“You will soon face what is called the ‘Roller Coaster of Cancer’,” Beulah, the visitor from Reach for Recovery, had warned me when I was still in the hospital.
Sure enough, within a few days of getting home, I became aware of a pattern of emotions.
Being a 'people person,' I thrived on the many visitors and phone calls, and for most of the time came across as cheerful and optimistic. Folk went away marvelling at my positive attitude. Many of them remarked on how well I looked. No matter how tired I was, I always thrilled to hear a knock on the door, and my energy level would peak once more.
But then came that time.
Every day, between 6pm and 7pm, I hit the doldrums. Visitors were busy at home with supper. Rob was sorting out the meal for the evening. David was busy with his own life. Tiredness made it impossIble to concentrate on a book. I would curl up at my computer and try to concentrate, usually unsuccessfully, on David's Quest game. Yet it didn't help. My mind kept wandering back to the horror that had blind-sided me.
From being a happy and successful nursing sister and pastor's wife, I now faced an uncertain future. Within the next week or two, I would commence a course of radiation therapy.
During my training years, I had nursed dreadful radiotherapy burns. I shuddered at the thought of becoming one such victim. After the radiotherapy would come chemotherapy which is notorious for its horrific effects, not least of which would almost certainly cause me to lose my thick, curly, auburn hair.
“Give them one year of your life and you’ll be fine,” Beulah had said. One year! It seemed like an eternity. Besides which, I had noticed that my surgeon did not seem to be anything like as optimistic.
Around 6 every evening, my emotions would slide unchecked into the pits of despair. Alone, and seemingly powerless to overcome these negative feelings, I would become depressed. I knew I had to do something to overcome this quickly-developing habit, but what?
"Lord help me to conquer these ‘blue’ times," I prayed one evening.
As so often happens, the answer came in an unexpected package.