Patience in the waiting, peace in the decision.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – one of the hardest parts of cancer is the waiting. Keeping your thoughts in a healthy mental space while you sit in the waiting is hard, and attempting to keep emotions in check can be equally as challenging on any given day.

Let’s circle back to post chemo #4 real quick.

I sat in the treatment chair watching the chemo drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. And with every drip I wondered if it would be the last time I had to sit in that very treatment area for a full chemo treatment (based on my type of cancer I’ll still be there for an injection every 21 days until mid 2022, but it’ll be a cake walk compared to full blown chemo days). An area that’s quiet other than the hustle of nurses and the sound of IV alarms going off pretty consistently. It’s an atmosphere none of my family or friends will ever understand, as I had to do every treatment solo (COVID. Lame).

…and yet sitting there while I waited for those drugs to slowly drip into my body over a six hour window I tried to keep my reality in check. It could be the last time I sat in that chair for chemo…or I could be back for two more rounds. I wanted to skip out of that cancer center, and yet I didn’t let myself get too excited. I felt like I couldn’t fully celebrate.

Chemo side effects hit fast and furious with round four. Usually I feel alright(ish) for the first few days, but on day two I was down and out. I could not keep my eyes open. At 3am I sat on the side of my bed breathing heavily and trying so hard not to get sick, and it was then that I finally caved and took my first nausea pill of this entire chemo journey. I’ve had nausea before, but I pushed through with no meds. I was not confident I could do that this time without a pretty miserable result. And from that point on I basically slept the better part of the day, which I knew is what my body needed to fight.

The good news is with it hitting sooner the lousiness also seemed to go away quicker. If you know there will be bad days no matter what, why not get them out of the way (even though you have exactly zero control over how and when they will strike)?

I had my one week post chemo check and felt really good physically, yet I knew deep down I needed to be ready to keep it together mentally and emotionally when I saw my oncologist. No matter how good my blood counts looked, he was not going to be able to tell me what I wanted to hear: whether or not I was done with chemo.
He was not the best person to make that call, my surgeon was.

Counts were awesome! My body was doing really well! He was happy with the way I was fighting all of this! A fabulous visit with my amazing oncologist overall.

…and yet I walked out of the cancer center again knowing I had to wait. Patience. Peace in the waiting was my prayer.

Fast forward to yesterday, and I finally had the appointment with my surgeon. It had been one and a half weeks since chemo, and what had I been doing? Sitting in the waiting trying to be patient and have peace (easier said than done). Praying daily to please God give me peace with whatever decision my care team tells me is best, whether that be surgery (yay!) or more chemo (not so yay).

As I walked into the hospital – and again once I was sitting on the exam table in the room – I simply kept saying quietly, “Your will God, not mine.”

I’d brought flowers with me because I knew it was my surgeon’s nurse’s birthday. She’s been such a blessing to me every step of the way, so I wanted to bring a little brightness to her day. As tears ran down her face she said, “You inspire me. It’s people like you that keep me coming to work every day.” I appreciated her sentiments, but what she didn’t see was me trying to simply keep it together (both in that moment and on any given day). Me feeling far from an inspiration as all I’ve known to do every step of the way is show up and fight. Not an inspiration, just a girl who wants more than anything to fight this battle and have many more years of a beautiful life to live, yet having to struggle with the reality that this may not go my way at any given point…and guilt that I’ve had friends who did not win the battle…and…and…and.

Patience. Peace. Please God, give me patience and peace.

After I put on my lovely exam top (seriously, why do these have to be so incredibly ugly?), I sat on that exam table starting to stress over thought of setting up the imaging I just knew my surgeon was going to need, fighting insurance on the approval, getting it all done before the date that I’d need to move forward with my next chemo if we were going that route, etc.. I was starting to feel any sort of peace and patience I’d had slip from my grasp.

…and then in walked my surgeon. He gave me a big hug, and instantly there was peace. It was yet again peace beyond understanding. So much peace.

As I braced myself for what he was going to say I knew wholeheartedly I would honestly be ok with whatever he decided. Surgery? Awesome! Two more rounds of chemo? Let’s do it.

And then.

Then he gave me the green light for surgery!

WHAT? Seriously? We can get surgery scheduled? No more chemo?

I’ll spare you all the medical details we talked through, but I will share that there will never be words for describing the feeling of hearing you do not have to show up and crank poison through your body two more times.

Tears ran down my face. I felt peace. I hugged the nurse when she came back in. I quite literally danced out the doors of that hospital.

I have the green light for surgery. It’s scheduled. The chemo part of this journey has been checked off the task list.

Hallelujah!

But you know what’s funny? As you celebrate every teeny tiny victory on this journey (because you should celebrate every teeny tiny victory), the part of your mind you try and keep in check finds its way back into the mix almost immediately.

In my prayer journal today under MY PRAISES I wrote: Surgery! No more chemo!

…and in the MY WORRIES section you know what I wrote? Surgery. Was four chemo treatments enough or should we have done six to be safe?

This detour chapter of cancer is no joke. It’s exhausting. Every single day – often multiple times – I pray for strength. Physical strength to keep fighting. Mental strength to stay in a positive place. Emotional strength.

I am SO thankful. So, so thankful. It is not lost on me that this could all be going very differently (and still could), but for now I sit in a hefty dose of thankfulness.
I will celebrate!

Surgery is in a couple of weeks, and you know what that means?

More waiting.

Praying for patience in the waiting, and peace in the decision.  

{Q&A blog will come at a later date. Right now I am sitting in the joy of having the green light for surgery!}

4 thoughts on “Patience in the waiting, peace in the decision.

  1. So fine, Sarah – May God wrap his arms around you & protect you through your surgery & beyond. You are in my prayers .

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  2. Well said my dear friend. So many feelings. I stumbled upon this 19 years ago it went through my mind daily…..God lead you to it He will lead you through it.
    I’m so happy your surgery is scheduled.
    Continued prayers

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  3. Thank you for sharing your experience from your heart. Praying for continued strength, endurance, comfort, peace, and complete healing.

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