It is day 12 of the third round of chemo. Jasmine finished receiving chemo treatments on day 5, and has been resting this past week, waiting for her blood to recover. Since the very beginning, cancer has attempted to steal many things from Jasmine: her freedom, community, hope, strength, peace, normalcy – but it has not stolen her joy.
“For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing.”
This courageous beauty continuously puts a smile on her face. She doesn’t complain, and when she does speak up about not feeling well, you know she’s suffering. She embraces every step of this painful process with gentleness and kindness.
On the first day of this chemo round, Jasmine was able to go on a pass with her mom and aunties to visit a wig salon. The wig made with her own hair is due to arrive in a few weeks, but she was thrilled to have another one, and sooner. This round of chemo was the shortest (5 days), but also the hardest, so having a beautiful wig was a highlight.
Jasmine loves doing hair; before cancer you would find her with hair styled exactly how she intended it, each individual hair in its place. Or she would have an extravagant updo that she did herself, learning new techniques from tutorial videos. Losing her hair was one of the hardest realities of cancer, so it was refreshing for her to have hair to style and play with again.
Every picture with Jasmine smiling brings hope to us all. She reminds us that joy is possible even in the worst of circumstances. Cancer can force certain realities (like losing hair), but joylessness is not one of those. Joy is a choice, so nothing can take it away.
Joy is only up for grabs if we let it.
“Those who look to Him are radiant with joy; their faces will never be ashamed.” Psalm 34:5
Worry is a joy stealer. Fear is a joy stealer. These things can occupy the space in our minds if we let them. But thank you dear Jasmine, for being living proof that joy is always possible – that we can choose it. We can choose to let go of the joy stealers and rest in knowing God is with us and He’s taking care of us.
Choosing joy doesn’t change the circumstances, but it changes how we walk through them.
We are praising God this week for:
1. Currently no side effects from the chemo
2. Jasmine’s eyes stopped hurting and an eye exam showed no leukemia in her eyes and 20/20 vision
3. She is able to go home on daily four-hour passes
4. Her new wig
5. Moments of joy
1. With each round, Jasmine’s body grows weaker, meaning she doesn’t feel well and can do less to help pass the time
2. Jasmine and Christine are quite tired and still have a long road ahead
3. For no infections or viruses
4. For her blood and immune system to recover
5. Continued health, stamina and strength for Jasmine’s caregivers
6. For renewed joy, strength and courage as they rest/recover from round three and gear up for round four