Monday, November 7

Wear Sunscreen

[The title refers to a parody song done by "Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie" a good 10 years ago at least. I felt the content of this blog post was a bunch of shotgun statements about some of the things I have learned in the past five years. I wrote this this morning to a friend of ours who was just diagnosed with cancer and so I took the time to put some of this together.]

Feel free to ask me anything, anytime. I might have knowledge of things that doctors and nurses won't mention built on my experience. (I've done 6 different types of chemo now, had massive surgery, and done radiation as well) No need to reinvent the wheel sometimes, if you have a question please don't hesitate to ask Lisa or myself.

I saw you said you spent 3 hours with your doctor. Wow. DON'T LET HIM GO!! I've waited 3 hours to see a doctor for 5 minutes. Treasure that doctor who dedicated time to seeing you and answering your questions.

Nurses are your friends. They will look out for you. (Sometimes maybe too much) 

You, your husband, or a close friend or family member who choses to help, needs to be as aware as you are (because you might not be sometimes) about what your treatment should be. Every time they hook you up to something, inject something in you, radiate, or do surgery confirm what they are doing. It might be written wrong on the orders. Just because a piece of paper says something, doesn't mean it's what the doctor told you. If that data conflicts, have them contact the doctor. Do not simply "go with it". (Case in point: I went two rounds of chemo getting a thing that was supposed to protect my liver, however when it combines with the chemo before it's in my veins it has the possibility of making my intestines bleed. I have to make sure every time that they don't accidentally mix these two things before I get them.) 

Find something that helps you communicate what you are going through. I write (maybe a no-doh statement there...) but maybe it's having friend's who will listen to what you have to say in an honest manner. Keeping everything (questions, thoughts, answers) bottled up inside doesn't help. And there are bound to be a lot of everything these next few months.

Enjoy life. [Laugh] This is going to sound strange but, it's only cancer. Yes, it's terrifying when you sit down to think about it, but honestly, I've never found freaking out to help in my treatment at all. God has a plan for my life, just like yours no matter if you are freaking out, worried, anxious, sad, happy, joyful, etc. However, I do think that while your attitude doesn't effect God, it does effect the people around you and how they feel about God sometimes. 

This is going to be hard to read I think, it was hard for me to hear when I first heard it years ago: You have been given a pretty spacial gift with your cancer. This is God calling you, and your husband, out of your lives and saying, "Hey, I want you to get to know me better. It won't be easy, but I'm here, and my Love is far deeper and wider than you can imagine right now. And this is the way you're going to learn about the depth of my love." 

God will provide. Sometimes in strange ways. But something that Lisa and I had to learn was that we had to let go of some pride to allow people to help us. People helping you do things (cook, watch kids, drive to the hospital with you, clean the house, clean the bathroom, hang out with you, etc) is partially for you, but it's also for the person helping. It's a way that God can use your life to help someone else learn more about serving people who need it. And that ranges from the emotional to the physical. Let people serve you, be available to be helped, let people know how they can help. You'll learn some things and so will they.

Be careful of superstitions. Both about healing stuff, and spiritual stuff. "I drink 14 liters of carrot juice before the last MRI I had and the tumor was smaller, I need to do that again!" Or, "God won't heal me if I don't read the bible enough." Things like that you KNOW if you think about it aren't true, but it's really easy to fall into that way of thinking. 

People you don't know, barely know, or perhaps know well, will scour the internet attempting to find cures for you. Smile and nod, 98% of that stuff is crazy talk. They are just trying to help, and some people cope with what you are going through in their own way trying to help. Maybe you can redirect their energy to other things... like scrubbing toilets. [If they really want to be helpful when searching through crap...]

God's not going anywhere. Asking "why" won't really solve anything either. There will be so many why's by the end of this trial some you know and other's you don't. Go with it, ask God for strength and wisdom and dive in.

Hair - Ok, I undertand that hair means different things to different people, but in my book getting well is more important than looking good. Remember your identity is in Christ, not in how you look that morning.

Those are some of the things Lisa and I have learned the past few years. Lisa said I needed to pass them on. So I hope these are helpful to people other than the enjoyment I got out of the hour it took me to write.

Thanks team!

[ Prayer request? ]


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