Sunday, February 14, 2010
The second cycle of chemo is finished! The roads coming back home were an icy mess. Fr. Bill had to slow down to 30 MPH in stretches. But, we made it home safely.
The hospital lobby features a piano where people are invited to play and lift up the spirits of patients, their families and the staff.
When I walked through the lobby on the first day of treatment, a man was playing “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” a most beautiful and reassuring hymn.
While waiting for the first appointment, I walked by an empty table that held a partially completed 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle.
I’ve seen families and individuals working on the picture to pass the time. I just had a few minutes, but I stopped and found where one small piece fit.
It’s like a lot of things in life – with many people, often unseen, working together, we can accomplish bigger tasks … if only we all take a small part.
… we can accomplish bigger tasks … if only we all take a small part
The doctors put my last three blood tests on a graph on the computer. They showed me how the blood cell counts dropped so low the first week, but built back up to a normal and healthy range – good news as the treatments continue.
When one of the nurses came in to change IV bags, she asked where I was from and what I did. We found out that she is a donor to St. Joseph’s – she even had one of our appointment calendars in her purse! Whenever I meet people whom I’ve only gotten to thank by mail, it’s a special treat to express that thanks more personally.
I did get to see the first part of the Winter Olympics opening ceremony on TV. I was impressed by the respect and inclusion of the First Nations of Canada in welcoming the athletes and telling the story of this continent. Part of our South Dakota mission statement asks us to be builders of respect and unity between the Lakota people and other traditions, which we strive to do.
I know how my body responded to the first round and know I’ll have to stay low key for several days.
This morning it was enough to get up and get ready for church, which is such a strength for me Sunday after Sunday. One of the songs today was very upbeat at a point where I wasn’t feeling very good at all, but I sang along with as much energy as I could afford.
Church has a way of expressing so many different emotions. When you’re down, a happy song can help me remember the good times and remind me I won’t feel so punk forever.
And, when I’m self satisfied, sometimes a hymn that focuses on our need for forgiveness and reconciliation is a reminder that I have still have plenty of work to do spiritually.
I don’t feel too good now, but I know this is just a stage, and I have strong faith there are better times ahead.