Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Hard Road Before Us

The past several days have been a bit discouraging for Erin and I. In addition to the practical stress of going to 2-3 doctors appointments each week, managing half a dozen medications, and caring for three our three little ones, we have been wrestling through a few particularly difficult realities.

1. An unusually hard recovery. Erin has continued to have a very hard time recovering from her surgery on February 11th. She is healing, but the process has been unusually long, painful, and tiring. She has constant pain in her chest, partially due to the normal aches and pains of recovering from major surgery and partially due to the follow-up adjustments to her temporary breast expanders. She has also been very fatigued. Between chemotherapy, surgery, and medications, her body has been through a lot in the last few months.

2. An uncertain chemotherapy plan. Though she is still struggling to make a full recovery from her surgery, Erin begins a new round of chemotherapy today (March 3rd). She will be taking a drug which she has not had before (Abraxane) once a week for twelve weeks. While the side-effects of this drug are normally less severe than the drugs she had during her first round of chemotherapy, we're uncertain how she will tolerate her treatment. She will probably experience a certain amount of nausea and fatigue, but we're hoping she doesn't re-lose her hair (she has had about a 1/4-inch of hair grow back since the end of her first round of chemotherapy).

3. An unexpectedly hard road ahead. A month ago, we expected her surgery to be the last major hurdle of her cancer treatment. But with the discovery that the had spread and formed a tumor in a lymph node ("upgrading" her cancer from Stage 1 to Stage 2A), she will need to do radiation this Summer and reconstructive surgery this Fall. In many ways, things will get harder for Erin before they get better.

While there are so many things we are thankful for (Erin's cancer is only Stage 2A, Erin's new round of chemo should be easier than before, we have had a ton of help from family and friends with childcare, meals, etc.), the reality is that Erin's day-to-day life is very hard (despite the smile on her face) and will continue to be hard for the better part of 2011. We can rejoice and be glad that God has been faithful to supply our every need in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19) to this point, and we know we can trust Him to continue to do that in the future. But we still have to walk the road before us by faith and with hope, virtues that do not come naturally for anyone.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
Psalm 43:5