Night and Day

In attempt to find something that we can enjoy while JJ is fighting cancer, we have signed up for free trial months of Amazon Prime and Netflix. We had talked about getting Amazon Prime for a couple of years because we often shop on Amazon and the free shipping is appealing, but we are also enjoying Netflix. Amazon and Netflix have some of the same movies, but also some different ones.  I think we are going to get both, since they aren’t all that expensive, and we really enjoy movies.

In the last couple of weeks we have been discovering interesting movies and TV programs on Amazon Prime and Netflix, including Doctor Who. I have heard a lot about Doctor Who over the years, but had never seen the program before. EJ, JJ, and I had a Doctor Who marathon yesterday, and we discovered that we really enjoy the show. I can see why it has a cult following.

The last Doctor Who episodes we watched last night before I headed to bed were 9 and 10 of season 1. It took place during WW2 and was about people who turned into childlike zombies. I like thrillers, suspense, and science fiction movies (among others), but not horror movies. In my childhood, even B horror movies used to scare me. I think because they made me feel trapped: people could never escape the monsters. Last night’s two-part Doctor Who episode felt horror movie-ish, and sort of scared me. I feel rather silly because it wasn’t all THAT scary, not really, but I think it tapped into stress I was already feeling. Especially just before bedtime. During the day I am mostly able to keep my focus on truth strong and not give in to stress, but I am vulnerable at night, when there are no distractions and my mind is too sleepy to always focus on truth. And if I don’t sleep well at night, I’m too tired to fight anxious thoughts during the day.

I think uncertainty causes stress, and there is a lot of uncertainty in our lives right now. During the day, I focus on the fact that many have survived this type of cancer, and we will take one day at a time, and I hold on to the truth that God will help us through whatever we have to face with JJ. At night, uncertainties about how JJ will react to chemo-therapy (if he needs it), and the difficulty of suffering with him as he (perhaps) vomits and loses his hair because of treatment, and the heartbreak of “what if he doesn’t survive?” nibbles at my peace.

During the day, I watch how God is showing us love through many, many people, and I am experiencing how He is caring for our physical needs. I feel so cared for! At night, however,  I feel financially vulnerable. I hear stories about millions of people losing their health care, and the cost of ObamaCare. No matter what you, my readers, think about ObamaCare, the truth is that there is a lot of uncertainty with it, and I worry about how that will affect our son, and our ability to pay for his health care. Will we lose our insurance? Will we get bankrupted trying to pay medical costs? Will we be hungry, homeless, or watch our son die because we can’t afford ObamaCare?

And then there is my and JJ’s computers, both of which have developed problems. Our friend who is fixing my computer texted yesterday that he is getting a refund on my  “brick” (the power cord thing) that he just installed a few weeks ago because it’s no longer working. He is having trouble finding a fan to replace the one that is dying. Apparently, technology is changing so quickly that even though my computer isn’t all that many years old, its fan is already obsolete. I think advances in technology are fun, but not if they change so quickly that a person cannot even find parts. In addition, if the motherboard on my computer is out, it will cost about $200 to replace it, which isn’t as bad as it could be, but is bad enough. We use our computers for so many things: news, education, research, entertainment, connection to others. EJ is sharing his computer with me while mine is being fixed, but sharing means neither one of us has full use of our computers, and his computer doesn’t have my bookmarks and photos and programs. And now JJ’s computer is not charging right. His computer is a gaming computer, which means EJ’s computer can’t run his programs.  JJ feels very isolated without his computer. How can we afford the extra expense of fixing or replacing computers? During the day I feel that “Well, these things happen…” At night I feel like, “Really? The computers have to break down NOW?”

All these uncertainties–and more–I can fight during the day, but not always at night, and definitely not last night. I was stressed and sleepless through the night. I woke this morning from very little sleep. I felt tired, stressed, and overwhelmed. But first thing this morning I had to take the laundry to the laundromat. I had extra loads because I am washing all of JJ’s bedding because he has fleas in his room. I have been spraying everything multiple times to get rid of them. I have not noticed fleas in the rest of the house. Probably JJ has fleas in his room because he complained when I kept spraying his room earlier this summer so I probably didn’t spray his room as well. Plus, if I notice any flea in the rest of the house, I immediately commence the “Flea Protocol” and start to spray, but I do not go into JJ’s room all that often. I have never had the problems with fleas that I have had this year. They are probably developing resistance to flea spray. I hate fleas. In case you wonder, fleas cause stress.

Anyway, I care about many things, such as what’s happening in our country and the world. However, I find myself having to limit exposure to news and information, especially if it’s negative. I scroll through my FB page, sometimes reading an article or two, but I do not always read every discussion, news, or informational item. Sometimes even different information about good things is too much. Sometimes I just look at cute pictures of cats and dogs.

