Terry has 15 more days of actual treatment over the next three weeks. Weekends he gets off for recuperation.
Monday though Friday the 9th - 13th,
16th - 20th, and the
23rd - 27th...which is his birthday.
The last chemo is on Monday the 23rd. The nausea and other side effects I've mentioned are worse the 5-6 days after chemo and then they seem to lessen. They don't go away, but they get better.
Radiation, which I haven't said much about, is very, very difficult. It's 13 minutes each day when Terry is strapped on his back, unable to move, with a tongue-depressor-like thing as far down his throat as he can get it without gagging and a 'shield' as big as a deck of cards in his mouth. (You don't want to envision this for very long.) Every day it is a challenge to enter 'the dragon'.
The side effects from radiation - very sore throat, 'sunburned' skin on his neck and face, no ability to taste or smell, dry mouth, inability to swallow, enormous difficulty eating, digestive troubles, pain - are cumulative....that means the possibility of all these side effects getting even worst over the next 15 days is great.
Pause. Deep breath. Whatever our present circumstances we know ...
God is good and faithful. We. Know.
These are our specific requests so you can pray:
- That Terry would know and experience the supernatural presence of the Lord each day - especially in the afternoons. (Radiation treatments are somewhere between 2:30 and 3:30PM.)
- That the courage and strength he cries out for each day would be real and abundant. It's Terry's intention to finish treatment well. (The actual statistics of those who finish this particular treatment are abysmal. Unfinished treatment means an almost certain recurrence rather than a cure. We're DONE with cancer.)
- That every sacrificial moment of the chemo and radiation would be effective - that the growth and multiplication of cancer cells would be stopped and that every cancer cell would die.
- That the side effects would not worsen, but instead - ease.
- That Terry's calorie intake each day would be stable and that weight loss would be minimal. (Avoiding a stomach/feeding tube.)
- That Terry would be encouraged instead of discouraged as he looks at the calendar. Those 15 days seem like forever at this point.
To address the first 5 with us - just keep Terry in your thoughts and prayers. It matters, we feel the love and strength.
To address the last one - we are making him a calendar with encouragement, jokes, promises, scripture.... just courage - for each of these last 15 treatment days.
Would you like to take a day - and send encouragement for Terry? Send me what you would want me to write on his calendar for a specific, or just any day - and I'll make sure those are the words he hears and sees. It'll be on the mirror, in his pocket on a note card, in his journal, on a sticky note inside the dragon's belly...and on his heart by the end of the day I am sure.
Last week friends sent Terry a John Wayne mug - when you tip it up to drink you are able to read, "Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." He LOVES it, so don't feel like you've got to be serious!
Jokes, kind words, homemade soup, encouraging words, texts, emails. Prayers and scripture. A blanket made by strangers and sent from afar. A recording on our phone answering machine of the HITC staff singing. The Hargrave children praying for Mr. Terry from the other side of the planet. Our nieces and nephews, cousins, brothers and sisters, parents, friends old and new sending love, whacky advice, weird recipes, and even a wig - there's plenty we love about each day.
All these things and many more help fill our hearts with good things even while they are so effectively emptied, daily, with the ugliness of cancer.
Don't worry - we're planning on winning. Terry's life, my life, the life of our family will be a trophy, in the end, of the goodness of the Lord.
Send something if it is on your heart. He'll be blessed.
"I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart; wait on the Lord." Ps 27 - now there's a good one, somebody send me that one.