Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hell and High Water

Okay, so I’ve had what I consider to be a pretty damn hellish last couple weeks. It’s been bad, to the point where what’s going on with my body is so overwhelming and distracting that it’s hard to see around it, past it, or through it...

It’s been really hard to maintain hope, a halfway decent attitude, or to even cling to the belief that God really is still watching me, feeling my pain with me, or paying attention to my suffering.

Basically, it started with my losing the ability to eat solids, after which my body stabilized and was doing fine on an Ensure/water diet, then I thought it would be good to try to transition back to some solid food, which put me in the bathroom for the better part of several days and in a ton of abdominal pain, after which my body stabilized again for about five or six days, so I said to myself, “I’ll eat a damn pistachio if I want to.” and did...

In fact, I ate three whole pistachios (the ones that are about half an inch long) in one day. I felt okay, so the next day I ate three peanuts.

The next morning I woke up in agony, with abdominal pain so intense that it made me feel nauseous and faint and restarted all of the digestive drama (is that discreet enough?), except it was worse this time. I spent all day that day lying in bed half awake and half asleep, wishing I could be Done.

Then, a few days later, I really started to feel better, except for some reason I almost vomited when I was brushing my teeth in the morning. Well that night, after taking my previously-miraculous-and-wonderful pain killer, I got out of bed at about 3am and vomited all over the place. It was so bad it took me thirty minutes just to clean it up.

Since then, I’ve had a lot of nausea—even though I haven’t taken the pain meds again, weakness, no-energy-ness, abdominal drama, and problems sleeping because of all of the above.

So, no solid food will ever come into my mouth again if I have anything to do with it.

The three (3) pistachios were last Monday and the three (3) peanuts were last Tuesday, it’s now Sunday, and I’m just now feeling un-nauseated, almost re-hydrated, and somewhat stable.

The pain medicine issue is something I and my hospice team will need wisdom for fixing.

I know that’s a lot of detail and complaining; the point is that when my body gets that incredibly distressed, it’s really hard to maintain a strong grasp on God’s love for me, and that He is in this with me.

In an effort to get my attitude/focus somewhat back together I read Psalms 120-130 this morning. I just decided to read Psalms and those chapters are where God took me as I read.

Anyway, it was extremely helpful because it reminded me who this God is who has my life in His hands:
He is the God who answers me.
He is the God who delivers me.
He is the One who helps me.
He made Heaven and Earth.
He keeps me.
He does not slumber or sleep.
He is my Keeper.
He provides shade for me.
He will keep me from all evil.
He will keep my life now and forevermore.
He will have mercy on me. (Even when it doesn’t feel like it)
He is on my side.
He will not hand me over to what seeks to overwhelm me.
He surrounds me now and forevermore.
He does great things for me.
He is the source of all my blessings.
With Him is steadfast love and faithfulness.
With Him is abundant deliverance.

(A possibly irritating side note: If your god can’t do all of this, she/he/it/you is/are too small, you may want to consider this One)

Then, I finally re-read my own post, Eucatastrophes and Thank You, and this part of it was helpful for me to remind myself of:

“If I were going to be really honest, I’d say that I’ve never experienced anything so horrifying and grotesque as having cancer. I can’t possibly describe how shocking and disgusting some of its effects on my body have been. I can’t describe how painful cancer is on an emotional and psychological level.

If I were going to be really honest, I’d say that this time while I’ve had cancer has been the time in my life where I’ve most tangibly felt the presence of God, where I’ve heard His voice speak to me for the first time in my life, where He has met me over and over in so many specific ways through people, conversations, scripture, and reading, and where I’ve experienced so much of life so much more fully than ever before. And all of this—this is the part of this process that has been breathtaking in its beauty.”

True, right now the first paragraph feels more accurate right now, but it’s also true that the second paragraph continues to be true right now as well, even though/when it doesn’t feel like it.

I guess this whole post is a request for your prayer...
For the ability to keep what God has shown me to be true in focus no matter what is going on with my body.
For grace to be gracious and others focused and not just a whiner focused only on myself.
For wisdom for what I should be doing and where I should be living.
For God to take me Home as soon as He possibly will/can.

Thank you for all of your love and support and prayers.
In His Grip (even when it doesn’t feel like it), Martha


  1. "...weeping may last for a night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning." Ps. 30 we still love you lots and lots and so does HE even more than we do!!!

  2. If it were possible to alleviate your pain and suffering, Martha, I hope you know I would... While I can't do that, I can, and will, continue to pray for you, asking God for the same that I have always asked for you; you know what that is... You are always my thoughts & prayers, and I send you much love.


  3. Although you may not feel like you're handling all this with immense courage and grace, I sense a depth to your faith that far surpasses your "whining," Martha. I'm glad He leads you to Psalms in these days, because David's psalms especially remind me that it's all right to cry out to God about being weary of suffering, injustice, pain. He is with you through all this; He promises that. Thank you for sharing specific ways we can all be praying for you and with you.

  4. Martha, the suffering that you're going through absolutely breaks my heart in pieces. I'm praying for you!

    Love you

  5. I'm praying for you and loving you always.


  6. Dearest Martha, You have said over & over that God promised you that He would never leave you nor forsake you. God always tells the truth. The weaker we become in ourselves, the stronger we are in Christ Jesus. You will be going Home soon. Rest in that promise sweet friend. You are in my every prayer and I pray without ceasing. Love you, Annie

  7. praying and praying.

  8. Job 1:20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:
    “Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    and naked I will depart.[c]
    The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
    may the name of the LORD be praised.”
    22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

    Job 2 His 3 friends heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, and they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. 12 When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. 13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.

  9. Dear Martha, Lifting you up with every thought and every breath. Peace to you.

  10. So grateful for all you've shared, Martha. Your testimony of faith in a good and loving God has strengthened my own faith and that of many others. I'm praying for His grace to sustain you every moment of every day. Underneath are the everlasting arms.

  11. I have been following your blog for several months. I found it while reading Ben's from Haiti. Your honesty and demonstration of faith are incredible. Please know that strangers who love the Lord are praying for you as you go Home. May the Lord bring you gently home to him. Bless you!