I told EJ this morning that I was thinking that in everything there must be a cut off point. For example, we have researched pork and believe that it’s really not good to eat. Besides the fact that God calls pork unclean in the Old Testament and I don’t see why, if He doesn’t change, that He’d suddenly call something good in the NT that He called an abomination in the OT, we researched pork and it just isn’t all that healthy to eat. When EJ stopped eating pork, he immediately had less problems with joint pain. (If you want to research the matter of pork, there’s a thought-provoking book by Hope Egan called Holy Cow! Does God Care About What We Eat?) But how far ought a person take this? Pig DNA is being inserted in various foods. Do we try to check out the DNA of food or do we stop at just reading labels on packages?

Does a person not watch movies that promote a lifestyle he disagrees with? That’s certainly valid. We all have criteria for which movies we choose to watch or avoid. However, where does a person draw the line? Does he refuse to watch movies in which the story does not promote a disagreeable lifestyle, but in which the actors in the movie live such lives? What about if the producers are engaged in such lifestyles? Or the camera crew? Or the makeup artists? How far do you research lifestyles before letting yourself enjoy a movie?

And then there’s food. I agree that food affects our bodies and we should eat healthy. I believe that GMOs and chemicals aren’t good for us. Neither are a lot of drugs. I mean, have you ever seen the drug commercials in which the side effects sound worse than the health issues the drug is supposed to cure? Why would a person take a drug for depression if the side effect of the drug is suicidal thoughts? Duh! But how far does a person take this? It seems that no matter what the food or supplement is, there is something negative about it. If we ate only “perfect food”, we’d probably starve to death because the list of “perfect” food is small. Dead is dead–does it really matter if a person dies of GMO or starvation? And everyone has a different opinion. Some people say to avoid all drugs, others say avoid certain foods. Some of EJ’s co-workers think we should take JJ to Mexico and treat his cancer with methods not approved in the USA.

Ai, yi, yi!

It makes my head ache.

I can’t help thinking about Howard Hughes, who was so afraid of germs that he became a crazy recluse. I mean, many germs are bad, but fear of them ruined his ability to enjoy life. Maybe he would have been happier if he had accepted a few nasty germs in his life. What good is being germ-free if you live a fear-full life?

I told EJ this morning that what good is it to be so stressed about making sure JJ has the most healthiest food, and the perfect treatment (whatever that is), if we get sick and die of exhaustion or stress to make it happen?

I appreciate the information that people share with us. I think people share out of love and concern, and they can’t know which piece of information will be something vital that we need. I do not think that any individual is flooding us with too much. However, I have “liked” a lot of natural health pages myself so there is a lot of information streaming on my FB page. Sometimes it feels like too much so I do not read every article. If I read every article, I would be reading articles all day long. And sometimes a person has to stop reading and start making choices. As EJ often says, “A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.” 

So what we are doing is the best we can do. I think that is all any of us can do. I have several friends fighting cancer, and I try to support them in whatever way they decide to fight it. Cancer is hard enough to fight without feeling we have to fight it the way another person would. Besides, I don’t think there is a perfect way to fight cancer. Maybe every way is good as long as we are fighting it.

In our family we are trying to make the healthiest choices we can, but not every choice is the perfect choice. Not everyone will agree with every choice we make. We cannot follow all the advice we are given, which doesn’t mean we don’t love the people (or pages) giving it. Some choices might have some negative consequences, but we have to weigh whether the benefits are worth the consequences.

In order to fight stress, sometimes I don’t read every article on FB. sometimes I just turn on Amazon Prime or Netflix and relax with a good movie. A good night’s sleep enables me to fight stress too. But probably I won’t be watching Doctor Who just before bedtime.

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5 Comments on “Night and Day

  1. Hey Teri!

    Almost seven years ago my dad was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. No one saw it coming, although had we been more attuned, we might have had an inkling. He had just recently retired, choosing the monthly disbursements instead of a lump sum one time payment. He was planning to be around for awhile, you see. As we all did, carrying on not seeing what was right around the corner.

    He was excited because he had lost weight in the past year, too. He didn’t know this cancer was why at the time. He had been in pain for a few months, but didn’t think it could be something like this. His diagnosis took a few months because biopsies were coming back inconclusive. It was very late stage. After looking up Pancreatic Cancer on line, it was also very grim news, because almost no one ever survives past a year of this diagnosis.

    I was expecting our third child, Jonathan at the time. He lived long enough to see his newest grandson for a couple of weeks. One was coming while another was going, as is the normal cycle of life. But we didn’t know that at the time, since we were in the middle of the story still.

