We have reached the seventh cycle of chemotherapy. A certain medication has been increased and is causing Justin foot pain that comes and goes. He says, “it feels like I’m walking on needles.” Rest, Tylenol and ice packs have been very helpful.
Day 197. This is a fifty day cycle with visits to clinic every ten days. Justin will receive the second of five chemo infusions today. His blood counts are exceptional as of today and if all is well, Justin will move into “maintenance” chemotherapy at the end of this current cycle. More on this to come…
Justin is thin and pale and without his signature thick, dark hair. (Justin was born with a shocking crop of long, wild, coarse black hair that even the maternity nurses exclaimed they had never seen the likes of and he’s been getting buzz cuts since he was six months old. And that’s no exaggeration.) Before cancer, Justin was willful and athletic, solid and robust.
Ironically, though, he seems stronger to me now. Because he is rising to the challenge of difficulty. We knew he was tough, but cancer is revealing his tenacity and forbearing spirit in the midst of great trial.
God is already honing and shaping strength in character at Justin’s young age. And He has given me the wisdom to nurture and cultivate these characteristics.
Pushing Justin to be strong means I have to pull it together and step it up too. And sometimes I like to think I am able to do that on my own accord. But that is just a lie whispered of the enemy in hopes that I will stumble over my own pride. And, trust me, sometimes I do.
The truth is, any strength I possess comes from God and His honing and shaping in my own life. He relentlessly pursues my heart and gently chides with truth. (Psalm 139)
Justin asked me last night if his “hair will grow back by the first day of school.” It’s the littlest things, sometimes, which threaten to get me down.
“I honestly don’t know, honey. But you don’t have to look like everyone else to be awesome. And you are. God made you that way.”
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7
Even Justin’s hair, or lack of, is not forgotten. Justin is not forgotten. God sees us to the tiniest detail and our smallest care.
We are not forgotten. Please pray for our friend Drew and my brother-in-law, Dan, as they also battle cancer and its many layers of struggle. Grace be with you, my friends.