The Whiner's Guide To Chemotherapy
By Judy Hines
Illustrated by Nancy Hines
This is the epilogue for those of you who flip to the end of the book.
I did make it! I'm 62!!! The exclamation points are because I didn't think
I would see 50. God is so awesome! God would be awesome even if I had not
seen 50, but it is amazing how He has made my cancers turn out for good--both
mine and His. It feels great to feel great! Thank You, God!
To Whom, When, and Where
Let's face it, people, these next few months will never win your "My Favorite
Period of my Life" Award. The best you can hope for is to get through it
with ...hmm...perhaps just to get through it will suffice. A modicum of humor
can be achieved through whining. We are not talking run of the mill griping
here. We are talking Quality Whining. A few ground rules:
- Pacifiers look peculiar in an adult mouth but considering what they
do for babies, you might want to hide in your closet and go for it.
- Some of your finest whining can be done with others who are undergoing
these Gestapo devised treatments. In fact you can hear six part harmony
in an oncologist's office particularly if there is a delicatessen downstairs.
- Try not to whine to your husband during the Super Bowl, NBA Finals,
or the World Series. Otherwise consider him fair game. He did say "for better
or worse," didn't he? If your wife is the whinee, the same applies to Oprah,
a Good Book, and possibly the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals and the World Series.
We live in a changing world.
- Do your whining in small increments. The tolerance level for whining,
even among those most sympathetic, will never approach your maximum ability
to whine. I'd put it at about the same as your tolerance level when listening
to a six-year old detail the plot of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie.
So move right along when whining to friends.
- Alone is good. You don't have to worry about looks, noise, content,
- The best whining is done to God. Not only can He help, He loves you
best. And, let's face it, He has--you should pardon the expression--all
the time in the world.
Hair Today and
You may think you are ready for this but, trust me, you are not. All really
is vanity! If you still have hair, put down this book and dash out and get
a wig while you have something to match. Ground rules here:
- If you're going the denial route, try not to look in the mirror till
your wig is on. Even askew, it helps keep denial a viable option.
- If you're going the fantasy route, the girl in Star Trek is
a good role model, You can combine fantasy and denial here by forgetting
your face and weight.
- If you're going the realistic route, the basin is a good place to cry--saves
- A multi-colored wig is good for some laughs.
- Do not--repeat not--expect your wig to stay comfortable all
day, but try not to actually throw it at the family when you have had
- God really does look on the inside and it's quite possible you look
more beautiful to Him than you ever have before
Bones Versus Bulge
Do you think you will get intriguingly skeletal on your chemotherapy? Don't
count on it. It's a possibility, of course, perhaps even a probability,
but some of us gained thirty or more pounds on the stuff. Ground rules here:
- If it looks like your body is going the bulge route, try to think positively.
When else can you do guilt free eating regardless of what your scale reads?
- If it looks like your body is going the bones route, try to think positively.
Seldom are we blessed to have whipping cream and the like thrust upon us
by the gallon.
- If you can afford it, an escalating (or de-escalating) wardrobe is
nice. Gobs of fat and bags of bones both look better in clothes that fit.
- Try not to physically harm persons who rush up to you and say, "You're
gaining (losing) weight!" Saying, "No duh!" is acceptable though they won't
understand you if they have no teenage children. Spitting in faces is unacceptable
no matter how ill you are.
- As with the hair, God does look on the inside and values every bone
(bulge) in (on) your body.
Flashes in the
Night (and Day)
Ah yes, the chemical change. Menopause is the pits at any age and it hardly
seems fair to add it to cancer. But we are not talking fair here, we're
talking cope. Ground rules here:
- Most people do not know you are having a hot flash just by looking--particularly
if you keep your clothes on.
- These intense flashes do not last very long, but make up your mind
that you'll probably be very warm most of the time. Moving to the Arctic
is an option most of us choose not to take.
- Turning on the air-conditioning in January has a tendency to distress
- Remind yourself you are energy efficient as you save on heat all winter--provided
you don't turn on the air-conditioning.
- You barely notice the intense heat of summer as it's been with you
- God can assist you here by helping you control the urge to strip in
public as well as calm you until it passes
This is a sickening subject to deal with--forgive me, I couldn't resist
the pun. Ground rules here:
- Bodies invariably object to large doses of poison, so try not to blame
your body for screaming, "REJECT!"
- As long as your head is not in the pot, this is a good day.
- When your head is in the pot, be glad you have indoor plumbing.
- Do not buy 40 cases of your current "nausea abater" (sunflower seeds,
cheezits, plain crackers, etc.) as these things have a tendency to turn
- A serious hint: Plain lettuce and Extra peppermint gum stayed effective
for me the whole time.
- Association becomes important here. Try not to throw up on your oncologist
if you see him socially.
- Wearing a gas mask in restaurants is a possibility if you don't mind
the stares, as smells seem more lethal than actual food.
- If it's going to come up anyway, you might as well eat something you
enjoy going down.
- God has said "suffering in the body" helps us get our priorities right,
so hang on to that even when you can't hang on to your supper.
Pity Parties for
Catered and Uncatered
Pain is often an integral part of these treatments--as in joint, heart,
mouth--you name it, it can hurt! But the Quality Whiner does not despair.
The Quality Whiner can cope. Ground rules here:
- Reading multiple books on the side effects of drugs is a mixed bag
depending on whether you are a placebo reactor.
- If you are a placebo reactor, you will doubtless suffer side effects
of all kinds.
- If you don't read the side effects, you can blame everything on chemotherapy.
My husband had to remind me that I was quite often tired B.C. (Before Chemotherapy).
- No matter how bad your chest pains are, don't expect to get to skip
a treatment. Chances are your only respite will come from a low white blood
- Limping is permissible when joint pain is significant. Corollary: Joint
pain is likely to be significant. Tylenol is a boon here.
- "Blisters in your mouth mean the chemotherapy is doing its job." It
is understandable but inadvisable to want to deck your doctor for making
this remark. Remember, his are the hands that wield the needle.
- Get together with other chemotherapy patients and tell sick jokes.
Laughter makes your endorphins work.
- Learning experiences are generally the pits, but God will help you
learn from this if you'll let Him.
It is important to recognize that depression my be a factor in how you
feel-especially toward the end of your treatments when you think you can't
stand to have a single treatment more. There's the natural depression that
comes from being scared to death of our own mortality. And some of these
fun little drugs cause depression in addition to their other duties. Oh great!
Ground rules here:
- Depression is not a "social disease"--it's perfectly okay and, indeed,
a good idea to say "Whoa! Am I on a downer today!" The Help! Help! Approach.
- Stay busy--if your fatigue (see next chapter) will let you. The I Don't
Have Time to Give In Approach.
- Read funny books--make that, read amusing books, as opposed to Batman.
