Tag Archive | health

Making change

Our toy cash register

Our toy cash register

It’s been awhile since I posted in this blog.  The good news is  life is back to “normal” in the sense that I am not undergoing any treatment for cancer.   I am feeling pretty much recovered from all the side effects.  There’s still some aches and pains and sensations but at this point I honestly don’t know if it’s still from treatment or if it’s from aging, LOL.  The joke among my “cancer friends” is that we can blame most any symptom we are feeling as a lingering side effect from chemo!

Here we are at the start of 2014.  A new year.  A clean slate.  Another fresh start.  It’s probably a blessing that we don’t know ahead of time what the year may bring.  One thing I learned through this whole journey is not to worry about what may or may not happen but to take one day at a time and to enjoy life to its fullest. (Matt.6:27) Whatever comes my way, I am confident that God will give me the strength I need and will not leave me to walk  alone. (Deut. 31:6) He has brought me through some very tough days.  The road ahead may include some steep inclines, rough terrain, deep valleys, curvy and winding roads, an occasional bump in the road, and detours but my GPS (God Perspective System) will keep me focused knowing that He has my best interest in mind.  We won’t always understand the course He has us on but we can be assured of where we’ll end up ultimately.

I enjoyed the bike the most for cardio...actually steered on the courses selected!

I enjoyed the bike the most for cardio…actually steered on the courses selected!

New Year’s is a popular time to make resolutions on changes we want to make in our life as we reflect on how we did the previous year.  Some things are out of our control but many are not. We have a choice on how we’ll travel our journey through the year. Probably some of the most popular resolutions are health related…exercise, lose weight, eat healthier, get more rest, etc.  Most of these are broken within a month and then people just give up completely.  I wish more people looked internally to make changes…attitude adjustments and heart issues…than just externally.

My graduating class...12 weeks of sweat and tears.

My graduating class…12 weeks of sweat and tears.

I think the success of a resolution boils down to desire, motivation, discipline, and wisdom.  You have to really want to reach a goal bad enough in order to do something about it.  There has to be reason to reach it.  You have to have an obtainable plan to get there and it has to be plan that if followed will indeed get you there.

As a child I enjoyed playing “store.”  When I was teaching my own children, we used a play cash register and they learned how to make change.  We would set up toys and other items and put price tags on them.  They would “shop” and purchase items or be the cashier, but either way they had to learn how to count money and make change. It was a process and took time to learn.

Receiving my diploma and yellow rose at Livestrong graduation

Receiving my diploma and yellow rose at Livestrong graduation

doing the leg press

doing the leg press

Do you really want to make change in some areas?  Then do something about it.  I know for myself that last year I set a goal to run in a 5K and to start getting myself back in shape physically after going through cancer treatment.  I did run the 5 K in September and then I also signed up for the Livestrong program at the YMCA.  It is a free 12 week program for cancer survivors that encompasses cardio, strength, and flexibility.  It was a big commitment.  I had never even been in a gym before.  Not only did I learn a lot and get healthy and fit but I met a great group of people as well.  Now at the start of the new year I am ready to take on the challenge of trying to maintain my fitness.  I am still not sure whether I will join a gym or do it on my own at home but I am determined to follow through.  I feel better than I have in a long time.

Whatever my journey this year encompasses, I am determined to go through it feeling my best, not only physically but emotionally and spiritually as well. “Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever.” (1 Tim.4:8 MSG)  Change is hard but if we stick with it and really want it, with God’s help we can achieve it.  Here’s to the best in 2014.

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“I can see clearly now…”

I was nearing the end of my supply of  contacts and went to have my eyes checked.  Imagine my surprise when my doctor was puzzled why my eyesight in one eye had rapidly gone down hill…I  couldn’t even make out the big letters on the chart.  He started asking me if I had had a head injury recently and other  related questions.  I was getting more worried by the minute and so was he.  He proceeded to do some tests and use some different instruments and was able to establish the fact that there was no internal damage to my retina or anything but that one eye was inflamed and scratched and dry causing my vision to blur.  I had conjunctivitis about a month ago and apparently that had never fully cleared up.

Prescription eye drops 4 times a day and artificial tears hourly were to be part of my routine for at least the next week along with check-ups every few days.  When I left his office I closed my good eye and realized I couldn’t see out of my “bad” eye even with my glasses on.  How long had this been going on?  My good eye had been doing such a good job overcompensating for the lack of vision in the affected eye that I had not even realized the vision had deteriorated in one eye so drastically.

