Friday, March 4, 2011

A Great Visit with the Oncologist!

I always hate these three-month visits to the Cancer Center. But I can never cancel because I have to have the chemo port flushed every 6 weeks, so I have to show up. The last time I asked him when I could get that thing taken out, he told me, "Never, so don't ask again!" And I haven't asked again! Oddly enough, I hate these visits because I have nothing to talk about. It's like, "How are you?" "Fine, thanks!" Then lots of dead air. . . . and "You're looking really great!!!! How about --- see you in 3 months?" "OK!" And it's over.

This time, he was more talkative. As he examined the mastectomy site, he said, "This is just so amazing! Do you know how far you have come from with this???" I answered, "No --- because you would never TELL me how bad it was!"

It's hard to believe that it is now almost 3 years since I started that journey with a tumor so big that it was breaking through the skin. I've found so many blogs where ladies are just starting or in the middle of treatment, and it brings back all the memories (or should I say, nightmares) of those horrible, dark days. I can't thank my blogging friends enough for all the prayers, love, faith, and encouragement that you sent my way, and I always want to pass that on to these ladies that are going through it now.

Connie, Megan, Stacy --- believe me when I say I understand, believe me when I say you can do it, and believe me when I say there is a Savior who walks the whole way with each of you, just as He did with me.

In Ann VanKamp's book, 1000 gifts, she talks about the "hard eucharisteo" -- the giving of thanks for the hardest, darkest, unexplained things in our lives -- only because ALL things comes to us in love from a God who is ALL love. No, we can't understand that. I can't understand cancer and the suffering and loss it brings with it. I can't understand the tears. I can't understand the ripping away of loved ones. And saying "thank you" means opening my hands to receive the grace of even these hard things.

If I've learned one thing in my life it's this: All that God has taught me of His promises in the light, I can trust He will keep His word when I walk into the darkness.

Some time ago, I asked this oncologist a question about my cancer and it had ". . . if it comes back. . ." in the question. He said something that rocked my foundations: "It's not a matter of IF -- it's a matter of WHEN!" At that moment, I was faced with a choice -- Do I live each day with the dreaded fear of cancer returning, or do I live each day with a thankful heart that I have yet another day? To a doctor, it's IF or WHEN. To me, FEAR or THANKS.

I've chosen THANKS!

Today, I stood in the breezy sunlight of this, a beautiful spring day and stuck my nose into the delicate flowers of my wisteria. Have you ever smelled such a beautiful, soft, gentle scent????? Surely, they must be climbing all over the jasper walls of Heaven and entwining themselves around the Pearly Gates! These are my "thank you" flowers. Flowers that bloomed in the darkest of times, bloomed again the next year during healing times, the next year during moving-on times, and now this year during grateful heart times.

The question I ponder is Why? Why ME? I could have asked that during the dark days. I could have asked that when I had no hair, couldn't get up out of a shower, couldn't eat, etc. I could have asked that when I was burned to a crisp. Now I asked it in term of, Why do I get an extension on my life? If it is to learn
the "hard eucharisteo", the giving of thanks for the pain we do not and never will understand, then I say, Thank you, Lord. If it is to learn to trust deeper still, then I say, "Oh for grace to trust You more!" If it is to help but one scared woman through the dark valley of breast cancer, then I will grab that hand and show her that there IS a way. Thank you, Lord, for today. May I never miss ONE moment that You have given me in the present because of regrets of the past or fears of the future!

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. -- Psalm 4:8


•♦•The Olde Weeping Cedar •♦• said...

This is a beauitfully written, very touching entry, Cora. I have a sweet friend making this dark and scary journey...She-[her strength and courage]- jsut amazes me...You are quite an amazing lady yourself, Cora!


Jill said...

A wonderful entry Cora. I take the "Thankful for each and every day". Mine is coming up to 3 years on the 17th and only just finishing off with my reconstruction.
Cora, the fear never goes away but I try not to dwell on it and live each day to the fullest.
You are an inspiration. I have read your blog for a long time and so glad that you returned back to blogging again.

Gentle ((((Hugs)))

Simple "T" said...

Girl you got! Please know that GOD is using you to help others and you can say you have been there, done that. Without it you could hold someone's hand and be tender for them but to truly say you know what's its like means so much to someone else and they know you know...

I started looking at it this way when so much started happening to me. If there was no sickness, there would be no need for dr's. This was a good thought, but since there is sickness and there are dr's....then why not me. Without sickness there would never be miracles or healing and God could not show himself through dr's and medicine. Maybe simple my way of thinking but if you think about... we are blessed, we can help other and show God's love via us. Some folks need tangible or visible signs... so here we are. Here you are!

I am glad to know things are okay with you and the visit was uneventful. Good that you can look out at the sky and feel the sun and breeze on your face. That is truly a blessing. Jesus said, why fret for tomorrow, Today has its own problems. Do not fret dear one, keep focus on the lord and know you are blessed that you can touch someone's life with your trial.

Now my question, why cant they take out the port? Its been so long now? Scratching my head???

Grammee Linda - Behind My Red Door said...

So glad to hear the visit went well. You have indeed come a long way, and I for one would love for you to prove that Dr. wrong!! Continue to live each day in thanks like you do and maybe you will! Thanks for a great post!! HUGS!!

Patty Sumner said...

It is in our deepest hurts that we learn more of him. In those dark times His light shines brighter. You have definitely learned to trust him and it shows in your writing. Continue to let your light shine. I appreciate you Cora! Blessings!

"Just Me - NC Beth" said...

An awesome post! Loved where you said, I chose "Thanks"! That's powerful!


ByLightOfMoon said...

I am so glad about your update! I have thought of you and concerning this cancer so much. I knew you would be fine after it, But it would be nice to have that port reminder gone.

It does seem long ago but not three years. I am so proud for you!
Blessings, Cyndi

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful encouragement you are. I bet you never imagined when you commented on my blog that my sister just started chemo. God is amazing!

HopeUnbroken said...

Your comment on my blog led me here. I'm glad I visited. What a sweet post. My profile name was born from my sister-in-law's unbroken hope that endured throughout her journey with cancer. Praying for you in your own journey--you sound like a woman of great courage, hope, and joy. Blessings on you!

Nikki said...

This is a beautiful and powerful post. Thank you so much for sharing your testimony with us of giving the hard thanks. You have truly walked the walk, and not simply talked the talk. God is glorified and blessed in YOU!