Just like this guy, I’ve been running with what must be.. “my magic legs” because there’s no explanation as to how I’ve been able to just keep running for the past 4 1/2 years, after over a decade of running through some incredibly rough pregnancies and miscarriages just before that. Mama’s tired, but God’s given me Forrest Gump magic legs to JUST KEEP RUNNING.
We’ve taken a few hits in the past few months making it a bit challenging to find a moment to sit and write. But I’ll share what’s helped me put one foot in front of another these days after: recently removing/ radiating more brain tumors with the Gamma Knife Machine, driving the next day (Deja vu. Yes, same scenario as just a few months ago, again) to MD ANDERSON in Houston, TX. Finding out there that we have new growth in the liver (dealt with this for past few years) and new small growth on lower spine (this is new). Whew!
Just when ya think you’ve got a good treatment plan, it often seems to change just after you’re settled in. This is the life of most cancer patients. I’m not unusual in that. However, I’m well aware of the GRATITUDE I must give that, ALTHOUGH I’M NOT CURABLE (at this point in the research world), I’M STILL TREATABLE. THAT IS DEFINITELY A BIG DEAL IN THE WORLD THAT MANY OF US ARE FIGHTING IN. I RECOGNIZE THAT, AND I’M TRULY THANKFUL.
What does that mean, TREATABLE?
This means that I’m still in the race.
Naturally, when I was first diagnosed, I wanted to cross the finish line in record time. I did everything that I saw on the “to do” list (chemo, surgeries, radiation). Check. Check. Checkity-Check! Boom! Mic Drop. Check my time, folks. I was on fire! Yet, this wasn’t a hardcore sprint,
I was in a 100 mile run. I was in a triathalon. I was now a lifetime long distance runner, and the finish line was no longer the goal. The path, the training, the run itself was my new focus. I’m now just grateful to be in the race at all. Interesting how God allows us to see things differently as we evolve and life takes a few “plot twists” along the way.
Although, I find, I only really see it, when I allow myself to see it. My real falls and trips occur when my eyes are searching too far ahead, trying to see where every possible turn is and I don’t pay a lick of attention to my footing, or my God who’s carrying me really (It’s so often him that’s carrying me when I’m too tired to even put my shoes on).
I find myself trying to control the race, direct myself, my family, and my docs to navigate the situation…micro-managing God in my prayers and conversations with Him, as if He doesn’t know what’s going on. He knows. He always has, He’s been prepared for this as long as I’ve existed. It was me that wasn’t ready to know before. Now, I’m ready. Why? Because NOW He’s giving me all the graces I need for what I have to do now. I couldn’t do this before, because I didn’t have the grace for it yet. attachment_560align=”aligncenter”width=”625″] (5 timers club SNL) At my 5th “Chemo School, I asked for my 5 timers club blazer. But apparently they don’t do that sort of thing. But it was good for a laugh. Seriously?!?[/caption]
Broken record here, but If you’d told me when I was younger that I would have 5 kids and cancer 5 times over I would’ve passed out and thrown up all at once! … I wasn’t ready. Who is?
Just like the doc’s office wasn’t ready for my 5 timers blazer, … I didn’t have the grace yet for all that info early on! 😉
At one kid, I didn’t have the grace for 2. With 2 kids, I couldn’t imagine 3. Didn’t have the graces yet. And clearly, I didn’t have the grace to run this race of 5 kids and cancer over and over again for 4 1/2 years with my 5th new chemo plan! But… (you guessed it) I didn’t have the grace for that. I know he’s giving me those graces because I just don’t make sense otherwise. I’m not brave or strong, or courageous. I’m just putting one foot in front of the other. Whether I run this thing or walk it. I know that the only way I’m still in it, and the only way that I’ll get disqualified is if I give up.
