Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Halfway mark

Tomorrow I sit in the chemo chair once again.

I'll receive my 4th and last push from the "red devil" Adriamyacin and then the last drip of Cytoxin.

Hard to believe I will be half way there...that is, to the chemo finish line.

A couple years ago, I started running to add some variation to my morning workout routine. It had gotten a little mundane. For months, my feet hit the pavement of our neighborhood, but soon, that too, became uninspiring. I needed a challenge. Something to work towards.

A friend suggested I pick a local 5K and begin training in preparation. If you know me, you know that I love competition. I love the thrill of competing, I love pushing myself and of course, winning is nice too. And so I set out with a race on the calendar and a training schedule before me.
I remember standing at the starting line amidst a sea of what seemed like serious racers. I mean most of them looked the part, that is of a real racer and a real runner. And I remember looking at their feet. Looking at the running shoes adorning their feet and thinking of the miles that those shoes had run. The terrain they had mastered. The finely crafted shoe made to cushion the foot and protect it from the constant pounding as the weight of the body made contact with the hard surface underneath.

Then my gaze fell to my own two feet.

To the running shoes that had covered many miles and while not always cushioning my feet well, they had carried my legs. But I felt instantly inadequate. Thinking I can't do this. How did I ever believe I was a runner and that I would make it through a race. I don't even have real running shoes.......who am I?

Within in seconds, the horn sounded and the race was underway. No longer could I think about my inadequacy, my insufficiency, my weakness.....I had to run and run I did. And as I ran, I remember the markers along the way signaling my distance covered. The finish line was yet in sight, but there were milestones, beckoning me onward. Filling me with endurance. Giving me a reason to put the next foot in front of the other. I was tired and my legs began to feel heavy. But I remember rounding the last corner and seeing before me the marker saying, "you're hitting the end, only 1/4 mile left."

I dug deep.

I set my eyes on that finish line.

And as I hit the last long stretch, I heard the cheers and encouragement ring through my ears from the sidelines where my husband and children stood. Pushing me forward. Strengthening me and encouraging me.

It was what I needed and my run turned into a sprint.

As my feet crossed over the finish line, what was an all out sprint became a steady walk.

Walking it out....the tired legs, the sore thighs, the burning calves. The fast breathing slowed down to deep breaths, as the sweat rolled down my forehead.

The race was done. I made it. And instead of feeling depleted, I was energized.

It was worth it.

And so tomorrow, I am rounding that corner of treatment. I don't yet see the finish line and I'm not suppose to.

And yes, I am tired.

But I see the half way marker and I'm asking God to give me the strength to keep running to that finish line.

There are days I still don't believe this really is my race. I feel inadequate. I feel weak. I feel insufficient. And you know what, I am all these things.

But He isn't.

And so I run this race, not alone. I run surrounded by you all cheering me on. And I run in the strength and joy of the Lord. I run one step, one day, one race. Standing fast in Him as He has equipped me and He sustains me. It is only on the battlefield that we are trained. And truly this is a battle. A race. My training ground.

Please pray for me tomorrow. Please pray against the nausea, against the fatigue and that this last dose will do its job. Please pray for endurance as I have four more to go and next time, the chemo drug changes.

I'm rounding the corner, running, knowing with each step, I am one foot closer to the finish line. It is worth it.

"Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us,
and let us run,
with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith."
Hebrews 12:1,2a

With love and gratitude,


Debbie said...

Oh Stacy, your blogging sisters are cheering you on. I will be praying for you tomorrow as you are halfway through your treatments.

I loved reading about your running. I thought of my favorite movie "Chariots of Fire". What a wonderful goal to set for yourself.

With the Lord's strength you will get through one day at a time. I have Isaiah 41:10 right in front of me.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Blessings and love,

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

Stacy I'm so glad you continue to share your heart and journey with us. We are here at every marker cheering you and praying for God to sustain you for whatever comes next. His faithfulness will carry you right to the finish line and on!

