Loving Louise – Beginning Chemo

Louise shaved headI’ve entitled these updates about Louise and her battle with cancer ‘Loving Louise’ to help our church family and others praying for her know better how to love and help Louise as she deals with cancer.

Aggressive treatment

Louise began chemo last Monday.  She is taking a powerful once-a-week oral treatment, two weeks on, one week off.  She will be evaluated after this first round to see if she is tolerating the drug and if it is helping.  The doctors want to be aggressive with her treatment so surgery is a possibility if the chemo seems to have no effect.

There goes the hair!

Last week Louise shaved her head in anticipation of the hair loss she was told was “98% sure” would happen.  Imagine her delight when three ladies from the church chose to shave their heads with her in a gesture of solidarity and support for all Louise is going through.  They even had a head-shaving party of sorts where they sang hymns and quoted scriptures and thanked God for His goodness.

Smells and nausea

What is Louise experiencing right now?  As pastor mentioned on Sunday, Louise is very sensitive to smells.  We can show her love by avoiding scented lotions, cologne, and grooming products when we know we’ll be around her.  Garlic breath, chewing gum scents, coffee breath, and most other strong smells can also evoke the gag reflex.  Louise has little to no appetite and is having trouble keeping down the miniscule portions she can eat.  Let’s not add to her troubles by carelessly triggering this problem with strong odors.

Louise is also sleeping a great deal, and when she is awake finds she is weak and unable to tend to regular household tasks.  She has been blessed by friends and family helping with cooking and cleaning.

Keep the notes of encouragement coming!

Many of you have called her and sent cards, text messages or facebook notes.  Louise is grateful for them all but is not always able to individually thank you for each expression.  Don’t take it personally if she is unable to acknowledge your note.  It’s a blessing to do things like this as unto the Lord without expecting any recognition for it.

Currently dealing with…

Louise’s dizziness makes it hard to lie down and get up without help.  Going up or down the stairs can be a major victory in her day.  She appreciates your continued prayers as she battles dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and weakness.

Struggling to always be thankful

Even the strongest Christian can struggle to always be thankful in difficult circumstances.  Louise is so utterly transparent in her reactions to what God has allowed in her life.  She has moments when she pours her heart out to God, telling Him she wants to be thankful in this trial, but not knowing how to.  She mentioned she has begun to understand more clearly that this cancer, as with all diseases, is a result of a sin-cursed world.

The gift of life

Louise was born very prematurely – about 4-1/2 months into her mother’s pregnancy.  Her family was told that if she survived, she would be a vegetable.  Not only did she survive, she thrived.  Those of you who have met Louise know she is intelligent, vibrant, and personable.  Though visually impaired, Louise is an eager reader, and allows very little to slow her down or discourage her.  Her take on this battle with cancer?  “I was supposed to die or be a vegetable at birth.  God has given me 29 wonderful years thus far, and I am so thankful for that gift.  I know that God is allowing this current struggle with cancer for my good and His glory.”

Praying and helping

So, dear church family, there are still many unknowns as Louise and Brian wage this battle against cancer.  Please continue to pray for wisdom, healing, effective treatment, strength, courage, decrease in nausea, and energy.  Keep the cards, notes, calls and other expressions of love coming.  If Louise is unable to chat with you because she is too weak, she’ll let you know.  If you want to help with meals or cleaning or errands, check with Michelle P and she will let you know what is needed and when.