The good news is that my vision was back within two days but the eye was still not healed.  Next I was switched to eye drops that were both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory as well. We realized that the other eye was extremely dry as well. Unfortunately although it appears the infection did clear up, the inflammation is  still under my eyelid.  I continue to hydrate my eyes and be treated while we figure this out.  The doctor is a little puzzled and is not sure yet if I will be able to wear contacts anymore.

The more I thought about this it occurred to me that it had been almost a year that I have been having some “problems” with my eyes and that it was almost a year ago that I had my first chemo treatment.  I wear contacts daily and rarely wear my glasses but over the past year my eyes had been bothering me in some way or another.  At times my vision seemed blurry, my eyes were red, they were sensitive or itchy, even excess tears and I would have to leave my contacts out for days or a week at a time until the redness or irritation went away.  I had so many uncomfortable side effects from chemo that I was dealing with that I had paid little attention to a minor one such as the eye irritation or my vision.  It wasn’t until this eye exam that I finally put two and two together and realized that dry eye syndrome was yet another marvelous side effect from cancer treatment.  It is not listed specifically for the drugs I had been given, but I see it listed in general for chemo treatment and see in forums where many patients complain of it.  I was unable to see any information about whether this goes away in time.  If anyone has more information about that, I would be anxious to know.  Dry eye syndrome is also more common in those over the age of 40,  in menopausal women, and in those taking blood pressure medication so it could be a combination in my case.

Your immune resistance is lowered during chemo and you are more prone to infection.  This, in addition  to the dryness in my eyes, Drawing the human eye by echo1180allowed for more irritation as well. When  my hair fell out after the start of chemo, I lost my eyebrows and most of my eyelashes as well, allowing even more bacteria to enter my eyes.   Wearing the same soft porous lenses for a month at a time did not help.  My doctor said switching to daily wear contacts would be better with a lesser chance of infection since they are disposed of after one use.  Another option may be going back to hard lenses as they not only cover a  much smaller portion of the eye, but would not be sitting in solutions overnight and would carry less bacteria since they are not porous.

 

On a humorous note, one of the tests that my doctor does is put drops of Fluorescein in my eyes.  Fluorescein is a yellow dye that stains the cornea where the epithelial (surface) cells have been worn away because of the lack of an adequate protective tear film.  With the use of a “blue” light it will help identify abrasions or scratches present on the surface of the eye.   Somehow the bright yellow dye ends up outlining my eye and appears bright orange once it is on my skin.  After I left there the first time I was unaware of the dye left until I walked into the store to meet my daughter and she wanted to know what was the matter with me.  When I looked in the mirror we both busted out laughing at the orange circle around my eye!

I still don’t know for sure where this will end up but it got me thinking about many things…how we take our vision for granted, how we tend to the more urgent things but allow smaller things to fall by the wayside, and especially how we can easily end up allowing something to be “acceptable” or the norm and take a foothold in our life, learning to live with it, even becoming insensitive to its presence in our life.  The last thing you would want to happen in your spiritual life is to “give the devil a foothold in your life” (Ephesians 4:27), allowing him to stay and putting up with his presence to the point that you are not in tune to the spirit.  We do not want to become complacent or numb but want to remain sensitive to “irritations” in our lives that have no place being there.

“Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.” (1 Peter 5:8-11 Message)

 

Waiting

Well this week I had my first mammogram since this whole thing started.  My radiologist gave me a script to have a diagnostic mammogram done this month and I went early one morning before work.  It felt so strange to fill out the paperwork and check off the box and write  breast c-a-n-c-e-r on the information.  I think this was the first time I had to include that word and put it in writing under my medical history.  There was no denying it and it literally stopped me in my tracks for a moment.  This is real.  This is part of MY history now.  It was a weird feeling I didn’t like.

Can’t wait for this day!

Back to the mammo.  It cracks me up that they always tell you not to wear any powders or deodorant.  In my opinion it is one of those things you have done where you definitely need the deodorant!   After it was done I was told to sit and wait to get changed until a radiologist looked at my films in case they wanted to take more pictures.

In the meantime I could hear others getting their mammogram done and when they were finished the technician would tell them they could leave and would get the results in the mail in a few days.  It was the waiting game.  The longer I sat, the more I envisioned the technician returning only to tell me they wanted to take more pictures because they saw something.  It was probably the longest 15 – 20 minutes I remember in a while.  It is hard to wait.  Finally she poked her head back in and told me to get dressed and that I could leave.  Whew!

