Through the fire

Through the fire

Through the fire - On the Path blog - Cheryl Schatz

I feel SO much better! What I am learning is that God so often doesn’t keep us from the fire, but He keeps us through it.

The Chemo from Hell

I have already experienced 4 treatments of chemotherapy, but this last treatment with my final drug Docetaxel (the one my doctor called “harsh”) really took me for a ride. I felt like I had been run over by a bus, and then backed over a few times. I realize that not everyone reacts the same way to every drug, but this drug made me wonder if I was ever going to be normal again. Not only did it completely wipe out my immune system by taking my neutrophil count to zero, but it caused severe neuropathy pain in my legs and feet to the point that I could hardly walk because of the pain and weakness in my legs. It also caused my abdomen to swell to the point where eating and breathing became painful. I constantly felt like I had eaten a huge turkey meal and I could not get rid of the pressure of that meal. On top of that I broke out in a bright red rash on my hands, face, neck, chest and back. And with my good bacteria all destroyed, my mouth was filled with thrush, and my gums, tongue, inside the mouth, and lips all felt like they had been burned raw. Yet through all of this God gave me two special blessings. I was blessed to have no nausea at all and I was so fatigued that as the painkillers took effect, I would sleep through until the pain woke me up again. Sleep is a tremendous blessing from God!

I was admitted to the hospital with a fever last Wednesday in the early hours of the morning. The ER doctor did not waste any time knowing that whatever caused the fever could kill me. I was put on two different intravenous antibiotics over my hospital stay, but even then my temperature started to climb again. I was prescribed Morphine pills, but I got more relief from Tylenol and it also worked to bring down my fever. By Friday my feet and hands were swelling and so I was taken off of intravenous fluids and given a diuretic. I also got the good news that my neutrophil count had jumped to 28,000! Normal is between 2100 – 6000. I was no longer in reverse isolation and the nurses could take off their masks so I could see their faces. I begged to go home to recoup in my own bed. My doctor left without giving me permission to leave, but the hospital staff were great in agreeing to contact him and get verbal permission for me to be discharged. Otherwise I would have been stuck in the hospital until Monday.

On the Mend

I feel so much better today and the pain in my legs is now under control and my feet are doing a lot better. Praise the Lord! Β I now have new confidence in going ahead with the next three treatments. My doctor has said that he will no longer give me the full chemo dose because of what it did to me last time, so I am hoping that things won’t be as bad. But if they are, God will again help me through the fire.

24 thoughts on “Through the fire

  1. …the Lord is so faithful Cheryl and for that we all give Him thanks. I have been following your journey word by word and I thank Him every day for the courage and hope that He has instilled in you! You are an inspiration to us all!

  2. Cheryl
    I pray that the pain will be real low—and that you will feel better soon.

    Could I also ask for prayer for a 35 yr old lady in Cheraw SC Amy Gray with advanced colon cancer who the Drs have given up on.She s a believer as far as I know,while Im not sure about her dad.If you feel led to drop her aline c/o her dad Danny here s the email

    God bless and keep you—psalms 139 DrBob Funk Honduras

  3. Hello Cheryl,
    It is a privilege to share your journey. It reminds me of my own cancer ordeal in 2004 which was similar to yours, and in being reminded one is encouraged once again by how God walks us through fire. Be encouraged by the verses that gave me courage then:
    “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
    When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God….”Isaiah 43:1b-3a”

  4. mcshanes2013,
    Thank you for following my journey. It is so nice to know that there are people who care and who want to know what has become of me. It has been frustrated to be limited in ministry by my health, but I look forward to a comeback as God restores my health and my place of influence.

  5. Saarah,
    Welcome to my blog and I appreciate that you are there following my journey.

    Thank you also for the Scripture. That is the perfect Scripture for what I have been through and the promise of God to keep us both through the flood or the fire. God is able!

