Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Because He Lives...

Do you remember that hymn?

I couldn't tell you the last time I sang it, or even heard it, before we sang it at church this week. It brought back so many memories... as well as a few tears. It reminded me of my home church where I grew up from age 3 until I got married. In fact, my mom is still a part of that church. It brought to mind so many friends who have done life with us... teaching me about Jesus, letting me babysit their kids, witnessing my baptism and my wedding, loving on us when my dad passed away, still loving on my mom, and praying me through this past year. Sweet memories of sweet people.

And I had tears for the simple, yet powerful message of the hymn.

Because He lives... I can face tomorrow
Because He lives... All fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives

Jesus has conquered death, and because of that I can sing the last verse with confidence.

And then one day I'll cross the river;
I'll fight life's final war with pain;
And then as death gives way to vict'ry,
I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He lives.

I now think in terms of before and after cancer. Before cancer, I glossed over those words with no real meaning. I knew they were true, but it was more like reading a fairy tale that had a happy ending. After cancer and being faced with my own mortality, I LOVE THESE WORDS! One day all the hardships of this earth will be traded in for meeting Jesus face to face! 

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Okay, so my last post was little depressing. I'm fine and haven't been committed yet - HA! 

This week at Bible study, some things came together and gave me a new perspective... A way to embrace my triggers and emotions...

Just so you know, these kinds of things ALWAYS sound better in my head. I don't seem to be able to type my thoughts like I'm actually thinking them!

My Bible study group is going through Beth Moore's Law of Love - a study of Deuteronomy. The key verse is Deuteronomy 6:23: "and He brought us out from there, that He might bring us in and give us the land that He swore to give to our fathers."

He brought us out... to bring us in...

After the first week of study, I immediately thought about how God brought me out of cancer! But what is He bringing me in to... So, that's on my mind as we go through the study.

This week's session focused on Chapter 8 - comparing the terrifying wilderness to the Promised Land... the good land... and all the reminders for the people to REMEMBER and NEVER FORGET what the Lord had done for them. Our Promised Land of the New Testament is Jesus Christ. And just like the Promised Land of the Old Testament was a GOOD and productive land (Deut 8:7-10), our life in Jesus should be GOOD and productive.

Consider these verses...

2 Timothy 3:17 - so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work

Colossians 1:10 - bearing fruit in every good work

I Timothy 6:18 - to be rich in good works

I Timothy 1:18 - fight the good fight

Romans 12:21 - overcome evil with good

Romans 8:28 - And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

It all started making sense. The cancer "triggers" - like learning my father-in-law has just been diagnosed with multiple myeloma - are reminders of how God has blessed me. And remembering how He has brought me out motivates me to encourage and pray for others in a similar wilderness. 

I need to live right here... and right now... and never forget. 

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Keeping it Real

Warning: This blog post is acting as my therapy session, so read at your own risk... I just want to "keep it real" in my journey. I'm learning that even though treatment may be finished, the journey is far from over.

I'm kind of an emotional mess right now. The physical part of my cancer was relatively short and painless; however, the emotional part is hard and long-lasting. I've never thought I needed counseling before, but being able to talk with others who have experienced cancer is so helpful. I guess like anything, until you've lived it...

I'm thrilled that my one-year follow up was good news. Yet in the back of my mind I worry a little about if/when it won't be good news. My doctor said the cancer could come back anywhere - so it may not be a noticeable (at least to my mom) swollen lymph node. Every ache and pain puts me on edge. I've been known to ignore things hoping they'd go away, but now I need to find a balance between panic over every little thing and ignoring every little thing.

I think I'm also dealing with survivor's guilt. That's such a weird concept. Why would I feel guilty for surviving? Do I wish I was dealing with the bad? I don't think that's it exactly, I think it's just a deeper feeling of empathy having a first-hand idea of what someone else is going through. And it hurts.

It hurts watching my friends go through the pain and sadness on the one year anniversary of their son's short and awful battle with liver cancer...and his funeral...

It hurts knowing my friend who finished treatment for breast cancer last year is now dealing with Stage 4 metastatic bone cancer...

It hurts knowing my 17 y/o friend is fighting against a growing tumor on her spine with little to no treatment options...

It hurts knowing a 1 y/o baby at church was just diagnosed with cancer...

It hurts knowing my friend is dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and survivor's guilt from her own cancer experience...

It hurts...

It hurts in a way I've never experienced before. I can't even really sort out the emotions. So if you see me with tears, you'll know why.

I'm so thankful for my friends and family who are supporting me and letting me be a blubbering idiot at times. And I'm extremely thankful I serve a God who has overcome the world and gives us peace!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

No Suspicious Findings

Those three words may not mean much on their own, but in relation to a CT scan report after having cancer, they are AWESOME words!!! My one year follow up CT scan shows no lymphadenopathy and NO SUSPICIOUS FINDINGS! Praise God!

My doctor said I'm doing great and my blood work is perfect. I go back in 6 weeks to get my port flushed and then 6 weeks after that (3 months) for blood work and follow up. She said the best thing I can do right now is exercise. So... maybe if I put that on my blog, it will help me stay accountable!

However, I've had some issues with exercise... like two cracked ribs in May after cinching a saddle on a horse. No, I didn't even fall off the horse or anything heroic like that. My x-ray showed some arthritic changes and weakness, so I had a bone scan. I'm considered osteopenic and started on Prolia injections. Just by product of chemo and forced menopause. Good grief.

We have a disc golf course that starts across the road from us, so we've been playing 2-3 times a week. A few weeks ago while helping Daryl look for his disc in the woods, I unknowingly got into poison ivy. I ended up with it on my forehead, left cheek, neck, and shoulder, and my right arm. Not pretty - especially when it started swelling in between my eyes! I finally went to the doctor and got a steroid shot and Prednisone. I was really trying to avoid all that, I mean I survived cancer, so surely I could survive poison ivy. Oh well. At least now I know what poison ivy looks like!

And there are so many ticks and chiggers... 

So my plan is to exercise and eat healthy, rejoice in "no suspicious findings," and pray for others waiting for those same words!