embracing the suck
"The faith that can't be shaken is the faith that has been shaken."
One day, Colby said out of the blue, "Cooking gives me so much peace and joy." I am once again thankful that God continues to show how He works all things for good. I try to keep track of the things we are learning. Colby's love of cooking is something that we would not have known. Much to my delight due to my loath of any job oven related, cooking has become a bonding pastime for the kids.
Cancer has forced us to give up our planning almost anything past a week at a time. It has made me, who normally welcomes the new year with new expectations, dread what is to come in the next year because I cannot see or know anything past this moment. Yet, even in that, I can see He is good and gracious and kind. Sometimes the knowing...the definitives...are almost worse than the unknown because your hope can be shattered. Most of what I struggle with is not dealing with the tangibles, the mundanes or the daily things that need to be done or remembered. But it is in the hoping and believing that one becomes weary...the setbacks and changed plans that bring down your soul. I know He is teaching me about what real faith and hope looks like when you must live it amongst scary unknowns. So in one breath I beg to know His will but in the next I am thankful for extended hope.
Last weekend after Thanksgiving, I was talking to our oldest who was in the middle of a sobbing meltdown about academic life as a junior in high school. After the appropriate amount of tears were shed, I finally encouraged her to embrace the suck of junior year. My words were something along the lines of...
Yes, it sucks.
It is supposed to suck.
It is preparing you for life sometimes.
Learn now how to embrace the suck.
The suck is making you better.
Honestly, I was sympathetic to her anxiety because I have been telling myself the same thing for awhile.
Some days, I want to scream how badly this sucks...I might even use a couple of choice expletives. I despise the rollercoaster of emotions. I long for the easy back. But I know that there is no growth nor deep roots or unshakeable faith in the easy.
If God were to say to me the He would take me back to my easy but I would have to forfeit the knowledge and relationship I have gained of Him while in the suck, I wouldn't take the deal.
I know it will behoove us to stop trying to label our plans and just rest in the fact that He is in control. This is the dance of cancer---we are constantly reading body language, looking for symptoms, trying to manage the damage, adjusting to new normals or reigning in fears. It is enough just to focus on today and let Him work out tomorrow.
Colby completed his first round of chemotherapy with few side effects other than being extremely tired. Since October, we have been managing his headaches but this week his symptoms have gotten worse. Bryant and Colby spent the early part of this week at Duke so that Colby could go through another round of stem cell retraction from his blood. Unfortunately, the drugs given to aid in the process also cause headaches. We are unsure if it is the drugs or the progression of the cancer that has caused him to worsen this week. He had surgery on Thursday to have a shunt placed in his head to help with pressure/fluid build up around his brain. He was supposed to start round two of chemotherapy today but the shunt placement has delayed starting round two of chemo for another week or so.
As always, we are praying that God heals Colby's body. We are holding the desires of our hearts out to His will. We are in a holding pattern as the vaccine is being made at University of Florida. Our goal has always been to slow the growth of the cancer through chemotherapy so that Colby can receive the vaccine in January. We are waiting for results of his MRI today to see if Colby's recent symptoms are the result of the progression of cancer or side effects from the drugs he has been taking. I am praying it is the latter. We are also praying that Colby will be able to start his second round of chemotherapy sooner rather than later.
I continue to pray that God will stand in the gaps with the other children. Giving everyone individual attention as well as opportunities to pursue interests has always been a manageable challenge with six children. Our prayer is that we continue to do life while in the valley.
Colby has had immediate relief of headache pain with the shunt so we are thanking/praising God for that. I continue to just thank God for the time He has given us...this week fourteen people in California walk out their front doors expecting to come home but did not. I am so thankful He has allowed us not to leave I love yous left unsaid.