Hi, I am Kristi’s oldest sister, Danina. Today was a “marker” day. Kristi completed her last day of external radiation. She was given a certificate and met by my siblings with purple balloons! While it was a day to celebrate, it was one of the hardest physical days she has experienced. Kristi has an infection and was in tremendous physical pain in her back and abdomen, and in her hip and leg due to inflammation and nerve endings being affected by the radiation. She also experiences other difficult side effects and stomach issues that require her taking extra trips for fluids and anti nausea meds. She and Billy will travel to Oklahoma City next Wednesday (March 2nd) to the OU Cancer Center for scans and Dr.’s appointments regarding the next step towards internal radiation. She will find out tomorrow if she will have one more round of chemo on Friday. (Ring that bell LOUD if you go back, Kristi!!) As I sat in the large room full of many cancer patients sitting side by side in recliners and all hooked up to their chemo, two people were able to go ring the large bell that hangs on the wall signifying it was their last treatment.
I have just returned from spending a week in Arkansas with the Wright family. I was struck by several things. I was so grateful for how Billy loves and cares for Kristi. I was proud of my siblings for how hard they have worked to come alongside Kristi, Billy, Isaiah and Alyssa. But, the primary thought was that cancer, and the treatment of cancer, steals from all your resources. Time: Most of the day is spent traveling to appointments, or sitting in waiting rooms, or getting your treatment, or recovering from your treatment, or seeing Dr.‘s, or being on the phone scheduling Dr.‘s appointments, or trying to communicate with friends and family about your response to the treatments. Energy: For Kristi, all of her energy is going to fighting this terrible disease. Feeling physically drained is her normal. The treatment schedule, the chemo and radiation, and the side effects of physical pain, stomach issues, and insomnia drain every physical resource. For Billy and her other caregivers, there is the schedule of taking Kristi to treatment and then trying to fill in all the gaps for the children, meals and home, and some co-workers doing extra at work for Kristi. For Billy there is the middle of the night rubbing Kristi’s back, or hip or leg that are causing intense pain. This is not including the children’s anxiety causing them to start in their room every night, but at some point during the night moving to the floor in their parents room in order to “be close”. Relationship: While Kristi has worked very hard to try and communicate and maintain relationship with her husband, children, family, friends, and co-workers, it is so difficult because the resources of time and energy have already been taken, so there is not much left over. Financial: Cancer is expensive, even with insurance. Praise the Lord for good insurance and praise the Lord for many of you who have helped with gas cards, food, housekeeping, grocery shopping, and paying for Kristi’s family members to fly to Arkansas. Praise the Lord for the way Leap Frog and it’s employees have supported Kristi in her career. Emotional: While Kristi keeps a smile on her face often, there is much beneath the surface for everyone. The Joy of the Lord is her strength. However, everyone is drained emotionally in the fight against cancer!! So many different emotions are felt by all involved and grieving the little losses along the way is crucial. Spiritual: There is nothing like facing cancer to cause one to dig deep spiritually and to experience God in new ways. However, because Kristi’s immune system is down, she can’t attend church or large groups of corporate worship with her family. Every couple of weeks she attends her community group and finds encouragement in growing together with others, and especially that couple of hours of doing something “normal” (not about cancer).
Yes, cancer steals one’s resources. However, as believer’s in Jesus Christ, my family has experienced God’s promise to “supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:19 A sweet lady at my church always says, “No one wants to hear the “c word” .....cancer, but remember that Christ is also a “c word”!
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” Corrie Ten Boom
I hope in the Lord, love my sister dearly, and thank each of you for how you have been walking with the Wright family through cancer, Danina Kennedy