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100 Hours [+ All the Other Waking Moments]

November.12.2014

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Yesterday I crossed the 100th hour of chemo treatments. I have received chemo treatments for literally 100 hours at this point in my life, and just think, I only recently started this journey. 100 hours is daunting. If we allow ourselves to go all Gladwell-ian for a minute, it means I am still 9,900 hours away from being an expert at chemo. So the good news is that I am nowhere close to becoming a chemo expert. Whew.

 

And while I’m no expert, I have spent 100 hours of my life having healing poison drip into my body. I have sat in the chair. I have talked to the nurses. I have felt sick. For 100 hours, in the same place, in the name of this cancer.

Things I have learned in 100 hours:

  • Allison is a champion. She is the best wife, chemo-buddy, social worker, and care-taker; and there is no way to fully express my gratitude for how hard she is working during this season.
  • I like our nurses. I am the youngest patient in our chemo ward by decades. I don’t see a lot of the same patients consistently, but our nurses are there everyday and so we are getting to know each other. I think its because I am kinda around their ages that they treat me so well, but its probably because they like Allison and have to hang out with us so much. Or they hate us and just are really good at their jobs.
  • The chemo room is not fun. It’s a big room, broken into 6 sections, with lots of chemo chairs. The patients don’t talk much to each other because it’s so draining, so instead we sit and watch each other go through some of the deepest struggles we will face in this lifetime. It’s a surreal spot to spend a lot of time. The only highlight that everyone talks about is the snack stash for anyone interested (I am not).
  • My head is fairly normally shaped. I was real worried going into this whole chemo/hair-loss thing that I would have a lumpy head, but it turns out my head is fairly proportional so at least I’ve got that going for me, which is nice. I’m grateful for the hats I have been given to keep my head warm, they are invaluable some days, so thank you.
  • I can’t read during chemo. You would think it would be an ideal time to catch up on all my reading but the medicine does not lend itself to mental focus. I read the same page in the same book like 4 times before I finally just put the book down. I can’t remember things either. Chemo-brain is real and it would be amusing if it weren’t a hassle. I wish I could regale you with stories of the funny things I have forgotten, but alas, the memories have lapsed.
  • Your words mean a lot to me. I know I can’t respond quickly and I can’t really hang out, but the fact that you remember us and reach out means the world. So even if I am slow to respond and don’t have the energy to hang out in person, please keep saying hi, reminding me that you’re praying, and sharing funny jokes.

As it turns out, it’s not the 100 hours of chemo that are the hardest; it’s every other hour of my days when healing is fighting to take place outside the hospital. Healing is a slow process and the in-between chemo moments are just as valuable as every minute spent in the chair. But the in-between healing feels really slow.

Right now, I can’t do much of anything. My doctor has set pretty strict boundaries about what I am capable of doing (physically and emotionally). My full-time job is to focus on healing. Because of the intensity of my treatment, I have been semi-quarantined. We have been highly cautioned against being in groups of people because of the risk of germs, especially during sick/flu season –  which means most social events and most public places (including church) are not an option for me. The isolation makes me feel a little withdrawn.

Things I’m learning in the in-between hours:

  • I’m learning to be grateful for the process of healing; even for the moments of being home and feeling sick, of feeling tired, of feeling nauseous, of feeling restless and and of feeling defeated. This is all part of real healing.
  • It’s hard to be present when I don’t feel good, but I want to be. And I’m learning how to celebrate small victories; for moments of feeling okay, for short visits from friends, for messages and texts that keep me going.
  • The in-between time is teaching me about sabbath. Rest is hard – real hard. But even in the midst of cancer my doctors have built in moments of rest for my body even though it feels more like a reprieve. Reprieve is a probably a good word for Sabbath anyway.
  • In the midst of this, in the midst of feeling like I can’t do anything, I’m learning more and more of what it means to be dependent on the process of healing.
  • And more than anything, I am learning to just be. I can’t accomplish anything right now. I can’t do much for other people right now. I can’t feel proud of doing. So I am just learning to be.  That’s harder than it sounds.

And so, I will keep being and I will keep healing. For 100 more hours.

You can keep up on Allison’s beautiful perspective through this process at allisonbuzard.com and for more medical updates and needs, stay up to date here: posthope.org/BUZfeed

19 Comments leave one →
  1. skboyd2@gmail.com permalink
    November.12.2014 9:40 am

    God bless you, Adam. We are praying for you both. Thanks for writing about your situation. It helps us to understand what you are going through and helps us to be more compassionate when we are dealing with others in a similar situation. Matt and Sandy Boyd

    • November.12.2014 3:34 pm

      Thank you so much for praying Matt & Sandy. Means the world to us to have you guys in our corner. Thank you!