  6. mcshanes2013,

    I would also like to thank you for seeing me as courageous. I don’t always see me that way. I especially didn’t see it when I was in the hospital, tied to an IV bottle and barely able to walk. However I also know that God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness, so that when we are weak, we are strong in Him. It is very special to be able to not only meditate on Scripture, but being able to LIVE the Scriptures out when we are at our worst. For a woman, I am at my worst when I have no hair, barely any eyebrows or eyelashes, (but I still have 1 nose hair left that hasn’t fallen out!) bloated to the point where I can’t wear my pants and in pain and barely able to walk. This is a place where I was reliant on others to care for me. Yet I know that God has not abandoned me but has set the limits on how long I suffer. So with that realization, I want to constantly be aware of everything I can praise Him for! There are so many gifts that He has given that I do not want to take for granted. The more I concentrate on the goodness of God, the more joyful I can become in the midst of this small amount of suffering.

  7. Well, it is Thanksgiving Day in the States tomorrow, Cheryl, so I am giving thanks for what the Lord has brought you through thus far. I was just told that a woman who goes to my church, who was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in February, recently underwent a series of four harsh chemo treatments (sounds like what you are describing) and has come through with flying colors. Praise the Lord…

  8. Stefanie, praise the Lord that others have received help from the harsh chemo and come through with flying colors. I hope to one of these women.

    The pain in my feet is now mostly gone. I had made an internal decision that if my feet were still with severe pain by the time I was due for my next chemo, than I would reconsider taking this chemo. I just could not see myself disabled for life because of the chemo. But since I have experienced relief, I am going to go ahead with treatment and re-evaluate if things become too severe to handle.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family as well as to all of US friends.

  9. You are one strong and courageous lady> May the love of Christ comfort you in this difficult time and bring you peace.
    I will never leave you nor forsake you. Joshua 1:5
    Continued prayer for you, Richard and your family.
    Three more treatments and I know God will bring you through.
    I love you dear friend

  10. Thank you Tillie for your encouragement! I keep before my eyes, just three more treatments. I had one really good day after I got home from the hospital. After that i seem to have gone down hill. I have very little energy and I have problems on and off with my digestive system. I saw the doctor on Friday and he said that I will be losing all of my fingernails from the chemo. The new growth of the nail beds has turned red showing that the damage has been done and the nails will eventually fall off. From the feel in my toe nails, they will have the same fate. I am not looking forward to that.

    Tillie, I feel your love and care. You are like a mother to me and at the same time my dear Christian sister. We look forward to seeing you when we are in Kelowna.

  11. Hey, Cheryl! I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I want you to know I have NOT forgotten about you. I have been (and will certainly continue to) remember you and your family in my prayers. I couldn’t agree with the others more when they say you’re strong and courageous. You really are! I am also soooooo sorry to hear about the neuropathy. I’m a type I diabetic myself and I became deathly ill a couple of years ago myself, so ill, in fact, that I was placed on a respirator. My blood sugar during that time also went clean off the charts and because of that, I developed extremely painful neuropathy in my feet. The only reason I’m bringing this up is because I’ve found continuous use of lotion with capsaicin in it to be very, very helpful in dealing with the pain, but you can’t get the most relief from it from only one use. You have to put it on your feet and legs three or four times a day and you start to feel relief over time. I’m sure you’re already well aware of this, but I just wanted to mention it to you anyway just in case you hadn’t. The lotion I’ve always used is something called Diabetaid that you can just buy over the counter at Wal-Mart. Anyway, sending virtual hugs your way. Keep hanging in there!

  12. After 40 yrs as a chiropractor-with nutritional training–for both Rose-diabetic and Cheryl weaker immune system I recommend the following.For the diabetci it strengthens the damaged and weakended artery walls.

    pycnogenol 125mg a day all at once(antioxidant)–if cannot locate use grapeseed extract instead same dose.
    (my friend has available at
    1.vitamin C.1000mg. 4 per day
    2.vitamin BComplex 2 daily
    3.Vitamin D3 400 IU. 3 xdaily
    4.betacarotene 5000IU twice a day
    5.multi minerals-with 25mg.zinc included
    carrot juice-3 glasses a day without sugar
    beet juice once a day
    not more than 1 coffee-use green tea or other herbal tea available
    no fried foods
    lots of greens,and red tomatoes or tomatoe juice unsweetened.
    Fiber-psyillium hulls or other available with lots of water

    DO NOT stop this diet,inspite of other needed meds.
    Crush tablets if too acidy,and mix with food.