I have not heard anything back from my doctor yet…so I’m still waiting… but I’m believing that it will be a good report.  I’m not going to sit around worrying in the meantime.  I have learned to trust God no matter what the circumstances.  He has been with me every step of the way and will be with me regardless of what the future holds.

There’s many things that we have to wait for during our lifetime.  Think of the amount of time you spend just waiting in lines whether it’s at the bank, at a store, a gas station, on hold on the telephone, for something to download, for clothes or paint or nails to dry, for food to cook, for something to come in the mail, for someone to get out of the bathroom, for a party, for a check, for someone to take your order, for someone to get back to you with an answer or  for news, for someone to ask you out, for the next train or bus or plane, sitting in doctor’s offices, for an event or ceremony to start, for water to boil, sitting in traffic, waiting for something to cool off, for summer to come back, for a vacation, to get over an illness,  or for a cure, etc.  Supposedly the average person spends an average of 45-62 minutes a day waiting, or by the time you are 70 years old you will have spent 3 years of it waiting.

Some waiting is minutes, some is days, some is weeks, some is months, and some is years.  It all depends what we are waiting for.  My question is what are we doing while we wait?  Think about how much of your lifetime is spent in a waiting or even in a holding pattern of sorts…possibly even unable to go forward until the waiting is over.  Often we don’t know how long the wait will be.  I try to be as productive as possible if the wait is anticipated.  I will often bring something to read with me or if it’s longer, a task I need to accomplish.  When my kids had lessons of some sort I would bring coupons to clip and file or homework to work on or I would run an errand while I was out.  When it comes to longer term waiting I still try to focus and keep going in the direction I would like to be once the waiting is over.

I think this waiting principle applies to the most important thing I’m waiting for.  Jesus told us that He is coming back one day.  Many have predicted to the day when this would be but obviously they were wrong.  Matthew 24:36 says, “But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father knows.” (Message) No one knows how long this wait will be but I want to be ready. “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him,”  Matthew 2:44.  I won’t sit and do nothing while I am waiting for that day.  I am determined more then ever since having cancer to live my life to the fullest for the Lord.  I don’t want to waste time while I wait for His return.  Isaiah 25:9 says, “They will say on that day, ‘Look! This is our God, for whom we have waited—and he has saved us! This is the Lord, for whom we have waited; let’s be glad and rejoice in his salvation!'”

It is interesting to see that in Psalm 37:4 where we are told to WAIT for the Lord, depending on the translation used, it says to HOPE in the Lord.  These are synonymous.  The way to do our waiting is by putting our hope in Him and trusting Him during our time of waiting!  We are told to “follow him,” “keep his way,” “rely on the Lord, keep his commands,”  “wait for the Lord’s help and follow him” in various translations of this verse.

My question is, “What are you doing while you wait?”

 

Who’s to blame?

I’ve learned a lot over the past year.  It was ONE YEAR AGO this month that I went in for a routine mammogram with plenty of things on my mind.  One thing that was not on my mind was concern for the results from my mammo.  I had had one plenty of times before and wasn’t having it done as a result of a lump I felt or because of any pain or tenderness.  It was “routine” after all!  Little did I know at the time how the results from that one screening would change the course of direction for me last year.

Ever think about how one action, one choice can make such an impact on your life?  I didn’t know much about cancer other than that it was something that happened to “other” people.  I wasn’t really overweight, got plenty of sleep, some exercise, ate fairly well with healthy choices, didn’t smoke or drink…why would I even think that cancer would happen to me?  Especially breast cancer…after all, I had nursed four children and each at least for one year and went for yearly exams and  check-ups.  After cancer happened to me I realized that no one is exempt!  We all live in a fallen world where there is sickness, poverty. disease and evil.  It is a sinful world and we are subject to many things.  I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try to live a healthy lifestyle or that it is in vain, but it doesn’t exempt any of us from  disease or illness.

I would not choose to redo last year.  Going through tests, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, prescriptions/medication, continued infusions,  pain, discomfort, all the side effects (long and short term), the inconvenience, the monetary expense, missed work and activities,  the paperwork, the follow-ups, the appointments, the dependence upon others for meals, rides etc. is no fun.  In a word it is suffering!  I would not wish it on anyone.  Your whole life changes overnight.

