Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Graduation and Chemo

I may have been barefoot and sunburned but I made it across the stage at graduation last week!! :) 

Between Brad and I, we had 11 people in the audience cheering us on and yes, those ARE big neon signs with our names on them...


The morning of the ceremony I received an email from my biology professor congratulating me for achieving an A in her course...If I could, I would have skipped all the way to school!

Since the second surgery I've had some issues with sensitivity and weakness in my left leg and foot so I had some trouble keeping my black heels on during the long walk from Bizzini hall to the amphitheater. Once I got there I realized that I wasn't out of the woods because my heels kept getting stuck in the grass so I just took them off! I decided going barefoot was less embarrassing than falling on my face as I walked on stage to shake the dean's hand.   

My college graduation was like any other graduation ceremony in many ways: boring speeches by unfamiliar administrators who pretend to identify with the soon-to-be graduates that they have probably never seen before. Most speakers will try to inspire the graduates with cliches like "this is not the's the beginning." But for me, graduation was more than just a two and a half hour long ceremony, was proof of God's faithfulness. He gave me the strength and the resources to finish my classes despite all of the challenges I have had this year. But at the risk of sounding just as cliche as the aforementioned administrators, I have not yet reached the finish line. The next leg of the race may be the hardest...

I had my first appointment with the medical oncologist who will be facilitating my chemotherapy yesterday and picked up the pills at the pharmacy about thirty minutes after the appointment. I will take my first dose this evening before bed. The most common side effect is nausea and fatigue so she also prescribed an anti-nausea medicine that I will take an hour before I take the chemo. The doctor was very optimistic about this specific type of chemo having seen good results with patients in the past. My parents and I left her office feeling very hopeful.

Chemo will go on for six months to a year depending on how the cancer and the rest of my body responds to it. I plan to start classes (one to officially finish my BA and three towards my credential) on August 22nd and we have just decided on a new wedding date for mid-November.   

Despite our optimism, the idea of ingesting toxic chemicals for five days every month for a year...on a little intimidating...I mean I'm not even allowed to let the pills touch my skin... I am aware that chemo gives me the best chance for a full recovery but I'm a little nervous...I was nervous when I went in each time for surgery but this is different. Chemo will be attacking all systems of my body, not just my noggin... 
I have a lot of "what-ifs"...

 What if I am nauseous for the entire month? What if I lose my hair? What if I'm so tired that I can't work next semester? What if I can't pay rent? 

No matter what the worry or the question, I believe God's answer for me is: 
"I love you. Trust Me. Let Me handle it." Please pray that I will tolerate the chemo well and that I will be able to follow Christ in full, even when I don't always know where He is leading .

1 My son, do not forget my teaching, 
   but keep my commands in your heart, 

2 for they will prolong your life many years 

   and bring you peace and prosperity.

 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; 
   bind them around your neck, 
   write them on the tablet of your heart. 

4 Then you will win favor and a good name 

   in the sight of God and man.

 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart 
   and lean not on your own understanding; 

6 in all your ways submit to him, 

   and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6