Cancer and Joy - The Wrap-Around Presence


One thing I certainly never thought about doing in life is the day I would walk into the chemo-therapy room - and I would be the patient. I had no idea what to expect or what would be happening to me. I had several surprises in store for me on this day that felt overwhelming.  When I was leaving home that morning, a friend met me at our gate and handed me a huge gift bag with the label “Sally’s hospital boredom gift bag.”  It contained all kinds of little items to help me get through the day. What a joy! I was so touched by her love and thoughtfulness…and it really helped: a devotional book, sweet lozenges, puzzle books to relieve the boredom, and more goodies.

When we arrived at the hospital, I quickly realized I was being treated in a world-class chemo program. Everything was very organized, very professional.

Then there was my delightful nurse, Lulu.  She patiently walked me through everything that happened to me. I’ve experienced some not so patient and not so kind nurses in my life, so Lulu was a true joy! She made me feel secure and cared for.

The steps in chemo-treatment may be mundane but they all have their place:

First. antihistamine in my bum – the right place for that!

Then a long list of IV drips, one after the other for about 6 hours:- Steroid

- Something to line the tummy - Anti-nausea - 1st chemo/2 bags – 3 hours - Saline - 2nd chemo - More saline

The chemo immediately felt “heavy” entering my body. I could feel the effect of it all the way into my legs. I had questions  because of things I was experiencing, and Lulu answered every question. She was so kind, and caring.  What a gift she was.

I was the 2nd person to arrive that day – and the last one to leave 6 hours later.

Most of the people in the chemo-treatment room were alone. That was a surprise to me. It was a comfort to have my husband, Floyd, with me. So many patients came in by themselves, looking frightened and desolate. Some of them looked like they were on death’s door already.

I read, talked with Floyd, napped a bit, snacked, pulled my IV to the bathroom. ☺ It all went by fairly quickly. Someone had sent me a verse from The Passion translation of the Bible that used the phrase “the wrap around presence” of the Lord. During the day I realized I felt that “wrap around” sweet sense of His closeness. A day I dreaded and didn’t know what to anticipate was actually okay. I wasn’t alone in it and He brought unexpected joys to me all along the way.

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”        Deut. 31:8