The Laughing Through My Tears Approach.
- If you can bear to hear those cliches--a silver lining, darkest before
the dawn, etc.--remember they became cliches because they are true. The
I Know! I Know! Approach.
- Lie down, assume the prenatal position and suck your thumb. The I Give
- Walk as far as your fatigue will let you. It really does help. The
I Think I Can Approach.
- Jesus was depressed and scared in the garden of Gethsemane so He really
knows where you're coming from. Talk to Him!
I have great respect for my oncologist who did not fall off his stool laughing
when I asked if I could continue my daily four-mile walk. He did suggest
that I might take a nap afterward or cut it down some. But I found it hard
to nap before, during, and after which is what I felt like! Ground rules:
- Congratulate yourself that you are finding new word meanings--tired,
exhausted, weary, etc.
- Find new ways to express the above feelings. At least your mind is
- When you feel that solid wall of fatigue coming, try to find a place
to lie down that won't stain your clothes. Rule out the kitchen floor if
you have preschoolers.
- Those relaxation techniques work pretty well when your body is wiped
out and mind is still jumping. Hurrying through your relaxation techniques
minimizes the effects.
- When you are too wiped out to pray, it is wonderful to know God's Holy
Spirit is taking over and praying for you.
Water, Water Everywhere
Consider yourself a walking violation of the Environmental Protection Agency.
If your body were the United States, they'd be on you like a ton of bricks.
- Everything you are putting into your body is "user unfriendly." So,
drink, drink, drink--water!
- Consider yourself an overused toilet and flush, flush, flush- with
- That sloshing sound you hear as you walk is good--it means you're (maybe)
getting enough, you guessed it, water!
- It's hard to make a half gallon container look cute--paint pens can
- Never pass up a drinking fountain without imbibing. Corollary: Be sure
to mark the locations of strategically placed restrooms.
- God did a grand job on H2O! It's amazing what a help it is!
An unavoidable syndrome of the Big C, this can be greatly alleviated by
some Quality Whining. Ground rules:
- Whoever said "the greatest thing we have to fear is fear itself" had
never had cancer.
- Show your surgeon every lump. Disregard his resigned look-it's not
- Remember you probably had some oddball lumps before your malignancy.
- Also remember most lumps are harmless. Do not snarl at your surgeon
when he reminds you of this.
- Every physiological malfunction is not cancer, but it will only cost
you the price of an office visit to have an official tell you that. Sometimes
it's worth it.
- It's hard to decide whether it's preferable for your friends to laugh
at your fears or panic with you. But misery does seem to love company, so
share your fears with someone--preferably someone you know. People on the
bus have a marked tendency to get embarrassed.
- A good verse to memorize for your paranoia periods is Psalm 34:4--
"I sought the Lord and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears."
The Journal and
Prayers The Real Me
Glossary of Folks:
Dr. Larson--my oncologist, Houston, Texas
Cindy--one of the young married at our church
Beth--a mother one of the young married at our church
Dr. Monday--my surgeon, Huntsville, Texas
Nan--my youngest daughter, in college at this writing
Wade--my youngest son, in college at this writing
Bevo Shockey--a young, single friend from church
Jane--my oldest daughter
Jean Brown--a dear church friend who also had breast cancer
Blake young friend severely handicapped both physically and mentally
Nan (#2 )-- my first cousin, lives in Washington, D.C.
Aunt Sister--my aunt, 86 at this writing
Aunt Billie--my great aunt, 90 at this writing
Betty Nelson--a friend at church
Ophella--a dear elderly friend in nursing home
Jeff Goad--a teenaged neighbor with brain cancer for the second time
St. Joseph's--hospital in Houston
Sara--my aunt, owner of much mentioned "farm"
Bergstrom--Air Force Base, Austin, Texas
Mark--a dear church friend who owns Mark's Pharmacy, not to be confused
with my oldest son Mark
Trebby Bruning--nurse in ER, Huntsville, gave me chemotherapy treatments
Letha--dear church friend who died of cancer several years before I got
Peggy--dear church friend, Arlington, Virginia
Marvin--church friend with cancer
Ellen--Jeff Goad's mother
Carol--mother of severely brain-damaged teen friend Bucky Gammill
Shirley--my husband's secretary
Iva Jean--dear church friend
Jeanine Dooley--acquaintance who lost all three children within two years
It's hard to share an experience in which I'm not much of an example.
It really is
But I feel You pushing me.
Do I have to come out from behind my semi-serene facade?
Do I have to let people know I whine and suck my thumb?
If I want any peace.
Draw someone anyone
Closer to You.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father
of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles,
so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves
have received from God." II Corinthians 1:3-4
August 26, 1986
Well, yesterday it began--really began weeks ago when chemo first came
up. So horrified to think I might have to. So sure there was a better way.
I still am sure there's a better way, but I guess it's not for me to find.
I like Dr. Larson. He's not defensive or threatened by questions. He seems
to think that as an individual I'll have a say in continuation. Of course,
he is adamant about a minimum of six months. If I gainsay that, he might
be less easygoing. I'm afraid of weekly i.v.'s--not the needle so much as
my poor veins, but I'll trust God for that--as I'm trusting Him for the whole
shebang. My stomach is pretty tense about it, but I slept better last night
than I have for weeks. I feel like God has led me to this man, and I can
handle this treatment better than I could have the other. And grateful I
don't have to start till after the wedding--though I have a make-do wig just
in case! (My insurance policy, I guess.)
"Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of my
trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me." Psalm 86:6-7
September 7, 1986
Two treatments done! Yea! Am amazed at how well I feel. Amazed and grateful!
Why do I not really believe until You show me? The scans don't hurt though
radioactivity within me is sobering. The injections don't hurt - just a
little tingling in forearm and hand. So grateful! A little queasiness--easily
handleable by stuffing myself. Gained a pound this week. After fifty-two
weeks, will I be fifty-two pounds heavier? Yuck! A lot of heartburn - Gelusil
helps. Dr. Larson prescribed Tagamet to also help. Achy/piercy bones scared
me, but they are "normal" for this and he said Tylenol is fine. So I remain
very comfortable and very grateful! Several people in office so much worse
off than myself. God, help them, comfort them.
"When I said, My foot is slipping, your love, O Lord, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."
September 10, 1986
Have no idea what time it is--assume 4 or 5 a.m. As Bill Cosby said, "Bring
it up to the back of her throat - now - make her burp." No use lying there.
Did my relaxing, some leg lifts, some imagery, some praying. Thank You so
much I'm doing so well! Thank You! These are the hours I feel I really may
die, and so far I can accept it with even some eagerness. Just help me know
You. Help me know the reality is so much more than this shadow. But don't
let me cop out on duties here. Help me find folks--and time to serve You.
