Tag Archive | diagnosis of breast cancer

Giving Thanks in/for Cancer?

We just celebrated Thanksgiving…that time of year when we purposely take the time to pause and give thanks for all the great things in our lives like jobs, homes, family, friends, food, and our good health.  But wait.  What if we don’t have “good” health?  Can we still give thanks if our health includes cancer?

I am one of those people who likes to give thanks for almost everything every day of the year.  I feel blessed and find it easy to look at the positive in most situations year round.  Let me make it clear that I was not happy when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I found it hard to find anything positive about being the one with the diagnosis.  It was scary and after finding out about all that treating it would entail I was even less enthusiastic.

No woman enjoys a mammogram, especially repeated ones.  Having a needle core biopsy is an even more unpleasant experience.  Recuperating from surgery with drains is a few more notches down the scale.  But nothing compares to going through chemo and dealing with all the side effects from poison being poured into your veins.  Radiation is not painful but it  is time consuming and has some side effects as well.  Additional infusions for a year, medication for 5 years, numerous medical tests, doctor visits, and follow-ups for who knows how long. Don’t even mention the finances with co-pays, the phone calls and paperwork involved with billing.  Then there is always the possibility that despite all the treatment and medication the cancer can reoccur.  Is it possible to give thanks for all these things?

I know it’s not easy to give thanks for cancer and all that comes with it but you can give thanks in it!  I am thankful that I was diagnosed with breast cancer during a time when there has been so much progress made with treatments available.  As much as I hate medication I am thankful that there are drugs available to specifically do battle with my kind of cancer.  I am thankful that they came out with anti-nausea meds that I could take while going through chemo.  I am thankful I live in a country with a multitude of doctors and hospitals available to treat my cancer.  Personally I am also thankful that my cancer was diagnosed in an early stage, especially because it is an aggressive form.  I am also thankful that I had just obtained insurance.

Giving thanks for cancer comes after you’ve been in” the storm” awhile.  As a result of being in the cancer storm, I have become a stronger person, have learned a lot more about myself, have felt freer and more focused in my goals (aside from “chemo brain”), and most importantly have relished the relationship I have with God.  I have never felt closer to Him, enjoying His presence, being filled with the love, joy, and peace that only He can fill your life with.  How can you not give thanks for something, even cancer, if it draws you into a closeness like that?  That is why I can give thanks for my cancer.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].” (AMP)   My favorite song for this time in my life, “The More I Seek You” by Kari Jobe, says exactly how I  feel.

 The more I seek you,
the more I find you.

The more I find you,
the more I love you.
                                                                                   

I wanna sit at your feet
Drink from the cup in your hand.
Lay back against you and breathe, feel your heart beat
This love is so deep, it’s more than I can stand.
I melt in your peace, it’s overwhelming”

 

It’s Good to be Alive

Why is it that so many of us don’t look forward to celebrating our own birthdays because it means we will be yet another year older, when in reality we are only one day older than the day before?  Remember when you were young enough that you couldn’t wait for your next birthday and would tell someone you were six and three-quarter years old!  That three-quarters was very important to add because it meant you were almost another year older.

Birthday cupcakes that my daughter and her friends made for me!

I had kind of blocked out exactly how old I was once I approached middle age and found myself having to do the calculations when it came to filling out forms.  Let’s see, if I was born in so-and-so year and now it’s such-and-such year, then I must be “x” number of years old now.  It was never something I wanted to dwell on before…GETTING OLD.

Well guess what.  Today I turned 53 (and yes, I did have to calculate just to make sure I got it right and wasn’t adding extra years on) and I was happy to celebrate my birthday!  I’ll tall you what made the difference.  Getting a diagnosis of breast cancer this year and realizing that without it there is a possibility that I might not have been here to celebrate my birthday today has made a difference.

My mom wanted to know why I was reminding my Facebook friends that my birthday was coming up.  Was I really “anxious to be a year older”? No!  I was rejoicing that I was alive to celebrate my birthday this year.  I know that some people believe that frequent mammograms actually contribute to breast cancer.  I believe that it is because I did have routine mammograms that my cancer was found in stage 1 before it had progressed further.  Women hear me out.  DO NOT put it off if you are due for one.  Only one year had lapsed for me between mammograms when my cancer was diagnosed. Do you want to celebrate your next birthday?

A very special birthday card I received this year!

Time is God’s birthday gift to each one of us that celebrates a birthday. Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.”(NLT)  Life is short.  Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Our days are numbered. Time is a treasure that attracts many robbers. How are you spending your days?  Don’t live in regret. Write a bucket list and start it!  Attend that reunion.  Take that road trip. Make that phone call.  Nike has that great slogan, “Just do it!”

My father had never skiied a day in his life and took up skiing from 70 – 80 years old. He lived near a ski resort and lift tickets were free to those his age (I tried to help him see the logic in that to no avail). He bought equipment at a yard sale and hit the slopes successfully anyway.  I’m not saying you have to be that extreme but is there something you have been putting off doing?  Be courageous.

I love the lyrics to a song by Point of Grace called “How You Live.”  It mentions not spending your life looking back, of taking chances, facing things, thinking of others, and making peace with God. Check out the song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNOvLqNVnSY

There’s a song by Jason Gray called “Good to be Alive.”  The chorus says,

“I won’t take it for granted
I won’t waste another second
All I want is to give you
A life well lived, to say ‘thank you’

I wanna live like there’s no tomorrow
Love like I’m on borrowed time
It’s good to be, it’s good to be alive”

Yes, it’s GOOD to be alive but just being alive isn’t enough.  It boils down to how we are actually living each day.  Be THANKFUL for each day.  Live life to it’s fullest.  Don’t be afraid to “turn up the music” loud or to “use your good dishes.”  At the same time realize that our time here is only a taste of what is to come.