The Blame Game

However, some changes are for the better and would not have come if it wasn’t for the suffering.  As much as cancer in any form is a negative thing, how you deal with it as an individual will determine whether it can be used as a positive in your life.  I have seen this over the course of the last year running into many cancer patients throughout my treatment.  Some are angry and bitter and curse and blame God asking, “Why me?”  Realizing that no one is exempt living in a fallen world I ask, “Why not me?”  I don’t blame God for my cancer.  He chose to send His Son that He loved to a sinful world and die a painful death to accomplish salvation  for us.  I am sure that there is a purpose and plan in my cancer.  Some of that I have seen already and one day the rest will be revealed.

Do I blame God?  Let me answer that again.  As a matter of fact I do.  I blame Him for making me fall more in love with Him.  I blame Him for making me more empathetic towards others who are physically suffering.  I blame Him for making me re-prioritize my life and think about what really is important.  I blame Him for trusting Him even more with my life.  I blame Him for strengthening my faith. I blame  Him for giving me a platform to share my faith.  It is a direct result from my battle with cancer that these things have happened and for that I am thankful.

Dr. John Piper has written an article/booklet about his personal experience with cancer called, “Don’t Waste Your Cancer”  which can be downloaded as a free PDF. I highly recommend it.  Our sufferings teach us not only about ourselves but about the true nature of God as well.  It is our opportunity to get to know Him in a way that you only can if you are sharing in His sufferings.  Dr. Piper writes, “Satan’s designs and God’s designs in our cancer are not the same.  God designs to deepen our love for Christ.  Cancer does not win if we die.  It wins if we fail to  cherish Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 3:8-11 says, “ Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ  and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.  I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death,  so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!” (NLT)

I believe the difference in anyone’s journey though cancer or other suffering is whether you choose to avail yourself of the HOPE that is yours for the taking.  Instead of blaming God for the suffering, praise Him through it and allow Him to work in you.

Feeling Foggy

source RSNA 2012

Okay, so just this week in the news there were numerous articles saying that “chemo brain” is REAL and not just a patient’s imagination.   Guess I am not going crazy.  There are definitely cognitive changes as a side effect from chemotherapy.  I may have finished my “chemo” treatments a few months ago but I am still feeling rather foggy.  At times it seems to be worse instead of getting better. However, the study said that once chemotherapy is finished, chemo brain gets better on its own.  Guess it will just take time.

I had heard about “chemo brain” but thought that maybe it happened just as a result of all the stress and everything on your mind as a result of being treated for cancer.  It’s nice to finally see some studies being done that will now give us a legitimate excuse.  The study was only on breast cancer patients and 82% of the 595  studied reported having problems with memory and concentration.  This was confirmed using PET/CT imaging showing changes in metabolism involved in long-term memory, mental agility, decision making, problem solving, and prioritizing. WOW…women need all these things to run a household on a “normal” day.  Now add spending even more mental energy dealing with doctors, treatments, appointments, insurance bills,etc. while not feeling 100% physically.

What is it like having chemo brain? It is very frustrating to look at someone you know and see on a regular, okay a daily I Have Chemo Brain Mouse Padbasis and call them by the wrong name.  I can picture people, places and events in my head and know what I want to talk about but can’t remember the name or date or location for the life of me sometimes.   Everything is always on the tip of my tongue but doesn’t want to come out.  I have always been a good multitasker but often I forget what I’m doing while in the middle of several things.  I admit that I am not a young chick any more but I really did not want to start practicing for Alzheimers either!

I was trying to remind some coworkers at school about what happened the last time the students had a half day and the staff had to stay for a full day.  They were very puzzled.  I could picture it in my head but when we looked at the calendar there had been no half day yet.  Finally someone reminded me that it had happened the end of the last school year in June, not in this new school calendar.  My timing had been way off but in my head it seemed like it had just been recent.

I was really good at “winning” with my husband because my mind was sharp as a tack and I could recall exactly where and when I informed him of something.  Now I am not so sure myself so I need to shelve that approach which probably isn’t such a bad thing.  My kids think this whole “chemo brain” thing is funny and now every time they tell me something and I look at them funny like I never heard what they are reminding me of, they say “chemo brain.”  They could really use this to their advantage “reminding” me of things that never existed!  This is not a good thing.  This is potentially dangerous.

