I got great news on Thursday. My cancer has not, thus far, found another place to take up residence in my body. Put another way, no new tumors. This is a huge relief and cause for celebration. I am so grateful.
But I’m also dealing with my worst post-chemo side effects so far. This time it really wiped me out. I slept at least half of the weekend and today, Monday, I am searching hard for some energy because I have a work related obligation this afternoon that cannot be missed. Unfortunate timing.
So my thoughts and feelings are this crazy jumble of gratitude and deep annoyance. I’m so glad the cancer hasn’t spread. And I’m so sick of going through this crap.
When I start to feel sorry for myself, I know I need to get my head screwed back on straight. So here’s what I do:
Give myself permission to vent or whine just a little bit to someone who can handle it and isn’t going to give me advice. It might just be a couple very honest texts to someone who will welcome my transparency. But I get it out in a way that I feel heard.
Stop the whining. It’s ok for a little bit but I’m not into say, a whining lifestyle. You can easily become a whiner without even realizing it, so, reel it in.
Pinpoint the problem. What is really getting to me? Nausea? Cabin fever? Aches and pains? The frustration of only being able to drink warm beverages when all I want is icy cold ginger ale. Identify the problem and address it if possible.
Once earthly measures have been taken, I sit quietly before God and complain to Him. Sometimes I am more polite and thank Him for some things first and note His holiness and such. Other times I just let it out. And I ask for help.
This is not like submitting a request and having it fulfilled right away in the particular manner I prefer. We do get tempted to think of our relationship with God as rather transactional, don’t we? Behave, ask nicely, and get what you asked for. My experience is that this is not typically how it works because we are not always asking for the best things. It’s ok for me to ask God to relieve my nausea. Maybe He will, but if He doesn’t, it’s because there is a purpose in this that I’m not privy to.
The Bible is full of stories of suffering turning to glory. Joseph, Job, Jesus. It’s a perpetual theme. There is purpose in our suffering. So when the suffering does not subside upon our request, we have to be content that God is with us, and this will be worked out for our good. And that some glory lies on the other side.