This is a copy of an article a wrote that was published in the July issue of Laurel Magazine in Highlands NC.... The shirt I am wearing says Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back. In fact, the past 7 years of Relay for Life purple survivor shirts in my closet carry the same exact message. As I … Continue reading Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back
I checked my Facebook newsfeed yesterday and found that the first five posts were some of my cancer friends. One, just starting treatment was getting ready to lose her hair. Another was beginning chemo treatments for the second time. Having cancer return is hard enough, handling it when you are pregnant adds a whole new … Continue reading Status Update
Another year, another mammogram. It is the annual exam women look forward to all year long. I am kidding of course. Even with all the attempts by imaging centers to make us more comfortable…soft music, snacks, soothing colors, nature scenes…it is still one of the most degrading and humiliating things we have to do. However … Continue reading Wardrobe Malfunction
I have been resting today most of the day. I have been thinking what to write on this blog of mine. I find that it has become my daily reflection time and I look forward to what I will find when I face myself each day. Some days it is something good like hope and encouragement. Other days I am afraid or anxious. I guess in the scheme of life that is normal and in crisis situations it is magnified.
I only have 4 more dressing changes on my wound vac torture machine! While this is a welcome number and it brings hope that this part of my journey is near an end, I still fear what tomorrow morning will bring. Monday when the nurse came it hurt again. It hasn’t hurt like that in awhile and now I find my pendulum swinging back from hope to fear. I think that physical pain can bring me to my knees faster than anything else. There isn’t much questioning, just “please help me God.” I know that even if it hurts tomorrow that it will be quick…because the wound is less than half the size it started as. It is healing. It is getting well. Mixed emotions don’t make sense with such possible hope on the horizon. Yet the pain is so strong that it overshadows all the gain I have made.
I think life is like that sometimes. We make progress in some area of our lives only to find that some pain is pulling us back…pain from the past, from some failure, from some loss. It seems to me that God wants us to look at the progress, like the memorials the children of Israel made in the desert. ‘Don’t forget what I have done for you. Remember the miracles. Tell your children. Always look to me.’ And then there is the enemy constantly reminding us of the pain so we will stay immobilized. The thing is that the pain is temporary and the progress is more permanent. Either way God is in control and he is doing work on so many levels. When you see the progress and remember the miracles the pain seems diminished. The focus isn’t on the present but on what is being formed in you; that God is using life to conform you into his image…compassionate, kind, loving, caring. Only God can use pain to form such valuable traits. He is an awesome God. Now if I can just remember that in the morning!
Today I wanted to update you on our family events...
My mom is recovering well from her hysterectmy. All of her pathology looked good. She is progressing and well on her way to recovery. That is a blessing to me.
My grandmother has been placed with hospice. We knew it was coming but the timing is difficult. Yesterday the doctors said she may have a week or 10 days. This is hard for all of us. I think we didn't realize how soon things would come to the end. I am particularly concerned about my dad. He has been so busy with me and my mom I don't think he saw this coming. Prayers are welcome for us all.
Bill's mom is having her last radiation treatment tomorrow!! Yeah. At least one part of this story is coming full circle.
Peter has oral surgery tomorrow. He is having six teeth removed because they are fused to the bone! I told him he could come home and hang out with me and we will recover together.
My next dressing changing is Friday morning. I am keeping my hope that it will go as smoothly as last time. I would still like to be finished with this incision but I am willing to walk through it now.
I am blessed by all of my supporters...please continue to pray as the Lord leads you. It seems to me that even in my resting place I am busy...how can that be? I guess it shows you that life keeps moving even when you are standing still.
Today the phone rang and it was the nurse. She wanted to come change my dressing today instead of tomorrow because the more days in between the more pain there is. I was all for it, while at the same time being against it. I went into the panic/meltdown mode that I have been living in lately. I took all my pain medicine that is supposed to help me. I cried and had trouble breathing as I waited for my pain to arrive. Somehow the anticipation of pain is bigger than the pain itself. Bill played the piano over me. That brought me peace and I was able to take deep breaths once again. As I tried to rest while waiting on my agony this passage from Luke came to mind.
He began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little further he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me…yet not as I will, buy as you will.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish he prayed more earnestly and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
I understand this passage a little better now. I was sweating (not blood) as I knew the pain that awaited me. I knew there was no way around it. I even asked God to let this cup pass from me…but he didn’t. I felt a small part of the anguish and sorrow he must have felt. I am relieved that I have a savior that has felt everything I will ever go through…even pain.
Again I am reminded of Christ’s love for me. He was in anguish because he knew the pain and torture that was to come. He knew the rejection and the physical beatings. I cannot imagine the depth of the pain he felt. He chose to face it because he also knew the end result would be intimate fellowship with me….with all of us. He thought it was worth it…I was worth it.
In the end today, I was blessed. The Vaseline gauze worked and the foam was removed fairly easily. Some pain but very little and I have hope that it will continue to be as easy now that we have found the trick. I am still somewhat nervous for next time because it is always tender. But God moved today on my behalf. He knew how much I could take and he did not require more.
Here I am with all the pain that I can stand, actually more than I can stand. I am wondering at the purpose of this kind of pain in my journey. To me it seems torture but I am trying to look beyond that most surface level. If you have read my writing at all you know that I see spiritual principles in natural events, like a metaphor. I am looking at this wound and how it broke open and must now heal from the inside out and I am seeing a broader principle in action. If we have a wounded heart, (I believe that we all do whether it is our emotional, physical or spiritual heart) what can this pain of mine teach.
