The Ache of Acceptance

“Mom,” Bear cocked his head to the side, “I think you have one eyebrow on higher than the other.” That’s when I knew it was going to be a bad day.

Y’all have been so gracious to ask how I’m doing, to see how my new chemo is going, to ask for updates, to pray and encourage even without them. Thank you.

I have had three rounds of the new chemo so far. The first round knocked my blood counts down pretty badly, so she lowered my dosage and that seems to have helped. I will have to be very careful with this new drug because it will affect my blood counts. Cuts, bruises, bug bites, sickness, etc. are all areas where my immune system and blood clotting factors are going to be weakened. I am still on a two weeks on, one week off cycle, but my week off is my lowest point with blood counts and hardest point with fatigue.

That being said, this new drug seems to be more tolerable as far as most side effects go. My hair is thinning more and more and my eyebrows are mostly gone, thus the drawing them on crooked. I grow so weary of the drawing on of eyebrows… of styling my hair just right to cover the bald spots and thinning, of the dark circles under my eyes and the pale skin, of no eyelashes.

Saturday we went to one of Bear’s baseball games. It was the heat of the day at a field with no shade and I had forgotten to bring sunscreen. Bri and I kept commenting on how burnt he was going to get. We didn’t think about me. I am a sunscreen Nazi, but even without it, I rarely sunburn, and when I do it quickly turns to a tan. Y’all, I burnt to a crisp and I am still in pain whenever I bend my legs.

These are the side effects I rarely talk about, because they seem so trivial in the long run.

I am learning this new chaos, but not learning very well. I can’t figure out from day to day what life looks like.

The main side effect with this new drug is fatigue.. mind-numbing, bone-exhausting fatigue, and while I am so thankful to have minimal nausea and little joint and muscle pain, the fatigue is life-altering. I go places and just sit… or I don’t go at all. (Thankfully, I do have some days here and there with energy. We were able to camp last weekend and dance together at a wedding.) Then there are days like yesterday. Last night I could barely make it through Bear’s baseball game. Yesterday I got through four loads of laundry and managed to make some strawberry freezer jam from some strawberries turning bad in the fridge. Then I looked around at my house and cried because of how messy it was and how little I had left to do anything about it. I cried because last summer, that jam and those loads of laundry would have been the beginning of my day, not the whole of my day. Last summer I would have gone berry picking (how I long for fresh red berries!) and cleaned house, too!

It is this ache of acceptance all over again. All of it. Life will not look like it did six months ago. Summer will not be the same as before. We are all having to open our hands (as we must every day) to the Giver of Life and accept the life He has given us even when we don’t understand it.

And like I wrote in my last post, we are still finding beauty.

I marvel every day at the scenery of this “Beulah Land” in which we live. I get to hear rain on my roof and watch lightning flash all around. I get to watch my children grow and take on extra chores and love on each other when I am unable to. I get to weep on my Brian’s shoulder when life is hard and know he will not condemn me for my weakness–he will not complain; he will love (and yes, he’ll try to fix it sometimes, too). I have meals lovingly prepared for us twice a week and parents who will do anything for us. I get to hear the crack of the bat and watch my Bear run bases. I get to listen to my Ash sing at the top of his lungs in church. I get to snuggle with my Bella-girl every night at bedtime.

These are gifts that I try not to take for granted.

Life with cancer is hard.

Mind-numbing, bone-exhausting, life-altering hard.

But it is life.

“Got no silver, got no gold
What I got can’t be bought or sold
I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night

Sunshine gives me a lovely day
Moonlight gives me the Milky Way

Got no checkbooks, got no banks
Still I’d like to express my thanks
I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night…
And with the sun in the morning
And the moon in the evening
I’m all right”

(~by Irving Berlin, from Annie Get Your Gun)

4 responses to “The Ache of Acceptance”

  1. melissa moslow Avatar
    melissa moslow

    Oh, Dear One, IF I lived where you live I would BE THERE today to clean and organize. I know that’s not the same as having the energy to do it yourself. That is still hard and sad and frustrating. And if anyone could give you energy instead we WOULD. Bless you, sweet one. Bless you BIG today. The grace of acceptance and the courage to fight.

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  2. Angie, I was introduced to your website via my sister, Susan Aleshire. I have had triple negative breast cancer and a recurrence after two years; just the time my hair had grown back, gone again! The second chemo left my hair thinner on top, making me wish I could master the “comb over” that some men do so well. My once “unibrow” never really came back well enough to distinguish, making me look really sick in the mornings when I looked in the mirror. After too long of trying to draw eyebrows on, then accidentally wiping them off or perspiring them away, I found a permanent makeup artist and got them tattooed on. A great decision. Hair is a trivial thing, but for a gal, it is really hard to see the hair go, even though we find out it wasn’t as important as we thought. I keep you and your lovely family in my prayers. I’m sure there are so many prayers raised for you from people you have never met. I found out that I had international prayers. Now that was humbling and amazing. Prayer is such a strong tool and it sure does work for our best. May God bless you and keep you strong. Never lose hope. Hope is a good thing.

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  3. My precious Angie,

    Thanks be to God for His grace, mercy and peace. This is just a beautiful testimony of His love that is shed abroad in our hearts.

    May His grace abound to you even more.

    Love and blessings,
    Judie

    Like

  4. Julie Pizzino Avatar
    Julie Pizzino

    Angie, dear Angie, my mother’s heart aches for you, yet you are a Titus 2 woman to me. Your zest for life, your passion for your Lord and your loves all bless me so. I pray now for pockets of energy, many God sightings, little and big joys, the savoring of moments and days this summer. We love you.

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