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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

End of a Season

Yesterday was Andrea's final chemo treatment here in Goldsboro. I really did not think too much about it until we walked out of Dr Atkins office. It was the first time I saw Andrea cry in that office. After all the bad news we had been given in those waiting rooms I never saw Andrea cry until she had to tell Dr Atkins goodbye. As Andrea told Dr. Atkins, "I had confidence in you; I knew you cared about me, not just as a patient but you really cared about me getting better. When you told me I needed to go into ICU and on a ventilator I had total confidence that it was the right thing to do, because you cared about me as a person."

Then it was off to the chemo room, where we found Diane and Roz waiting for us. Later Leigh and Karen showed up and it was chemo as usual. I went around and talked to some friends and husbands whose wives are in treatment. In the end it was just Andrea and I. Karen, Leigh, Roz and Diane all had to take care of things. It was very fitting that the last 45 minutes was just the two of us. I got Andrea a pillow and blanket and she laid down on the sofa. We talked for a little bit about the future and what lies ahead for us, a new home, doctor, church, and friends. It was a little overwhelming. Then I looked down and saw a bible on the end table. I decided to read a little to Andrea as we waited alone. I picked it up and the pages opened where a blue appointment card had been left in the Bible. I looked at the card and it was an appointment card for Andrea, from April. I don't remember leaving it but I assume we did. As I looked at the page it opened to and I began to read aloud to Andrea. This is the scripture it was on Matthew 6:25-34

Do Not Worry "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

It was just what we needed to hear. God is ever present with us and I won't ever forget that moment. We sat in our usual corner, the lights were dimmed and Andrea drifted off to sleep. I moved my chair as close as I could to Andrea and listened to the humming of the IV pump. It had a weird comforting sound and I found myself not wanting it to end. I realized that when that pump stopped it was time for us to go. As much as we always wanted to get out of the chemo room it had become a familiar friend to me. Then suddenly the pump alarm went off, ending the silence and signaling to the nurses that the proper amount to chemo had been administered, and it was time to switch Andrea to a saline flush. That beep of the pump went right through me shattering the calm and comfort of the moment. Krista came by to switch the pump to the saline and told me, "I have set it for a quick flush because I know you have been here a long time and are ready to go." I asked her to please add a few minutes because I was not ready to go. I would have never thought I would have wanted to stay. I guess I never realized how much comfort the chemo room gave us. It is the physical fight, our way of seeing and feeling that we are doing something to beat this cancer. It was our time to cause a little pain and suffering on our hidden adversary; to punish it for all the pain it has caused us.

Soon the moment came and Andrea's treatment was complete and it was time to wake her up. Kristy came over to flush Andrea's port for the last time. Kristy has been a very closes friend. Her son and Anthony played on the same club soccer team, so we spent many weekends together. We have come to know and love her and her kids. It was hard to say goodbye.

I left realizing that this last day meant much more to me then I thought. Amongst all the activity of our last week I guess I never thought about the emotions of our last day. We left with hugs and heartfelt wishes from many good friends. We came to SMOC almost two years to the day, and we left changed people. Stronger in our faith in better health and with many new friends. If you want please offer a prayer for the staff of Dr. Atkins office.
God has truly blessed Andrea and me. I could not have imagined such a wonderful place with such a great staff. Has hard as it is to leave I know God has our future in His hands and there are blessings waiting to be reveled to us in Texas.

Afterwards we came to my office to get a few things done and the Doctor's office from San Antonio called. We were confirmed for an initial visit next Thursday 28 June and chemo treatment for 2 July at 1000.

The battle goes on.

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