From an article originally posted September 11, 2012…
I am just beginning to surface from my second chemo treatment. I have found a bottom that I didn’t know existed. I typically can muscle through, tough it out, but I can’t shake the discouragement that this treatment brought on tonight. As for care, I have the best. The love of my husband and Susan Jett has carried me, but the me that is being carried is so discouraged, so sick, so weary.
I despair at the thought of having to do this four more times and feeling worse with each treatment. My days are measured in how many hours I was able to sit in a chair instead of spent in bed, by the decreasing number of pills to make it through the day, or just being able to begin to eat again. Going to the bathroom is a monumental accomplishment, and the person in the mirror looks less and less like someone I recognize. I look like a dark-eyed alien that looks exactly how I feel—strange and otherworldly. I’m trying so hard to be well for those who desire me to be well. I’m the encourager without the strength to rally to tell them I’m going to be all better. I have mostly only mustered simple texts saying, It’s hard…
I see people on Facebook welcoming fall, and I feel like I’m going to lose it in a haze of drugs and sleep. I remind myself that the doctor told me my tumor is shrinking, but it’s hard not to feel like a cure this hard isn’t going to hurt me somewhere else. And I think of how much I have taken for granted. I miss that carefree lover of people who had energy to love and spend her days with strength. My friends keep reminding me of her. That I will surface from this with a story to tell.
I know a lot of people have done this before me with a lot more grace. My dear friend Anna keeps telling me that there will be good days. I need reminding a lot on the bad days. Bad days try and steal my peace. I keep saying to Susan, “How will I do this four more times?” Her answer is, “His mercies are new today, Kara.” And then she points out the specific mercies we’ve seen today. What a gift she is. What a gift. Her and the man sleeping next to me, I hurt over my despair and complaining. I want to be a lovely picture of a cancer patient all wrapped in a lovely scarf, full of joy at each moment—not the weepy, sick lady constantly questioning how I will face another treatment.
I cry thinking about going back into that office. I’m not brave, people. I’m not a good sick person. Susan leaves in the morning. I can’t even begin to say how sad that makes me. She has pointed out the graces I wasn’t watching for. She has gently loved this house and its precious contents through a very hard week.
Can’t we just skip to me being well? And I’ll bring y’all a lovely meal when you are ailing. K. Deal?