  2. Matt Niehoff permalink
    November.12.2014 10:48 am

    Adam – you are accomplishing far more than you might think. For me, watching you courageously battle this disease with the dignity and faith that you have, is nothing short of inspiring. I have taken to heart the lessons you are sharing with us along your journey, and, am incredibly thankful for your strength and example.

    Love you and will be continuously praying. As always, if there is anything we can do, please let us know!

    Matt

    • November.12.2014 3:35 pm

      Thanks Matt. We are super grateful for you guys and I am so thankful for your kind and encouraging words. It’s a vulnerable thing to share and your comment means so much to me. Thanks for praying and hope to see you soon.

  3. November.12.2014 11:18 am

    Matt said it all. You are truly impacting those around you in a profound way beyond what you can fathom. We continue to pray for you and will not stop. I am confident that God is going to continue to use you in amazing ways for decades to come. While “walking” with you from across the country I am privileged to be part of your journey.

    By the way, you still write as beautifully as you have. The chemo brain does not seem to have affected that. So you have a round head and good writing skills. That’s two things you have going for you.

    May you rest in the peace of Jesus Christ.

    Keith

    • November.12.2014 3:41 pm

      Thanks for writing Keith. Resting in the peace of Jesus is something that is tough but I am trying to do and learn how to do. Thank you for your kind words and it means the world that my words are making an impact for others as they walk along side us. Grateful for you and your family to be with us on this journey, even from afar. Thanks Keith.

  4. Kevin permalink
    November.12.2014 11:52 am

    Hey Adam. We don’t know each other. I just found your post through a mutual friend.

    Like all of us, I’ve been unfortunate enough to know far too many people who have dealt with cancer. But even so, yours is the best, most-honest glimpse I’ve ever been given into the chemo treatment process.

    I’m hopeful, that as I reflect on it, I will become a better listener, friend and intercessor. So thank you.

    And all the best to you as you learn to be.

    • November.12.2014 3:42 pm

      Hey Kevin, first off, thanks so much for taking the time to read and to comment. I am humbled by your words and am so grateful that my few and far thoughts are able to help you as you engage others on their journeys. That means the world to me. Thanks for writing and for your prayers.

  5. November.12.2014 12:11 pm

    Hey Adam…Chad and I think of you often and pray for you often. We want you to know that we really do…not just say we do :). What strikes me is that you say you aren’t doing much, but by sharing your story, hard as it may be, you are likely making a WAY bigger impact than you know. Keep fighting! Know you have so many praying!

  6. November.12.2014 12:12 pm

    Hey Adam…Chad and I think of you often and pray for you often. We want you to know that we really do…not just say we do :). What strikes me is that you say you aren’t doing much, but by sharing your story, hard as it may be, you are likely making a WAY bigger impact than you know. Keep fighting! Know you have so many praying!

    • November.12.2014 3:33 pm

      Thanks so much for praying Julie (and for really praying :-)) Thanks for writing and your encouragement, it means a lot.

  7. Allison permalink
    November.12.2014 5:25 pm

    I don’t know you, but I am praying Jesus will give you sweet rest tonight. I hope you will know He is with you tonight. Praying for continued healing.

  8. Brian Peterson permalink
    November.12.2014 8:50 pm

    Ok Adam, I’ve got a joke….lame & corny as it is.

    Do you remember having honeymoon salad when you and Allison were first married?

    Let us alone with no dressing!

  9. Kelly Swaim permalink
    November.12.2014 9:17 pm

    Adam, I’m friends with Cambrey & Corey. And because I’m always updated on all their activities 😊 through Miss Little’s postings, I learned of your illness. You and Allison are in my prayers and thoughts. Besides healing prayers, sending you Peace.

  10. Eden Parker permalink
    November.12.2014 11:54 pm

    One of my favorites “be still, and know I am God” psalm 46:10. Be still, Adam, and I pray for fast healing for you!

  11. Jen permalink
    November.13.2014 12:31 pm

    Hey there Adam and Allison – Thank you for your eloquence through all of this – please know that I am praying for you through your nights (as they’re my days) – and as you know “you are never alone”. Proud to be an honorary Vessel!

  12. November.13.2014 1:21 pm

    thankful for this glimpse into your journey, friend. i appreciate hearing you articulate what this season is like—the goods, the bads, the uglies.

    100 hours completed seems worth celebrating somehow. hmmmm…

    love you big.

  13. November.17.2014 8:50 am

    Praying for you everyday. We are proud of you and love you.

  14. November.24.2014 2:33 pm

    Hi Adam! I used to work with your parents. My niece will be ten in January, and that also happens to be the estimated end date of her two years of chemo for leukemia, hooray for conquering cancer 🙂 Wishing the same for you soon. Sending you strength, warm thoughts, and I’ll be sure to give your mom some big hugs to bring to ya.

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