Thank You for finding Dr. Larson. I don't want to be preoccupied with me.
"For I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit
of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have
sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body,
whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is
gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor
for met Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two:
I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;" Philippians
Love of my life,
What might You do
If I could just
Let go of me?
Don't let me be
Replete with me.
Open my heart
Should I rope Cindy in this morning--or Beth? Dave slept in the girls'
room last night because of his cold. I hated it at first because of the
loneliness, but it does make for guilt free night prowling. And I couldn't
do this if he were in here. Still, I'd rather have him by me. Maybe I could
go to the girls' room for early morning stuff. "That's the ticket!"
September 13, 1986
Woke about 3 a.m. with Big Time Chest Pains. Scary. Lasted longer than
any I've ever had--not as severe as some when Mama was ill. Still scary.
Decided to get up and read side effects in Bruning book. Thank God for that
book! (Coping with Chemotherapy, Nancy Bruning, Ballentine Books, New York)
Seems pretty matter of fact. Tough! They probably won't take you off whatever
it is even if it is heart. Am glad I decided to go on to Austin and see
the kids! This insomnia is interesting. Just wake up and sleep's over. Makes
a great prayer/study time. I need to tend to "life and doctrine" more. I
do reasonably well by life but not by doctrine. A little slipshod there for
one thing, I'm not so sure there is all that much doctrine - 'scuse me, Paul.
I'm getting sleepy again so think I'll go back to bed.
"On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the
night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul
clings to you; your right hand upholds me." Psalm 63:6-8
Do You want me now, Lord?
Have You something special You mean for me to do?
Almost like my new name...
My new job?
I wouldn't want to cling to life in that case.
Don't let my normal feelings interfere with Your plans.
Let my family see that too.
And, If I must suffer here
To learn the obedience I need for there,
Help me do it gallantly.
Help me feel You at my side,
Borrow Your gallantry,
Love everyone I touch.
September 17, 1986
This prednisone is really making me crazy! Euphoric--not really altogether.
Today in Dr. Monday's office I made little or no sense. Hurt my pride to come
off such a loony tune. Oh well, the important thing is I'm feeling right about
Dr. Larson. It's midnight or so and I've been cleaning up Nan's room. Did
Wade's about 4 a.m. yesterday. If I stay on this stuff long enough, I may
get a lot done. God is good to me. Win or lose, live or die, I've had so
much more blessing than I've ever deserved. Thank You!
"I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord
is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation." Psalm 118:13-14
September 26, 1986
A little down tonight. Maybe because more hair seems to be coming out every
time I brush. Thought it wouldn't matter-life so much more important than
vanity and all that-but maybe underneath it does. Have to work on underneath,
Lord. Here in Dallas while Dave is on retreat. Help him have a wonderful,
uplifting time. Bevo Shockey's cancer a shock to me. Good lunch and visit
with her and Jane. So young, so brave-young-thingish. How can I help? Thank
You that she's coming to the reunion. Want to be a light about this. Jane
is so happy. Thank You!
I am really on a "downer."
I know it.
I hate it.
But I can't seem to let go of it.
Help me, please.
If You were tempted, Lord,
As I am,
You must have known "downers" too.
But You learned to shake it off,
To look Up.
Somehow that's very sweet to know.
It helps me look Up too.
Thank You, Jesus.
"Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with
the same atitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.
As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil life for
evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. " I Peter 4:1-2
October 20, 1986
Mama's birthday. I miss her.
Couldn't take a treatment today because my white count is down. Sobering.
It will be nice to have a vacation from the poisons but sobering to be having
trouble with them so early. Have decided I'd better be more serious about
nutrition. Called Jean Brown and she sweetly called her nutritionist who goes
overboard in my opinion. He suggested liver pills. I'll look into it. Also
mega Vitamin C. I'll probably do moderate. No wonder I felt so washed out
all week. Still, as long as my head is not in the pot, I'm grateful! And
grateful for forty-nine terrific years!
"By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me-a prayer
to the God of my life. I say to God my Rock, Why have you forgotten me? Why
must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy ? My bones suffer mortal
agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, Where is your God?
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope
in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." Psalm 42:8-11
November 1, 1986
A little down. Still couldn't take a treatment last week. May not Monday
either. Apparently perfectly normal, so I've decided to relax and enjoy the
respite. A worrisome lump on my wrist. Larson and Monday both agree not cancer.
Probably lymphedema. "Try not to use the wrist." Lots of luck. Here at Brenham.
What a gorgeous, gorgeous day!
How will I bear the beauty of heaven? This tugs at my heart,
Aches in my throat.
Just this preview,
This crisp, glorious autumn day.
Thank You for these glimpses we get Along the way.
I can hardly wait to see the real thing!
This is one of those days I feel like I won't make it. Probably biorhythms!
Probably need to do some imagery. Harder to image my white cells coming in
great waves to my rescue when I know they're down. About to go see Blake.
He makes cancer a blessing! Don't forget that, Judy!
"Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great
things. Who, O God, is like you? Though you have made me see troubles, many
and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you
will again bring me up." Psalm 71:19-20
What would I do without You?
Thank You for caring about me,
For guiding me when I ask,
For leading me when I stray,
For loving me--
Always loving me.
What if I couldn't come to You?
It's too awful to contemplate!
Thank You for being there always
And wanting to share my life.
Right now it's bad times
And I couldn't make it without You.
I know You're eager for the good times too.
November 11, 1986
Well, the first treatment in three weeks yesterday. Glad I got to get started
again. Dreaded it a little--rightly so-it's going to make me sicker without
the prednisone. Still not throwing up-thank You, God! Have gained eighteen
pounds according to Dr. Larson's scale. Depressing! According to mine early
a.m. only twelve, which is bad enough! I'm scared to diet though. Although
as queasy as I feel now, maybe I won't have to. Help me be gallant, not gripey!
"And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will
honor me." Psalm 50:15
Tired today. Barely have the gusto to write this. Just hit all of a sudden.
I'm tired, Lord
Just bone weary.
So much to do I don't know where to start.
You've been here.
Strengthen my heart.
I guess the first move has to come from me
No...for so many years ago
You reached out.
The move was Yours
The strength is Yours
The love is Yours.
I can get up now
And go on,
Knowing it's mine too,
Because of You.
"The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken
those who seek you." Psalm 9:9-10
Yesterday was nice at the farm. Good to see Nan again. Jane says I look
like a baby bird without my wig. I like the image. Less ugly than I feel.
You're doing a job on my vanity for sure! Thank you (I think). Such a good
visit with Aunt Sister and Aunt Billie in the car taking them home. Told
about first cars in town and such. The man who owned the ice factory in Timpson
had first car about 1911. Used to take all the kids, squeezed in like sardines,
for rides. Aunt Billie was sixteen when they first got a car. Said cars ruined
her dad and uncle's country store business.
