Overall, its been a busy and fairly discouraging week. The last few days have found me pondering things that are so deep inside, I don't have any way of expressing them. I find myself retreating deeper and deeper inside of myself and sometimes that really scares me. I don't know how deep I go. I tried my hand at writing some poetry. In a sense it was a good thing, because it allowed me to give voice to some of the deeper, harder to express emotions that I have inside. But it also gave voice to a pain that I was otherwise unaware of. Pain that made me want to draw back even more. Maybe this is how depression starts.
I am now in my fifth week of treatments (out of six). This probably sounds hopeful, but the truth is that with each day that goes by, my body feels more and more ragged. No matter how much I sleep (or don't sleep) my body always feels as though I have spent the whole night partying. If I do sleep, I feel better for about half an hour after I wake up. This makes me think that resting is useless no matter what I do, so why even try resting? My vision is blurred and my ears feel infected (both things that I was warned about).
But we took the cake last night when James had to take me to the emergency room for crushing, piercing chest pains. I had been having them on and off for the last 24 hours, but last night they got so bad that I couldn't ignore them anymore. Chest pains is listed as one of the EMERGENCY SEE YOUR DOCTOR immediately symptoms in my information booklet. So even though I really didn't want to go, I knew that it would be stupid not to. The concern with cancer patients, especially those receiving chemotherapy and radiation is that they could experience a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs). This is a potentially deadly situation, and truthfully, it was stupid of me to wait as long as I did to finally go to the emergency room.
But it happened just as I had imagined that it would. I was poked and prodded, tested, imaged and EKG(ed). It was invasive, tiring and painful. In the end, they determined that there was no blood clot and that my heart was okay... but we don't actually know what the problem is, which means that it will probably happen again. This is mightily discouraging and a bit like having cold water thrown in your face.
Overall, this is how I am doing. I can function alright on a daily basis. I don't feel like I am hiding things or living in denial. I can joke and have fun for real, it isn't some big show I put on. I don't feel like I am pushing myself. However, I am easily drawn into these deep, slow channels that run below my surface. They carry me along and move me. Somewhere in these deep channels I have spent a lot of time contemplating the Song of Solomon.
This is a beautiful book of the bible with passionate poetry spoken between two lovers. The two are enthralled with each other and everything about the other person has made a deep impression on the other lover. The way they smell, the way they look, the way they speak, the way they feel. But then they get separated. The Lover goes off into the night and his Beloved goes out looking for him. She goes out into the city streets at night, searching for him, driven by the memory of their love for each other. While she searches for him, some men come along and beat her. But to everyone she meets she says, "Have you seen my Lover? If you see, him, tell him that I am looking for him. Tell him that I am mad with love for him."
I feel like the Beloved. I have deep precious memories of times when Jesus felt incredibly close to me, where I felt that no one understood me the way that my creator does and that I could even understand a bit of him. But I have since followed him into a dark place and I can't see where he is. I feel like I have been beaten. My hair and my physical beauty have been stripped from me. Sometimes, I feel downright naked, cold and alone, even ashamed.
But you are the people that I meet on the street. I hear that there are many people praying for me. Truthfully, I don't pretend to understand what that means or what that changes. But if I can make a request to those of you are praying for me, you the people that I meet on the street, this is what it would be. "Have you seen my Lover? If you see him, tell him I am looking for him and that I won't be satisfied until I have him. Tell him that I am mad with love for him." I know that he has not deserted me, but his withdrawal has ignited a fire in my heart.