Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009: Another Round Behind Us

Yesterday wiped me out as chemo typically does. Today is much better though. With the exception of a very itchy face, I almost feel . . . normal! I have an appointment with a dermatologist tomorrow and hopefully they will be able to tell me how to deal with the rash on my face. I've had it since before I started chemo but chemo definitely seems to flare it up even more.

This past week I was pretty down. I am usually okay but when I have my down times, I tend to go way down. I also stopped reading the bible and spending time with God and my prayers felt very hollow. I was thinking God had stopped talking to me but in reality, I had just stopped listening. I've had depression for as long as I can remember. Combine that with pulling away from God . . . . let's just say it's not a good combination!

Sunday night I started to journal. I started by writing things I hate about me. I was amazed at how quickly I could fill a page. It was good therapy to write it all out though and let it go. It actually turned into a prayer. I gave up trying to fix myself and asked God to take back everything that I was trying to do on my own (that list was pretty big too). I filled up two pages! Monday morning I was reading a devotional and was as if it was written directly to me. It started by talking about how God created us. If we don't like ourselves, what are we saying about our Creator? (Ouch!). The paragraph that really hit home was where the writer was imagining what God may have been thinking when He created her - her words are italicized.

I'm going to make her tender-hearted and full of compassion. (Mercy is one of my spiritual gifts) I know she'll have a leaning toward laziness and inconsistency (two if my top struggles!), but I'll give her victory over that when she's ready. (I asked God to help me with these Sunday night) I want to use her to point people to me and to the power of prayer. (the fact that I am still alive is because of the power of prayer) I want her to be there to lift up the downcast and point the defeated to triumph through My power! (I want to help others going through cancer see how important our faith is).

As I read that devotion it was as if God was using a megaphone to talk to me. I know God never gives up on us but it is so wonderful when I get such a vivid reminder. I would appreciate prayers that I would be able to slow my mind down (it's been going non-stop) and make spending time with God a priority.

I also need to give up my "cancer card". I have been avoiding doing things like exercising, having meals ready and keeping the house picked up because "I do have cancer and am going through chemo and deserve to just sit and do nothing". It is sooooo easy to rationalize my way out of anything. I do need to go at a slower pace because of chemo but I've been taking advantage of the cancer card way too long and my extremely patient and loving husband has been more than gracious. I told him the other day that I wanted to give up my cancer card and asked what he would like to see me try to tackle first. His reply was that he wanted me to start exercising so I would have more energy and feel better. Before cleaning the house or having meals ready he wants me to take care of myself. (Just for the record he wasn't saying exercise because I'm gaining weight). They don't come any sweeter than him :)

I know some of you are thinking right now "you are going through chemo, give yourself a break". Many people have told me "take it easy, you deserve it". I know this may sound weird but please don't encourage me to take it easy. I have no willpower as it is and it will just take a little push and I'm on the couch vegging out! I appreciate your love and concern for me. I'm not going to go crazy and clean the entire house or wear myself out. I need to learn how to set a routine for myself and stick to it. This new chemo is no where near as draining as my first chemo was.

I have been seeing a psychologist once a month which is very helpful for me. She even reads the blog which I think is so cool (hi Krista!). I have made an appointment with a psychiatrist as well because I think my medication isn't quite cutting it anymore. I don't like the extremes that my moods have been lately. My downs have been very low. If anyone reading this struggles with depression or what they think may be depression I would highly recommend talking to someone. I had depression even before cancer and it is just a very lonely and painful place to be.

Thank you for reading through this very long post! It is so helpful for me to write it all out and hope that maybe someone else can learn through my ups and downs. Thank you as always for your continued prayers.