A Day in the Life (part 1)

6:20 – Wake up. My sleep needs have drastically increased, so I probably got about 9 hours last night, but still feel somewhat tired.

6:30 – Coffee and sit down with my Bible and then read some of “Walking with God through Pain and Suffering” by Tim Keller.

7:30 – Kids are released from their room. They’ve probably been awake for close to an hour. We read their Bibles together and pray, then move on to breakfast. Today we read about Jesus calming the waves and asking the disciples why they were afraid? If the wind and the waves obey Him, shouldn’t we?

8:45 – Gather my stuff for the day (bag full of books and my computer). Grab my previous medication injector so I can put it in the sharps container at the hospital. Also make sure I have a piece of Saran Wrap to put on my port after I put my numbing cream on it…otherwise it gets everywhere and doesn’t work as well.

10:00 – Arrive at Vandy. Go round and round the parking garage finding a spot on the roof. (picture above)

10:15 – Checked into lab and sit down to wait. Send a few texts…an opening of my book, but it’s hard to get anywhere with all the activity around you…so I mostly people watch.

IMG_1660

10:35 – They call me up to the desk, asking me to sign a form allowing them to do research on my blood that’s left over from labs. They say it may help other cancer patients. Well of course I will. ‍

10:57 – Called back for labs. Labs are drawn…the nurse confirms my name and date of birth for the umpteenth time, although she probably knows it already as much as I’ve been there. Upstairs I go, to the Vanderbilt Cancer Treatment and Infusion Clinic.

(lab room, prep to draw labs)

11:11 – Checked into infusion clinic and wait. I get out my journal to begin documenting this day. What I’m seeing. What I’m praying. What He’s saying. I begin the last page of the journal that I began at the start of all of this. The first entry, January 5, 2016. Today’s entry, October 30, 2017. I do more people watching. The other patients seem full of joy today. There is laughter in the room. A finding of joy where you don’t expect it to be. Laughter; pretending to have won the lottery when they say his pager number to call him back for treatment. Laughter; ordering a steak and baked potato from Mr. Keith, the sweet volunteer who offers snacks and drinks to those of us waiting.

(Mr. Keith passing out snacks)

12:05 – Called back to my room…I must’ve won the lottery. I got a bed this time.

12:35 – Pre meds begin. There’s about 45 minutes of fluid (pre-hydration), anti-nausea infusion, steroid, claritin, and anti-acid medication that must be given prior to the initiation of chemo.

1:15 – First chemo, paclitaxel started. It will run for 3 hours along with magnesium which is given because mine is always a little low.

1:20 – My pastor and friend shows up to visit, bringing lunch. She always (I say always because she’s been to nearly every treatment with me) takes my order….today fulfilling a cheeseburger craving. I usually go all out with my lunch treatment day because I know I won’t be eating normally for the next few days.

(My pastor on left, my nurse on right)

2:20 – Another friend shows up to visit for a little bit. We talk. These days would be much longer without visitors.

3:30 – First infusion still going…starting to feel very tired, my eyes are burning (which has probably been the most annoying side effect of all of this) and I’m mildly nauseated. However, I have learned it’s not worth taking the extra IV nausea medications that I have available to me because I feel way worse from those than I do from a little bit of nausea. Thankfully, I already ate my cheeseburger, so I’m good for a while. However, nausea is a funny thing. It’s worse when your stomach is empty….so keeping something in it is helpful, but when you’re nauseated…well you get the irony.

4:30 – First drug is finally complete and 2nd chemo drug started (Etoposide). I’m exhausted by this point, but good conversation keeps me going.

6:30 – Etoposide is now complete as well. Now to have my port access removed and then to leave the cancer infusion clinic. Thankfully most traffic has cleared by this point.

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(on the roof of the parking garage about to leave)

7:15 – I get home and see my family. Thankful for another completed treatment day.

This is just a snapshot of the current regimen of treatment I have been on, doing this every other week since April. Previous treatments have looked very different, but I’ll share those in another post. It is easy to look at these days as wasted…void of purpose except to get me better…to prolong my life so that I can do the things that really matter. However, that’s not how God sees it. I feel like God spoke this to me to help me not to look back and see futility, but purpose, while also looking forward with a new perspective.

My time is not your time. When you act out of your flesh, you force me to leave you in those moments. You are right, anything you could do in this day is futile unless it’s done through Me. I live in and through you to the extent that you let Me. When you ask why questions My ways are so different than your ways that the answers, when given to you, don’t even seem like they are answers to your questions. So, even when you don’t understand something specifically; function in accordance with My Word and you will always be making the right choice. My Word is My answer to your every why question. It is My way of putting My ways into your reach and understanding. Do not lose heart, do not grow weary. Every day you spend on earth with, in, and through Me is working things out in Heaven and in the Spirit in ways you won’t see until you get here. Again, My ways and thoughts are so different than yours, that even the things you may see as insignificant or meaningless are not so in My kingdom. I have not set before you a bunch of meaningless tasks to fill up your time until you meet Me in heaven. You must trust Me in the things that are unseen, but you must also trust Me in the things that are seen. The things you think you understand…you don’t fully. But trust Me and you will. Nothing in your life has to be pointless. If it is done in and through Me it won’t be.

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with ALL YOUR HEART.

Jeremiah 29:13


3 thoughts on “A Day in the Life (part 1)

  1. Ferris, you should write a book. ” A Christians Walk Through Cancer Treatment”
    You have such a deep faith and you write with eloquence.

    Dan Hoyme MD (Kate Farquhar’s father)

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  2. Prayers for you! I recently finished at Vandy and your entry brought me right back. You are so strong and such an inspiration to all (especially your sweet children). I pray for you and your family. Cancer is a gift (sometimes one you wish you could return), but there are so many wonderful things that I learned from my journey that I will take with me forever.
    Lots of love to you from a fellow fighter. You can do this!

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  3. I’m so glad you gave this account of what your chemo has been like. I’m only sorry I didn’t take advantage of at least one of these long days in which we could have visited with no time constraints! Love you Ferris and thankful for your faithfulness to endure God’s process in your life. It is a testament for us all to learn from in so many ways.

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