“Find a place inside where there is joy and the joy will burn out the pain.” – Joseph Campbell

The end of radiation is near and I will be so relieved when I’m finished! As I’ve said before, compared to chemo, radiation is nothing to complain about but it has been much harder than I thought it would be. Taking care of myself and balancing the demands of work and the needs of my family have taken a toll. The physical effects are cumulative – mind-numbing fatigue and the evidence of radiation on my skin are more noticeable (and shocking!  Holy crap – what are they DOING to me?!) every day.  Sometimes I have felt as if my body has betrayed me – my mind is searching for the silver lining but my body is spent!  My doctor warned me that the last week of “boost treatments” would be harder on my body than previous weeks.  The first day of treatment was a surprise – I thought he said BOOZE treatments and was looking forward to a crisp glass of chardonnay or an umbrella drink in the waiting room (ha ha)!  Day two was a bigger surprise – in spite of the boozeless treatment I FELT like I had a hangover and didn’t even have any funny stories to tell or pictures to share!  Needless to say, many other people have been picking up my slack and I am grateful to the awesome women I work with and for who have my back – encourage me, make me laugh and send me home to bed when I’m so tired I’m in tears.  I am blessed to have friends and family who know when I need a hug, a meal, or a word/text of encouragement to keep me going.  And I couldn’t have faced any of this without my husband and my sweet and understanding kids.  We have all grown in unexpected ways from this experience.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” – Proverbs 13:12

I left the hospital yesterday and arrived home feeling overwhelmed.  To my amazement, I had a message from my new friends (and jungle family!) at Selvatica Adventure Kingdom in Mexico.  They have been taking care of and watching closely the seed I planted on Christmas Eve.  In spite of the challenges we have faced the past few months, HOPE is growing – both literally and figuratively.  God is good.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Shawn
    Jan 28, 2012 @ 23:15:22

    I just wanted to let you know Gretchen that everytime I play the Martina McBride song “I’m Gonna Love You Through This”…I dedicate to you always…I hope you are doing well.

    Reply

  2. dennis neville
    Jan 28, 2012 @ 23:41:34

    JUST WISH I COULD HUG IT ALL AWAY…. SENDING LOVE VIBES YOUR WAY. CAN’T WAIT TILL YOU VISIT YOUR LITTLE BUD IN MEXICO AGAIN! sigh

    Reply

  3. cherereed
    Jan 28, 2012 @ 23:49:35

    Hang in there dear, your almost over the hump!! I believe in you! You have amazing strength! Sending love and prayers! Take care, thanks for the updates!!!
    Your cuz……
    Chere

    Reply

  4. Heather Lightner
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 12:55:59

    Your post made me cry this morning. I just feel so sad that you have to go up and over the mountain my dear cousin. It is wonderful to have all the support of your loved ones, but I know it is your feet that must keep on climbing and your mind and heart that must guide each step forward. You are a champion…if I could put you on my back for awhile I would. Please take care and rest and breath through this. I’ll surround you with positive strength and cheer you over the top!!

    Reply

  5. Misty
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 15:59:41

    You’re doing great, girl! I love your positive attitude. I’m sorry treatment sucks but I am so glad you’re blessed with such a great bunch of people there with you.

    Reply

  6. RYontz
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 20:16:51

    Gretchen:
    Think a book deal might be coming your way for dealing with this whole process with realism and sarcasm-I love it! Just like a Cussen Grand-daughter! Makes me think of resting on Grandma’s “pillows” as she called them and feeling so loved. Know that you are loved, Rachel Cussen

    Reply

  7. Esther T
    Dec 23, 2012 @ 09:44:54

    I cried when I read this story because I often wondered what my Mom was feeling. She never complained, she never talked about what she felt or did not feel. This was in the 70’s when they knew a lot less then they know now. My prayer is that God will encamp His angels all around you, strengthen you, heal you and bring you, your family and friends an abundance of love, joy, peace, happiness, good health, wisdom and time to bless and encourage others thru their trials and tribulations…IJN, Amen! Blessings and Miracles!

    Reply

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