Felt better today. Having a great Thanksgiving weekend. Got very weak awhile
last night, but it passed. Dave wanted to go to Walmart just to look but not
without me. Honestly thought I wouldn't make it, but we decided we'd go home
when I needed to, and I lasted a lot longer than I thought I would. Guess
spending money takes my mind off the weariness! Am doing leg lifts with Nancy
now. I'm up to 150. She does 5:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. That girl has True Grit!
Put up half the Christmas lights--Dave and Nan did. They look gorgeous! Had
my last dose of Oncavin Monday. Yea! One milestone. I asked if it would make
a difference in how I feel, but he said, "Sorry, the Cytoxin you take every
day is the tough one." Which makes me wonder why I drag more on Tuesday and
Wednesday and have diarrhea on Wednesday usually. Weird!
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary
troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is
seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." II Corinthians 4:16-18
November 30, 1986
Am so jumpy/glum today. Driving me cuckoo! Have felt more nauseated today
than usual. Sunday is usually a fairly good day. Wonder if it's psychosomatic
knowing I'm going tomorrow?
This is the pits!
When will it be over?
I feel desolate
Wiped out guilty afraid
I feel everything I hate to feel...
A disappointment to him,
A disappointment to You,
A hopeless case.
What would I feel if my child said all that to me?
An aching need to help!
And I might not be able to help my child,
But oh, You can! You can!
Change my heart!
Fill my mind with hope and joy
And oh Lord,
Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry for help come to you. Do not hide
your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call,
answer me quickly. For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing
embers. My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my
food. Because of my loud groaning I am reduced to skin and bones. I am like
a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins. I lie awake; I have become like
a bird alone on a roof." Psalm 102:1-7
Betty Nelson told me she's convinced all her mother's problems came from
the chemo. Great! Esther told me all about True's two sisters who died of
cancer. Great. Actually none of this is news, I'm just antsy today so it made
me "poor me". Good, good to have Nan and Wade home. They really are delights.
If only Wade will come back to You.
December 26, 1986
Whew! What a lovely, happy, bounteous Christmas! I was some kind of pooped
last night! No treatment this week. Joy! Bliss! Blood count down. A mixed
blessing but I was so glad not to have to feel rotten for Christmas. We are
so blessed! Wonderful children. Wonderful marriages so far. Such a blessing!
Still today but later-been a lovely, relaxed day here. Just out to read
to Ophelia. Finished Lady's Confession. Went to the store. She's so sweet
and loves the books so. A joy to read to.
Feel good this week. Need to find time for imagery. Pretty well proven helpful.
Need to make time for it. I get so antsy though-it's like I'm saying to my
body, "okay, hurry up and relax!"
"I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because
he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as l live. The cords of
death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome
by trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: 'O Lord, save
me!' The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The
Lord protects the simplehearted; when l was in great need, he saved me. Be
at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you." Psalm 116:1-7
January 1, 1987
A new year. Can't help wondering if I'll be here next year. Or be desperately
ill or what? You know, I guess, and most of the time I can leave that with
You. You do know best. I know that. And You'll Shepherd me through whatever
comes. Did have a treatment this week. Got a little weepy before and after
but was able to joke it away with Dave and Nan. Seems like Wednesday was sicker
than Tuesday. Tuesday maybe a little more tired than Wednesday. Weird. Doesn't
seem to be a real pattern. Nor a real sickness pattern. Just kind of comes
over me in a wave of nausea. Plain crackers are yuck. I thought they'd be
great. Just about the time I figure out a "nausea abater" and buy a big bunch
of it-Cheezits, sunflower seeds, Ritz crackers-it begins to make me sick!
Psychosomatic maybe, but so. Right now Kraft's olive pimento on either bread
or crackers is working well. Peppermint lifesavers and Extra peppermint gum
have both remained refreshing since the beginning. Also lettuce (plain) and
celery. I thought beef would get yucky. Everyone has said so, but so far
it still tastes good.
"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26
January 9, 1987
Things are going well. I feel "up" today. So often I write when I don't
that it seems like I'm down too much. But I think when I'm up, I do things
and stay busy and feel no need to unload. The nausea comes and goes as does
the fatigue, but it's all very bearable-very irritating but not devastating.
Dr. Larson wants me to go to Jack to see if I'm pregnant since I haven't had
a period for two and a half months. I feel like A) there's no way I could
be unless this is Super Sperm and able to leap tall buildings at a single
bound, and B) I probably won't abort even though the drugs cause defects,
so there's no hurry about a definitive answer. I'm taking bunches of vitamins.
I pray not pregnant and don't believe I am. Wouldn't that be another rock
on top of a huge pile?!? Ah well, You do know best. So much of it is beyond
"I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell
in safety." Psalm 4:8
January 31, 1987
I've had some wonderful weeks lately. Have felt good more often than bad.
Can't ask for better than that. And yet the bottom dropped out of my white
count, and I've got the "poor me's" something awful. I came all overtired
awhile ago, and I'm piled up here on the bed. It's a gorgeous day, and I can
hear Wade and Dave outside talking, and I resent it that I can't work up
the gusto to go join them. The "poor me's" indeed! And little Jeff Goad has
had a recurrence. I'm sure he feels so betrayed after five years to have it
"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know
what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans
that words cannot express." Romans 8:26
I feel betrayed
Stunned Bowed down with having to do this again
I can't! I can't!
Help me be still
Help me know no pit is too deep
No night too dark
For You to lift me out of it and into You.
Corrie ten Boom said that.
I never dreamed I'd have to believe it
Help my deepest self know,
That You will bring me back,
That I don't have to be afraid,
That Your strength,
Your tremendous power
Will bring me back
And even make this awful pit
Useful for You and for me.
"I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He
lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on
a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a
hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the
Lord." Psalm 40:1-3
February 18, 1987
Well...Monday was a frazzlement. Got my first treatment in a month and was
informed by the DOD [Department of Defense] contract would only apply within
a forty mile radius of St. Joseph's. And I can't go there and use CHAMPUS
[military insurance]. At first I was a little panicky. It was like they were
saying, "Sorry, you'll just have to drop dead." Then I realized there are
alternatives, You are working in my life, etc. Maybe it's time to quit. I'm
somewhat confused as I've prayed so to touch Dr. Larson's life with You and
it's sort of goodbye. But, thanks to Sarah and Jimmy's contingency money (and
You!), I am provided for. I'm just trying to hear Your voice in this. Do
You mean stop now? That would eliminate most contact with Dr. Larson, etc.
Do You mean continue and take a six month stats trust You for the rest? Do
You mean go for nine and use the contingency money? Go for twelve? Change
to Mark's Pharmacy and Dr. Monday and use CHAMPUS and touch those lives? Go
to Bergstrom? I'm not even sure that's a possibility. I'm feeling less frazzled.
