"Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise."
(NIV) Jeremiah 17:14
It was a beautiful fall day, just like today. The sun was shining, the leaves were beautiful colors, the air was crisp - I can remember each detail like it was yesterday. I walked in happy, I walked out stunned. I had cancer. Each moment of the next few weeks are embedded in my memory. Each conversation, each doctor appointment, each test, etc. Although it was a whirlwind of activity, it was all very real. I remember telling my children, my parents, my friends. I remember feeling scared, confused, frustrated. I also remember praying - a lot. The one question that was never asked, amongst many that I had, was "Why me"? There was a reason- whatever that reason might have been - that I was chosen for this. The journey of appointments, surgeries, rounds of chemo, rounds of radiation all began.
I gained much during that next year. I gained humility (that happened when the world poked and prodded me). I gained humbleness (that happened when I had no hair). I gained appreciation (that happened when I HAD to let others help because I just couldn't do it myself anymore). I gained strength (even in my greatest moments of weakness). I gained perspective (of what TRULY is important in this life). I gained hope (not the kind of hope that you wish, but the kind of hope that provides a path of change). I gained faith (much deeper than I had ever known before, and the kind that has grown into a love and passion for my Lord).
Fifteen years ago, to the day, is when I found out I had cancer. I was 36, I had two children, I had a great job, and I had cancer. That was fifteen years ago, and today is today. That day I prayed to the Dear Lord that whatever plan He had for me, to make it useful. I still pray that same prayer. God has given each and every one of us incredible gifts - when we actually take the time to look and see what they are. For years I prayed to better understand what my gift was. Today, I believe I understand it better. Fifteen years ago I started a journal of my events of dealing with cancer - the good days, the challenging days, and the downright HARD days (thanks always to Annie for getting me started on my writing). I look back to that journal on this anniversary each year - remembering, understanding, and planning. Remembering the physical, emotional, and spiritual struggles. Understanding now what I couldn't then about what was happening. Planning for my future when I wouldn't have cancer.
To sum up the entire experience in one word would be BLESSED. The experience then - and now - is a blessing in my life. I gained more than I ever lost. I can't thank my friends enough for all that they did for me during that time - making meals, visiting, sitting and saying nothing and knowing that was okay, taking my children to events I couldn't, all of that and so much more. I can't thank my family enough for all they did during that time - making meals, cleaning my house, holding my hand, giving me hugs, sharing presents on my chemo days (I remember Mommy), always letting me know it was going to be okay.
Most importantly, I thank God every day - for all He gave me and continues to give me. He was there when I cried in desperation, and there to receive my praises. He was there to sit beside me during the discovery and recovery. He was there to let me know there was a plan, and is there today to guide me through that plan. Fifteen years is a long time to feel such joy and blessings - and I feel them every single day.
God is truly the great healer - of body, mind and spirit. He healed me then and continues to heal me today. When provided the opportunity, He can - and will - change your world. He certainly has mine! Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the grace, mercy and healing you have given to me. May I continue to live in your word and on your path, for my life. To all those around you who may be suffering with cancer - hold them close to you and love them. Sometimes, we just need to be still to give the most. Blessings to all who graced my life, fifteen years ago and today! Love & Peace!