On Thursday morning, I go for my first chemo treatment. This chemo is called AVBD which is the most common Hodgkin’s Lymphoma treatment. Instead of dancing around the house doing the Y-M-C-A dance, I dance around doing the A-V-B-D dance, hopefully those drugs will work their magic aha. The treatments take about 5 hours and are every 2 weeks for about the next 4 months. In the meantime, I have to drive to Saskatoon for a PET scan so they can see exactly where the cancer has spread. It’s known to be in my chest and a little bit in my neck, but I’m praying it hasn’t spread anywhere else.
Although this has been the worst month of my life, I am thankful for some of the lessons I have already started to learn. First, the world doesn’t revolve around Carson. The day I got diagnosed I went to a movie with my friend. Everyone seemed to be happy, laughing and having a good time, don’t they know I could die? I didn’t get to skip to the front of the line or get to pay a reduced price because I was sick, the world goes on. It may sound silly to read, but I bet anyone who has gone through something traumatic can relate to this.
The second lesson is the biggest cliche ever, but maybe now I understand why it’s a cliche. Learn to value the small things. Before I got sick, I hated Monday. I’d wake up early, go to work and then after work, go to the gym and lift weights. This was such a struggle for me but I can’t explain how excited I am to one day be able to do that again. Another thing I hate doing every morning is doing my hair, in about 24 hours I am about to shave my head completely bald. I will learn to not complain about bad hair days after this experience.
The final thing this has made me realize and be thankful for is having my mother stay at home. In this secular culture, it is often looked down upon and extremely undervalued. Women are expected to get a career and kids are sent to day cares. Many amazing mothers work full time and I’m not trying to diminish them through this, but rather be thankful that my dad has been blessed through his hard work that my mom can be at home during the day. She was at home my whole life, but it took the words “You have cancer” from the Doctor for me to finally appreciate her job on a whole new level. My mom has been there for me in the times when I’m crying in fear or when I need to be pushed to eat more food to ensure I don’t lose anymore weight. She washes my bed when this cancer gives me uncontrollable, drenching night sweats, and prays and speaks truth to me when Satan tries to tell me lies. She has bought me new hats to cover my bald head and laughed with me when the clerk asked “Preparing for winter?” Ugh, not quite aha. If I was at home alone all day, doing nothing, I can’t imagine the attack I would feel and the loneliness that would surround me but my mom has been a best friend to me in this time and I am thankful for her like I never have been before.
In this time, I’ve prayed constantly to God to just remove this cancer from my body. He has the power to do that, so why not? Everyday I’ve prayed for that and so far the answer has been “No”. I still feel the large lump in my chest, I still cough every morning and I still have night sweats. But I’ve also prayed for peace and joy, and I know Jesus has given me that. Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to me who are all weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” In a new way His presence has been felt in my life, and although I hate going through this suffering and pain, it has taught me to lean on Jesus in a new way and for that I am thankful. Still, in my head I think and I pray “God if you just cleared my chest of this cancer and showed the Doctors a crazy miracle, wouldn’t that be a great way I can share of your love?” So far the answer is still “No”. See the thing we as humans don’t understand is that God has a plan far greater than we can see, and we may never even see the plan in this lifetime but I assure you there is a plan. Let’s look to the cross, can you imagine how Jesus’ disciples and family were feeling watching their innocent, perfect Lord getting beat and eventually nailed to a cross? I imagine they were praying close to how I am today, “God if you just changed your plan and had Jesus come down from that tree and save himself, wouldn’t that be a great way to show off your power and convert these people to you?” But the answer in the same way was “No”. See those followers and disciples of Jesus, were likely praying that Jesus would save himself and show all those watching, “Wow he really is God”. But it wasn’t until 3 days later, when Jesus rose from the grave that they realized their plan was much smaller. Their plan was to redeem a few bystanders, while Jesus’ plan was to redeem the world. The “No” now gives each person a chance to have a relationship with a perfect God, and I realize that when God says “No” to my plan, that He has a better plan in store.