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
Jackie, what a gift every word that you write is! We will be at “the Mayo” on Friday for Steph’s start of chemo. I’ll message my cell to Eric. Have him text me. Love Jon and the girls
Love you Jackie. Thank you for the blessing of your vulnerability and wisdom. God is with you.
What a beautiful testimony, Jackie. Thank you for battling for God’s glory and always pointing to Him! You’re an inspiration! I will be praying!
Thank you for your prayers – I always know I can count on the PLC prayer warriors. I will never forget when I went on a PLC woman’s retreat with Tay and at the end of a lovely weekend Tay told me we were going to finish the weekend with a 2 1/2 hour prayer time. I said, “Don’t you think that’s a little long?” And I am telling you – it was a dark lit room with candles, music, journals, and prayer stations. It was one of the most extraordinary things I ever did. 2 1/2 hours seemed like 20 minutes. I found myself completely lost in the spirit and could have prayed all night…
I look forward to reading your blog every time there is an entry because I’m always inspired to learn and be inspired. It never ceases to amaze me how I can relate personally to each one. Cancer rocked my world also. All the feelings you shared have hit me also. I went into the diagnosis terrified, then denied it, then faced it, and became determined to change my habits. Some days are better than others. Some days I want to just eat what the doctor DIDNT order. Other days I am determined to be the healthiest I can be. Unfortunately it’s harder than one thinks. My lungs don’t work like they used to. My arms where they took the lymph nodes out are sore and numb. My friends say it’s only been 4 months. Yet I don’t want to feel like this anymore. I’m inpatient. I’m still trying to drive the bus. I keep forgetting that God is the driver. It’s all in his hands and it’s hard. I love how you embrace your faith and are secure in your future no matter the outcome because you are so sure of eternal life. I needed that today. What a reminder it is. Thank you my childhood friend.
Who would have thought that Cancer hit us Birchcrest Drive girls who skipped to the bus stop, played hopscotch and “school” and pretty much breezed through life until now. Hang in there girl. You have so many people who are blessed to have you in their lives. I’ll be thinking of you as your radiation journey begins.
Liz / Betsy
Oh, how I love that you signed that – Betsy! You will always be Betsy to me 🙂 So interesting how my words encourage you as yours also encourage me. It lifts me up somehow knowing other people are hanging in their battle and battling through and battling to be their best. I am sorry you deal with some side effectts and I will pray against that. I know you were an avid runner and exercise enthusiast so I am sure it can be discouraging at times. I would love to meet sometime and hear more about your story. I will PM my phone to you on FB. You will remain in my prayers…
Thank you! Looking forward to it❤️
Beautifully written Jackie and so inspirational for us all! Thank you, and you certainly have my prayers! Love, Dori ( amazing picture. Why don’t we live there?!)
I know why we don’t live there – the prices are so high we can’t afford a garage – ha! Eric and I have a dream to go there for one week every four months. Sounds like a plan to me…!
Beautifully written, Jackie. Keeping you in my prayers. And thinking of you every morning as I drink my own green smoothie! You go girl!!
Thanks for teaching me how to post Instagram – now I have to just connect with some people!!! Hehehe!
Another beautifully written journal entry. You are such an inspiration with your strength and faith to fight this battle. I think of you often and will pray for on this next phase of your cancer journey.
D’Arcy – thank you! I have seen some of your FBook posts and it looks like you had a major move and life change! GOOD FOR YOU! I love seeing all the good times you share with your grandkids. We had a few sleep over last night and nothing makes me happier than sleeping with those little ones down the hall from us…Thank you for supporting me with prayer – I rely on it!
This battle is between you and The Lord. Our faith runs deep in these moments. I pray you get through each day with understanding and peace in your heart, Through Him you will find strength. Rest in Him sweet sister. My prayers for the doctors to remove all this disease from your body and be there every step of the way to ease your fears. May God be the glory. 🌺Sweet sister best wishes tomorrow. You are a strong warrior and faithful servant. Much love and prayers sent to you 🌸 Love you
Lisa, thank you for your beautiful words of prayer. “Our faith runs deep in these moments…”. How true it is. I love that.
You are in my prayers Jackie!
Dear Cousin, you are amazing! Your insightful updates are so appreciated. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. Love you! — Deb
I love it when you refer to me as “cousin” – Betsy did the same thing in an email today and it speaks volumes… I love you, dear cousin of mine….
Okay, so you posted your first Instagram and I’m posting my first comment on your blog. 😊
Jackie, never forget that we are in the midst of the battle with you – EVERY SINGLE DAY. Let’s put our armor on together! Love you sweet sister! ❌⭕️🙏🏻 Maggie
Sending healing thoughts your way Jackie. ((♥️))
Your beautiful prose and devotion is always inspiring. Everyone is afraid/nervous before battle but your devotion and knowledge shows me that you are armed w the sword and shield for battle – the victors and heroes that emerge allow the spirit to control. You will be the victor. Prayers as always and Hi to Amos.
Shows, I love reading your comments. You write like a real writer and it is kind of embarrassing that you read my “conversational” and casual style of blog. But thank you as always, your support means the world.
Beautiful words of vulnerability and strength.
You are in my prayers and heart daily!