My neutrophils have been taking a beating.
[Caption: what chemo has done to my neotrophils... they need a break.]
Yesterday, I didn't know what they were, but I've learned they are important for fighting infection. Before the scheduled treatment #5 yesterday, they took my blood, and while my white blood cells and other measurements were OK for treatment, the neutrophils were AWOL. Well, not really AWOL, but weren't a quorum. While their show rate was still better than members of Congress' committee meeting attendance, it wasn't enough. Unfortunately, we had to call off the chemo bombing run.
So, my doc decided it was time for a break to recharge the immunos. I'm sure you're wondering: "is that bad?" Well, it's more like neutral, so-so, shuay-shuay kinda news. The whole round of treatment was targeted at 4-6 treatments, and it depended on how the body could handle the aggressive treatment. We did 4, and 5 & 6 were contingent. So, while it's good to continue to treat to try to shrink the cancer as much as possible, it's more dangerous to miss more committee meetings... I mean neutrinos... sorry, neutrophils. (Neutrinos are a Star Trek thing, and my short term memory wants to call them neutrinos. Geordi would approve.)
If you don't know who that is... congrats... you're cool. If you do know him... semper geekus.
The good news is, however, that there was significant shrinkage from the round overall, and that is something for which to be thankful. However, while my neutrinos are sucking wind, I have had very minor side effects from a rather aggressive treatment. Minor is good. I've read of much, much worse. The biggest impact to me has been my hair, but that was a good thing (see a previous post), and it was already calling "mayday!" so it was more of a mercy kill.
So, was there a hard part? Yes. Yes, there was. When we left the doc's office yesterday, I started into a 24 hr funk. I think it was 2 things: 1) no chemo... no measurable effort of the fight, 2) the reminder that there are no promises with this type of cancer regarding the future.
#1 + #2 = 3x the reminder of the loss of control. God, in His Word is very good in reminding us of these truths:
"All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." - Psalm 139:16
"Man's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed." - Job 14:5
However, I still like to believe I can control even my limited destiny, even if He never promised such a thing. That's a truth I still want to fight no matter how much He lovingly teaches me. So... it's back to idol smashing. God is reminding me that He is in control, and I am not. And, I struggle against the truth to my own despair.
Well, I must share what broke the despair... Wanna guess?!?!
It's a gift He gives us in His Son...
It's what we should do with sin...
Repentance had me balling like a baby tonight... and my lovely wife held me through it all. One thing this idol battle has exposed is some anger I've been harboring against myself. Here's a non-inclusive list:
- Mad at myself for not taking better care of myself.
- Mad at myself if I die and abandoning my wife.
- Mad at myself for abandoning the kids if I die.
- Mad at myself if I've let God down.
I can't type anymore... that's enough. I don't know if other people with cancer feel a profound guilt for imposing on those they love. I certainly have. For the last 3 months I've been crushing myself with this guilt and a perceived need to apologize to those I love most for what I'm "doing to them."
I know it's a lie, but living in a fallen world is confusing. It's hard to know the truth when you're bombarded with so many lies. Being an American and part of institutions where you learn to overcome repeatedly, it's easy to believe after many successes, you can master all fates. But, the truth is, there are some fates (especially eternal ones) that need to be entrusted to the One Who truly is the Master of all fates.
As I wept, that's Who I cried out to. I needed to let go of that burden. After all, His is the only judgment that can ultimately settle the soul. He's led me to entrust my eternal destiny to Him. Now, I must continually entrust each step of this shorter-term journey to Him.
This control thing will make us all sick. Or, it's because we're all sin sick that we think we have control. No matter which direction that deadly spiral spins, we're all sick. Thankfully, Jesus has something to say about that:
"It is not the healthy who need a doctor,but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." - Mark 2:17
The Gospel provides us precious revelation of our sickness and our need for Christ. The expanding awareness of our sin should magnify the impact the Gospel has on our lives. And, the more the Gospel impacts us, the more it should reprogram our souls into the image of Christ ... for such is our end game.
From The Valley of Vision:
"Here, it is my duty,
to be as Christ in this world,
to do as Christ would do,
to live as He would live,
to walk in love and meekness,
then He would be known,
then would I have peace in death."