Covid and Cancer

Thy Word:

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NLT

My Thoughts:

Definition of weary: (1) Exhausted in strength, endurance, vigor, freshness

(2) having one’s patience, tolerance, or pleasure exhausted

I am weary. That weariness has been the culmination of multiple things and has prompted me to isolate and stop doing things I normally love. One of those things I’ve stopped is writing. I haven’t written a blog in a while, and I’ve also stopped writing my book “*Broken Ten” (okay, I may have been fighting that last one for a long time!). So, what do I do instead? I created lists and man do I have a LOT of lists!

Working from lists is a habit I developed in my corporate years to control projects, however, I continued to utilize this habit after I retired. It was one way for me to gain a sense of self-accomplishment when I no longer had performance reviews.

I am also easily distracted (squirrel!), and a list keeps me on task. During the worst times of 2020 I created a whole set of ‘Pandemic Project’ lists to not only get some things done, but to bring in laughter! (Pandemic Projects was a fancy name for a ‘Honey-Do Lists!’)

However, I also use lists as a coping mechanism when life seems out of control around me. I focus on the things I can control, and yes, I do like to be in control. Admittedly this is not always an attractive trait, especially when things are out of my control, and I have been faced with multiple things that have fallen into that category: 

  1. Covid pandemic and isolation
  1. Death of my aunt
  2. Family members got Covid
  3. Death of my little adopted dog
  4. My husband diagnosed with cancer

Let me unpack these things for you; to start with I had never even heard the word “pandemic” (or Covid) before March 2020! Those words brought nationwide insanity and panic grocery shopping. This was a double whammy for me because I wasn’t just shopping for myself, but for my elderly Aunt! Thank goodness for a family support structure that helped with the latter!

Still, this deadly virus changed everyone, including me, and left our nation in a divided and contentious state. From ridiculous (toilet paper shortage) to devastating (the loss of loved ones), we have all been impacted.

I pray we not only regain our health from this virus, but we return to being sane citizens of the UNITED States of America!

Just to make things even more challenging my aunt entered the hospital 6/26/2020—not from Covid, but an age-related health issue and dementia. It wasn’t a typical stay like we expected, but rather a convoluted two months of care and rehab that ended with her passing in September 2020. The Pandemic played an ugly role in her care because of the family’s inability to visit her in person.

I was her caregiver, then I quickly moved to her Power of Attorney, and ultimately the Executor of her estate. Unless you have been a caregiver, I don’t think you can fully understand the magnitude of what it does to your own physical and mental well-being. Throw in the pandemic and other people you don’t know making decisions you should be making as a family, and it is complete heartache.

Please understand, I am not blaming any medical personnel for what happened during those two months! They were just as upside down as we were as a family. Suddenly the relief they naturally gained from family standing in the gap to help with patients, was ripped away from them too! They were overworked and understaffed. 

Probably the best and worst thing that happened with my aunt was she passed away in her sleep. It was admittedly the best way for a person to go (and that was her prayer), but it was sudden and unexpected for us left behind!

My Aunt Billye

While I was in the big middle of planning her burial (again, the Pandemic made things horrible here too), I received a call that Covid had struck our family. The details are not my story to tell but it was a terrifying time for everyone. Before that family member recovered, another loved one got Covid.  If you have any doubts this virus is real and has devastating side effects, let me assure you it is real and horrible. We are extremely blessed we didn’t lose anyone to this horrible virus.

By this time, I was so frazzled I decided to adopt a little dog in October 2020. I had dreams she was going to be my ten-pound bundle of joy, go with me everywhere, and be a comfort to my jagged heart. Unbeknownst to everyone involved, she had a serious underlying health issue that manifested itself as aggressive behavior outside of her normal environment. One day after a very difficult walk with her, I said to my husband, “I am not sure she is right in the head.” Little did I know that comment was going to come back to bite me. The short and shocking bottom line: She had a brain tumor and in April 2021 she went to heaven.

Miss Zoey Bella

However, perhaps the worst thing of all happened in March of 2021: my husband was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer. What followed was surgery and several months of test after test to look for cancer genetic markers and cancer lurking in other organs. Based on those results, a determination for the best treatment would be made. I am happy and relieved to say all the test results were a big NEGATIVE for genetic markers and other cancers! Praising the LORD!! The final tally: He ‘just’ has colon cancer (did I JUST say ‘just’? Yes, I did!).

Next step: chemo for six months every other week and this week we start treatment number two. If everything goes well, he will be finished in time for Christmas.

The love of my life

So yeah, I’m weary and tired of all the crazy that has been happening in our lives! But God never promised living in this world was going to be easy! In fact, He said:

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” John 16:33b NIV

Things happening around me might not look or be like what I want but I’m not the only one having difficulties! Plus, He has been before me every step of the journey:

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

This verse has been a huge help and something that I pray frequently at night (replacing the word ‘you’ for the word ‘me’). But the verse that has given me the most comfort when I have been or am the most upset:

“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” Romans 8:26 NLT

There were times through these trials that I didn’t know what to ask in prayer and the best I could offer were tears. Lots and lots of tears. But I knew that the Holy Spirit, that lives in me, turned every tear into a word that He personally communicated to God on my behalf.

How. Great. Is. That?  Oh God! How gracious you are!

“You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.”

Psalms 139:5 NLT

“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!” Psalms 139:6 NLT

I don’t understand a lot about what has happened and what else could possibly happen, but I do understand this: God is good, and He is faithful, and the best part? He will use every thing that has happened towards good.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 NLT

My Prayer: Father God, I may never fully understand where You are going here in this world, but what a sweet blessing I can clearly see where You have been, and I know You are always with me. Amen, amen, amen.

(*Broken Ten-is a fiction book I’m writing. Loosely it is about my life and a quick summary about it is: “A woman painstakingly fashions an orderly life to hide her broken past. Now she stood at a crossroads where God was asking her to reveal those secrets that could unravel her life but give hope to a group of hopeless women.”)

PS: A lot has changed about WordPress since I last wrote a blog. No pictures this time, but I will figure it out hopefully!