I’ve often heard the saying, “Everything’s equal at the foot of the cross.” In the last 3 weeks, I’ve discovered this is true for a chemo room, too. Long story short, I’m severely anemic, and have been receiving iron infusions. I received (hopefully) my last treatment yesterday. Without boring you with the details, 12 is “normal low. I’m up to 9.5 (Yippeeee!) and believing for a 12 in the next few weeks. 15 is the norm.
At this point, I don’t even care about my hemoglobin counts. After spending 3 consecutive weeks at my onocolgist’s chemo room for 5+ hours at a time, I’m much more interested in telling you about the sweet people I observed or met when I was there.
Out of the 24 or so chairs, there were only a couple of us there for something other than the “C” word. Sobering, to say the least. These precious people were there fighting for their lives!! To my right was Gloria, who quickly became my favorite! She’s fighing breast cancer. Mike was across from me. He’s a fisherman. He has a trip planned to fish off the coast of Autrailia later this year. The cancer is in his brain. I’m praying he gets to make that trip. Mary, to my left was diagnosed with breast cancer the week before Father’s Day of this year. They’ve now found a spot in her lung. Steve, a 26 year old country boy, was celebrating his last day of chemo. Celebrating with him, was his mom who was passing out grapes, cheese & crackers. Her gift of hospitality brought a smile to the room. And then there was Mary, an oncology nurse, who had full knowledge of this journey since most of her adult life, she’s been the one administering the meds.
I didn’t have a chance to meet the folks in the adjoining room, but from where I sat I saw an older gentleman who looked to be the literary type; perhaps a college professor as he appeared to be grading papers. Across from him was a very young woman, who was obviously married because she gazed and held her wedding band as the chemo began to flow through her IV for the first time. Her husband sat on a stool at her feet for the duration. Next to her was a true Hepburn. A gorgeous lady with an IV port inserted just below her pearls. I watched her for a long time. Oh, the grace that she exhibited; and I’m fairly certain she had received it too. There was a peace about her that was apparent.
I loved hearing their stories. They inspired me with their strength. They stirred places in my heart that hadn’t been exposed since my own father passed away with cancer. Yet even so, I sat with a prayer on my lips thanking God for walking me down this path, if only for a few weeks. I felt guilty. And I told them so. They’re response? “Sweetheart, your anemia is just as important as what we’re going through.” Because my condition is not life-threatening, I felt like John in someways….when he got to see a glimpse of Heaven. Yes, I know that sounds absolutely crazy that I’d compare a chemo room to Heaven, but it’s true. I saw a glimpse of a life that most of us -Praise Jesus – dont’ get to see. An altered perspective; a healthier one, for sure! At the very least, I did see a picture of the true church. Love & Service.
In Beth Moore’s Daniel Bible Study, there was a particular week that I will always remember as long as I live. It was talking about the 3 scenarios that we can experience as believers when we face fiery trials.
When facing a trial or fire, we’ll either….
-Be delivered from the fire, and our faith will be built.
-Be delivered through the fire, and our faith will be refined.
-Be delivered by the fire into His arms, and our faith will be perfected.
Statistics and logic tell me that of the people I’ve met the last 3 weeks, some will be delivered from the fire. Some will be delivered through it. And others will be made perfect.
My prayer is that each one of them know Him. I am utterly convinced that God is much more interested in healing our hearts before our bodies. My prayer is that you know Him too. Because no matter what life deals us, in the end…. We win! The battle has already been won.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39.