It has been just over one week since Andrew finished his treatments. Andrew was feeling pretty discouraged, as he said he felt worse than he had during all the treatments. He was very exhausted, sleeping a lot until Monday, making his moods very low too.
Worse than the exhaustion, though, was the area around his mouth. His voice each day has increasingly become more hoarse, making it harder and harder for him to talk. His saliva, thicker than any mucous, has been causing him to gag frequently and up until last Saturday was causing him to throw up. His skin has been peeling off his neck, yellow slime slicking around it. But his pain meds are so strong that there were times he would scratch himself and wouldn't realize he was making himself bleed.
At the same time, being on the outside, and not experiencing the physical suffering that he was, which I'm sure made the days seem excruciatingly long for him, I felt so hopeful. I could see his energy increasing with each day and we had all gone bike riding together again on Tuesday, which is always a good sign. From the outside, I had learned that despite the downward dips, Andrew eventually floated to the surface again.
Nonetheless, Andrew was still in the depths. Andrew didn't feel human, he's been through so much suffering, so different than the strong, exceptionally capable man he was. Seeing people in public made Andrew feel so different than them, handicapped. Andrew hadn't consumed anything through his mouth in weeks. And he feared this was his life.
Yet. Last night, I felt hungry just as I was about to go to sleep, so I brought up a bowl of food to my room, thinking Andrew was still asleep, as he had retired a few hours earlier. When I arrived there, though, he was awake. I figured he wouldn't mind me eating, though, because he always sits with us during our meals anyway. I had a bowl of Indian food, Palak Paneer, which is basically a thick spinach sauce with tomatoes and spices. I had added too much water to the new brand of brown rice we had, so it was really soft. On top of the Palak Paneer, I had put yogurt to tone down the spicyness.
"That smells so good," Andrew said.
"Oh!" Whoops. "Wanna have some?" Why did I just say that?
"Fine...I'll just try some." I handed him my bowl. He took a spoonful, put it in his mouth, and made the motions of chewing, slowly. I had never seen him chew since before his surgery. He finished a spoonful.
Apparently, the sauce, over-soft rice, and yogurt was perfect for making it easy for him to eat.
I began to tear up.
"Is there more downstairs?" he asked.
"You can just have the rest!" I said.
He ate the whole bowlful. "Mmmm. That was so enjoyable," he said.
"Babe, you ate an entire bowl!" I said. I was tearing up more and truly was shocked.
He said, "It was really only five tablespoons."
Five heaping tablespoons. "You haven't eaten one teaspoon of anything at all in weeks. You're not even supposed to be able to eat at all through your mouth. And you're supposed to be worse off than ever right now."
"I didn't really eat it, I flushed it down with a lot of water. Course it was the most amount of food I've eaten in weeks," he said.
We prayed together to thank God for answering my prayer request that he would be able to eat a meal shockingly soon! Thank you for praying!
"For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints [believers] what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
- Ephesians 3:14-21