Round One

It’s been so long and it’s become harder and harder to write about life right now. Everything feels more complex–physically, emotionally, spiritually. I don’t know where to begin, and I don’t know what parts to keep to ourselves, where to draw lines around the intimate and the sacred.

Despite the wonderful news of Chris’s diagnosis, the days have gotten darker. After one round of chemo, Chris is suffering so much with dry mouth, sores, mucositis, constipation/diarrhea. Eating was already a chore and has become next to impossible with his desert mouth. As I type, our nurse is hooking up Chris’s first bag of IV nutrition. We are both so relieved. I don’t talk about this with Chris, but he knows: He looks like a different person than he did a month ago. He still has his hair at this point, but so much of his physical self has been lost.

The mouth issues have also been a tipping point for his spirit. All this time, with every issue he has been dealing with, he’s never lost his humor. It’s a strange scene sometimes: he and I dealing with something messy or painful or even nightmarish, then he makes a joke and I laugh hard and he has that gratified look in his eyes. But these last couple days, even that has been lost, and my heart aches for so many reasons. I have hope this light will return, but for now we endure.

Chris is living with a lot of fear right now. His white count has bottomed out, so he’s at a very high risk for infection. Pray that his count goes up and stabilizes. The muscles in his throat seem to have atrophied to some extent, and swallowing is a challenge. He’s on thickened liquids, which helps a lot, but he has bouts of fear when his coughing and swallowing aren’t working well. Aspirating anything into his lungs could cause pneumonia. He fears pain–the pain in his abdomen and around his liver, the pain in his mouth. He’s on pain pills and patches, but there’s still so much he simply has to bear.

Death feels near. But neither of us knows how near and if we will only graze past it on our way elsewhere. Of course that is our prayer.

I can’t write much longer now. There’s so much more to say and to ask for, and I’m tired. I know Chris has asked people to pray as the Spirit leads them–to listen and to pray accordingly. I ask for that now from you all. You can infer and imagine a lot of what we might need. And please ask and listen to the Spirit. I think we are both depending heavily on the intercession of others, the groanings too deep for words.

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