Really, I'm Okay!
So very many of you have been expressing a sense of helplessness or awkwardness regarding what we're going through. So I thought I'd give you a little insight in to how I'm feeling so you might be comforted.
There is, of course, a fear of recurrence. A fear that next time, it won't be so easy to get rid of. But, like Scarlett O'Hara would say, "I'll think about that tomorrow." No, in all seriousness, the way I look at is that right now, during treatment for cancer, I am the farthest away from a possible recurrence that I will ever be. Meaning I'm not likely to get another tumor while I'm going through chemotherapy and planning radiation. So, I'm not in a particularly vulnerable place right now.
Which means you don't have to feel weird about asking me questions about anything cancer-related. In fact, I welcome the questions most of the time. It's a huge part of my life right now. Even when I'm not dealing with the effects of chemotherapy, I'm spending my days making doctor appointments, returning phone calls, writing thank you letters, and watching my hair get thinner and thinner. So, the question you want to ask is probably the same thing I've been thinking about all day long.
However, if you ask a lot of questions and I start to give one word answers, that's probably a sign that I don't want to chat about it right then. The only thing I would ask that you don't talk to me about is the death of someone you know from breast cancer. I'm sorry if that makes me selfish- I do understand that you might want or need to have someone you can talk to about your loved one. Hopefully someday I will have enough peace and strength to listen. I'm praying about just that.
Why I'm Okay...
I really don't know how it happened, but there was a day soon after my release from the hospital when I was finally able to grab a hold of that peace that God had been offering. I realize it didn't happen overnight. It's been a journey. It took a constant seeking of God and an absolutely open mind about what He had to tell me. And an understanding that, as weird as it feels, you sometimes have to just acknowledge that you're under attack by Satan. In some of my lowest moments, the only way I've been able to get up off my knees is by faith. Saying, "What I'm thinking right now feels so real and so right. But I know it's not Biblical. I know it's from the enemy. So I'm gonna choose to get up, dust myself off and go on with life. I'm going to choose to take the joy and peace you promise and move on believing that it will come."
It did come. And I've learned to recognize the first inklings of dangerous thinking. I rely on Jesus' name in those times. Just repeating His name can calm me. There's power in the wonderful name of Christ!
We've been reading Acts for Small Group at church. I liked reading Jesus' answer when the disciples asked when he would restore His kingdom. He says, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority." Acts 1:7 I understand that it is not for me to know whether I will ever have a recurrence. Whether I'll ever have to sit on a cold table and hear the word "metastisis." Whether I'll even get a good report at the end of all my treatment (Oh, what an awful, long year 2010 is!).
The first time I met Paul P., the leader of the cancer care group at church, he told me his miraculous story of healing. He's had clean scans for years since he was first diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. He said to me right after I met him that people ask him if he worries about a recurrence. And he told me, with a huge, genuine and sweet smile, "God will just heal me again!" That's faith! And faith in my God can move mountains!
What I Pray For You
I pray for all of you a lot. That you might know the things I know without ever having to walk this path. But I know that it takes work to be a follower of Christ. It takes effort to read the Bible every day and open your heart to God while purposefully closing it to worldly things. It can be so challenging that most of us give up and settle for less. We settle for an acknowledgement of God rather than a relationship. I think I'd say that I had a relationship with God before cancer. But I was still holding back. I had given up a lot of things, done things that some would even say were radical, but I was still choosing my own path and choosing when to let my guard down and when not. Cancer blew that all out of the water. Cancer knocked me off my feet and put me in a position where my only option was to crawl up into God's lap and give it all to Him. I don't think God gave me cancer, but I know He saw it coming. And I see how He's used these circumstances to answer many of my prayer requests. And I want so badly for y'all- my loved ones- to know what I know.
To know what I know. Ha! That's kind of funny since I spent the first half of this post telling you that I understand that my future is "not for me to know." That, in a nutshell, is the beauty of faith and peace. That's the precious gift God gives us while we're here on earth waiting for Heaven.
Knowing that you're gonna be okay, that you're taken care of and loved, even though you're undeserving and a sinner. Knowing that because you love Him, you really don't need to know anything else. Praise the name of Jesus!