battle. A life altering one that makes me sometimes feel as if I’m in a pool of water, caught in a current spinning out of control and about to be sucked down a drain.

Helpless.

I don’t know if any of you ever feel this way, but sometimes I get so inundated with what’s going on around me, I forget to stop and ask God for help. Instead, I’m grasping for anything to hold on to as my mind takes over, and I lose sight of the very fact that I have the power to stop the thought process.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family time, having my kids home and sharing the dinner hour with everyone, BUT sometimes I need a break.

We are supposed to be social distancing, right?

I miss going to lunch with my friends, spending an hour to go out and take my time at the grocery, or just browsing the craft store or a shop or two. I miss my “me time,” every few months getting my hair done and getting together with the people I miss so much .

For a girl who feels lonely in a crowd of people on many days, I seriously could use some alone time right now. And, don’t judge, but I just mean some time to get away from the daily grind and recharge.

A caregiver, a mom, a wife. Some days the jobs all run together. Driving to appointments, being the cook, the cleaner, the bill payer and everything else that involves running a household and taking care of a sick patient and kids. Sometimes I just want to refocus my brain and think of something else, something fun or happy, or maybe think of nothing.

Don’t get me wrong, my kids are great at helping around the house and doing chores, and I appreciate everything they do. My most favorite job in life is being a mom, but we are just so out of our routine. Some days I welcome staying home, in my comfort zone, and others I just want to get out.

On days we go to Duke I dread the drive, but it’s a time I look forward to getting out of the house. On the other hand, it’s mentally exhuasting being at the Cancer Center and physically exhausting getting up early, traveling and getting little sleep.

It’s a balancing act I need to control and perfect. I need to work harder at gettting myself on a new schedule, find a new norm in these coming days and just tell myself to relax and breathe.

I know I am stronger than I imagine, and the Lord is the one who will help me through.

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2
Posted in Devotional

Holy Week

Did anyone ever dream we would be in the middle of a pandemic during Holy Week, or ever for that matter?

24 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.”

Luke 24:1-12

My dad said he never thought he would see times like this, and I imagine many people thought the same.

I never thought I would be in the midst of my husband battling cancer at my age either. I never thought it would get to this point. I never thought it would get worse. I never thought after he was diagnosed that we would face many more hurdles along the road.

I think many times when life is going down a rough path we tell ourselves, “things can’t get any worse.” When we think we’ve hit rock bottom sometimes we realize we were simply on a cliff, and we fall even lower.

I’ve learned to NEVER say things can’t get any worse. Trust me, they can and most likely will before they get better.

I’ve also learned to find hope, pray harder and seek peace when you’re scared and worried.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

And, I am worried. I was uneasy about life before all these virus concerns came up. I constantly fret about someone being exposed or getting sick. Going out in public.

Even more, I am undoubtedly concerned with the effect it has on everyone’s mental state. I know for me it has been a fight within myself not to fall into a depressed state, panic, feel lonely, or lost.

When all you have is time to think, it can be a war within your mind.

I’ve had a sort of resistance going on for awhile now. Things were just starting to settle down to a new normal in our household. I was cautiously beginning to relax a little, get used to how it was going and then, panic hit.

I have heard many people say they are going crazy staying home, feeling depressed, and having a hard time adjusting to an unfamiliar routine. It’s tough to adapt to a new way of life and not exercise your freedom.

We have had plenty of other unfamiliar adapting to do in our house in recent months. But, I do think it is essential to abide by the rules in order to not overwhelm the system. And, I want it to stop. If we don’t stop giving it something to feed on, I fear it never will.

I can’t help but wonder why all this craziness is happening in the world. Is it a sign of the times, an economic attack, a prediction from the Bible?

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

Matthew 24:3-8

No social gatherings, no church services, no lunch with friends, no school, no baseball games, no sleepovers, no restaurant dining, no shopping, and the list of NOs goes on.

It sounds bad, but it could be so much worse. And sadly, for some people it is.

On top of all of what’s obvious, some of us have other obstacles. Some have lost their jobs, gotten laid off, have to spend time away from family members, have no savings to fall back on, live alone, can’t stay home because of their job, are lonely, fighting an illness, have a bad marriage, battling an addicition or who knows what else. Everyone is grappling with something.

EVERYONE.

One thing we still do have is each other, our community, our nation. We can still pray at home, FaceTime family and friends, get takeout and shop online (if we can afford to).

We can all find something in our life to be thankful for no matter how bad it seems.

Holy Week and Easter both offer a time of new hope, new beginnings. Let’s use it to pray for our community and our country.

A time to be thankful for the things in life we have, the people who are important, the family time we share, the people we have fighting for us and working to keep us safe and healthy and all the simple blessings we overlook and take for granted each day.

We are all blessed! xo