connect-the-dot: days 76-80.

My mind is playing connect-the-dot-thoughts as I’m trying to remember this past week in chemo-history. One thought-dot to the next————I am slowly seeing the image forming, a week in time (one week? wow!) that seems to be a mere sketch of a constellation of thoughts. Each day-dot-number connects (#76 to #77 to #78…) and slowly reminds me of the days. Each dot-thought seem so distant from one another, chemo-drugs making it hard to remember and see that yes, they are actually closer to one another than I see/think. Chemo-drugs stop, stopping my brain, making me forget words and names as I try to speak even. Unneccessary speedbumps and humps that make you want to curse at them for just existing and being.

The constellation of thoughts are forming———-

My veins are desiring to quit before I actually can on this chemo-journey. IVs are becoming even more difficult to start (I didn’t think that was possible, but it is.) Men and women from the special IV team are now becoming regulars at my door, using their techniques of warming up my arms and using unique lights to open and highlight my restricting veins. They are skilled for sure!, finding impossible places and spaces in my veins, reviving life once more.

A special suprise arrives! Brother-survivor Daniel and his mama stop by since he had check-up scans. It is indeed a family reunion as other nurses and doctors stop by and say hi and hug and catch up with Daniel as well. Oh yes, Survivorship is our last name and reunions—be it we’ve seen each other last week or last year—are always welcomed, always appreciated, always remind us of our middle name we sometimes forget and then remember we too have: Hope.

After chemotherapy, my parents and I head over to OSU Integrative Medicine. The wait is long, long and my chemo-medicated emotions make me less patient, more irritated. But the information after the wait is worth it. You see, I’ve decided that after these treatments come August, I won’t do any other “preventitve” chemo. My body can’t handle it; I can’t handle it. However, nutrition and cancer and becoming a more and more fascinating link and connection for me. Hence, the Integrative Medicine appointment. If I can eat foods that naturally already have cancer-killer properties in them, then why not?

I am sitting and listening and writing and questioning all sorts of nutrition-info during the appointment. And its not like I don’t already eat healthy (in fact, I already do eat most the foods they suggest…so how is it that this cancer of mine keeps coming back?) But to view nutrition as food and fuel and drusg…this is different, a new mental training and education I must go through. And at the same time, it is exciting and fascinating as I am seeking to self-educate and equipt myself to become a nutritionist, a chemist, a gardner, a chef.

DOT-THOUGHTS #78 + #79
These dot-thoughts are so close together that they seem to be one: both are characterized by friends visiting me, Halley on day 78 and Cara on day 79. (And even Katie the day before!)  Their presence reminds me that I have wonderful friends. Friends who initiate and visit and support and seek me out even when all I want to do is be far, far away from others. This is fellowship, Spirit-bonding us in ways that we don’t always even realize and see I’m sure. This is koinonia, the communion, the joining and sharing of lives so described in the Word.

I am transported to the 12th floor instead of my normal home of 11th because of the holiday weekend. The 12th floor is home to many of my brother and sisters of survivorships; this is the in-patient floor for chemotherapy treatments, a place that I have only visited and thankfully (and hopefully) will not have to stay at this entire treatment year. Although it is home to Hematology and Oncology, it is not my Hematology and Oncology home. The rooms are bigger, each with their own bathroom, shower, couch, table. It is indeed an upgrade from the old hospital, the old J5 where I once stayed in-patient as a 13-year old chemo-recipient. (That was 10 years ago, 1o!) Even though I am not technically in-patient, it sure does feel like it today. I come in an hour earlier than usual, there is a different staff that is treating me, it is eerily quiet on the 12th floor and I sleep, sleep that chemo-drugged sleep that multiplies itself by the end of a treatment week.

The constellation of thought-dots is complete, and as I fill in the space, I’m reminded once again on the importance of how God uses others, conversing with others, to converse with me.

I’ve become less anxious, less overwhelmed about the future since the last time we spoke.

As I’ve been learning about gardening and harvesting at the OSU James Garden of Hope, The Ultimate Gardener has been tending to my heart-field. The soils of my heart have had anxiety-weeds that have just been growing, growing and I’ve allowed them to. I’ve provided worry-tears to water them and just watched them over time multiply and reach to other rows, other sections of my heart-harvest.

The Gardener has been teaching me to tend to my heart. Yes, anxiety-weeds and thoughts will grow if you watch and worry over them, but action will be the only way to get rid of them. Pulling them up from the stems, from the roots: tend to your heart, He says! He longs for me to experience the delights and joys of my heart-harvest and has been re-directing me from the superficial-weeds to the substantial fruits He’s planted (love, joy, peace, patience…) I’ve been tending to weeds for so long that I forgot there were other plants within my heart too!

Again, the reminder: its only when I act on my anxieties do they decrease and cease. So I’ve been weeding my heart alongside Him, the Ultimate Gardener. And sometimes its the entire weed from the roots I unearth (the deep, deep long roots of future-plans) while others its just from the stem and the weed grows again. And sometimes the weeds are much more flimsy and little than I actually thought they were!

BEAR FRUIT! the Gardener shouts.
BRING LIFE! the Gardener delights!

He is faithfully tending to my garden-heart.

There is true Life among the weeds, despite the weeds!, true Life.

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