I was very weepy. I felt my decisions had been made and now I have to repray,
re-think, and that makes me weepy. Sorry. I need to trust You more. I'll
see Dr. Monday today and see what he thinks.
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not
in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
" II Corinthians 4:8-9
I know I'm not to be anxious
But - I am
I know You'll give me wisdom
But - where is it?
Help me wait on You
Help me be still
And know Who You are
Calm my troubled heart
Calm my frantic thought
Reach in and still me
"I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs
me. I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken." Psalm 16:7-8
February 20, 1987
Much calmer now. Have almost decided to go for the six months and make-ups
and trust You for the rest. I don't think that's foolhardy. I pray You'll
help me know or feel reasonably sure that's what You would have me do. At
any rate, I'm not panicked about it. Thank You! I did get a three week extension
with Dr. Larson--not with the pharmacy. I'll get the stuff from Mark and take
it in with me. That way Mark will get the profit. Physically I'm doing wonderfully
well. Fatigue a bigger problem than nausea though it's still there. Heartburn
really bad. Bloat pretty bad which makes me feel really ugly. Didn't realize
quite how vain I really was!
"'For I know the plans I have for you, 'declares the Lord, ' plans to
prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then
you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You
will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."' Jeremiah
February 24, 1987
Talked to Dr. Larson yesterday--did get a treatment. He laid a little fear
on m-- or soberness rather than fear. Seems I am a high risk-I thought I was
fairly low. Seems more than four lymph nodes put you at greater risk. Also
estrogen receptors being negative makes it higher. He really thinks nine
months is a compromise and strongly advises against just six. So--now I'm
leaning toward nine months with Monday and the emergency room here. That would
save me three hours driving each treatment day. Was awake 2 - 2 1/2 hours
last night. Some nausea. Thought I might break my record and actually throw
up. Did some imagery and some praying, but my mind seemed to be jumpy and
couldn't settle to either. I can't figure out why I'm so upset. It's no big
deal to switch to here. I'm a little afraid they won't be as good with the
needle as Dr. Larson. Maybe it's the control thing again. I'm not getting
to do what I had decided, and it's upsetting me.
"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father,
may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him
better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in
order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of
his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparable great power for
us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which
he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his
right hand in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 1:17-20
April 10, 1987
Here at the farm.
Sometimes I wonder
How I'll be able to handle heaven,
The flowers are so unbelievable
It hurts me!
I can't say it
Just gasp at each new view
How will I hold the wonder of You and Yours?
Will You stretch my capacity for joy?
Yes, I think You will
For now I think of it
You already have.
I see so much more now.
I realize You so much more now.
It's mind boggling
Bridge Club comes to spend the night. Should be lots of fun. Disaster last
weekend. Big time virus. Thought the honeymoon was over, but so much better,
obviously a virus. No treatment Tuesday. Count down to 2800. Dr. Monday called
to check when he heard and that made me feel cared for. Three treatments here.
No problems. A little more waiting time between the blood work and treatment,
but so much easier than trip to Houston. Trebby Bruning does treatment. Like
old times as she did Letha's. I'm so glad it all happened now- oh me of little
faith. Would still love to quit. If I feel so, how must Jeff Goad feel?
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving
me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but
you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. Yet you are enthroned as the
Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. In you our fathers put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved: in
You they trusted and were not disappointed." Psalm 22:1-5
Oh Father, again?
It's too much to ask too much
This kills me!
I've done this already
I've felt this fear--this horror--before
How can I stand it again?
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
My mind knows that, my intellect,
But my emotions are in shreds.
My panic reigns supreme right now.
Okay. . .
Okay. . .
I know inside myself that You can get me through this.
Help me be still and know You
And know you are greater than this black hole that looms before me.
May 8, 1987
At the farm again. Resumed treatments last week. Trebby was concerned at
92,000 drop in platelets, but they had to be done by hand, and I think the
count was inaccurate. It's all guesswork anyhow! Tolerating treatments so
well. A bit tireder when resumed. I wonder if your body has to re-acclimate
after a respite. A possibility I might get to quit end of July if no more
delays. I figure bound to be delays so it'll probably be mid-September.
"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone
is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation
and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him
at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him for God is our refuge."
May 9, 1987
Still at farm.
So peaceful here.
I thought I'd sit awhile and count my blessings,
Thought it an easy thing to do.
My husband, children, family, friends,
The countless problems You have seen me through.
The list grows longer Lord, in fact,
You've blessed me till I can't tell it all!
My Friend, my Father, my Dearest Love,
Who answers every time I call!
I need peace within myself about the chemo again. Am so ready to quit-uneasy
feelings about doing it at all--did I misunderstand? Funny. My hair is back,
and I'm so paranoid I figure if it isn't working on my hair anymore, it isn't
working on the cancer either! Funny! And it's not so funny. I'm ashamed to
even complain when I think of Jeff Goad. Confused. It's not fair to You to
ask for no problems and then pour massive poisons in. And, if chemo is not
the answer, and there are no problems, they'll never search for another way.
I need to do imagery again. Can't seem to quiet my mind and body for it anymore-just
whip through it. Need to be more serious about taking care of myself. Hate
that preoccupation. Honestly too lazy, I think, to be meticulous about gums,
nutrition, exercise, imagery. So time consuming. Wonder if I could image and
quilt at the same time--then maybe I'd be more willing to do it. So blessed.
Doing so well with it all.
"In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. Rescue
me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me.
Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress." Psalm 71:1-3
What a patchwork my life is, Father.
Good times, bad, blah times, sad.
It's odd to see how many directions I can go.
If I try to piece it into something beautiful
I'll never make it, Lord.
Thank You that at least that much I know.
But Lord, if I'll just leave it up to You,
Let You piece together my life's quilt,
What a beautiful person I could learn to be.
All of us are bits of good and bad,
Bits of blessing, bits of sin.
Piece me into a whole acceptable to Thee.
"He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of
your cause like the noonday sun." Psalm 37:6
"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are
being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes
from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 11 Corinthians 3:18
"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we
might become the righteousness of God." 11 Corinthians 5:21
Just finished Landorf's Silent September-a beautiful book. Precious
Peggy sent. Nothing really new-just a fellow traveler on the Way. Will be
a good sharer with Marvin, Ellen, Carol. A lovely weekend at the farm. Good
for Dave to relax-me too. Super sermon on worry/trust Sunday night.
I hadn't realized I was stewing so much about hurrying and quitting chemo.
Sorry, Lord. Whatever You say, I just hope I know what You're saying ! I'm
tired of it--ashamed that I feel like this in light of Jeff's real agony,
but there's no question I'm tired.
