For The Someday Book

Chemo Starts TODAY

Posted on: August 15, 2016

I went back to the oncologist on Thursday, thinking I would still need my as-yet-unscheduled echocardiogram before beginning chemo. Much to my surprise, the oncologist offered to let me start right away–the next day, even! I requested to wait until Monday, so that all my treatments will happen on Mondays–giving me the best chance to be well for Sunday mornings. So here we go.

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On the pier at Brighton, over the English Channel

We spent the weekend as a family enjoying ourselves, knowing that I won’t be up for a lot of extra adventures in the coming months. On Friday, we had already planned to take the train to Brighton, a seaside town on the English Channel, to spend the day with a church family. Having grown up at the ocean, the sea has always been a spiritual place for me, so there was nothing better for my soul than the salt air in my hair and the cold salt water on my feet. Saturday included a long baseball practice and sermon-writing, which has been my beloved Saturday routine for quite a few years now.

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The biggest of three gates in Chinatown, accompanied by genuine smiles of joy.

Last night, J and I engaged a babysitter and enjoyed a great date in our new city. We didn’t do anything special, just wandered around the theatre district and Chinatown, stopping for drinks and dinner. Along the way, I found myself a cool hat to wear when my hair falls out. I’ve always loved hats, but the curls are so afflicted by hat-head that I don’t wear them very much. We stopped and picked up dark nail polish, which the nurse said will help strengthen my nails during treatment.

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My adorable new hat

I had feared that there might be a cloud of awkwardness or a sense of forced frivolity over the evening, but that wasn’t true at all. (The bottle of wine we shared at dinner probably helped.) Cancer was definitely present, but we had fun trying on hats and laughing about side effects and picking out goth nail polish (especially since I haven’t painted my fingernails in years). We also just had fun being ourselves. We love city life, and it’s been 10 years since we had the chance to go out and just enjoy an evening in the city together–our favorite kind of date night. We wandered in bookshops, watched the people around us, found curious signs, meandered into unknown corners and just enjoyed ourselves. London feels like home already. I went to bed happy and relaxed, not anxious at all.

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“This is not a brothel. There are no prostitutes at this address.” You know there’s a good story there.

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Yeah, cancer didn’t ruin the evening. Goofiness still prevailed.

This morning, I’m headed to the office for a couple of hours before I walk the two short blocks to the clinic. The injections/infusions will only take an hour, but the clinic warned me they usually run very late. I am set to arrive at 12:45, but will likely be there all afternoon. That means I’ve spent a long time considering what to pack in my bag. Here’s what I came up with: a good novel and a good book about church leadership; a memory stick with downloaded movies from my father-in-law; my laptop, pen and paper in case I feel like writing; my phone to correspond with friends via Facebook; snacks; and a lovely pink lap blanket my mother made for me, which makes me feel wrapped in love in every stitch.

I’m also taking all of you with me. I woke up to a phone full of messages from my closest friends, family and church folks who know today’s the day. If my experience so far is any indication, those of you reading this will send prayers and encouragement as well. Those messages are much appreciated, and make me feel like you all are with me today.

Several folks from church offered to come visit or sit with me during the treatment, since J will be busy watching our son. I am beyond grateful for their offers, but turned them down, at least this time. I am enough of an introvert to think I’ll do better on my own, lost in a book and enjoying the quiet time to do my own thing. But I also told them that I most definitely won’t be alone when I am there. The cancer centre has an excellent wireless connection, and I can reach out to so many friends at any time, just to share what I’m feeling or report something funny or ask folks to send good thoughts.

I have had some moments of fear, anxiety, frustration and dread since the date was finally set on Thursday. On Thursday and Saturday especially, my heart felt heavy and my mind was unable to focus. I did some private writing (which may be shared later, when it’s not so raw), and some praying, and I awoke this morning feeling good and ready to get started. I am supported, cared for and loved in every way, which makes a huge difference. It’s about to get rough, I know, probably harder than I can even imagine at this stage. There’s nothing I can do to stop it, avoid it, mitigate it, or postpone it (don’t want to do that one anyway). So, I’m facing forward, knowing you guys have my back and God’s got the rest.

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My new fingernails. A bold look for prayer, don’t you think?

 

 

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7 Responses to "Chemo Starts TODAY"

As God is with you, so are my heartfelt prayers. What a blessing you are to so many, including this musician. Peace continue to be with you!

You are in my prayers

Prayers that the chemo does its work, that you feel supported throughout and that you know you are just where you need to be. So glad you had a weekend of light, love and laughter. Hugs across the pond.

Praying for you this morning…from the tips of your curls to the tips of your toes. You were wondrously and fearfully made and God is with you. And, His Kingdom is also with you. Blessings!

You are such a gift to the world, Jennifer, as you continue to face forward in faith during this challenging time. You are loved and prayed for by many who are with you…

It’s 8 AM here on the West Coast and 4 PM in London so I’m hoping you’re now home resting. Perhaps the first day is somewhat easy, hopefully, giving you the positive outlook for yet another Monday of treatment. You wrote so beautifully to us all, as always, with generosity of spirit and heart, honesty, humor, and hopefulness, yet acknowledging that many emotions lurk beneath the surface. It all brought tears to my eyes this morning, tears of love for you, tears of prayer, and tears of release that all will be well. All our love to you, Josh, and Benjamin as you enter this chapter in your life, one you would rather not have taken but it came unbidden and you have met it head on. May Sophia’s spirit lift and hold you through it all. S&E

My love and thoughts are with you as you begin your journey .Know that two churches I have been working with are keeping you in our prayers and I hope that beautiful smile will cross your lips as you remember that God is with you every step of the way and you are in my thoughts often. Prayers and love to you. Sheila

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About Me

I am a full-time pastor in the United Church of Christ, mother of a young child (B.), married to an aspiring academic and curmudgeon (J.). I live by faith, intuition and intellect. I follow politics, football and the Boston Red Sox. I like to talk about progressive issues, theological concerns, church life, the impact of technology and media, pop culture and books.

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