Today, I am back in the hospital for my fifth round of chemotherapy. This is the next to the last treatment I’ll have, and when the doctor confirmed that this morning, I rejoiced. I even did a soft scream, fists in the air, just after he walked out of the door. One has to maintain some level of decorum on the oncology wing of the hospital.

The other good news is that my blood protein marker they are using to track the destruction of the cancer and the effectiveness of the chemotherapy, CA125, is continuing to go down. As I may have mentioned before, it started at just over 400 following my hysterectomy, went down to around 200 three weeks later, then had gone down dramatically with each new round of chemotherapy. The elusive “normal” is less than 20. I hit 19 after two rounds, 10 after three rounds, and just found out that the fourth round of chemo caused it to go down a little more to 7. My oncologist said he’s never seen it go below 5, so I’m hoping to break the record with these last two rounds!

Needless to say, I am thankful to the Lord for all of this good news and feel very hopeful and encouraged.

But I also feel wary of myself, so easily tricked into ignoring eternity and focusing on the material world around me — my physical health, my house, my relationships, my job, my looks, my peace of mind. You know, a normal life. 

Now that things seem to be going so well, it will be a greater challenge to remember that suffering makes me more like Jesus and death is not the worst thing that can happen to me. In fact, Paul says that to die is gain. Oh for that eternal perspective! I need that perspective to help me weather the next storms that come, and they will come, whatever they may be.

So I am praying for the faith, whether I am living or dying, to please Christ, just as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:6-9.

“Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord–for we walk by faith, not by sight–we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.”