Working in Dave's office for two weeks while Shirley is gone. No way I could
have been a career woman! Very little left after whole day. Back in Houston
for treatments again. Some confusion whether DOD or St. Joseph's rule but
at any rate, qualified again. Kind of hated to switch because so homey up
here, but financially silly not to. Sick this week, but not vomiting-just
feel sick a lot. And pretty tired. And pretty weepy. Seems silly when I'm
tolerating it so well but just want it to go away. Compared to other people's
problems nothing-Jane, Bucky, Jeff. I'm ashamed. Can't seem to make the weepies
disappear but ask You to help realize chemicals - not justified! Help to function
and bless lives anyway.
"Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes
refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster
has passed. I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose
for me. He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue
me; God sends his love and his faithfulness." Psalm 57:1-3
Could You make
A praise song to You?
I mean for it to be
But so often
I lose sight of that
Thank You for accepting
My want to's
When my actions
Don't always match
When that happens
I want to be Your person
I'm hanging in there
Better than I used to
Thank You for that!
I can hardly wait
To become the real me
The one You can make me
If I'll just let You
Help me let You!
"So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there
with me. For in my inner being l delight in God's law; but I see another law
at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and
making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a
wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be
to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:21-25
June 11, 1987
Well, well, well. Saw Dr. Monday yesterday and what I suspected might be
a lump really might be. I had really wanted him to say it was my paranoia!
He doesn't seem concerned about it--hey! It's not his breast! I'll have mammogram
July 2 and he'll call to let me know I'm all right as he puts it. Hmmmm. I
don't feel panicked. I do feel uneasy. I'd like very much to not go through
this again. Second treatment in a row. Good. My count up nicely-8600 last
week 6000 this week. Thank You! Maybe I can get some consecutive treatments
and get on with this. I'm ashamed to be so antsy about it, but inside I really
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
Jane's birthday--25. Goodness, where did the years go? Feel a little sick--I
think psychosomatic because of tomorrow's treatment. Could be legit though
since I take Cytoxin every day. If this does turn out to be a second cancer,
I'm really wondering what I'll do. The lump is so central they will probably
say radiation. Yuck! I'd like to not do chemo again. Course I'd like for the
whole thing to go away!
Poor Marvin is in such pain and misery.. Malignant is certainly the
word for this. Watching him, I can't help shuddering a little to think I may
face that. Thank You that You'll help me through it if I have to.
Several hours of insomnia last night. Did some imagery and relaxation--the
latter pretty hilarious since I try to hurry it so. Good talks with You. Planning
time. Started to get up and Accomplish Something but too tired. Felt good
to just lie there even without sleep.
"When I am afraid, I will trust in You." Psalm 56:3
Phoney! No treatment yesterday. 3600 blood count. That really surprised
me since it was 6000 last week. Disappointing since I thought I'd be able
to string maybe four together this time. Iva Jean was with me so I didn't
ask about quitting and such. Told him about Dr. Monday/mammogram/lump. He
said you can always talk yourself into having found something since everyone
is so different. Agreed mammogram would be the answer. I asked about my blood
count and this time he did remember. I guess he just mentally says okay or
not and doesn't pay a lot of attention to the numbers. It does give you a
moment's pause as to whether this man knows which body he's dealing with especially
when he says "Which arm?" I reckon when you see as many people as he does,
it is hard to keep track. Funny--I'm very special to me!
"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great
delight you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with
singing." Zephaniah 3:17
June 18, 1987
Tended to Aunt Billie yesterday. Just plain didn't have time to rest. Felt
Ophelia needed the reading more than I did the 45 minutes it took. Then today
it's to Brenham and probably won't get back till four or so-might be able
to rest then. It's not that I work so hard or do so much-just piddling things
interfere. I really am going to try to schedule it better. So many people
needing things, though. No way to help them all.
"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power
through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts
through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long
and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses
knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the
church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!
Amen." Ephesians 3:16-21
June 24, 1987
Well, an end in sight! I told Dr. Larson I was mentally sucking my thumb
a lot and needed a target. So he said if I have no more delays, I can end
in September. Yea! A little over two more months! If I could just find something
to eat or drink to build up white cells! Dave and I have decided I need to
make myself slow down and rest more. I really am going to try. But there's
so much to be done. So many people to help - visits, etc. I did get a treatment
yesterday. Met a darling man with lymphoma. Bless his heart. He was just worn
out. Going to see Marvin. I think I'll take the pain technique thing over
to him today. He may feel too silly doing it, but it may help. Can't help
thinking will this be me in a couple of years? Shudder! I'm also going to
try to get back to imagery. I think it helped me accept the chemo and maybe
it'll help the ol' body build up white blood. Sure is cheap to do!
No matter how grim it gets
You will walk through it with me
I know that
I hang on to that like grim death
The poem says You carry me
I'm not sure of that
But help me bear it You do
And You will
I shudder at what may come
Tremble a little -
Tremble a lot
But deep inside is the bulwark
I can bear it
Whatever it may turn out to be
Because of You
"Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain
you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue
you." Isaiah 46:4
Today is a day that I'm tired of this! Partly because I'm physically tired
I imagine. Am trying to rest more to keep the ol' white count up but my mind
can't seem to rest. Am doing more imagery. Couldn't still my mind yesterday
so did imagery then. Did twice during the night while awake and stewing. I
am ashamed of my impatience because You've blessed me so with the toleration
of it. Could be Marvin upsets me because I can't help wondering if I'll be
like that in a year or so. I don't think so-the upset I mean. I've
pretty well accepted that You'll strengthen me for whatever I need. I'd like
You to quiet my mind again if You will-Be still. . .be still. . . and know
that I am God. Amen!
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which
transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ
Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7
Occurs to me that I've never written out my imagery. So:
I see my cancer cells as little grey rats scurrying around "seeking whom
they may devour." But they're so evil and selfish that they can't cooperate.
"I'm going for the pancreas." "Not me, buddy, I'm going for the liver." "Unh-unh,
_ for the brain." Then the chemo is this heavy yellow fluid that works like
a bug light. Zzzt! Zzzt! Zzzt! Every time it hits a cancer cell it either
stuns or kills it. And my good cells say, "Great! Here! Here's one behind
me driving me nuts," and they move out of the way so the chemo can touch all
the cancer cells. Then come my gorgeous white blood cells. They are angels-
wonderful, fine, young men-some dressed in white tunics al la Roman time,
some in white tennis outfits-all strong and brave, with good faces, though
a little stern and serious because they have a job to do. A little sad because
they are my cells that have run amuck, and they wish with all their hearts
the cells would turn back and do right. But they cannot be allowed to harm
my body any longer. They all have airtight lead boxes, and they come up out
of my bone marrow and go all over my body-brain, blood, lungs, heart, liver,
kidneys, intestines, everywhere. They pick up each cancer cell and seal it
in the boxes. They get all of them and throw them out my rectum for God to
deal with however He wants to-but they're OUT of me. Then they go back and
tell the chemo they couldn't have done it without it, but it can't stay and
harm my body either. So they flush it out all the way with much gratitude
but soberly determined that it has to go too. Then they slap hands and say
"Awright!" They meet with God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit and me and we
all sit around just running over with gladness, and God and Jesus keep saying,
"Well done! Well done, y'all!" and we celebrate my being fine! Makes me feel
good to think it and to write it.
