For the past few weeks after chemo, I have felt like a new woman!! I didn't expect to get back into my routine as quickly as I did, and it has been wonderful. I am back to driving a car, cooking meals for my family, going to the grocery store by myself, cleaning, working out a little, taking my son to school, and eating out. Since it had been 4 months since I had driven a car, I was so nervous the first time I got behind the wheel. I was embarrassed to admit it to my husband, but I am glad that I did. His response: "Of course you are! Sounds like a normal reaction. Alyssa, I would not let you drive if I thought that you weren't ready." That is all I needed was affirmation and a vote of confidence. The nerves were still there, but I did it and we all arrived in one piece.
I am amazed at how much I missed the simplest things. I would lie in bed during treatment, fantasizing about the day when I would be sitting in car line. I would dream about joining a gym an participating in classes (not there yet but working up to it). I spent hours on Pinterest, looking at new recipes that I could cook for my family. Even going out to eat has gotten a little more special. I don't have to look at the menu and think: "Ok. Which of these foods is not going to make me nauseous or make my mouth burn?"
To paint an honest picture, though, recovery hasn't been a bowl of cherries. I am still battling physical effects from the chemo. While I am grateful to be on my feet and feeling SO MUCH BETTER, I am not back to my old self. Today, I am feeling very frustrated with my body. I want to be able to do a million other things, but I am not there yet. Things (like exercising) that were a part of my everyday life wear me out, but I have to do it in order to get stronger. Even the shortest workouts leave me feeling extremely sore. As I get up from a chair, I feel like an 80 year old lady. It is exhausting. I feel discouraged that recovery is taking so long. I am angry that the medicine that I had to take to save life has left me feeling this way.
On the days when I feel the worst, fear begins to creep back in. What if I never feel stronger? What if the side effects are permanent? What if the cancer comes back and I have to do this ALL over again? When that last question rears its ugly head, I am intentional in banishing it form my head. Dwelling on the possibility makes me absolutely miserable. When I think about worry, the verse "Cast your cares on Him because he cares for you" comes to mind. I have heard it SO many times in my life that it had started to lose personal meaning. Something that has helped to make Jesus' words come alive again is to make a fist and throw my worries at Jesus' feet. The physical motion helps me to make His words tangible.
This morning after I finished exercising, I became very emotional. Exercise seems to have a way of releasing the anxiety and other negative emotions that are built up inside of me. In my sadness and frustration, God reminded me that He is the SAME God that has walked me through the cancer tunnel. He is still the source of my strength. It is amazing to me how quickly I forget my need for Him. That is one of the positive things about being so sick: it makes you painfully aware of how much you need God. In the moments when I didn't think I good endure anymore pain or physically walk to the bathroom, I knew that I needed God and could do nothing apart from Him. Today, nothing has changed. I still desperately need Him. It is just easier to forget.
My prayer today is that I don't ever forget my need for God. I want to be more aware of His presence every minute of every day...on the good days and bad.
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.