Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The kids surprised me by having a really hard time with me losing my hair. When I told them it was time to shave it (it was thin, showing bald spots and began to hurt), they all fell apart on me. As I have said before, it is really hard to be a source of grief and worry to my kids. I wore scarves for a few days to get them used to a new look but then after a lot of thought I got an idea and sneaked out of the house Friday morning. I have a friend who is an an artist and is also good at shaving heads - having raised three boys. So, she shaved it for me and painted two lovely large blue eyes on the back of my head. The kids have, as many kids do, joked for years that I must have eyes on the back of my head. So when I got home they saw the front of me and got all glassy eyed and then laughed when I turned around - just as I had hoped. 
Besides the obvious assault on my vanity, there is also the loss of privacy with my new look. Lots of looks and comments as I go about life in public, some stare, some sympathize, kids are the best wide eyed gawkers - none of it offends me. Everyone kind of knows my story now, at least this part of it. I don't want to necessarily be "the bald lady with cancer," I really want to be that lady filled with the Spirit, the loving wife, mom, and friend.....I want my identity to wrapped up in the Lord. The eyes on the back washed away kayaking Sunday, but I will endeavor to keep the smile on my face. I have taught Jocelyn to choose joy even when she has to face hard moments with her vision loss, it's up to me now to practice what I preach. Joy is a choice, a fruit from the Spirit within to receive or reject. It is not dependent on circumstance. Joy is ours to receive with or without good health, wealth, friends or employment, with our without pain, personal offense, realized or missed goals. It is appropriate to grieve, feel sorrow, pain, and even anger but above all joy can bubble to the top promptly. I hope that this lack of locks provides opportunity to share joy with others, not just fleeting happy feelings but joy from the Spirit.

Plasm 5:11 But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice ; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits.

Isaiah 51:11
[The Lord God says} And the redeemed of the Lord shall return and come with singing to Zion; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Luke 6:21 Blessed (happy-full life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, apart from your outward condition - and to be envied) are you who hunger and seek with eager desire now, for you be filled completely satisfied! Blessed (happy - full life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, apart from your outward condition - and to be envied) are you who weep and sob now, for you shall laugh.

I have more thoughts but bald or not the day calls. David has a long list for me today so I must be off as he is calling. One source of joy, it takes no time at all to get ready to go with a bald head, just choose a scarf and go. : ) I didn't know what to do with myself after my first bald shower, I toweled dry, went to the vanity and had nothing left to do - well I did powder my head with my face, just seemed like the thing to do.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sorry I have not shared in so long. There have been several times in our lives that David and I have felt "this is the most stressful time of our lives," we have given up calculating that measurement. Life is stressful, plain and simple. Scripture is pretty clear about this point, just a couple of many examples: Job 5:7 "For man is born for trouble, as sparks fly upward." And in the New Testament, John 16:33 "In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration;" Fortunately scripture is full of good promises as well. A few verses later in Job 5:11, "So that He sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn He lifts to safety." And the entire verse in John says "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! for I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] Amplified Bible

Out of curiosity I google searched "most stressful life circumstances." I thought I would find a check list we could get busy marking. What I found was how blessed we are. We can check quite a few of the things I discovered in the search, but the things that matter the very most to us are good, the things the most difficult for people to handle, we do not deal with. Our business stays steady, we work - hard no doubt but we work. In a time when many peoples businesses are failing, we are working. Our family is strong, we are close, stable, united and full of love. In a time when family is being persecuted, redefined and falling apart we are constantly enjoying one another and growing in mature relationships. None of us are dead, in prison or fighting a major illness, oh wait we have a couple of those illness going on actually.  Great jobs with great people in a great place to live, what more could we ask for? Well, I am selfish enough to ask the Lord for a little less stress, but He is gracious to give me His presence in the midst of what could be a lot worse. I have learned through relationship with Jesus to be selfless enough to defer to a sovereign God in love and peace.

Update on cancer treatment: I have discovered that the last treatments are more difficult than the first treatments. I don't know if this is true for everyone but it is certainly so for me. I was so sick leading up to diagnosis that beginning treatment was a reprieve for me, the doctor prescribed me 13 different medications to help me deal with the illness and it's side effects, it felt good not to feel so bad. Now the chemo is really wearing me out. My white blood cell count is low, my hair is thinning drastically, my energy level is deteriorated, the side effects of chemotherapy are increasing, I feel like I'm fighting an illness again. There is ebb and flow however, most days are ok or good and only some days are hard. I am spoiled with a family that leaves me to sleep as many hours as I need to sleep - they wake me up to feed me then send me back to bed. In my efforts to be honest I feel I should share these hard not so exciting feelings as well as the victories. The reality is, it's hard to have cancer. It's harder to overcome emotionally when weak physically. Life is stressful. The reality also is, love covers all this over like a glaze on a cake sliding and dripping into every crevice and overflowing all around. Life is also wonderful and I'm grateful to be living it.