Thursday, April 20, 2017

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Okay, I admit it. I am a control freak! I like to think, and plan, and know every little detail about everything. I am not a risk taker. I am definitely methodical and deliberate. Herein lies the problem. The older I get, and the more trials I go through, the more I realize the need for control is a coping mechanism. Trying to make sense of everything and logically put it in a category to be dealt with is how I get through many of the daily issues with which I struggle. Control is an illusion, I have heard that, and know it is true. Control can also become a form of bondage, and disillusionment. When things don't make sense, and all the pieces don't fit nicely together, we become discouraged.

I will never be a person who flies by the seat of my pants. I will always plan, and organize; seeing each and every tree, and not the forest. Yet, in the midst of my pain, my medical treatment, and daily living, I have come to let go of a lot of the things beyond my control. I have found freedom and joy in trusting God to get me through. I know that He is in complete control. Nothing goes unnoticed or unchecked, and that helps me to rest in Him. He gently, lovingly, mercifully allows me to keep learning and trusting more and more. I still plan and research things. Knowing as much information  as I can, helps me to accept and deal with my reality.

I am fast approaching my 47 birthday, and the six month mark since I had the chemo treatment. The Rituximab drug should keep my immune system lowered for about 6 months, and so I need to make the decision to stop now, or keep taking it. Unfortunately, I did not get one of the clear answers doctors were looking for:

  1. I keep getting worse and they know the medicine did nothing to help, which would cause them to reevaluate if this truly was an autoimmune disease. OR
  2. I get better and they know for sure it worked and they are on the right track.

If you know me at all, you know I like to do everything the hard way! So my body went with option #3- I don't get better, but don't get worse either during the 6-month period. Then we must guess if the disease is so slow progressing that I would not have gotten worse with or without the chemo, OR the treatment helped in keeping the disease from progressing, thus keeping me from getting worse.

This is not an easy choice. This drug is toxic, and can cause a host of serious health problems all by itself. I have researched and sought doctor's advice, but in the end it all comes down to me just saying yes or no to another round of chemo. No one, but God alone, knows whether this is a good idea or bad, whether I really need the medicine or if I would be ok without it. I very much dislike the unknown, and some days I feel like I am jumping blind off the high dive, just hoping someone didn't forget to fill the pool beneath me, praying that there really is a pool there. I am thankful to know that having placed my trust in Jesus Christ both as my Lord and Savior, He has promised to keep me; to work all things for my good and His glory. No matter what I decide, I know that He has all the details worked out, and will help me navigate the unchartered waters I am wading into. No matter what happens, or what decision I make, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He gives me "eternal life, and [I] shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch [me] out of [God's] hand" (John 10:28)

Just as a quick update with all the other details:

My new wheelchair is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! Last year while serving at JAF Family Retreat, during wheelchair training, we were told you don't say someone is 'confined to a wheelchair', as wheelchairs uses don't feel stuck in one, but they see it as an extension of their body that gives them the freedom to move about. Now, I finally really understand! It is empowering to be in control of your own chair (there's that word again), going where you want, and getting out of the house to locations I haven't made it to in a while, because I can't walk that much. SO much diferent than being "stuck" in a big, hospital- style wheelchair with someone else pushing you where they want to take you. It all makes sense now, and am so very thankful to have good inusrance to cover the extremely high cost.

Secondly, and on 4-20 no less (FYI it's a reference I just learned about the number 420 and it's connection to marijuana), I received my medical cannabis card a few months ago. I went through some anxiety just going to the dispensary the first time, and trying some of the products. There are hundreds of varieties, strains, methods of use, and it is all new to me. In the end, I cannot imagine why they would not legalize it and make it more available. The doctor recommended CBD oil, and I have tried a few different types. It isn't a cure, and I am still figuring out strains, and methods, and amounts (since it isn't prescribed, you have to experiment on your own to see what works). All in all, I am happy to report that the pain relief it provides decreases the amount of narcotics used, and has virtually no side effects. (This does depend on the product chosen. A couple types have made me a bit tired or dizzy, but less so than the narcotics do). This is all good news to me! 

Hope you are all well! Are you trusting in yourself to figure everything out, to find your own way, or are you trusting in Christ who already knows the end of your story? The only One able to keep you from stumbling.
Until next time ~