September 30, 2010

"Radiation Off" and Gaggles of Geese

That's right, radiation is officially off. I brought home my monstrosity of a green radiation mask on Monday. Do I want to keep it? I don't know, but it sort of seemed like if someone should throw it away it should be me and not some hospital employee. I'm playing with the idea of paper mache... I mean really, how often do you get a perfect mold made of your face?

Three days off of radiation, two weeks off of chemo and I am already feeling a million times better than I was. My platelets are still low and we have yet to discover whether or not I will need a platelet transfusion. Now we wait to let my body recover in the next four weeks. After that comes another MRI and we find out what happened during the last six weeks and a new baseline for the future.

James and I have decided that we really don't care much about what the outcome of things will
be. It changes all the time anyway, and it is always based on percentages of this and that. Nothing is concrete, nothing is known, therefore we choose to ride the less emotional rollar coaster of taking every peice of news with a grain of salt.

Fall has certainly arrived with all of its stunning beauty here on the prairies. Last Sunday, James and I left the boys with my parents for the day and spent the day driving in the fall beauty together by ourselves. For those of you familiar with Manitoba, we went out to Hecla Island and Gimli (picture). It was truly beautiful and refreshing to be in nature and to be alone. We chatted about important things like our mutual dislike for Obama discussions and the ecological situation of the coral reefs around Indonesia. We had lunch at a little Greek diner in Gimli, walked the pier and giggled together about a rediculous Chinese name we invented for the duck we saw swimming around the docked boats. All in all, a very good day filled with normal (for us) interactions, without any overwhelming needs to discuss heavy topics. Those topics did come up, but they did so naturally and fluidly, not forced (the way that it should).

An amusing part of our new home is the duck pond that is in the park behind our house. They are rediculously close to us and all we can hear at any hour of the day is Canadian Geese squabbling amongst themselves. Night time is especially bad, and as they bully each other around, I find myself imagining that they are all simultaneously saying to each other, "Squack! Squack! I'm a goose! Squack! Are you a goose too? Squack!" I have to admit that I have never spent so much time contemplating geese before as I have in the last few weeks. I've started thinking about them as large football shaped torsos with cylindrical necks and zero brains. James and I have been concocting all manner of ways in which we could sabotage them and throw them into even more chaos (ie. large area net systems for trapping, timed shooting as they fly over our house so that their velocity would carry them downward through our kitchen window into the waiting boiling cauldron of water, or just sneaking up behind them and slapping them on the back of the head).
No I am not an animal hater, but trust me, after this much exposure to them it is really easy to start thinking about them as a bunch of idiots!

Lately, I have been spending a lot of time working on a project. The project is to turn our blog into a family scrapbook of sorts. I don't mean a cutesy scrapbook, but just a means turning our China experience into book form so that we can page through it at our leisure and look through it. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I also have this idea that it would really suck to lose all of this writing if the internet were ever to collapse. This is something that I really want the boys to have to look back on. The other thing is that I can put things into this book that we were never able to put on the blog. I plan on including email exchanges between James and I when we were off traveling, news stories that were happening while we were there etc.

The only problem with this is that it requires me to spend a lot of time on the blog, which as you may have figured from the last entry, can be very painful. It has been very hard for me to look at the blog and not compare "life then" to "life now". Thus, I have spent hours copying and pasting, formatting, changing etc., only to come away from it feeling very sad.

On Monday, after spending a morning doing this, I took a step of independence and announced that I was going to pick Ari up from school by myself. This is of course a calculated risk... what if I had a seizure during the half hour that I am gone? But I knew that what I needed more than anything at that time was some time to talk with God, be alone, and hear his thoughts.

This is what I came away with, and it has helped me more than anything else I have received in the last few weeks. If Satan throws fiery darts at me, they are intended for my demise. I am a child of God and he hates me. These darts are intended to turn everything about my life into something so painful that I can't think about my life without feeling pain. Me being aware of my mortality and possible death has made everything about my entire life hard for me to think about. Even absurdly small things. But what am I going to do? Should I stop thinking about and reflecting on my life? I would be submitting myself to Satan's highway robbery if I allow him to make all of the good things in my life into something that is painful, just because I no longer have it.

God showed me that Satan has been using the things near and dear to me to deceive me into opening up to the pain that he wants me to have in my life. His fiery darts come in the form of things that are dear and precious to me, memories of China, memories of my life etc. Because it is precious to me, I want to hold on to it and even hold it close to my heart. But that doesn't change the fact that it is a fiery dart that is meant to hurt me. Satan will always want to take good things and turn them into things that will hurt us. So what do I do with this?

As I walked to pick Ari up, I realized that I need God's help to extract the bitter from the sweet. I need his help to extract the poison that Satan has inserted into the good things in my life. Those weapons would not be effective if they did not carry something precious to me. As I walked, I poured out these things and slowly but surely I could feel the poison and the pain that has been flooding me for the past several weeks seeping out of me. Suddenly I could remember my life again with joy and rejoicing, instead of looking at it through a thick lens of death. I can remember our time in China now without wanting to weep. What a gift!

For days now I have felt so good! It almost feels unfair. I have found myself questioning if it is right to be able to so freely give the bad things to God, while I keep the good. But then I remembered that this is at the heart of what we believe as Christians. We as people are all destined for death, but Jesus came and he died in our place so that we could experience life instead of death. He takes our ruined lives, and in exchange gives us his life and his beauty. He takes my ruined and seemingly hopeless life and gives me beauty in its place.

On a human level, my life has literally been sentenced to death and for a number of weeks I have allowed the sting of that death to infiltrate itself into all parts of my life. But because Jesus is stronger than death and because I am learning to trust him, that sting is being removed from my life day by day. I feel joy again. I feel peace again. I no longer feel that my life has been taken away from me. I do not want Death to take slowly over my life with its deceptive ways. Instead I want give it up freely to the only one who conquered Death.

You may have noticed that I have not included any options that do not have Death. I think that in my situation Death is unavoidable, whether or not I physically die. My choice is either to die the way that Jesus did (with the hope of a resurrection), or to let Death take over me. If I follow Jesus to Death, then I have the great promise of Life. But if I let Death take over me, then I have no hope at all.

Thank you Jesus for Life.


derrydown said...

I wish you FUN!!!!

Cindy said...

I'm so happy to hear that you're feeling well and happy. I got a kick out of your idea to have a goose fall down into your ready cauldron of water.