As we were coming to grips with the battle against cancer that we are fighting we began looking at our journey as if we were going through a swamp and heading towards firm ground on the other side. In order to get through our swamp, we knew we would have to get through chemotherapy treatments and then a stem cell transplant for Claire. We are learning more details in this journey about what makes this a swamp. I suspect that when one walks through a swamp, you can’t really see what is next or even what is right in front of you. The water is murky and hides all manner of things that can trip you or be dangerous to you.
We didn’t envision the place of severe headaches that seem to be occurring with some frequency and dealing with those has been like a submerged branch that tripped us up. We are glad that there is no nausea with the treatments but were surprised by how completely draining the treatments have turned out to be. The mud on the bottom of the swamp is slowing us down more than we thought it would. And then there are the deep holes where Claire was passing out from low blood pressure as a result of the chemotherapy. We haven’t gotten to the stem cell transplant yet but we have learned that she will have to be in isolation for at least 45 days. That part of the swamp, which is admittedly a long way away yet, will present much bigger challenges than what we thought it would. Each day and often each hour brings a new challenge or obstacle that we can’t see and we can only walk slowly forward, a step at a time, not knowing what will be next.
Still we are far from alone in going through this. We have the support of our families and our wonderful church family as we make our way forward. We have friends from Claire’s work and from our former church from way back who are letting us know that they are praying for us. And most importantly of course, God is with us every step of the way. God has provided all we need for this difficult journey through friends, family, good medical care and the strength to press on when it gets tiring, frustrating or overwhelming. God has been faithful and we know that God will continue to be faithful as we go through this.
Even though swamp references are very rare in the Bible, there is one passage that we are finding helpful as we press on through the swamp. Isaiah 43:1-2 says:
But now, this is what the Lord says--
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
We are walking through the water and yet we have the assurance that because God is faithful to his children no matter what, we will not be swept away or overwhelmed. God is and will be with us. God is and will be with you as well whatever “swamp” you may be having to cross in your lives.