We all have reason to live. We all have reason to CHOOSE HOPE. Not because we FEEL HAPPY AND HOPEFUL, but because we choose to place our thoughts and prayers there and cast away the thoughts of despair and doubt, shutting and refusing to open the doors that beg you to open them and mill around for a while in self-pity and anxiety (whether it’s a medical crisis, emotional issue, or just plain funky day). All of these crosses are our crosses (no how big or small they may seem). It’s up to us to call on God to give us the grace to pick them up. We have to ask for those graces that He has ready for us, since He knows us and all the details of our situations (and our families and their needs). No need to micro-manage the BIG GUY! But, we have to LET HIM and not fear the way in which He’ll do it.
A friend and fellow fighter/survivor recently reminded me of a reflection in “Jesus Calling: Daily Devotional” by Sarah Young. Shannon called me as I was driving and said, “Elise, we’ve got to remember to GLANCE at the problem, but GAZE at Jesus!”
That’s it! While going back and forth between home and MD Anderson, I’ve been loving the idea of expanding our team and hearing about new trails being offered to be considered as part of new trials, discussing the options of trials vs. new medications approved for my diagnosis. However, it can get very overwhelming and confusing. It’s hard to not get distracted in these appointments and distracted by the new methods of treatments and options that can sound unusual, or scary even. That’s when I know that my gaze is surely fixated on the problem and how to manage it and juggle life in general. I feel the pressure and weight of the world … aaaaaaand the schedule of my family, trips that we want to take, bills that will be coming, etc. and it can get hard to even breathe. GASP!
Then, just like that! I close my eyes, take a deep breath (breathing in the Holy Spirit and whispering “JESUS!” wherever I am), and there I see this image pictured above in my mind. I feel him pull me out. It seems much like when Peter was walking on water, looked away from HIM, and began to drown. Yet, this image above became real. HE shows up. God shows up so often in my life, reminding me exactly of what my dear friend Shannon brought to my attention.
GLANCE AT THE PROBLEM. GAZE AT JESUS.
With that, I will leave you with this as I go check my front porch for my new chemo that was just delivered. Yup. Now, instead of going to the infusion center every 3 weeks, I will take 2 oral medications (1- an oral chemo therapy, no hair loss predicted. Yay! 2- a targeted therapy drug that is specific to my form of Stage 4 metastatic HER2+ Breast Cancer in the body and Central Nervous System. I’ll take these pills throughout the month from now until it stops working. No definite end set. We’re looking for a current and a long term solution here, and this is very promising. We’ve conferred with my expanded team now, between multiple docs at MD ANDERSON and my faithful oncologist and radiologist here who are all in full agreement that we will follow up throughout the process with scans to watch my progress and adjust as needed. I pray my medications are effective and that the side effects allow me to tolerate it well and stay the course. I ask that you pray the same.
GOD’S GOT THIS!
I am in excellent hands both medically and spiritually. I remain in the race and not giving up trying. I won’t give up seeking every way possible to keep me in it and running. I still sung my Marley “every little thing’s gonna be alright”, because it will. No matter what the answer is. It’s alright. No fear. No worries. God’s got us all.
Even if God were to tell me, like Forrest Gump, “I think I’ll Go Home now”… that wouldn’t be a disqualification from the race. If anyone runs without giving up, giving it all they’ve got, giving thanks for every day they’ve got and living their best life, no matter the storm… there are no disqualifications. You can’t be disqualified for trying. There are only saints and angels cheering us on. Some of these angels live among us now – in our families and friends praying for us and helping (if we let them. We gotta let them. It takes a village!).
Others are in perfect strangers, allowing you to pay it forward to those you may not even know with a simple smile, or a prayer for someone on the side of the road or an ambulance that goes by. However our race looks, we’re all in it. We’re all running. As long as we can remain with a thankful heart, taking our days as they come, grateful that they come… no one is gonna kick us out of the race. The race is ours.
I’m gonna keep running mine. May be by baby steps, one day at a time, but I’m doing it.
As always, thank you for being in the race with me. Couldn’t do this without your prayers and support. Like really really! 😉