First of all, ignoring it is impossible. You and I have both known people (and possibly been people) that have tried to ignore the gaping hole in their hearts. The world doesn’t realize how much that kind of wound shows and how serious it is. It doesn’t matter if it is a lack of salvation or some life trauma, the wound shows even when we don’t think it does.
Second, a band aid won’t work. It isn’t a surface scratch. It is deep and therefore significantly affects other areas of life. We try to work around it but it is useless. Simply covering this open wound is an invitation to infection. If it gets infected it will fester and affect every part of your body…or in this case your spirit.
Third, you have to be aware of this wound. It hurts but will become even bigger if ignored. This includes emotional wounds as well as spiritual, and usually those two are connected. If it has been ignored for years, when it breaks open it is a surprise. The urgency becomes obvious as the pain increases. Everything in your life stops suddenly as you frantically try to attend the problem area.
Fourth, it has to heal from the inside out. This is a big one for me. I cannot simply sew this hole up. It will not heal properly. Now that it is open I have to wait and let it heal fully from the inside. That is true of all kinds of hurts. If pain is deep it has to be healed deep. To fight that healing is to ask for trouble. But sometimes, to invite new growth old dead tissue has to be removed. This is my torture…and so it is with other types of wounds as well. We don’t want to go into the depth and the removal of the junk because that is where the big, really bad pain is. We want to quit, and avoid it at all costs. I can personally vouch for that. It is hard to look at past hurts; a bad divorce, childhood abuse, a terrible disease, a death of a loved one, the list goes on and on. Getting through the trauma or hurt can seem like a slow and painful process but in the end the healing that is gained will be worth it.
Christ is familiar with pain. That is why he is so powerful in our healing process. He knows every tear I have shed. He has not abandoned me and he will not. Philippians 3:10 says “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so somehow, to attain resurrection from the dead.” I am waiting on the resurrection part of this passage.
My pain also gives me a huge teary eyed feeling of what the Lord suffered. I have one nerve exposed and I am at the end. How much more did he endure for me. That cannot be understated to me right now. He suffered more pain that I am in...all for me...because of his love. I cannot comprehend how much love that must be. If I could take myself out of this healing process I would do it in a heartbeat...but he could take himself out and didn't. That speaks volumes to me on this day!
Once my healing is complete I will have more compassion for others. I look through new eyes to those around me that are in crisis. I am gaining a new perspective on people that are suffering. I look at the pictures on TV of the people in the bombings and wonder how they get through it. What I am going through is in my nice air conditioned house with my supportive friends right along side. They are blown away in the streets in total chaos. Things could be worse for me. They can always be worse and it helps to remember that in the darkest moments with the most pain. So even from my chair I am learning and growing and healing. God is very much in the process and he is softening my heart to form it more like his own. Now if I can just get through it!
I have had a reaction to the wonderful tape they use to hold my incision together. I am broken out and hurting. The nurse came today to make sure I wasn't infected...the incision is good the skin is bad. She removed the foam again and the gause that was supposed to make things easier only covered the bottom of the incision so the sides were still stuck. She decided to pull it all at once...I can tell you this, I cannot do that again. It was more pain than I ever remember. I scared my kids to death with a blood curtling scream that lasted five minutes. This is hard. I cannot do it again. I told the nurse that. She said she would cover it all the way this time and we will see next time how things are. So I have until Wednesday... Any prayer for miracles is welcome.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside the still waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me, your rod and your staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Today my soul was restored and it brought me to one of my favorite passages. Psalm 23 is something I memorized as a child. I have always loved it even though I hadn't really thought about the words in a while. But today some dear friends came and they restored my soul. Prayer and worship among friends is always sweet, but somehow it was deeper than sweet this time. I shall not want...I will lie down in green pastures...I will walk beside still waters (no coeincedence that is may email address). I feel fresh and ready for the next thing that may come into my life. I am at peace and restored. Some fears were faced, some released, some healing recieved. I will chew over this day for a while to come but right now I am resting in the afterglow of peace that remains.
Today I had a meltdown. I am tired of people hurting me and I just couldn't do it anymore. The nurse was great. She worked slow and easy waiting anytime I needed it. But I just am tired of it all. I don't want to have cancer anymore. I don't want to have anymore operations. I don't want to have my guts pulled out again on Monday. My emotional state went out of control. I guess I have known that things were out of control since the beginning of this journey but today my emotions caught up with that in a huge way. I couldn't stop the wailing or the tears.
My husband is my hero. He was a trooper to a babbling wife with tears streaming and no end in sight...he just held me. It was so much like what God does in these moments that I was amazed. We all know that Bill is funny and has a whacky sense of humor. He is talented with music like nobody I know, but today I remembered the main reason I love him so much. This sensitive side of him that most people don't get to see is right what I need when I need it. Most men I know would run from these kind of tears...or maybe call their wife a woman friend to talk to. Bill knew what I needed. He knew there weren't words to fix it. He knows me, like nobody else...at the deepest place. There is a powerful bond between us. I needed that kind of unconditional love today and he was there for me. Only God knows me better. I am grateful for my husband!