Who turned the thermostat up?
Unlike my stodgy contemplative stay at home wife, I have always been adventurous and looking for new experiences, charging ahead into the unknown. Wait a minute I think I have that backwards. Those of you that know me understand how much I like the status quo. If something works why change it? Don’t look for something new, you might find it!
Well 2020 has been a year of new experiences! As I begin writing this I realize never in my lifetime had I ever thought that I would ever be writing about my hot flashes. I am not referring to moments of brilliant insight but instead to feeling hot, breaking out into sweats for no apparent reasons. It is a side effect of the shots that I will have every six months for the next two years. It does good things like starve the cancer cells and make radiation therapy more effective. But there are some repercussions: dizziness, headaches, muscle stiffness, and pounding in the ears to name a few. I am not looking for pity and I don’t want to belabor this. I have known about the concept of hot flashes for years. I have counseled and encouraged sufferers and their spouses, but I never could really sympathize. And to be honest, a little part of me always said in the back of my mind get over it and get on with your responsibilities.
For years in my youth, I wondered about people claiming to be limited in work and other activities by back problems. That was until I herniated a disc in my lower back. Then I gained a new appreciation for their situation. Likewise, while I in no way compare my difficulties to those dealing with menopause, I start to get the inklings of some of its significance for them. Menopause brings with it not only physical distress but is a constant and powerful reminder of big changes taking place in a person’s life. They are passing a point from which there is no going back , there are losses of opportunities, and it is a reminder of aging and perhaps future limitations. In the same way, my hot flashes are uncomfortable reminders. On one hand it shows that the medication is working and hopefully the cancer is getting weaker. But it is also a reminder of the existence of cancer and the fact that for me things have drastically changed, and I will need to embrace a new normal. Because the reality is, things will not go back to the way they were. And some things will never be figured out. In research today I discovered that other side effects I am dealing with can all come from any of three medications I am taking. No big deal. No big deal in less you have a nit-picky, inquisitive mind that is always trying to figure out the ‘How Come’ of things.
Maybe I just need to take the advice I often gave to others. Do not try to figure it out just deal with it. Maybe I need to heed Paul’s observations in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us”. We are to look to God for His mercy. We are to learn to be able to use His mercy to comfort others. As I was thinking about this, perhaps we need to also listen to people in their troubles to hear the issues beyond the surface and easily apparent ones. Maybe we also need to realize that even if their issue is something which has never troubled us and even does not make sense as to why it is an issue, that does not matter. It is a problem to them, and out of love we should have their good and comfort through God’s mercies as our focus.