Sunday, April 15, 2018

Choosing Chemo

Five years ago today, I started chemotherapy. I can never forget the date. "Tax Day" will always be "Chemo Day" to me.

How well I remember my fear as I faced this treatment. I did not want to go through chemotherapy. I had hoped my doctors would say that surgery and radiation were enough. But because my cancer was triple-negative (meaning it was not fed by estrogen, progesterone, or HER2 and could not be treated with hormone therapy), they also wanted me to do 6 rounds of chemotherapy.

Of course, I always had the option to refuse the treatment if I wanted to.

During the month between my post-op pathology report and the start of chemo, as I began to feel better following surgery, I kept asking myself, "Why am I doing chemotherapy again?" I felt just fine. Was it really necessary to put my body through all that?

I had been given several books to read about alternative cancer treatments. My chemo was scheduled to start on a Monday. So I decided to take Sunday afternoon to decide once and for all on my course of treatment. [FYI: I do not recommend doing this the day before!]

These books ran the gamut from beating cancer with nutrition to bizarre "quack" treatments that sometimes required travel to remote places. And in between was the suggestion of modified treatments, going through surgery/chemo/radiation with the support of complementary therapies. There was lots of interesting information, and many miraculous stories of survival ~ but the more I read, the more confused I became.

Evening came on, and I laid down the last book in frustration and despair. Later I admitted to Greg, "I'm just so scared!" and melted into helpless tears.

But then it was like God quietly spoke to my heart: "Anne, are you ready to listen to Me now? You've taken in all this advice from everyone else. Do you want to hear what I have to say?"

Of course I did. How could I not? He made me! He understood my body best of all. He knew exactly what I needed.

As a child I had memorized: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?"* But around the time of my diagnosis and surgery, I had been reading Calm My Anxious Heart. Author Linda Dillow challenged me to look at the context surrounding these verses. And this is what I found:

  Thus says the LORD:
  Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals
     and make mere flesh their strength,
     whose hearts turn away from the LORD.
  They shall be like a shrub in the desert,
     and shall not see when relief comes.
  They shall live in the parched places of the wilderness,
     in an uninhabited salt land.
  Blessed are those who trust in the LORD,
     whose trust is the LORD.
  They shall be like a tree planted by water,
     sending out its roots by the stream.
  It shall not fear when heat comes, 
     and its leaves shall stay green;
  in the year of drought it is not anxious,
     and it does not cease to bear fruit.*

And then, later in the passage:

  Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed;
     save me, and I shall be saved;
     for you are my praise.*

That was it! That was the answer! My healing would not come from traditional therapies or alternative therapies or complementary therapies, although God might choose to use them. If I were healed, my healing would come from Him!

I chose to go through with chemotherapy and trust God with the result. I thank Him for giving me five years (and counting!) since then to spend with my family and friends. And, because of Jesus, I still have eternity to look forward to! 

All this . . . and Heaven, too!

*Old Testament, Jeremiah 17:9
*Old Testament, Jeremiah 17:5-8
*Old Testament, Jeremiah 17:14

No comments:

Post a Comment