How is your glass: half-empty or half-full? I just asked my boys how they would describe me. The older one said, “You would be half-full because you’re still an awesome Mom!” The younger one said, “You? For you I think it’s all the way full!” Hahaha! I guess I betrayed my own answer by the way I asked the question. How is your glass full!
I am a person with a good imagination. I see loads of potential in people and in things. When I look at the dead, brown, bent-over stems of plants in late Autumn, I can picture them how they might have been, intensely green and fully in bloom. When I see sprouts shooting up in Spring, I can imagine the gorgeousness that they may well become in the height of summer!
But lately, sometimes, I can be a bit “half empty” regarding my health.
If you’ve read my previous posts, you may remember that we’re working out the appropriate dose of the daily chemotherapy I’ve been taking. It works really well against the cancer, but the side effects are very hard on me. So in September or October (I think) we decreased the dose to about one third of the original amount, my oncologist strictly ordering me to let him know if my cough returned. In November I started coughing, but that turned out to be pneumonia. I may not be fully recovered from the pneumonia still. It’s hard to tell. It’s hard to remember what the new “normal” is in terms of fatigue.
But last week I became certain that my coughing had increased.
And, not only had it increased, but it felt sadly familiar. It felt like last winter when I coughed from breathing in cold air, and when we drove over bumps in the car, and when I leaned back or on my left side.
My glass started draining…
So I called the oncologist’s and went in for an appointment yesterday. I was afraid that I would be told we needed to increase the dose. I was afraid that I’d have to go through those horrible side effects again. I was afraid of the future. I was afraid.
I felt like an old pro at the cancer centre. So many familiar faces which was comforting. I chatted with the receptionist. I greeted the volunteer. I waited. The nurse came to tell me my doctor wanted a chest x-ray. I trekked through the hospital to the chest x-ray place I know so well. I chatted with the receptionist there: another familiar face. I waited. Chest x-rays are quick and generally painless. Back down to the oncologist’s, signing back in with the receptionist and waiting. Briefly talking with the nurse and waiting. Then my oncologist greets me warmly and tells me that the chest x-ray shows no growth of the cancer: in fact it may even be better than the last one. (Chest x-rays are not very accurate, so it’s hard to say.) He examines me and we talk some more. I say, “So I should continue taking the same amount of the chemotherapy?” He says, “Yes”. We talk a bit more. I say, “Did I hear you correctly that this x-ray may be even better than the previous one?” “Yes,” he says.
The good news sinks in. Apparently I have a cold.
I also have pain in my leg, which may be a blood clot, so my doctor sends me trekking to another part of the hospital for an ultrasound of my legs. He says it’s probably nothing: most likely the technician will send me back to him with a piece of paper saying I’m fine, but we want to be sure. He wants the test done before Christmas, and since I’m here (and by now will be paying the full daily amount for parking anyway), I choose to have it done straight away.
My ultrasound appointment is scheduled for 2:45pm, but since it’s only 12:30, I stop for a hot chocolate on my way across the hospital to the ultrasound. When I get there, I joke around with the receptionist, then ask if it’s possible to get in earlier – if there’s a cancellation. “Highly unlikely,” he says, but he’ll let me know. “Wait,” he says. “Let me check something,” he says. The 1:00 appointment may not be coming … and suddenly I’m in!
The ultrasound technician is a sweet woman who loves her job. I chat with her and pray for her as she checks out the veins in my legs. It all looks good, and she sends me back to my oncologist with a piece of paper stapled shut.
For the last time yesterday, I sign back in with the receptionist at my oncologist’s office. He remembers my name and jokes with me that I’m getting the full service treatment. A few minutes later, my oncologist walks out with the piece of paper in his hand. “Just like I told you,” he said, “it’s all fine.” “Merry Christmas!” I say.
I came home to a beautiful arrangement of flowers sent by some special people who had no idea what kind of day I’d been having. Truly, God is good!
And so to you, dear reader, I raise my glass – it’s so full that some of my good cheer may be spilling over! Thank you for your love, care, prayers and good thoughts as I continue to journey through this valley! Rich blessings on you, dear reader: a good measure, poured out and running over. May your glass be ever full and overflowing!