Not Superman

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:12-13

Well... it's been about two weeks since my last blog entry, so I'm behind.  Sorry about that.   After my last entry I honestly wasn't sure where to go next.   My blogs began as a way to document my journey with cancer and with my last entry and my "done" t-shirt I felt like a turn needed to be made in what I focus on, but I really wasn't sure what direction that turn needed to go.     I definitely want to continue to write as I know so many of you are reading what is written (and I'm humbled by that) but I guess I'm searching to find what someone that's not having chemotherapy for cancer blogs about!!

I do have some info to update you on regarding my health and some thoughts about my mindset at the moment.   My last doctor's visits earlier this week went well.    The doctor told me that I am officially in "maintenance mode."  Not only did my last CT scan look great but so did the tumor markers blood test I had done.   I am so grateful to God and to all of your prayers that I know have brought me through to the victory side!   What I am discovering though is that regaining strength and muscle is going to take much longer than I thought.  

The Sunday following my last chemo treatment (when I wore my "done" t shirt to church) I met with a couple of church leaders at my home.  I felt strong and my energy level was good. However, later that evening and most of the next day, I suddenly felt completely exhausted, ended up back in my recliner for a good part of the day.       Later in the week I travelled out of state for a business meeting and did well but did feel more tired than I thought I would the next day.  This past Sunday we went out to eat after church with some guest speakers and I felt fine... until I didn't.  I ended up getting in bed by 5 p.m. and staying there till the next morning.     My doctor's visit the beginning of this week provided me some answers, my bloodwork showed that my white blood count and my neutrophils were quite low (those both affect energy levels and the body's ability to fight infection).  My doctor explained that the more chemotherapy you have the longer it takes the body to rebound.  In fact, he said it could take me up to a year to feel back to full strength.  A year, really??

Over the past couple of weeks I've found myself repeating this phrase to myself, "I am not superman."    I think I've always felt that my super power (if I had any) was the ability to keep going no matter how tired I became.  Several people referred to me as the "energizer bunny" as I never seemed to run out of energy.   Suddenly I'm finding that, much as I want to keep going, my batteries seem to run down quickly.   My wife has been telling me that I need to do just one thing (that requires exertion) a day, and I'm beginning to realize she is right.

I had a real shock a few weeks ago.  I felt good one day and thought I would do some push ups. This time about a year ago, I could do 50 push ups in a couple of sets of 25.   When I started to do pushups that day I went down, counted "1,..." and then try as I might (and I gave it everything I had), I could not get a second push up!  I felt mortified.   How could this be?   I knew that the doctor had said that with my 45 pounds of weight loss that I was losing muscle, but I had no idea till that day when I could only get one pushup how much muscle loss I had experienced.

For the first time in my life I can truly relate to the scripture quoted at the beginning of this blog. "I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound".  I have experienced both of those.  This "energizer bunny" can't keep going, and going, and going, any more.  Not even close.   "I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need."  I have definitely known true hunger as I lived for 6 weeks on liquids only, with often less than 500 calories a day.   More recently I as I have been able to eat whatever I like, I have known abundance again.   However, I am very aware that this could change at any time and I appreciate the abundance much more than I used to.    But... the only way I am able to face these things with hope is because "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."    I am finally willing to admit that I am NOT superman, but with God's strength I truly can face with confidence whatever life brings my way. As I am learning to accept that I cannot always "power through" yet I find He gives me the ability to do what I really need to do and to understand what matters most at this point in my life.

Not being superman isn't so bad.   Just being a regular old human conscious of my daily need for God's strength in my life is actually a really good place to be.   That in itself is empowering.  I don't have to be the answer to whatever life brings my way, I don't have enough strength for that.  But... He does.   I can do what I need to do in this life, as He makes it possible.    I'm not superman, He is.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog.   I pray that it encouraged you.  I will be praying about the direction these will take in the near future.   I appreciate your prayers for God to guide me in that.  I will be praying that you find His strength in the midst of your weakness.


David Richmond - July 30th, 2021 at 10:27pm

Mathew. As I have added years to. My life I have noticed a longer recovery time after physical exertion. I'm sore and it is sometimes tough to get started in the mornings. When I feel that pain. I thank God I am able to be sore. It's a reminder that God has kept me alive long enough to be my age. It is truly wonderful. Just to know God has brought me to this day. I know he still has a purpose for me. It is sometimes the most humbling feeling and I'm in total awe. God loves us.

Matthew Chapman - July 31st, 2021 at 6:35pm

David. So well said. It’s such a strength to see Gods love in the pain.

Elaine Smythe - July 31st, 2021 at 8:01am

Once again your message spoke to me in MY life. This was something God knew I needed to hear and something He wants me to talk to Him about. I know we can all learn from other people's struggles and this blog is a good example of what I need to learn. Thank you! I'm praying continually for you and your family. Keep touching lives!

Matthew Chapman - July 31st, 2021 at 6:36pm

Thanks Elaine!! I’ll keep praying for you as you keep praying for me!!

Carrie - July 31st, 2021 at 8:21pm

His strength is found in our weakness. That's a powerful lesson that you are learning and one that I know God is trying to teach me as well. Thanks for sharing your journey and inspiring through it. I'm elated to hear that you are now in "maintenance mode." Praising God with you for all that He has done and all the good still to come!!!! You and Cherish and the family and church are always in my prayers!!! Love you all dearly!!!!!!

Matthew Chapman - August 1st, 2021 at 7:41am

Thank you Carrie!! So appreciate your love & prayers. God is good… all the time!!

Elizabeth Lambert - August 8th, 2021 at 6:07am

Matthew, we got so much to be thankful & grateful for. I’m so thankful for the man of God you are. Who needs to be a Superman when we have an Amazing God who loves & cares for us.He knows our end from the beginning and his plans for us are yes & amen. No good thing will he withhold from us that love him. You have come such a long way from your lowest point in this sickness and we all can say we see Gods hand of healing. Oh how he loves us. So grateful God is an on time God ! Just when the enemy of our souls thought he had taken us out GOD was right there & on time. I say us because the thought of losing you would of in reality been more than we could endure. I truly found it hard to breathe at times thinking of what you were going through, it’s like it took my breath. So thankful for Gods Super on our Natural. So thankful for maintenance mode & Gods promises we can trust each & everyday in good & rough days. So thankful for family and friends that know God and how it shows in all they did and do. Thankful for the Godly & loving husband you are to my daughter and the good godly father you are to my granddaughters that gives me much peace & joy. Love you! Prayers continue always along with praise for Gods goodness & love 🙏❤️🙌