I wasn’t with her, but she called it surreal. It’s been over a month since her last clinic visit, and closer to two since her last poke. She vividly recounts the months of visits before, many times in a wheelchair. She recalled being looked at with pity. She recalled the needle-pricked veins. The weakness. The routine. She was never really fond of it all but it grew to be normal. Now, a short time later, it is only a memory. Going back reminded her that she doesn’t want to be there again.
We laid in bed last night as she describe this. I watched her talking as she laid on her back and looked up. I was caught off guard by the tear that rolled from the outer corner of her eye toward her ear. This clinic visit was emotional for her and I just figured that out. It dawned on me that I never experienced her side of it. I may have been pushing the wheelchair and holding her hand in some of the moments, but she was there every time. It was her. Her veins. Her frailty. Her pain. Her nausea. Her goals gone. Her body broken. As the tears continued she said, “I don’t think I could go through that again.”
She went on to describe the encounters with others who were going through what she went through. She knew what they were feeling. She found some purpose in her experience as she related to them and spoke encouragement to them.
We don’t get professional interpretation of the results until September 13, but her blood work shows that the CA125 number is down even lower than the last time she had it checked a month ago. Her white blood cell count and hemoglobin are also down which is not great. Ironically today she got sick with a low grade fever and feeling like crap.
This new phase takes some extra faith. We look back and see the hard road we traveled and wonder how we got to here. God was faithful to sustain us all along.
Hate to tell you this, but 20 something years later, I am still a blithering mess when I go near a hospital or doctors. It’s just a legacy, and yet it is also that incredible blessing that reminds me just how much every single day of my life counts. I had friends who looked at me incredulously (I know I’ve said this before) and told me that “heaven is a wonderful place” …… I’m sure it is, but I LOVE life and I appreciate every minute, and I’m sure I would not be this way excep for my journey.
Sorry to hear about your low grade fever. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done is to convince myself that something might be “normal”…… If your immune system is low (and it sounds like it is) then your fever might actually be that you’ve “caught something” (like anybody else could). I’m praying for that immune system because you also need it to fight the bad stuff ……. Whatever that looks like! I don’t want to suggest anything, but I can tell you there are two things that I depend on…..Echinacea (and I won’t tell you how much I take) and Airborne. These days my problems center around university students who catch stomach viruses (my challenge today) and start throwing up everywhere…… And I’m trying not to catch it! More information than you needed, but I am right into trying to keep my immune system in the best shape possible! Loves and hugs…..and prayers every night! (Definitely a record for me! Hehehehehe).
Tara & Jay: We’re continuing to think about and pray for you all. Thank you for being open and real as you continue on this long journey. God’s grace is sufficient.
– Tom for all
Tara, Jay & family-thinking and praying for you and your family. I met you, Tara, just over a year ago during the summer & fall session of MOTR & found much encouragement from you as a mom. I enjoyed running with you and have missed seeing you. I pray the Lord would grant you strength, comfort & peace during this time. While my husband is a pastor & we see suffering in the life of the congregation that he serves here in Chatfield, I have gained a new perspective on loving ones family & cherishing the time we have together. Thank you, Jay, for sharing your family with us through your journal entries. My own cousin who is in her mid-forties and has three children, is battling metastatic breast cancer and growing weaker every day. I am thankful she knows Jesus as her Saviour. I shared this Psalm with her just the other day, & I pray it gives you comfort also…
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked advance against me
to devour[a] my flesh,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
4 One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the Lord.
7 Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
be merciful to me and answer me.
8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
God my Savior.
10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
the Lord will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, Lord;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
spouting malicious accusations.
13 I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
Tiger lily. I too said I won’t go through that again. I brings a feeling of near panic just thinking about it. So my conclusion is to keep looking forward. When I look back all I get is a sore neck! Keep your eyes in the prize!!! Hugs, jane. Oh! Jill had a baby boy on August 12. They called him Niko! Sweet and mellow.
Tara and Jay,
Thank you for sharing so much of your lives with us. I’m eager to read each new entry to see what you’ve been up to and how things are coming along. I’m so happy that the CA125 number keeps going down. Something in there is working in the right direction! I can’t say as though I blame you for not wanting to do it all over again. God will hold your hand, helping you to make the decisions that need to be made along the way. Praying for only the best news possible each and every day.
It’s okay to accept. As hard and as painful as it is….I’m learning “to accept life on life’s terms” is sometimes freeing.
I, too, have been going through some medical issues this year and I totally validate your feelings Tara. You get to a place where you’re just done with the poking and prodding and prying….
I get it!
It’s okay to want to take what comes, be left alone, enjoy what is in front of you, and mourn….all at the same time!!
Much, much love,
am thankful for your progress…. and pray for total return of your health. God heals us through our prayers, faith, and what better hands to be in ! We say prayers everyday for the FAB 4 –you, Amy, Aunt Lois Jean and myself. I hope that the first day of school was exciting….. I know that it was at the McNamer’s — Kaleigh Anna started middle school. Connor and Kennedy were also excited to be going to school also. Same at Tracey’s house — the girls were excited to be starting school also.
I can’t imagine the footprints you’ve taken with this cancer. Only each journey is different. You are an awesome woman with a heart that has helped you through the tough times along with your faith that sustains you. I pray that you will be able to get well quickly. The summer has come and passed — you feel like you missed something — because the treatments didn’t make t very appealing to enjoy it the way you need to.
Reflection for myself has helped me realize that life is a gift from God…. and I am not taking it for granted anymore. The Lord has something else in mind for all of us. But, I have been able to find some humor along the way……..
Please know that we are all sending our best thoughts your way for you and your family. Jay — you are a wonderful husband, father, and best friend. Your love is stronger now than it was when you said , ” I Do ” I am in awe of how you have kept everyone up on what is going on. God is the center of the family…
Love you all, God Bless and keep you all safely in his hands.
Aunt DeeDee and Uncle Frank