  13. Rose, thank you so much for the information. I did research for Diabetaid in Canada and it looks like it is not available here. If I am well enough, our intention is to travel to the US by the end of December, so I will look for this product in Walmart in the USA. Thanks so much for your care!

  14. I had to laugh so much when you remarked that at least you still had one nose hair after loosing the rest of your hair! You are such an optimist. That’s very precious :). Now you are loosing your nails…I am waiting to read what you will be saying about that next πŸ™‚

  15. Ingrid,
    I think the last thing to go will be my sense of humor. I find so much to laugh about with such silly little things that happen. It reminds me of a story that my mother-in-law told me about a lady who was left with three hairs, and she was grateful she could still made a braid. Then when she woke up and one hair had fallen out, she said, “Hmmm…I can still have two pig tails.” And the following day when one more hair bit the dust, she could see herself happy to have a pony tail with the one last hair.

    I had to laugh myself at my one nose hair, because I can no longer find it! It has bit the dust, but on the other hand, my head hair is starting to grow back. It feels so soft and fuzzy. At least it is soft until this second chemo medication gets around to killing the fuzz. I have learned to live with or without hair and to be content. I do find my eyes are getting dry without eyelashes so that is the hair that I miss the most.

    Thanks for seeing my humor and allowing me to laugh at myself. It is healing for me!

  16. I hate to hear it that Diabetaid is not available where you live, Cheryl, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be Diabetaid. I think anything with capscaicin in it would be a helpful analgesic. Also, I found it and other lotions with capscaicin in them at, though I don’t know if it would be available on their Canada web site or not, but I don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t be able to find them on their site, so I’d suggest checking them out. Maybe you can get something off of amazon and not have to wait until you can make a trip to the States. *HUGS* and prayers to you and your family, always, as well as a very Merry Christmas. πŸ™‚ Keep hangin’ in there, girl!

    Dr. Bob, thanks for the suggestions, and a Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones too. πŸ™‚

  17. Oops! I’m such a dunce! I misspelled capsaicin in my last post. *Rose rolls eyes at self.* I just looked it up to be sure, and it’s capsaicin, NOT capscaicin, so please disregard the way I spelled it in my post just now. LOL! Sorry! I’d hate for you to try to find it on amazon and get messed up because I didn’t spell it right when I told you about it. I’m such an idiot sometimes, LOL

  18. Rose,
    Not to worry about spelling. I think google offers spell correction for ALL of us who are lame brain some time or other. I will have a look for it and see what i can find. Thank you also for you Christmas wishes! Merry Christmas as well, to you and your family!

  19. Okay, it’s the spelling queen again, ha! But I was just thinking about it and wanted to let you know that whatever type of capsaicin lotion you get, make sure you get enough to last you for several weeks (that is, if you decide to look for it in the U.S.) because even though I’ve found it to be pretty helpful, it can take some time, so you have to be really patient. It can actually take as long as several weeks of repeated use before it starts to really help with the pain, so try not to get too discouraged if it takes a while. I was just thinking about it and I would so hate for you to look for it in the U.S. and only get enough to last a week or two and it take longer than that to start really working for you like it has for me and you give up on it. As I’ve said, for me at least, it has proven to be incredibly helpful and I so want you to get some relief from your neuropathy too because I COMPLETELY understand how truly agonizing it is.

    Anyway, I’m totally with you and Ingrid on the importance of a sense of humor! I also think that laughter is some of God’s best medicine. πŸ™‚ You’re really something special, Cheryl. Your great attitude really rocks.

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