Here I am, 2 weeks post chemo, and so far it’s been pretty okay. I was pretty sick the first week, the second week I felt relatively normal besides some extreme fatigue, and this week, just when I expected it would all be out of my system and I’d be back to “normal” I was sick in bed for 2 days. I just saw a gal that I used to work with on Monday and I told her that chemo has been better than I thought, I mean I didn’t even lose my hair! When I was a little kid (I think I’ve told you guys this before) I used to pull big balls of hair out of my head when I showered. It was just the normal shedding but as a kid I used to get nervous that I had cancer. Well, the morning after I told her that I’ve kept all my hair, I relived that moment when I was a kid, but this time, I have cancer. I just sat in the shower, staring at my fist full of hair in shock. No one said it would hit me, 2 weeks post chemo, when everything seems to be getting better. It’s been extremely discouraging.
When I’m super discouraged, or feeling scared about dyeing, I listen to Negro Spirituals. I have learned so much in listening carefully to the lyrics. I encourage you to check them out, it will challenge your perspective on death. I mean here in America we have so many resources, so many options to “escape” our suffering. I get a new “cure” sent to me every single day. We have modern medicine, we have all these special diets, we have essential oils, we have pills, we have clinics, I mean the list is astronomical! Only in America can we actually be overwhelmed by all the resources and “cures” and documentaries and research. While I am grateful for the abundant resources, I think it’s created a certain expectation in our culture. Have you ever noticed that we have this expectation that we should die at a certain, comfortable, old age? If death comes before then it’s not fair, or it’s unjust, and we do everything we possibly can to prolong our life and escape death.
As I struggle with this sense of entitlement, I listen to Negro Spirituals because they are baffling to me. Here you have a seriously suffering people. These people were slaves, living with death being prevalent in all ages. Most of the death they experienced would seem to be absolutely unjust and horrible. Sometimes even at the hand of another. Yet, their songs are some of the most joyful and inspiring songs I’ve ever listened to. They are songs of passion, gratitude, and a genuine joy in longing for heaven, despite their circumstances.
I mean check out some of these lyrics you guys:
“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”
If you get there before I do,
Coming for to carry me home;
Tell all my friends I’m coming too,
Coming for to carry me home.
“I Don’t Feel No-Ways Tired”
Oh I’m seeking for a city, Hallelujah,
For a city in to the Heaven, Hallelujah,
Oh the brethren travel with me, Hallelujah,
say will you go ‘long with me, Hallelujah.
“Listen to the Lambs”
Come on sister with your ups an’ downs,
Want to go to Heaven when I die;
Angels waiting for to give you a gown,
Want to go to Heaven when I die,
I mean that’s a teeny sneak peek. So as I listened I thought to myself, “How do I, during this trial, in the midst of my suffering, as I wonder if I’m going to die, get to the place where I can sing joyous songs of heaven rather than complaining that I deserve more?”. Well, the answer is, keep my eyes on Heaven.
All the Negro Spirituals are about the excitement of going to a better place, of meeting the Savior, of spending eternity in a world with no suffering. I mean this is NOT as good as it gets folks, and coming from a girl who has been fighting for her life for the last 2 years, who has had 11 biopsies, face changing surgeries, failed immunotherapies, burning radiation, and now chemo, I can say I’m so grateful that this isn’t it. When my eyes are on heaven I am forced to reflect on the goodness of the gospel, I am forced to thank Jesus for saving me so that this isn’t the end for me, I am forced to be grateful for what He has given me rather than all that I feel that He’s taking away. And that’s the key, that’s what the slaves knew, they had an understanding and gratitude for what Jesus did for them so that they could sing songs that look forward to the promise of eternal life in paradise. AMEN.
I go back to Seattle for chemo round 2 next week. I will also hopefully get some results from some various tests that I can get into later. Please pray for my symptoms and for me as I lose my hair. I appreciate all the support you’ve given me and some really beautiful head wraps! Love you all.