Thursday, February 3, 2011

Feeling down.

There is something we learned about in my psychology classes back in college.  It's called "learned helplessness".  It is what keeps girls with their abusers, and sometimes kidnap victims with their kidnappers.  It is when you "learn" that you are powerless against something, and so the only power I guess you feel like you have at that point is to "choose" the thing you are powerless against.  I'm starting to wonder if I'm becoming that girl.  My captor is called "doing nothing" and I'm getting really, really good at it.  Probably too good.

I came to the horrifying realization the other day that there are certain mental things that I can't do right now, even if I try.  I'm not talking about being a rocket scientist.  I was just trying to work on some Physics for my math/physics teacher certification.  I started trying to work on it, and it was like the huge overload, and I had barely gotten started!  I've tried to read some of the science books that I've been looking forward to having time to read, and it is like this huge information vomit that I can't see through.  This is the kind of thing that I normally enjoy.  And I can't right now.  It is too overwhelming.  (Do you remember that "Twilight Zone" episode where there was the man that just wanted to read, that's all he ever wanted, and he was in some basement during the apocalypse, and when he came out, he was finally all alone and the only building that survived was the library?  He's elated feeling like he has gone to heaven.  And then he accidentally drops his glasses and steps on them so he can't see, and you leave the episode with him crying "noooooo!!!!!".  That's about right.  I've got all this time to do all these things that I've been wanting time to do, and now that I have the time, I don't have the energy or mental capacity to do them.) I started crying and asked John if he would still love me as much if I couldn't think very well anymore.  Of course he would.  I know that.  But I would feel left out of his world, that's for sure.  I'm already feeling left out. I keep reassuring myself that this "chemo brain" (that's what Dr. Le calls it) is temporary and I'll be me again in no time.  But how long?  A few weeks after chemo is finished?  A month?  A few months?!?!

There's something wrong with my blood clotting response right now.  I need to talk to Dr. Le about it because it's becoming a bit worrisome.  I've had a pretty constant bloody nose now for a few days.  John and I were up till after 3:30 the other night trying to get it to stop.  I woke up in a little puddle of blood today.  It is congealing, but not really clotting.  I won't gross you out with more details than that. There is something about getting used to bleeding that is in itself depressing.  Of course you have that lady in the Bible who bled for like 30 years, so I should really get over it. 

I guess I am just sorta depressed because I don't feel like myself anymore.  And I wonder, when I get the chance to go back being "myself", will I be someone different by then?  Someone less?

My friend Jenise recommended that I try some reading that was less brainy.  Not a bad idea.  Maybe it's time to read the Harry Potter books.  Lord knows I'd never do it if I didn't do it now.  If I can't handle those, then there REALLY isn't any hope for me:)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Another tough round, but I'm tougher (at least that's what I keep telling myself!)

Wow.  Well... they're getting tougher.  Lucky for me, tougher doesn't mean nausea though.  More like I just got hit with a dump truck.  A big one:)  I feel so thankful for my mom, who just lets me sleep, wakes me up to eat and drink, and then lets me go back to sleep.  Usually, it has been an up and down, but I've still managed to maybe run a few errands with mom.  Maybe go out for lunch, play some scrabble.  This round,  I was pretty much unconscious till Friday. I perked up a little on Saturday, but was running a temp of about 100.

Sunday was so awesome.  I still couldn't do much and stayed in bed, but I have the most awesome friends who will come to me when I can't get out.  My friend Katy came and layed in bed with me and watched Disney's "Oceans" (definitely not as good as their previous "Earth" movie).  Then, Jenise (who leads worship at church) came over and did a little private worship session with/for me (since I couldn't make it to church).  It was so amazing.  I love to hear her sing and play the guitar, and I hope I didn't ruin it too much when I sang with her.  :)

Today, I went to get fluids like I do every Monday.  I don't know if I've mentioned this yet, but my Aunt Urla has been taking me to the hospital every single Monday to get fluids.  I feel so lucky and so blessed, and I really feel like I'll look back on our time with fondness because when will I ever get to spend so much time with her, just the two of us again?  Never, that's when!  God just brings family and friends when you most need them, and turns it into this amazing time of blessing. 

God has been really working on my heart in the areas of contentment.  I love our little apartment.  It is great.  It is small.  Really small.  But that hasn't bothered me at all... until I've had to be in it all day every day.  Then it feels REALLY small.  And really cluttered.  So, I've been "fantasizing" about maybe moving into a larger place, maybe renting a little house nearby.  But the thing is, it will of course will cost a little bit more.  I can't remember if I've shared this yet (another side effect of chemo.  I'm turning into that weird aunt who tells you the same story over and over...), but I've got a little miracle that is happening on a daily/monthly basis.  I will scream it from the rooftops because God is so good, and that is how much He is providing for us financially.  I liken it to the story in I Kings 17, where Elijah has been in the wilderness and there was like 3 years with no rain, and he comes upon a widow and asks her to make him some bread, and she tells him that she has enough for pretty much one loaf.  So, he tells her to make him one anyway.  Well, here's the relevant passage:

14 For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD sends rain on the land.’”  15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah.

So, I don't liken myself to Elijah.  And I'm not a widow (thank you Lord Jesus!!!).  But I'll tell you something: our financial situation does NOT make sense.  John and I have made a very pointed decision not to look too closely into the numbers, because we KNOW that they will not add up.  We aren't spending frivolously, but we aren't living off of ramen noodles either.  In some magical way, we have kept our previous lifestyle (for the most part), and are doing it off of half the income.  Less than half even!!  AND we are still putting a little into savings every month!!  My friends, this is an act of God.  There really is no other explanation.  And every time I think about it, I have to bow to my God in recognition that I really am not worthy of such a gift, but that I recognize it, thank Him, and very willingly accept it. 

So, here is where the whole "contentment" thing comes in.  WHO THE HECK DO I THINK I AM?!!  I am receiving this amazing bounty from the Lord, providing for all our needs (AND even a few date nights!), and here I am fantasizing and wanting more?!?  A bigger place?!?!  We shouldn't be able to afford what we have now based on the fact that I'm not working.  How dare I!!  It's one of those things where I'm catching myself, and then I fall on my knees in shame because if I were God, I'd be all "Well fine!!  What I'm doing isn't good enough for ya, then I'll just let you see what it's like without it!".  He'll just take his ball and go home!  But luckily, we serve a merciful God who is kind to ungrateful children such as we.  And so every time I am tempted to look on craigslist "just to see what's out there", I stop myself, ask the Lord to forgive me for taking his provision for granted, and then thank Him for what He has provided. I won't say it isn't a struggle.  But honestly, if you aren't "struggling" with anything, then it probably means you've given in to everything.  So I sit in our little apartment, and revel in how peaceful it is.