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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Run Andrea Run

I wrote this in May 2007.
It is about the fatigue and endurance needed to fight cancer

Last week I watched the show "Planet Earth" on the Discovery channel. I watched the scenes of the Arctic wolves and there search for food and survival. I watched as they stalked the caribou herd, looking for the weakest, the easiest prey in the herd. In a moment the chase is on the head darts as panic strikes and the threat is sensed. The wolves pursue until the slower or weaker caribou is separated from the herd. The chase is now one caribou and one wolf. The caribou begins to run for its very life, darting and changing direction to try to shake the relentless pursuer. As I watched I could feel the exhaustion of the caribou, so tired yet to rest is certain death. He has only one option, run and keep running. But soon the caribou has no strength left and he collapses accepting the fate that awaits him. The desire to live is lost in the inability to go on. I thought to myself that is what it is like to fight cancer.

As I watched I felt the plight of the caribou. I could relate to the life and death struggle on the screen. Once you are told you have cancer you soon learn it is a relentless, forever on your mind, always making you wonder if it is about to strike back. In a way it is much like the wolf, and you are much like the caribou. You hope you don't reach the point where you are so tired that you can only drop and accept the fate that awaits you. You keep fighting but there seems to be a point where the fight is so exhausting that you just can't go on but you can't stop. That is what makes even the smallest of victories so sweet. They become resting points when you can take a break from the chase. A time to catch your breath and ready yourself for the next chase. You have to find these moments or you will lack the strength to fight. Maybe it is a day where you feel "normal" or as simple as a day without pain, just a day where you don't think or talk about cancer. As Andrea told me today, "Remind me how good I feel today next week after chemo." You have to remember that the exhaustion, fatigue, and sickness will pass and there is life after all this, otherwise you lose all hope and you will soon just stop and accept what will now be inevitable.

I also thought of how cancer comes to us, it spreads fear as those around sense the sudden closeness of cancer. We all hear of cancer but when you learn of a friend or family member with cancer it suddenly seems close and a much greater threat in your own life. I felt as if cancer has singled out Andrea for the chase. She has been fighting with all she has and the strength and the faith granted by God. She has been running, giving all she has. Times like November 2006 and Jan 2007 the cancer drew very close, nearly taking Andrea but by the grace of God she escaped the grasp of death. I can't help at times to wonder why we were chosen from the heard. But I know that God has used this and changed Andrea and me as well as many others around us. But, unlike the caribou heard that scatters when the wolves begin the chase, leaving the lone caribou to certain death our friends and family have come to our defense. Friends who have never left us alone to fend off the pursuer. Friends who write, call, send flowers, cards, meals, gifts of encouragement, and those who sit with Andrea in treatment. Those who have not scattered and left Andrea. Those who have not scattered from the fear of cancer but looked it in the eye with Andrea. Those who have shared in the suffering will share equally in the joy. When we see the exhaustion on her face, we are there encouraging Andrea to keep running, keep fighting, calling out..."Run Andrea Run!"

Last night Andrea and I were reading and came across these verses in 2 Corinthians chapter 1:3-11. I had sent these verses in a monthly update last year sometime but I love these verses and wanted to wtite them again because it expresses the way we feel about those around us and to why we sometimes have to suffer in life.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

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