Ready for Christmas

I guess I am "officially" ready now. My Christmas shopping is done. The gifts are wrapped and under the tree. It just occurred to me that I can clear my wrapping paraphenalia off the kitchen table and put it back in the guest room closet now. I wrapped the last few purchases tonight before dinner. I'm done for another year.

We go to Nashville in the morning to get John's counts checked. Last week they had nose-dived again. So he is having to take an additional (stronger) antibiotic until his WBC rebounds. Last time his white count and neutrophils had come back to almost normal by the second week after treatment. But Dr. Flinn said they might not come back as quickly this time because of the cumulative toxicity. I'm hoping he is out of the danger zone by tomorrow so we can breathe a little easier about being around kids and going to church on Christmas Eve, which is our personal Christmas tradition. We love the Candlelight Christmas Eve service and this year is extra special because it will be the first service in our new sanctuary.

The kids were hit with a virus over the weekend and I wondered if we would even be able to see them this week. But at this point it looks like everyone has fully recovered. I have learned, however, to wait until the last minute to grocery shop. Last time I was planning to make a big Mexican feast, Andrew started running a fever and we had to cancel our plans at the last minute. The fever came on just after I had bought all the ingredients for a big dinner, of course. When a person's immune system is compromised by chemotherapy, they cannot take any unnecessary chances with exposing themself to infection. I say unnecessary chances because you can't avoid any chance of being exposed if you have a job, if you go into a grocery store, etc. But so far, John has had no infections; not even a cold. And I am so thankful for that.

I have had a hard time feeling the "ho ho ho" of Christmas this year. I know it is mostly stress. Although chemotherapy is not nearly as hard on me as it is on John, I have to admit that I have not felt like myself since he began treatment in September. Everything that I would normally enjoy just feels like another form of stress to me this year. I think the holidays often accentuate whatever is not just right in our lives. And I have found myself frequently focusing on pain, fear and anxiety this Christmas season.

One thing I do know is that when I see the sweet little faces of my grandsons tomorrow afternoon, I will instantly rediscover the "ho ho ho" of Christmas. Just picturing them walking through the door makes me smile. But no matter what happens tomorrow -- even if some unforeseen circumstance should prevent me from seeing those sweet little faces -- I am determining in my heart right now to allow the joy of Christmas and the joy I have in Christ to overwhelm every other aspect of my life, including all my fears and anxieties for the future.

It's amazing. I feel strength simply from typing those words.