He’s Still There

Yesterday did not go as planned at all. Welcome to our normal. I headed in to the cancer center for blood work, and I had my shopping list all ready for when I finished. After all, I had cards to buy and a couple things for our home, and I wanted to browse some shops for treats for a couple friends. Instead I went to the cancer center and then straight home.

My blood work came back low. Very low. My white blood cells, my red blood cells, my platelets, my ANC, my iron… they’re all just low. This isn’t uncommon with my new treatment, and it’s expected to be a few months of changing dosages and figuring out what my body can handle. Obviously, my body can’t handle the largest dose. So I’ve been taken off of one of my pills until I see my oncologist next week and we see how my levels change, then we’ll either change the dosage or change how often I take it.

The nurse was so kind. “You’ve done this before, so you know…” she sighed. She’s right. I’ve done it before.

I’m housebound for a while—no public places, no shopping, no large crowds, no potlucks, make sure all my food is well-prepared, etc. If I get sick, I don’t have what I need to fight it off. I’ve done this before.

But I’m still discouraged. It’s hard to explain the loneliness today. It’s really not that much different than my Friday would have been, but there’s something about knowing I can’t do things that makes the aloneness harder.

A friend texted yesterday to check in on me. We had spent Halloween night at their house, our yearly tradition of chili and masquerading and enjoying the neighborhood from their porch together. After I shared with her my news, I told her I didn’t turn to the Lord in this. That it felt better yesterday to wallow instead of wrestle.

She wrote back: “He’s still there.”

Oh, y’all. Those three words were the best thing I heard all day.

He’s still there.

He’s not going anywhere.

He’s not leaving me alone even in my aloneness.

I don’t know what the next couple weeks will look like other than a lot of time at home with my Coopy. I will be very tired, but as my blood strengthens, I’ll get stronger, too.

My children are scared. My Ash, who is taking Honors Anatomy right now, kept nodding and his eyes got bigger and bigger, as he said, “That’s not good.” because he understands in a whole new way. My Bear just mourned no hugs for Mama (that boy!). My Bella-girl, who is sick with a cold, sat next to me and poured those melt-your-heart crocodile tears. “What if you get sick and your body can’t fight it off? Will you have to go to the hospital? What if IIIIIII make you sick?” Her dear, sweet heart. I ache for her.

Everyone in my family has been sick this past month. Brian just finished antibiotics. Bella came down with it a few days ago. I, so far, have stayed healthy. We wash a lot of hands, and don’t give hugs (KILLING ME!), and don’t touch each other’s food, and I have masks to wear and eat immune boosting foods.

We do what we know is wise, and we leave it in the Lord’s hands.

He’s still there.

At the end of her crocodile-tear sadness, my girl whispered, almost afraid to ask, “Will you miss my recitations tomorrow? I’m the shadow in Beowulf.” So I showed up late today for recitations and stood in the back, while Brian stood almost protectively in front of me. I wore gloves and a mask, and I watched my girl creep across the stage in all her shadowy glory, and our eyes met at the end, and she smiled softly at me as I slipped back out the door to my car and my home.

We all feel it. The sadness. The fear. The questions.

It’s all part of the steps as we fight this disease together. I’ve heard so many stories of women who’ve been on this treatment for years and years and done really well. It just takes time to figure out how my body is going to respond.

No, we don’t like it. The sadness. The fear. The questions.

But we also all know it.

He’s still there.

And we have hope.

(Several of you have asked about help we might need. My friend, Angela, is coming over this afternoon so we can talk through care needs, and she will coordinate. If you want to be on the list, just let me know, and I can give her your info. Thank you, friends, for loving, for caring.)

2 responses to “He’s Still There”

  1. I love you, Angie.
    I hope we get to meet someday.
    My eyes are full of tears reading this one…and oddly I realize they are not swimming and brimming over because I grieve your sickness. This time my crying is over the beauty I see in the LOVE you live in. The tender care and rallying around you of your family. How incredible is the stamina of their loyalty and compassion. And that you SEE it and express it so vividly in your writing fills my heart with a gratitude that makes me cry. Your gratitude amidst the fear and disappointment moves this reader deeply.


  2. Praying for peace and strengthening.


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