by Sr. Janet Gildea, SC
At the halfway mark of my chemotherapy treatment course I find myself in the middle of Advent. I have a lot of time on my hands during this December which is so busy for most people. My mind is going but my body is not. I think about the Advent theme of waiting.
My body is waiting . . . for the next chemo, for the treatment to do what it is supposed to do, for the after-effects to be gone. My mind is waiting . . . for test results, for clarity about what this inter-mission means in the larger context of my life. My spirit is waiting . . . for a return of energy, for enlightenment, for a resurgence of hope.
I think about two different ways that I wait. The first is to wait in fear. It is easy to go to the dark side while waiting in these December Advent days. Short on light and long on cold, the early morning hours are most prone to anxious waiting. Will I be able to have the next treatment on time? What if this cold turns into pneumonia because my immune system is suppressed? I have so many things I need to do but the most I can manage is eating and sleeping! Fear bordering on panic.
The second option is to wait in hope. The Advent readings from Isaiah break through with promise, expectation and restoration. “Lo, the days are coming! The rough ways will be smoothed! Death will be destroyed forever and all tears will be wiped away!” In my days of dehydration when I go to the infusion center for extra IV fluids, I hear the words “The afflicted and the needy seek water in vain; their tongues are parched with thirst. I, the LORD, will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will open up rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the broad valleys.” (Isaiah 41:17-18) I will wait in hope!
[Janet Gildea, SC, has been a contributor to Global Sisters Report, writing on immigration and other topics from the U.S.-Mexico border. Janet began chemotherapy for recurrent ovarian cancer on October 6, 2015, an experience that she will be sharing in GSR over the next several months. Readers are also welcome to visit her blog, “Each Day Counts” at janetsc.wordpress.com. Access her Inter-Mission columns on GSR here.]