In Sickness and in Health

Battling cancer with love, medicine, and the Giver of both.

One Year Ago…

Our hope lay in shards.

This is the one-year anniversary of my second diagnosis.  We thought I was gonna die.  And here I sit, typing at my computer.

God, You are our help!  Our times are in Your hands.

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Pig Chasing

Over the last two years I’ve written about what I’ve done ‘in sickness.’  So in case you’re wondering what I’m doing ‘in health.’ …

You’ll never guess.

Pig chasing you say?  How did you know?  Oh… the title.

Yes, pig chasing.  Monster pigs.

You see, we live in a small apartment on our landlord’s property which is adjacent to our neighbors (duh) who live with three pigs and some chickens.  Only, the pigs and the chickens seem to like our land better.  Grass is always greener right?  The pigs are penned up.  But the chickens…well, let’s just say if they ever sell them, they can truly label them as ‘free-range chickens.’  Really, I’m used to them coming over so much that I hardly think about it anymore.  I did have an urge to rush them the other day, so I followed the instinct and the stupid rooster stood up to me.  Amazing!  Uh… I admit I was leery.  I had this nagging sense that he just might fly in my face if I crossed his boundaries.  So I let him be.

Now, as for the pigs.  Yes, they are penned up.  But, being pigs they root around and apparently find great pleasure in wiggling their way out.  Several days ago I was in our entryway and glanced out at a huge dog on our porch.  Uh…wait.  On second glance my eyes bulged as they beheld a large brown… PIG??  I raced for my camera and rushed out to document this trespassing creature.  I succeeded in chasing him back to the pasture that separates us from our neighbors (our landlord’s longhorn cows inhabit this bit of land).  And from there he trotted on home.  Unfortunately, in all of this scramble he found a bucket of chicken feed in the garage which seemed to delight his piggy desires.  In the meantime, our landlord let our neighbors know their pigs were out.  Needless to say, a rather chaotic scene ensued.  Our neighbors own a business right on their property.  So…about three men, a child, and a woman were running after these pigs like maniacs with rakes and sticks and what-have-you.  HILARIOUS!

After much difficulty, the pigs were again behind wire.  I thought, “Hmmm…that big piggy knows exactly where to find some tasty, free chicken feed…”

A day or two later, I had my good friend over for coffee.  She has three little boys who love to give bread to our landlord’s chickens.  We coaxed them out the door but decided to go with them as they were begging for our presence.  We grabbed our cameras and out we went.  I was getting close to the boys when I heard a sound from the garage, and upon turning to investigate, was horrified to see not just the former convicted brown piggy, but his partners in crime.  This included another brown one, about the same size, as well as a black one with a white stripe around his middle.  I thought the brown ones were big, but this black one was a monster.  I honestly was scared of him.  And here they were, munching down on the prized chicken feed.  It was a huge mistake to even start talking.  As soon as they perceived our presence, they started coming out.  I began chasing the brown ones.  They’re ‘chickens,’ but the black one… hmmm.  He came trotting out of the garage, straight for the three boys.  Now, you have to understand… this pig was big enough for ME to be scared of him, let alone the boys who weren’t even half his size.  But the pig trotted right over to them as they clawed up their mother’s arms and legs, shrieking all the way.  I decided this beast wasn’t going to daunt me, but even with my advances, he managed to snatch the bread out of the terrorized boys’ hands.  Unbelievable!!!  I realized this guy was going to be intimidated by none, which made me furious.  My friend succeeded in getting the boys into the house.  In the meantime, I chased the brute all over.  Only it wasn’t really chasing, because he only ran when he wanted to and if he saw a piece of bread he gobbled it up.  He was completely nonplussed by my presence.  In fact, he acted as if I wasn’t even there.  Offensive, to say the least.

After getting the boys in the house, my friend joined me in the pursuit.  We grabbed brooms.  By this time, I meant extreme business.  Not that I was responsible for chasing him back, but I had a personal score to settle with him. This pig was not going to dominate!  My friend stood in the garden literally pushing against him with a broom.  Unmovable.  And when he did move, he came my way.  A knock on the nose hardly phased him.  I pushed the bristles into his snout and after several whacks, he finally turned around.  One more swat on the butt got him into the pasture and trotting off.

The three pigs hung around until our faithful male longhorn, Bambi, took over.  He’s not very aggressive for a longhorn which is probably good or the pigs would have been bacon.  But he did let them know he meant business and soon they were trotting on back.

And again, the neighbor was notified.  What followed would be funny, were it not that our neighbor is a very angry man, by all appearances.  I don’t think those pigs have any ears left.  Mine are still tingling.  I pray for his soul.  Maybe I’ll take him a loaf of bread someday.

In the meantime, I have a very forgiving friend who stoops low enough to chase pigs with me.

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Rest

I am unbelievably amazed at what that four-letter word will do for a body.

After a much needed nap, I feel nigh to wholeness again.

Exhaustion is a torturous thing.  At its ‘best’, it forces you to stop and rest.  At its worst, it paralyzes you so you cannot rest.  In the last two years I have indeed discovered these two different kinds.  I thought exhaustion was exhaustion.  Nope… There is a sleepy exhaustion that is quickly remedied by a good night of sleep or a sound nap.  And there is a frenzied exhaustion that demands a reprieve, but it follows you to your bed and refuses to let you go.  Yes, exhaustion can be a torturous beast.

I’m still regaining my endurance and I’m often toying with the line between low energy and exhaustion.  I like to flirt with that line and see how much I can get by with.  Yes, me being me, I tend toward living in extremes with middle-ground crying out for attention.  Not really a great habit.  I realized recently that uh…maybe it doesn’t have to be how much I can “get by with.”  How about living with a little energy left over?

I can’t always predict when I’ll come to that line, which makes life very difficult to commit to.  Conserving energy is an art.  But thankfully, it is getting easier.

I’ll be humming along…flirting, squeezing out the last ounces of energy like a toothpaste tube that’s already dry.  And…oops!…all of a sudden I’m over that line.  Yikes!  In those times, I feel like a puzzle with pieces strewn all over.  And if I’m pushed too far in that state, it comes nigh to panic.  As if the pieces are contemplating fleeing the scene without a hint of return.  Then it quickly becomes the exhaustion that won’t let you go.

Forgive me for all the metaphors, but they’re coming to me like gnats in droves and they really do fit like a glove.  Ok, now I’m over the top.  Sorry.

Back to the exhaustion, or rather the title of the post, rest makes me feel all settled and whole inside.  Like the pieces decided to stick around after all.  Ahhhh…

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