Yesterday, I got my 2nd oil change/chemo treatment. It went well. No major issues. So far, my fatigue has been SIGNIFICANTLY less than what I experienced with round 1. That's a huge praise. Today, I was able to be up and about at times of the day interacting with the family and my beloved Mommy as she has has been with us during the last week to help around the house and care for the kids while Sara was taking Special Girl back to college. On my previous treatment, I pretty much had to be in bed all day.
I've had some nausea, but to a lesser degree than the previous treatment, and only one new symptom that was a surprise: hiccups!! I've since found out it's a common side effect of one of the medicines I'm taking for the chemo. Chemo: what a funny word. Not sure how I'm supposed to feel taking pills out of a bio hazard bag and then swallowing them. I suppose as long as I don't wake up eating my wife, it's OK (zombie joke). Another great update... the bilirubin count (measurement of liver function) is back in the normal range!! Totally awesome after just one treatment! Thank you for your prayers.
I also brought with me a blanket someone had made for me to remind me of the many people who are praying for us as we continue treatment as well. The blanket, while practical, as it's chilly in the human fix it shop, is also just a special thing to remind me that we're not alone... because all of you are so awesome. And the awesome people keep coming.
When I was a new believer at the Air Force Academy, there were a group of guys who had grown up in Christian homes who truly mentored me and helped me establish a proper foundation in the new life. I got to speak to one of them today. It was truly a blessing to catch up, share about what God has been doing in our lives, get him an update on treatment and to pray with this godly brother. I owe him a lot. When I was a baby Christian, I lacked discernment, and he was one of the guys who guided me away from some bad decisions, particularly about my wife-pursuits. However, he was also there to give the thumbs up about Sara. Good counsel is precious and has long-lasting effects (21 years!). During our time, he also shared some encouraging stories of some of his experiences related to what we're facing, and it was a blessing to hear them.
Lastly, however, he had a very good word for me. As we closed, he reminded me that people are going to be watching us. Wow! With our large family, trying to live for the Lord, and in the midst of what we're facing, the reminder that people are watching us is a timely word. It's good to hear that in effect, what we're facing isn't ultimately about us, but what we're reflecting and radiating in our lives no matter what we're facing. His counsel is in line with 2 Corinthians 5 that reminds us of our mission: we are ambassadors for Christ.
"So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
I am so thankful for my brother's words. I have to admit that since I'm going through cancer, that while God is challenging me in many ways, it's still too common of a temptation to focus so much on myself and my immediate needs. With all the love from people, the care and the prayer it could be a pitfall to become self-centered and minimize other people's challenges, and lastly to forget, my testimony needs to radiate Christ. It's His reconciliation that our suffering should highlight by juxtaposition. It is one of the greatest meanings of suffering after all: we need to be rescued, and we are all called to be ambassadors to that end: whether in life or in death.
Therefore, I pray I stay humble, and am emboldened all the more to glorify my Savior and my Father in Heaven... because someone may be watching and wondering if God is real. This is the kind of person who doesn't want to hear about how awesome God is when he has a 6-figure job, a good boss and great coworkers, is married to a godly hottie, and has 8 gorgeous children.
This person wants to see if a man will cling to and still proclaim His Savior when the flames of hell on earth are up to his neck.
I hope, by God's grace, I can remain faithful no matter what comes. I hope we all can be that way ... as there is likely someone watching you too.