Monday, August 9, 2010

August 9, 2010

On Saturday we managed to get out of the house again for a short ride to the store.  Mom is battling nausea all day today so the ride was short.  Her stomach hurts and she wants to eat desperately.  Her throat is pretty much healed now from the onslaught of radiation but her taste buds are another story.  She can barely stand the taste of water but she is still drinking it.  If we could only give one bit of advice for anyone going through chemo and radiation it would be to never stop drinking water.  There were about two weeks at the end of treatment that mom’s throat was too painful to even swallow water. We gave her more water than usual through her g-tube.  I think the amount of water she continually takes in has a lot to do with how quickly she is healing.  We hope that the taste buds will return sometime this week which means I get to go back to cooking those gourmet meals to which they were so accustomed!

Last night she spent most of the night coughing and suffering from the dry heaves.  Her tongue still shows signs of thrust which is more than frustrating all of us now.  She’s had it three times during treatment and this time she’s been on antibiotics for 3 weeks solid and she still has thrust.  We are waiting to hear from the doctor this afternoon to find out what is his analysis of the situation.

Patience is such an important part of this journey.  We were patient in waiting for the test results.  Patiently awaited mom to recover from both the med-port and then the g-tube surgery.  Patient as the affects of chemo and radiation together began their brutal assault.  And now comes what seems to be the hardest part yet – patiently waiting until we get the MRI done on the 25th and then waiting for the test results.  So many things go through our mind when we wait that it is hard to be patient.  And today we are patiently awaiting a call back from the doctor. has a unique definition of patience.  It states that patience is “the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way…”  When you actually think about the meaning of patience, you really began to understand that it truly is an art form!  

Is this a test of patience or endurance?  I think endurance is fueled by human pride.  Endurance celebrates the self-sufficiency and self-reliance of the individual, who relies on natural strength and will power to fuel his or her pride.  While patience seems to derive from humility, and the recognition of our dependence upon God and other human beings.  I’m not suggesting that endurance is not Godly, surely many Christians do endure for the sake of the mission – but it is patience that will truly reward a person.  Patience means reliance upon any being or source of power other than our own while endurance comes from within.

The human need to endure the onslaught of disease and to endure the hardships of the great fight is often a state of being that we honor and praise.  Lance Armstrong comes to mind as do most Olympic athletes and cancer survivors.  But endurance doesn’t get us anywhere when we lose control – Lance has control of when he can train, where he can train and if his bike is not working he gets another one.  But what of the need to wait? When we don’t have a choice but to wait.

We are patient but it wears thin because it fights with our human pride.  So I would argue wikipedia’s definition and instead of saying that patience is “the state of endurance” how about “the state of being”.  If we are enduring than we are in a state of being under difficult circumstances.  We are face-to-face with a delay to our pride being fulfilled – we want that answer and we want it now, we want the solution and want it to be fixed and done!  But can we do that “without acting on annoyance/anger”?  Oh but that is a contradiction, is it not?  Can human pride actually wait, while face-to-face with this seemingly impossible situation, and maintain a sense of calm and the appearance of, well, being patient? 

It is a fine line and so far Mom has walked it pretty well.  There are times of frustration but she knows that she has to be patient enough to allow the medication to run its course.  She needs to be patient enough to allow the great Healer to do his role and she needs enough patience to allow herself to rest when needed.  So far she’s doing an amazing job of it.  It begs to ask the question, would we do as well if face-to-face with the same challenge that Barb has?  I am reminded of the Bible verse, “they that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31).

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