Sherryl said she knew it was going to be a bad day when she stepped on the scale at her doctor's office and her weight had dropped to a number she hadn't seen since she was in her early teens. Then her oncologist told her the current chemotherapy is not working and that her tumor marker is over 900. He gently told her there are no more chemotherapies for her, and then he reminded her of a conversation they'd had a while back, one about a day when they would know there would be no more treatment.
Sherryl's oncologist told her it's now time to focus on the quality of her life. And he told her it's now time to contact Hospice. Sherryl has contacted them and has an appointment next week; she learned that she does not need their services yet. That news, coupled with the physical absence of medications, has given her spirits a boost. The precious-sounding lilt in her voice is audible, and she's talking about a craft project she wants to begin at home as soon as she feels a little bit better.
Sherryl has always wanted to "be at peace with cancer." She has never intended to give up and still does not feel completely defeated by the disease. But she understands the reality of her situation and will continue on this journey exhibiting a level of grace and dignity that is a lesson to us all.
Interpreted as a prayer for mercy during devastating times, Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris sang it live last month on TV during the Hope for Haiti Now concert. And k.d. lang sang it this past Friday night in Vancouver during opening ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Sherryl didn't see either of those performances, but she did see the song performed by the Canadian Tenors on the Oprah Winfrey Show last week. She raved about this beautiful song and how moved the four tenors were when, as a surprise to them, Celine Dion joined them on stage mid-way through their performance. Sherryl loved that a huge surprise was planned and carried out, and she loved the beauty of Celine's voice soaring with the voices of the Canadian Tenors. But most of all, she loved the emotional reactions from each of the unsuspecting tenors as they discovered Celine had joined them on stage. Even during difficult times, Sherryl is focused on making people happy, delighting them.
This is a devastating time for our family, and we are being as brave as possible. We are trying to emulate Sherryl's resilience -- for her, and for the younger members of our family. But silently, we are each singing this prayer for mercy, too. Hallelujah.