I can scarcely believe it, Lord,
That You can help me see
Of all things
As a friend,
It's an inside miracle.
I was so afraid
So bone deep terrified.
And You are changing that.
You are helping me see
That You can use anything--
Anything at all
To help those You love
And that I am one of those!
What can I say?
"But we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering
produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope
does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts
by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:3-5
July 1, 1987
Phooey! So much for "no more delays"! No treatment yesterday. 3900 so I'll
probably get one next week. Frustrating! And frustrating trying to rest. Too
many people need help.
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Psalm
July 7, 1987
Today is a treatment day-I fondly hope. Dr. Larson says rest
makes no difference at all. Just laying off the chemicals will do it. Aren't
our bodies amazing? You did a grand job! If I'll just leave it be, it bounces
back so fast-blood especially it seems like.
I really am "great and wonderfully made."
Thank You, Father.
For this body
With its amazing precision
Its unmatched computer
Its countless back up systems.
I don't speak DNA or electrical impulses
But even I know
You did an amazing job!
"If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the
sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold we fast.
If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around
me, ' even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like
the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am
fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full
well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed
body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of
them came to be." Psalm 139:9-16
Came home from Granbury to find Marvin died Saturday. Sad for the family,
but I'm so glad he didn't keep on. Funeral service today. Started to try to
knock myself out to get back for it but decided service not all that important
- and Houston traffic a killer to try to hurry through.
Awfully tired this week. A lot of late nights visiting I guess, and could
be low count too.
July 17, 1987
No treatment for two weeks. Hope to get one today. He (Dr. Larson) said
I could quit in September if no more delays-but I've had two since then so
I'm sure it'll be October at the earliest. I really should not look forward
to dates. In this instance it just sets me up for a disappointment. Wonder
if You're teaching me patience through this?
"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions
never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say
to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." Lamentations
"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
Pat Cole: two mastectomies and now brain cancer. So gallant!
Ola Allen: cancer of the everything and dying. So gallant!
Jeff Goad: brain cancer/radiation/chemo at eight years. Now at thirteen
brain cancer and chemo. Fell and broke his leg. Would like his cast off by
1 p.m. so when he has his treatment later in the day, he'll be able to run
back and forth to the bathroom to be sick. Gallant!
I'm sure there are people who are not gallant, but my privilege has been
to meet the gallant ones. I hope I can stay gallant no matter what. So far
it's been easy because I'm so blessed to tolerate it so well.
I kind of dread treatments which is stupid because they're a piece of cake,
but I really get sick just sitting there waiting. So many people in such serious
stages in the waiting room is sobering. I pray to touch their lives for You.
Haven't rested much at all these two weeks. Larson said it makes no difference.
I'll probably have to set aside some time with chemicals in me!
I'm just overwhelmed,
Lord With death- So many so young so all around me
With suffering- so many so young
So ever present
I know death is only an incident
In the whole adventure
Someone said that--I forget who
I know that, but...
I'm tired and scared and down anyway
Forgive me Help me trust you
Just trust You
"For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief,
he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly
bring Affliction or grief to the children of men." Lamentations 3:31-33
Still on sort of an inside downer. Can't seem to shake it. Pat Cole so sobering-two
mastectomies, two brain tumors-petit mal seizures. So young. So brave. So
many people. How do doctors and nurses keep their equilibrium? I think I'm
having a bit of depression-not sure if it's "natural" due to so many sicks
and death. It could be the chemicals but doubt there's anything to counteract
that. And too, I think the devil would love for me to see only the bad-the
sickness, death, man's inhumanity, the famine, etc. Need to look up- see the
sweetness, the prayers being said all over the world, the volunteers, the
acts of heroism, the Mother Teresas, the people I know who are sweet, caring,
doers of the Word, the camaraderie and love among so many people. Hey! I'm
feeling pretty good!
"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is
excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things." Philippians 4:8
I saw You today, Lord,
Right beside the litter
In a crack in a dirty sidewalk.
Six tiny daisies
"Hey! I'm still here!
I'll never forsake you.
Help me look for the daisies,
The gentle reminders.
Don't let me dwell on the litter
Or the cracks in the sidewalk.
August 20, 1987
Well, Thank You. Dr. Larson cut the dosage in the hope my white count would
tolerate it better and it has! I've had four treatments in a row which I haven't
been able to do but once way back last September. So-that's really hopeful.
Maybe I can quit in October-- maybe even September. I'm trying not
to get too up about it.
"Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me." Psalm 54:4
August 24, 1987
I'm more up than I've been in awhile. Getting excited about teaching projects.
Thank You! Help me help Pat with that. Not dwell on deaths and dying. Feel
pretty good enough of the time that I'm impatient when I'm feeling bad. The
cut dosage seemed to make me sicker for awhile. Weird. I'm working up the
courage to put Dr. Larson on the spot tomorrow about when I might quit. Stomach
tightens just thinking about tomorrow. Psyche funny. I get sick at my stomach
when I pray for all my cancer people! Gary--Wanda--Jean--Bevo--Jeff--Pat--Nancy--Claude--Ruth--Emmie--Inga
Brown--Mrs. Jefferson--Maggi--so many. Bless us all. Help us learn and, hopefully,
turn the page!
Help me to learn
Whatever it is I needed
For someone to have to suffer so
To learn obedience.
I don't see much earthly good.
Well, that's not true.
A lot of good has come --
Chiefest--the lavish love
Your children have shown.
But still, the suffering
Seems a ghastly price.
Forgive my doubts.
Strengthen my faith.
And thank You
That my weakness
Doesn't anger You.
"I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard
my plea: 'Do not close your ears to my cry for relief. ' You came near when
I called you, and you said, "Do not fear." Lamentations
August 25, 1987
I'm frazzled and depressed--or something. Five treatments in a row though--that's
great! Dr. Larson in a bad mood. Was not amenable to talk of quitting though
he'd have let me today if I'd insisted. I'll have scans done in September
and talk about it again. In his opinion I've done the bare minimum. He does
recognize there comes to be a mental problem about it. Suggests I go on as
long as I can stand to. I'm ashamed to be so fraught about it, but there's
no doubt I am. Probably need to go back to imagery. I guess one reason (aside
from my basic disbelief in chemotherapy) is I subconsciously counted on being
through by now, and I'm mentally pouting. Why should I have the "poor me's"
when I look at Jeff and Pat - but they're really part of it. I have the "poor
us's"! Guess I'll wait for the scans, see how I do with the lower dosage,
count on all of September, and make any big decisions after that. Or maybe
I'll be a tea kettle as Mimi used to say.
