Tomorrow Jim begins chemotherapy. He had a port installed above his clavicle on Tuesday, had a “chemo education” briefing today, and I picked up anti-nausea drugs this afternoon. It’s almost as though we are going on a long trip, perhaps a nice boat trip where Jim might get seasick, except that Jim is embarking on a six-month treatment for colon cancer. We’ve come down off the high of finding out that the cancer hadn’t spread to other internal organs, and are now facing a long winter’s slog through twelve treatments. There has been an air of unreality to this all along, because Jim hasn’t actually been sick. The tumor is removed, and the doctor pronounced him “almost cancer free.” That’s a big “almost! ” There is a palpable sense of friends and family saying goodbye as we leave on this journey. I say “we” because I now appreciate the impact a cancer diagnosis has on partners and families. An asteroid has crashed into our little planet, and we’re not quite sure where we are. Jim works in the evening at the library, and so tonight I prepared food for his supper tomorrow, though whether he will be horribly sick, a little bit sick, or fine, we don’t know. So I baked a small loaf of banana bread, and have made chicken baked with rosemary, rice cooked in broth, and assembled green salad ingredients. Provisions.
And I am thinking about something strange that has happened in the past month–as well as having some of the most horrible moments of our lives, we have had some of the most wonderful, because this is when you realize how much you love and are loved, and in many ways, I feel as happy as I have ever been.
I usually cry during church, though I’m not totally sure why. Something about being in a merciful, human place . . . I made it through this Sunday’s service without a tear, but when our pastor talked about letting go of fear and trusting in God’s love, I began to cry. Can we do this? Being freed from fear and moving to trust, may be the most difficult part of this journey.