I love you and trust God to give you everything you need today to be encouraged to take that next step!


Debbie said...

Oh Stacy we are all here for sure cheering and encouraging you every step of the way. How wonderful to see that half way marker. What a wonderful anaolgy you have given here. He alone can give us the strength to press on to the finish...I have been praying for you every day and I will continue on as you travel through this journey. HUGS AND BLESSINGS, Debbie

Melissa said...

I am praying for you! I appreciate your words and your example of faith in the midst of adversity. God's grace will continue to sustain you.

Cheering you On,


boltefamily said...

What an absolutely AMAZING post. Such a great message for all of us no matter what the current race. Love and prayers are sent your way daily girl. What a beautiful heart you have. The Lord is using you...that is for sure

Together We Save said...

By your post I know you had your treatment today.... praying all went well.


I'm making this comment a day late.
God is not restricted by time so I pray that your treatment goes well and it's God's will that you are completely healed and make a full recovery. In Jesus Name Amen!

God bless you and your family


Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Yes I will be praying...I am there on the side lines yelling my heart out...I am good at that, I was on the drill team!

I have also been praying for the benefits and not the side effects...and will continue to do that.

I pray courage over you in Jesus Name!!! Is 40:31

Tammi said...

Dear Stacy, you left a message on my blog tonight...I know that God led you to do that. I actually was visiting your site last night and reading your "newest journey"--the battle that you (AND the LORD) are fighting. . .when I saw YOU were the one who left me a note I knew the Lord was prompting me to follow your journey, stay closely in touch with how things are going, and join your Team. "Team Stacy"!!! So here I am, along with all your blogging sisters.. cheering you and the LORD on! "Get the GLORY FATHER! Take this situation and turn it all around for Stacy's good and YOUR GLORY! Lots of us are cheering, Father! Please help the nausea to be at a minimal, and the strength to be at a maximum...the strength meaning YOUR strength and the strength of this treatment You've allowed the DR's to administer to Stacy---may this be a tool in Your Great Healing Hands to bring Stacy through this with flying colors! Give her extra cushion on those weary feet of hers. . Her feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace---she's there to be a light to others---now protect her from head to toe! In Jesus' Name, Amen!" Thanks Stacy for stopping by! I want you to know that your comment was a little answer to a prayer I had just finished a few minutes ago..just prayed for a "shot of encouragement in the spiritual arm"--a boost of strength from the Lord while on this rugged terrain. And there it was...So THANK YOU! How could I not return the favor! :) Big hugs!

He & Me + 3 said...

I didn't know you were a runner. I have never enjoyed running but I started doing the couch to 5k and am praying and running...the time just flies by & I am doing well with it so far. Loved your story.
Praying for you tonight that you get good rest and that you do not feel sick from the treatment.

Alicia, The Snowflake said...

Yes, sweet sister, we are cheering you on. He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world. May the Lord strengthen your body and your spirit. And Stacy, I know you don't believe it or even want to hear it, but you are my hero. Thank you for constantly pointing us toward our Savior. Thank you for running the race.

Cherie Hill said...

Wondering how you're doing sister? Keep your eyes on Jesus . . . God's grace will carry you when you're too weak to carry on. Praying diligently,

lisasmith said...

Praying, praying, praying for you. I'm sorry I haven't been here keeping up but I have been holding you up i prayer.

You are such a warrior. Please, please,please don't be too hard on yourself when you are exhausted or feel bad. Sleeping (lots) is a part of cancer recovery and keeping our bodies healthy once we are through treatment. It's hard to accept that some days I sleep through my 5 AM alarm and some nights I fall asleep before the kids... I hate that!!

I have found a friend that I meet at 5AM to exercise and that helps me get up, exercise and meet with the Lord most days but still there are days I sleep. Just lean on Him, He knows when all you have to offer is a whisper and a moment. I pray He multiplies it for you sweet sister.