"Call to me and l will Answer you and tell you great and unsearchable
things you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3
Is there someone I must touch, Lord?
Must I fight the mainline theories of killing?
What is it You would have me do?
Open my mind to You, Your will.
Don't let me go off half-cocked on my own.
Let me be a channel.
Oh, if I could be an instrument
For overcoming evil with good!
Wouldn't that feel wonderful?
I'll need courage.
I know You'll be there with all I need.
I'll need wisdom.
You've already promised.
I'll need strength.
You've already said for each day.
Keep me near You, Lord.
Accomplish what You want with me.
Don't let me get in the way.
September 11, 1987
Well. . .let's see. I sucked my thumb and whined three weeks ago and Dr.
Larson got a little short with me-partly due to the fact that he was in a
horrible mood because he had just talked to a good friend of his who is dying
of cancer. Anyhow, he said the decision was mine, I've had the bare
minimum, he felt anything beyond was a real plus, etc. I took that treatment.
Spent the next week wrestling with it and talking to God. Decision: I felt
that originally God led me to this man so I'd better do as he suggests. So
I'll try thirty-nine treatments. Problem is the sporadic ones don't count-they
have to be three in a row. So it'll be at least the end of the year before
I'm through. My "suffering" is mainly mental-just a kind of PMS feeling about
it all. Ashamed considering Pat Cole and Jeanine Dooley. I do get sicker on
Monday and Tuesday just knowing it's coming. And knowing it's psychosomatic
doesn't seem to make it go away. Need to practice the imagery I'm preaching
to Pat! I have decided-told Dr. Larson when my count I down, I just won't
bother to come in for a couple of weeks. Save myself some hassle since it
usually takes a couple to come back. I'm sorely tempted to wait three though
Dr. Larson feels that would be pushing it. He plans to do complete blood work
next time and then schedule bone and liver scans to check on things. I'm
"down in the back" right now-not one bit different from my yearly attack,
but I'm so paranoid, I think, "Is this it? Bone cancer?" Silly!
Jesus was afraid.
He said His heart was "sore troubled."
Mine is too.
Sometimes pain and depression and death
Loom before me like a black hole.
What am I afraid of ?
That I'll fail You?
That I'll whine?
That it will be more than I can bear?
And what will I do if it is?
All of the above?
And so I turn to You
My strength and my Love.
You are in me to will and to do Your will.
I know I want to--
That You've done.
And I count on You
As my Enabler
To bear my cross
And glorify Your name.
"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
Whew! Too busy to write. Liver and bone scans came out negative. Even though
I don't think they're reliable, it's nice to have them negative! Feeling okay
about treatments. Would still love to quit. The way I figure, I have seven
more treatments which will take me till the end of the year. I'm pretty sure.
But seven more looks like light at the end of the tunnel. My joint pain is
pretty bad-in my feet of all places. I assume it's from the chemicals. Could
be arthritis I guess, but it's so matching. I feel like it's the chemicals.
Many projects going on-quilts, afghans, four collars for secretaries, sampler
for Jane, dresses for three girls, plus country stuff for Christian Women's
Club. If cancer patients are supposed to have goals, I think I overkilled.
"You, O. Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light."
November 11, 1987
Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, I am free at last! Dismissed
yesterday from chemotherapy. Finally nine months worth. Elation is a good
word for it. Still x-rays, blood follow-ups, a little lump to "watch" so I
guess a certain amount of paranoia will always be with me, but at last I
can look forward to feeling good again! Thank You, God!
It feels so good to feel good!
Oh, I thank You!
I pray it's over for good,
But, if not,
This beautiful respite,
This time of non-dread,
I thank You!
"Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, O. my soul, and forget not all his benefits--who forgives
all your sins and heals all your diseases." Psalm 103:1-3
The Real Epilogue
As I said in the early note, I'm 62!! I am the wife of David, the mom of
Mark, Jane, Nancy, and Wade, and the grandmom of Kristen, Matthew, David,
Meredith, and Kayla. I'm a pretty typical stay-at-home Christian mom-lots
of Bible teaching, PTA, volunteer work, etc. Dave was a career Marine so we
have lived all over the U.S. and have had a great 43 years together.
My breast cancer (carcinoma) was diagnosed in July 1986. After a
mastectomy, at which time malignant lymph nodes were discovered, I
went through fifteen months of chemotherapy. Actually, it took fifteen months
to accumulate nine months of treatments. I have not had a recurrence of the
breast cancer and am grateful for that. In :1993 and 1994 I had surgeries
for unrelated cancer of the vulva (invasive squamous cell carcinoma)--another
"not my favorite time of my life"! It is now 2000, and I'm doing great!
I had not thought to write about the experience. I kept a journal during
the treatments for my own therapy. But I felt so shepherded throughout the
whole time, in spite of my shilly-shallying around. I wanted to share that.
If you are going through it, I pray Jesus will be more real to you and closer
to you than He has ever been. And I pray that the good that He will make come
out of this will happen soon. God bless you!
"Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man's behalf!?
"We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered
in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far I beyond our ability
to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, l in our hearts we felt
the sentence of death. But this happened that we l might not rely on ourselves
but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril,
and he will deliver us. On him I we have set our hope that he will continue
to deliver us, as you help l us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks
on our behalf for the I gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers
of many." II Corinthians 1:8-11
Judy Hines is a pretty typical stay-at-home Christian wife and mother. She
lives in Burton, Texas, where she and her husband Dave are working on a "fixer-upper"
old home and asking God to remind them that people are more important than
the house! She is involved in the Lord's Work and in her community and continues
to be very grateful to have survived three bouts with cancer.
The Does God Exist? program has been involved
for over 30 years in dealing with matters related to faith in God and in the Bible
as a reliable guide for living. One part of that work has been to answer the questions related
to pain and suffering in the light of a God who is described biblically as being loving and merciful.
One part of the answer to the problem of human suffering, in our opinion, is that those of us who
have faced a tragedy and survived it can find enormous meaning in life by using our
experiences to help others. As the previous page explains, our author has been given
chemotherapy three different times. She wrote this book as a means of reaching
out to others and helping them as they go through the struggles that she has already
It is our hope that this book will help those who are facing chemotherapy as well as their
families. The Does God Exist? program also
has people who have worked in many other areas of human suffering. For more information or
additional copies of this booklet, feel free to contact us.
Back to Does God Exist?