Milestones On The Journey

And it came to pass, when all the people had completely crossed over the Jordan, that the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying: 2 “Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from every tribe, 3 and command them, saying, ‘Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight.’ ”  4 Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; 5 and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, 6 that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ 7 Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”  Joshua 4:1-7

I can report that after being delayed twice over the last two weeks my bloodwork FINALLY improved sufficiently to begin my 4th (and hopefully final) 5 day round of of chemo, starting today!!  I'm not looking forward to how the chemo will make my body feel but I'm really glad to get this out of the way and am hopeful that this is the last treatment I will need!   I want to update you in this blog as to where I'm at both in my treatment and in my mindset.  I have tried to be very honest through this journey with the hopes that as I share my struggles it helps someone else with theirs.

It's silly, but I really fought discouragement starting a week ago when my bloodwork came back low for the second week in a row.  I was frustrated with the delay because 5 days of chemo is followed by another 7-10 days of isolation (because of the compromised immune system) and after feeling so much better I have been anxious to get on with my life!!   On top of that I was worried that it was taking my body longer than it had previously to recuperate. During this past week I realized that the fuzz that had started to grow back on my head had gone away, so I could tell that the side effects from the chemo were still impacting my body.  I think that it does take the body longer to rebound the more chemo is put in it, but I'm also guessing I hadn't helped my body restore itself over the previous two weeks by spending energy going to youth camp, being at church, on top of helping to tear down the church playground (we're getting a new one) and the ceremonial fire-pit burning of said playground wood the following evening!   I just had been feeling better and wanted to get on with life!!

So... I decided last week after my lackluster bloodwork results that I would do all I could to "lay low."  And I went all in with that.   I stayed home every day, and took naps whenever I needed them (sometimes I slept for an hour or two at time).   I laid out of everything I possibly could.  I didn't go to our church weeknight service (even though we had a guest speaker) and stayed home Sunday morning (that was hard to miss) and furthermore I skipped all 4th of July family activities over this past weekend.    I was thankful that my girls got to spend a day and a night at the lake with family, but I stayed away from it all, hopeful that by doing so my body would get stronger and I could start my treatment as scheduled this week.  

Last night as I prayed before going to bed I really didn't know what to pray and I told God that.   No matter what happened today I was not going to be thrilled because either I was going to get another delay on the treatment I didn't want to have or I was going to start that dreaded treatment.  I have wrestled more this week in prayer than I think I have all along.  Just sitting and waiting is hard for me, and I have had much more "quiet time" this week than usual.  I have felt such impatience with getting this last round of chemo (that I didn't want) and that has prompted some frustrated prayers.   I have truly been accepting of the process I've had to go through even though I knew God was able to heal me without me needing any treatment.    Why He chose not to I don't fully know.  I know that I have learned some important lessons this year that I am determined not to lose sight of as I move forward, but if given a choice I would have preferred to have learned those lessons a different way (wouldn't we all)!   What I continue to hold onto is that He is good and He will make sure that all things we walk through work together for our good (Rom. 8:28).    

But having said all of that, today is a monumental day.   My bloodwork results were FINALLY all good and today, July 6th, begins the last week of my final week of chemo.   And... like the people of Israel who piled up huge boulders after they crossed the Jordan river into the promised land to be a memorial to generations after them, I want to mark down this day.   July 5, 1990 (another milestone day) was when I fully gave my heart to following Christ.  I had a vision of Jesus that day and He showed me how I had hurt him with my anger.  It broke my heart and I committed to serve Him for the rest of my life.   Today, almost 31 years later to the day from that milestone, I drove myself to the cancer center in Bristol, VA while listening over and over to the same song (I Have A Savior by CeCe Winans) we listened to when Cherish drove me the first day of chemo treatment.   The chorus of that song says "All I ever need is Jesus," I continue to find that to be so true.   I have come such a long way (and have gained back over 20 pounds) since that first day of treatment (April 12) almost 3 months ago.   And now that my last week has begun I will choose to focus my heart and mind on the good God has done in my life rather than dwelling on the things I would like to have been different.   I truly have SO MUCH to be grateful for and there is honestly no room for whining!   I will remember this date and will make up my mind to trust Him with tomorrow, the weeks, and months to come no matter what it brings,   I am human, I do get down at times but I don't have an excuse to stay that way, God has been too good to me!  I have learned some things about myself that I will continue to work on, I've learned that uncertainty & waiting is hard for me.   With God's strength I will do better with handling those things in the future and learn to be more flexible, remembering that nothing is certain except taxes, death, and... Heaven!

Thank you for your continued prayers and for taking the time to read my rambling thoughts today.   I'm very grateful for all the love and support and as I move into a different phase after this week I will continue to not only keep you updated on my health but will also share other things in my journey as I go through whatever life continues to bring my way.

May God bless you greatly today.


Mike Littlejohn - July 8th, 2021 at 12:05pm

Hi Matthew, Thanks fir the update. As I was reading the post this words from our Daddy God came to me to share with you….“Listen carefully, my dear child, to everything that I teach you, and pay attention to all that I have to say. Then, as you unwrap my words, they will impart true life and radiant health into the very core of your being.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:20, 22‬ ‭TPT‬‬. I agree with that word for us in Jesus Mighty Name. Love you my brother….to be continued.

Matthew Chapman - July 9th, 2021 at 11:25am

Hey Mike. Good word. Thanks for the prayers. God has been so good & my trust is fully in Him.

Tammie Fenner - July 13th, 2021 at 8:55pm

You are a true inspiration Matt. Praying 🙏🏻🙏🏻 Come by and see us when you get back out in the world. We’d love to see you. God bless you real good 😁😊

Matthew Chapman - July 14th, 2021 at 6:32am

Thanks Tammie. I’m definitely going to come see you all. Really looking forward to it!!