    It was an overwhelming time in all our lives. I cried everyday. More often than I did not. The floodgates were opened, so to say, and I just couldn’t seem to stop it. What might seem kind of strange, was once my dad actually passed away, they didn’t flow so relentlessly anymore. A certain peaceful calm came back to me. Watching him suffer and deteriorate was heartbreaking. That storm had lifted. It freed me and I let go.

    Perhaps that was how King David felt when he fasted and prayed for his son to live, but then he was able to get up afterwards, for he knew what was done had passed and there was no more pleading to be done on his son’s behalf.

    My dad lived just long enough to see his newest grandson for a couple of weeks. Jonathan will always be a specially timed blessing for me. When I could have been more caught up in the loss of my dad, I had gained the life of son. This seemed to help me regain some semblance of balance, I determined to bounce back into life with a renewed sort of gusto.

    Of course, during the ordeal, I began researching cancer on line. So did my brother. And our aunts, his sisters. Oh, and dad’s friends. We were all looking for ways to help. We tried things.

    Sound familiar? If it doesn’t, it probably will.

    I learned a lot about connections to health, food, our bodies, and cancer. I think I had my own version of PTCD, ie post traumatic cancer disorder as I focused with lazer like precision on the realization that almost everything we were doing was leading to a cancerous lifestyle.

    I went through a personal health transformation at the time that, well, was inevitable in light of everything I just learned and went through. And dragged my family, some of them kicking and screaming in protest, with me. I was giving our daughter fresh made vegetable juice. She HATED it. To this day, I think she is still horrified by the thought of it. But I was on a mission, and zealous I was. No one else was ever gonna get cancer in my family again…

    So, why am I telling you all this, anyways?

    Because you are wise to realize there is a limit to how far you can or should take this. I have had a few years to heal and hence relax a bit, and I have. This is also to explain why I never sent you a single article or word of advice except to cry to your hearts content when you first found out. I didn’t want to further overwhelm anyone with too much.

    Anyhow, I figured you would discover all these other things too, as I see you are doing. And I am glad you found Dr. Who, even if he is a bit too intense for late night viewing. But may I make one important recommendation. Just a little silly advice? In fact I hope you will laugh at me for it. It may seem like it has nothing to do with cancer, but then again, I feel there is a connection in there somewhere. Have you thought about watching Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman?! I think that would be better suited to late nights.

    Just my two cents, for what it’s worth. You can take it or leave it.

    And BTW, if you WANT me to send you any natural cancer info that I think might be helpful, just let me know. But I won’t, unless you want me to. And if I do, and it’s too much, just tell me to knock it off, enough already.

    May your family be Blessed, covered in love and prayer.

    Heather

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  2. Thank you so much, Heather, for sharing your story. My heart goes out to you for what your family went through. It’s such a difficult thing.

    Right now I feel overwhelmed by too much information and feel as if I can’t absorb anymore. However, when I need more, I will most definitely come to you for advice!

    I have to confess that we all watched Doctor Who again tonight. The stories really are quite interesting…and we might be becoming hooked. But we have decided that we will only watch the program when we are all together. Otherwise, I am finding programs on Amazon and Netflix that are less intense and even lighthearted. 🙂

    Love to you!

    Like

    • Dr Who it is?!? The title sounds like the question is the answer is the question. I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone else, but it does to me.

      I support whatever decisions you make in fighting it or not. There are lots of options. Your family has a lot weigh and think about. I figured the best way I could show some compassion is to not share anything until you had a few weeks to process this revelation and unless you asked for it. Just send the word, and I will give you what I have learned and deemed of value.

      Some don’t choose to fight it. I remember when my grandmother found out she had breast cancer. She accepted it as her time here was coming to a close soon anyways. Her decision was not to try doing anything major. They offered her surgical options but in her estimation it wouldn’t make that much of a difference since she was already at what she considered advanced age. However, she did make a few modifications that she thought would be helpful in slowing the progress rate. And she still enjoyed her treats, coffee and living life. She always had sweets for her grand kids and we loved to bake and cook together. She didn’t let cancer change that about her. Since she was at peace with that, we all respected her wishes and admired her courage.

      I remember visiting her when she breathed her last and holding her hand. Some time had passed since I had gone to see her. I was a pretty self absorbed teen at the time. I still don’t know how I decided to go just then, but I’m glad I did. Had I waited another day or hour…Eye, yi, yi! I saw her when she was strong and weak, and I learned a lot about living and dying. She will always have a special place reserved in my heart. She loved her family and that was her great gift to us.

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I see a lot of her ways in others who have to deal with cancer, and it brings her memory back alive. It feels good to share our stories. Give JJ a hug from our family to yours. And keep enjoying Dr Who, as the saga continues…

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  3. I so appreciate you sharing parts of your story. I once read that the most powerful thing we have to share is our stories–of our lives, our struggles, our victories, our walks with God. Your stories are precious to me. Thank you so much for sharing. I love you, dear friend.

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