Have you ever lost something? And you are pretty sure it will turn up, but you don’t know when? That…oddly enough for me, is my hair. The first time around, I was prepared. I was expecting it. It didn’t really bother me. Chemo = hair loss…no big deal, it will grow back. So when it started coming out easily, my husband and I spent an evening bonding while pulling my hair out and filling my sink.
It didn’t hurt. I didn’t cry. It was a strange experience for sure, but I didn’t feel emotionally attached to my hair. I was still me. So then, since certain parts had fallen out and others were hanging on for their life, we just took the scissors to it and gave me the best toddler “I cut my own hair” look possible. Ha! Feel free to laugh at/with me.
We eventually took the razor to it and got it all off. I didn’t want to be dealing with hair constantly falling on my shoulder or being on my pillowcase in the mornings. That was January of 2016. I finished chemo in May and by fall I was able to go without a hat with confidence. I had even had one “haircut”!
Well it wasn’t but about a month after that “haircut” that I was returning to my hairdresser for another cut. This time unfortunately, to have it all shaved off again. In September, my Hcg number had come back at 6 (it is supposed to be less than 5). From that point I had to return to weekly lab draws and we watched it gradually climb each week. Scans remained normal. It hit 200 in early November and I was back on chemo the next week. So just get rid of it. Let’s not wait for the inevitable. Again…no tears. This time was harder though. I didn’t want to give it up. It felt like the evidence of something I had worked so hard for. The truth was though…..I hadn’t done anything to see the growth. It was all Him. All what He had done in me. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. (Matthew 10:30) This meant a lot more to me now.
Here we are again. I have had one “haircut” and now don’t know when to expect it to start falling out again. Below, I had just finished the Nashville 1/2 marathon this April. I started running to regain what I had lost. Running to gain energy, physical endurance, mental endurance, and just because there’s a peace the Lord gives me when I’m running. A clarity of mind that is able to see beyond the here and now. That’s what endurance is all about. Seeing beyond the here and now.
The first season of chemo felt like a 1/2 marathon…..I had done that before. We can do this. The second season……that was a full marathon (which I have never done). New territory. As we round yet another corner, this has turned into an ultra. I find myself having no idea how to get to the finish line, probably because we don’t know where it is. No-one does. I was declared in remission late January 2017. Then on March 27…..Hcg was 11. 11! Why is it 11?!?!?! It is supposed to be 0 still! I am healed! I am done! I can’t do this again! I don’t want to do this again! By May 1 Hcg had climbed to 321; that week I restarted chemo. Again. Scans all clear. There’s a lot of again in this story. These cancer cells, hiding in my blood somewhere….relentless.
Cancer is indeed relentless – showing or promising no abatement of severity, intensity, strength, or pace (Merriam-Webster)
Good thing God is even more unrelenting – not softening or yielding in determination; not letting up or weakening in vigor or pace (Merriam-Webster)
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
That is all. I don’t need to see the finish line. I just need to see the road that is before me. The steps that He is directing and guiding. I don’t need to bemoan the loss of my hair for a third time. I have only one thing in which to boast. Jesus Christ. And that is my everything, even in the times I feel I have nothing.