Staying the Course

This was the moment. My feet dug into the Atlantic sand among the infant clams burying their bodies back under the protection of the waves. An 80 degree breeze hoisted my four dollar kite into the air and momentarily eclipsed the sun as its shadow danced on rainbow canopies and sun kissed bodies. I finally made it to the beach.

In December, when the wind froze and blistered our faces, I laid in my bed with a cat curled around my swollen thigh. The bruises from surgery were faded fingerprints on my neck and arms and the room smelled like rubbing alcohol and gauze. Injection sites polka dotted purple blotches on my thighs and a cocktail of chemo crashed in my bloodstream.

I texted my youngest brother to keep him updated and in my weak moment, told him how hard all of this was as a stray tear tumbled down the curves of my face and onto fluid stained sheets. I was finding it hard to keep counting the days until the Spring when all the treatment would be over.

“You have to look forward to something,” he texted, “What do you want to do after chemo?”

“Go to the beach,” I replied.

I watched my kite dance in the air currents above the sea as the salt water splashed up my legs. As I turned to the waves, fear, once again, tried to rip me from my happiness.

What if they don’t take out my last chemo chest port in September? What if I relapse and this is the moment people will always remember me? What if this is my last happy moment? 

As the ocean undulated, back and forth, and my kite still floated freely, I jerked myself back. I can’t do this. I looked toward my husband playing with our family on the beach, and our beautiful son sitting in his tita’s lap under a shaded blue umbrella.

I must be strong. I must have faith. I must survive.

I know I’m not as healthy as I want to be right now – but I’m trying my best. Some days I still have to lie down for four hours while someone else holds my precious son. Some days I still have to take morphine to get through the pain in the night. Some days I will feel so down that I will need someone to still pick me up out of the mire and muck of depression, but I will keep looking forward.

I have to remember that the scars on my chest, stomach, and heart are not signs of a sad story but of a continual survival.

God, help me stay the course.

Psalm 118:17 –  “I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done.”


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