I’ve been wanting to update you all on my health for awhile now, but have had a hard time coming up with the words to express
JUST HOW VERY THANKFUL I AM.
How do I communicate such joy and gratefulness?
My most recent blood tests show perfect hormone levels. Perfect iron levels. Perfect calcium levels. A vitamin D level to brag about (I have been working on getting this up, SO important for cancer, and immunity in general). My liver and kidneys are working as they should. My blood cell counts are all great. My digestive system is amazing. My energy level is great. No naps needed. I only have 2 prescriptions that I take, which is a MAJOR change from the last year.
Who am I that You are mindful of me? Psalm 8:4
Perfect hormone levels are a HUGE gift. A few months ago my estrogen was so high we were trying to decide whether to take out my ovaries or use drugs to shut them down. Either option would bring on instant menopause. I got a glimpse of what this feels like when I was adjusting to the drug, Tamoxifen, that I will take for 5 years. Not fun. I honestly think it has been many years since my hormones were where they should be. I think this contributed to getting cancer. I have begged God at times to straighten me out. It has been its own battle, and I can’t believe I sit here stable, with no emotional highs and lows.
God has answered a prayer that I have put before him since 2001, and He did it through cancer. Without cancer, I would not have changed my eating habits to a plant based diet. Without cancer I would not have had to switch from one anti-anxiety medication to another, since the first was not compatible with my cancer meds. I dreaded the switch, it turned out to be exactly what my body needed.
His ways are mysterious. Isaiah 45:15
Am I thankful for cancer? No.
Am I thankful for what God has done in my life through cancer? Yes. A million times, Yes.
There are many things I have to thank Him for, but the one that makes my heart feel so full, is the perspective of eternity that it brings. I see life in light of eternity now. I tangibly get how this life is temporary. I have felt glimpses of my body shutting down, the first week of my last chemo treatment was a scary feeling, to feel my body being overwhelmed, weaker than prior treatments and staying weak longer. It scared me. I was so grateful it was the last treatment.
This perspective is one that I rebelled against at first. I HATED that I had to come to grips with my mortality and live with the statistics that I do.
I had to learn how to come to grips with 50/50.
My Stage 3, 6 centimeter, lymph node involvement, 1ml. away from chest wall margin cancer gives me a 50/50 chance of being alive in 10 years. Many survivors don’t like to know their statistics. I had to know, so I could learn to live with them.
For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content. Philippians 4:12
Easy to say that verse when I am in remission, have my energy, and things are looking good. But I can honestly say that in the midst of battle, this verse became very real to me and I definitely came a long way in my lessons in contentment. I believe the key to contentment is thankfulness. I may only have 10 years, but I know some that only have 10 months, so I give thanks even for scary statistics. Perspective. As I practice thankfulness, counting the many gifts, I literally feel like my heart will burst with thankfulness.
This in itself is a gift, recognizing that EACH DAY is a gift.
I have learned this by watching those I love, die. Cancer has brought the sick into my life. Each one of them are a precious gift. I will not allow their deaths to bring fear, they would not want that. I will learn from their courage. I especially learned from my L girls words on her deathbed, “I am just so thankful for this day.”
I am learning from her words. I am learning to look at the future and laugh, despite having a future that is unknown.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity. She can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25
Don’t get me wrong, I want to grow old, I long to know my grandchildren, and see my children age. I beg God for this, yet I am learning to say,
“Not my will, but Yours be done.” Luke 22:42
I am learning how to say this because I have learned who He is. He is trustworthy no matter what the future.
He holds the future in His hands.
Because of this, I lean into Him and rest, even in a future that could bring pain, loss, and death.
Many of you know that I read the book, “Jesus Calling“almost everyday. It brings such truth to my mind, and I depended on it when I was sick. There were very few days where I didn’t read it before lifting my head from my pillow, just so I could face the fears and struggles of the day that cancer brings. Today’s entry was awesome.
I must share:
(this book writes from the perspective of Jesus talking to us)
Give up the illusion that you deserve a problem-free life. Part of you is still hungering for the resolution of all difficulties. This is a false hope!
As I told My disciples, in the world you will have trouble. Link your hope not to problem solving in this life but to the promise of an eternity of problem-free life in heaven. Instead of seeking perfection in this fallen world, pour your energy into seeking Me: the Perfect One.
It is possible to enjoy Me and glorify Me in the midst of adverse circumstances. In fact, My Light shines most brightly through believers who trust Me in the dark. That kind of trust is supernatural: a production of My indwelling Spirit. When things seem all wrong, trust Me anyway. I am much less interested in right circumstances than in right responses to whatever comes your way.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33