In the midst of our cold, long winter, we received a happy email from a dear friend. He and his family had been praying and felt God was telling them to use some cash they’d set aside to give us the gift of a Caribbean holiday at an all-inclusive with them. We felt overwhelmed with gratitude for this great offer, and really hoped we’d be able to go.
My oncologist said to wait until after the chemo was done and I’d had a bit of a chance to recover. There were delays to the chemo and uncertainty about how many rounds I’d go. Our generous friends were fine with the plans being delayed and the last-minute uncertainty. We waited…
Finally the decision was made regarding the end of chemo and the doctor gave us a date for booking the trip. Our friends were looking at the Dominican Republic, but my oncologist wasn’t keen since the medical care there is not as good as elsewhere. He would have preferred that we went somewhere safer.
Because it was so last-minute, there weren’t loads of options, and as we prayed about it we were ok with the risks of going to the DR. Our friend booked a great place with a water park nearby and a kids club – looked fantastic! We had our tickets and were ready to leave Easter Saturday.
Good Friday I awoke with a fever. If you read my previous post about chemo and fevers, you know that this meant an immediate trip to Emergency because chemo patients have compromised immune systems, so a fever can mean a life-threatening situation. A good friend drove me there and stayed with me throughout the day, while doctors and nurses came and went. She even read aloud to me, until my snoring drowned out her words! 🙂
Tests revealed I had pneumonia and ruled out any possibility of travel the next day. Cancer in my left lung, pneumonia in my right: no wonder I felt tired and my breathing was laboured! The doctor wanted me to stay in hospital overnight, but I insisted on going home. I really wanted the rest of my family to go on holiday the next day, and I didn’t want to miss out on time with them before they left.
Naturally I was disappointed to not be able to fly out with them, but all along I’d had the attitude that being offered the trip was a very real part of the gift, and I received that with joy and gratitude. I was hoping that I might be able to travel a few days later, but had no idea if I could get a flight, or how much it might cost, or if I’d be well enough …
Jono & the kids left, and I was so happy for them. I was also very happy to go back to bed! Friends brought food and checked in on me several times a day. I was in good hands, and grateful for the opportunity to be at home and sleep. People were praying, and every few hours I noticed that I felt considerably better than I had earlier. On Easter Sunday I wasn’t well enough to go to church in the morning, nor even across the street to the neighbours’ for brunch (they generously sent food over for me to enjoy at home!), but by dinner time I was up for dinner at other neighbours’, and stayed much longer than I’d planned since I continued to feel better throughout the evening. (Can any of you imagine me perking up during dinner conversation?)
On Easter Monday I felt well enough that I called the travel agent to inquire about flights. I learned that flying out on Tues. was quite pricey, but Wed. wasn’t so bad. I booked a flight for Wed. with hope and excitement, glad for an extra day of recovery. Other friends even gave us cash which covered the flight and a few other costs. We felt so blessed.
Snow still covered part of our backyard the day I left for the airport. The view of the DR from the plane was amazing: too bad I didn’t have a camera with me! (But I’m glad for the great photo’s Jono & the kids took before I arrived!)
I was so grateful to be able to go on this holiday – even if only for part of the week. It was relaxing to not have to think about cooking or homework or music practice. I enjoyed watching the kids play and reading and hanging out with everyone. Many smiles and much laughter! By the end of my time there, I was playing with the kids in the pool and feeling pretty well!
What a good gift from God and from our friends … and may I add that we are very thankful for the timing of my fever: had it occurred even the next day, while I was in the DR, that would have been at the very least a lot more complicated. Pneumonia can be so serious, and I am thankful for the good medical care I received here, including effective antibiotics.
I am also so grateful for the good gifts of friends who prayed and contributed together to care for me here and give us this great, relaxing trip. I can’t tell you how much that meant to us. What a beautiful grace-filled oasis in the midst of a long and difficult winter!