I have always been a list maker.  It’s part of my personality.  Some of you reading this know exactly what I mean because you can’t live without your lists either!  Every day has a new list and sometimes if I do something that is not on my list I will add it just so I can get the pleasure of crossing it off.  Now you have evidence that I am really in a fog!  Anyway, I have always gotten through my day with a list.  With chemo brain for me it is even more vital to have a list so I don’t  forget what I need to do or would like to accomplish.  Ironically in the articles they suggest having family members or friends help make lists for you to get through the period of mental fog.  I don’t need or want anyone making lists for me…I just need someone to help me FIND my lists!  I don’t remember where I put them.

I know they didn’t have chemotherapy back in Bible times but I think 1 Corinthians 13:12 was written with chemo brain in mind.  It says, “We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!” (MSG)  Yes, whether my chemo fog clears in 6 months or a year, I know that one day the fog will lift, the sun will shine and the only thing that really matters will be seen clearly, my Savior!

Just a few of the articles this week on the chemobrain study:

http://www.healthimaging.com/topics/molecular-imaging/rsna-your-brain-chemo-petct-may-enlighten-its-effects?page=0%2C0
http://www.webmd.com/cancer/news/20121129/chemo-brain-real?src=RSS_PUBLIC
http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/RSNA/36138

Some books on chemobrain:  www.chemobraininfo.org

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”

 

All Things New

When you are in the midst of any kind of trial it is hard to imagine that it will be over some day.  Fortunately, we occasionally get to begin to see glimpses of the light at the end of the tunnel, or at least in that direction.  I have been marking milestones along the way of treatment.  It is too overwhelming at first to think about all that is ahead as far as treatment is concerned.

First it was anticipating the surgery, waiting for results, praying the drains would come out soon, and healing.  Then it was counting each dreaded chemo infusion down and looking forward to the good week in between.  Next came radiation with an almost daily countdown but it still seemed to last forever.  Now it’s the herception infusion every three weeks but it’s still too far away to even begin to think about a countdown.  In the meantime it’s little things like waiting for all the fatigue to disappear, for the “chemo brain” fuzz to go away (although that’s a good one to keep as an excuse as you get older), for my brittle nails to stop chipping, and achy joints to improve.

light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnelThe light at the end of the tunnel is becoming brighter as my hair begins to grow back.  It was kind of nice not having to shave my legs or underarms, or tweeze my eyebrows.  At the same time as I have to start doing those things again it makes me smile to know that my body is slowly mending itself and getting back to normal.  It will still probably be awhile before I go out without wearing a wig or scarf as the hair on my scalp is so short and I don’t like the way I look.

When radiation was finished my radiologist told me to continue to moisturize my breast twice a day and that in a month it should look normal again.  I found this hard to believe as it was literally blackened in areas, especially around the surgery site from radiation burning.  I also had hard scar tissue there as well.  To my surprise  three weeks later even the appearance of my radiated breast looks almost normal again.

By the time I had started radiation I had finally stopped gaining weight but have not lost any weight since.  Between going back to work in September, and the winter and the holidays coming, I don’t see any coming off for a while.  Guess this will be one are that will not be returning to normal for awhile.

I have a feeling that “normal” for me will be a “new” normal.  I guess I can’t expect things to be the same as “BC” (before cancer) as “AD” (after diagnosis).  Many things have changed that can never be the same again and actually there are things that I hope will never be the same as BC.  Having cancer has changed me not only physically but in other areas as well.  I have had the time to reevaluate my life, my relationships, my goals, and to think about what really matters.  I feel like a new person, like I’ve been given the chance to start over.  A fresh start.  A new start with whatever time I have left in this world.

I watched a DVD the other week on Joni Eareckson Tada who after 45 years in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic (from a diving accident) was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.  http://www.joniandfriends.org/television/cancer-jonis-journey-part-1/  She mentions how it was a good experience in that it changed her on the inside and has helps her to live her life now in the moment.  Galatians 5:25 says, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”  Joni does not dwell in the future, but is taking one step at a time, responding in the “now.”  She is able to wake up happy each day wondering what God has in store for her for the day.

We are all given the opportunity to begin a new life here on earth.  2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (NLT)  In Revelation 21:4-5 we are given a glimpse into eternity for those who belong to Christ, “ God will take away all their tears. There will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain (OR CANCER).  All the old things have passed away Then the One sitting on the throne said, ‘See! I am making all things new. Write, for these words are true and faithful.’”  A pain free, disease free, burden free future for eternity.  That makes me smile from ear to ear.