The Gopher and the Flower

Yesterday was a very bad day for JJ. He was restless and fretful and fought nausea all day. He finally ended up vomiting. A lot of times a person feels better afterwards, but JJ continued to feel nauseous. At bedtime I gave him his third anti-nausea medication. It causes drowsiness so he finally fell asleep and slept all night. Today he felt better, he said, although not GOOD. He was still restless and fretful and somewhat nauseous, just not quite as severe. And some of his eyelashes fell out. We’ve heard from others that the third Cycle of Chemo tends to be rough, and now we have experienced that it is true.

Both EJ and I felt fatigued today and very unmotivated, but there were things we had to do. I fed our “wee beasties”–our dog, cats, and wild birds. I brought in firewood. I cleaned the ashes out of the woodstove. I took out the trash. I folded three baskets of laundered clothes. I did dishes. I swept and mopped the floors. And I cared for JJ. When JJ isn’t feeling well, he doesn’t really know what he wants so he asks for food and then pushes it away, wants ginger ale but then wants water, thinks maybe he should have an anti-nausea pill and “will you cut it in half so I can swallow it?” and “Will you give me a hug?” I have a lot of getting up before I really have time to sit down. But that’s all part of being a caregiver.

We needed a few things from the store–like coffee and disposable coffee cups, eggs, and so on–so EJ left this afternoon to do the shopping for us. He’s very good at grocery shopping, and I was glad that he is so willing to do it. Because he was willing to do the shopping, I refused to let him help me with the other chores. Besides, his back hurts.

Tomorrow we have to be at the Cancer Center at 11 a.m. for a 90 minute session of Chemo. On Friday the nurse informed us that because JJ’s white blood cell count drops during his intense weeks of Chemo, he will also be given an injection to make his bone marrow produce blood cells. The nurse explained to us that there are two different types of injections for this: One makes the bone marrow produce blood cells immediately but it’s not long-lasting. The other takes longer to start producing blood cells, but it is long-lasting. I know that one type makes JJ’s bones ache intensely so that he moans and groans for several days, while the other causes just a slight ache. We think the injection JJ will receive tomorrow is the moan and groan one. 

The Gopher
The Gopher

When JJ was small, EJ used to play a drawing game with him. It was a problem-solving, critical-thinking type of game. In the game, EJ drew a picture of a flower and a gopher. One person took the role of the gopher who tried to destroy the flower while the other defended the flower. The “gopher,” for example, might draw rockets falling on the flower, but the “defender” changed the rockets into rain that watered the flower. The “gopher” might draw poison to kill the flower while the defender changed the poison into fertilizer. No matter how the gopher tried to attack the flower, the defender would think of a way to change the attack into something that was harmless or beneficial for the flower.

The Defender is sort of how I see God. I do not believe that  God causes things like cancer, and I don’t think He brings difficult things into our lives because He “knows we are strong enough to handle it.” If God gave us difficult things because we are strong, I would be tempted to stay weak so that I wouldn’t have problems. 🙂 The truth is that I know that I am not strong and I cannot handle much of anything. But God is good, and He is loving, and no matter what disease or heartbreak comes into our lives, He is the Defender who weeps with us, helps us, strengthens us, and changes everything into good if we let Him.

Cancer is a destructive, terrible disease, but I believe God loves us and He will change it’s destructiveness in some way so that we become “more than conquerors.”



2 Comments on “The Gopher and the Flower

  1. The only thing I can say is Amen to the last part of your blog Teri and He Who is more than we are will carry you all through this ordeal. In our weakness we can experience His strength and He will never forsake us of leave us. Love you all very much and I give you 10 hugs so you can share some with JJ en EJ. ❤


  2. I whine about my days. You, my dear, are made strong in your weakness. I love the game that EJ played with Double J. I could use this to diffuse some difficult times here at home. We don’t struggle with sickness or disease, but we have a strong spiritual battle going on. Funny how God teaches us things about His Word. Our pastor is preaching on spiritual battles….we are seeing it first hand in our home. I guess this is a great way to apply what we learn. 😉


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