Two weeks ago my husband came up with a fabulous idea that we should get away for a quick redezvous in Carmel, CA, just prior to beginning my radiation treatments. It was just what the doctor ordered.
Our getaway was everything I could have dreamed of – early morning walks watching the sun come up over the Pebble Beach golf course, eating lunch on a cliff hanging over the ocean at Rocky Point in Big Sur, and watching sheep as we dined on Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch patio…these are just a few of the moments that I am still cherishing in my heart.
But when I got home, my diagnosis settled back in my heart and it made me kind of crabby. For a few days I was stuck in the dark cloud of cancer and I couldn’t seem to shake it. I felt sick and tired of my routines – doctor visits, taking vitamins and pills morning and night, slapping on lotions and drinking potions of green shakes filled with all kinds of healthy but not necessarily good tasting ingredients, eating just so, and a stiff exercise regiment…on top of that I was facing daily radiation treatments for the next 5 weeks. I felt sick and tired of cancer.
When you read my list of poor-little-me items, except for the doctor visits, most of it consists of pretty normal habits for healthy living so it really shouldn’t have made me crabby. But it did. Hard work and discipline seemed futile in a battle against a cancer that is bigger than all of that. I mean realistically…I could name dozens of women who lived by these disciplines on a daily basis and they still got cancer.
As I was feeling crabby and lazy and discouraged, I thought about a story in the Bible found in 2 Samuel 11. In the story, King David was supposed to be leading his troops in battle and confronting the enemy, but David decided to stay home. I imagine he was tired of fighting and just wanted to take a break.
While David was taking a break from the battle he was lounging around on his rooftop and he saw a woman (Bathsheba) taking a bath…and this is where his trouble began. He called his messengers to ask about her and learned that she was married. David eventually ended up having relations with her and the story goes from bad to worse. If you haven’t read it, it’s worth the read. There are a lot of messages in that story for me…and maybe for you.
It occurred to me that David got into trouble when he stayed back from the battle …just like I do when I get worn out from my battle. I need to stay in the battle. Daily disciplines are very good for me and they actually make me very happy. When I stay back from the battle I get lazy and more discouraged.
When I’m not doing the “do’s” or in the places I should be – that is when the trouble starts happening. When I am not filling myself up with the Lord, the enemy of my soul gains ground in my life. When I am not asking for prayer, I start to feel defeated.
I am in a battle for my life and anything I can do that contributes to long and healthy living is a very good thing. These disciplines actually make me very happy. Staying strong in the Lord is my greatest weapon.
”Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all of the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet.
Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon.
In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”
– Ephesians 6:13-18 MSG
I am headed to the tube. I begin radiation this Friday, November 8th, every single day for 5 weeks + maybe 3 extra days.
I am not a fan of tubes.
I am going to bring some ‘weapons” to battle my fear of the tube. I am going to arm myself with scripture, whisper words of Christian songs, and consider it a sanctuary for prayer.
At the risk of humiliation, I am going to put myself out there and share another part of my “battle plan”. I am setting a goal of writing a “mini-blog”every day of radiation. I may not be completely successful – I understand most people get tired especially towards the end.
I feel the need to process and record my journey. I also feel like if I set a challenging battle plan – maybe I will battle a little better. Maybe if I make myself accountable I will be more successful.
I am also asking for your prayers. I am praying that my heart and lungs would not suffer any damage, that I would not get lymphedema (a common side effect where the arm gets permanently swollen and uncomfortable), and that my skin would not suffer severe burning. I pray that I would be able to stay in this battle and that the Lord would keep my spirits high.
Now please don’t get me wrong…vacations and rest are good for the soul. But when the vacation and the day of rest is over, it’s good to get back in the battle. Work, exercise, and spiritual disciplines are good. Being with people you love beats the heck out of a bad day.
When I sat with my husband looking out over the ocean in Carmel, I thought about the ONE who rolls the tide in and out and shines the sun – just so – as it sparkles across the water. HE IS MY GOD and HE IS BIGGER THAN THE BATTLE. I am safe in His care.
Even if I were to lose my earthly battle – I cannot lose. I plan to stick around for 20 more years – but even if I don’t – I win. I win because I am HIS. I win because the next life to come is better than this one.
I have become more aware of eternal things and am better able to imagine the crown of victory that is waiting for me. I can almost picture that day when I will sit at the Lord’s table with believers from all different walks of life and the generations that have gone before me and will come after me. And oh, my gosh… I begin to imagine what a celebration that will be.
Oh trust me…I’m not ready to give up the battle. Nope. I am all in. I’m ready for radiation and I am going to keep up my disciplines. I am believing in what the Lord is able to do…and I know that He is able to give me complete healing.
”This is what the Lord says to you: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” – 2 Chronicles 20:15