Yesterday was a hard day for me. It wasn’t anything in particular and there were some beautiful parts about the day…but all day long I felt like crying for no particular reason.
I think it was a combination of things…I was tired from being up late the night before and I’m getting more tired from radiation. I have learned that when I’m tired I shouldn’t pay much attention to myself or any of my emotions.
I was struggling with bad reports from a friend who was just diagnosed with mestatic cancer in her spine, a friend’s sister who is settling into hospice after a long run of breast cancer, and another friend of ours who has twin daughters who both have breast cancer and now their younger sister is waiting on a biopsy for a suspicious lump.
It just breaks my heart.
I think it also has to do with seeing people I have not seen since my diagnosis and the pained look that shows up on their faces when they hear that I was diagnosed with Stage 3C cancer. I cannot explain it – but their tender concern reminds me that I should be concerned. And I don’t want to be concerned – I don’t want to do cancer – I don’t want to be a part of the cancer club.
To be honest, I feel perfectly pathetic to be talking about this for all the world to see, but it’s part of my journey and I think it’s important for me to record it.
I also did a really stupid thing. My radiation oncologist – Dr. Doogie – had told me that he expects that I will be cured. So I took it further, like I always do, just to make sure he’s not trying to keep my spirits high for no good reason, and this week I asked him, “So, do you see many women with Stage 3C breast cancer where the cancer never comes back again?”
And Doogie said to me, “Sometimes…but not as often as those with Stage 1 or 2.”
This is a fact. There’s just no getting around it – Stage 3C is a bad report. The question is whether or not I will fall into the category of – sometimes.
Soooo…I went to the Bible to find a Word from the Lord to get my head in a better place. I went to a story found in Numbers 13 & 14 to study up on how I could better deal with a bad report.
In the story, Moses and the Israelites were about to take over the land that God had promised them. Moses decided to send 12 spies ahead to see what they were up against so that they could develop battle strategies to defeat them.
For 40 days the spies assessed the situation and when they returned there were conflicting reports.
10 of the spies reported that their enemies were giants and their kingdoms were well fortified. They advised that the Israelites should not go up against them because it would end in defeat.
But two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, saw otherwise. They agreed that the odds were stacked against them, but their eyes were not on the “facts”. Their eyes were on God. God had promised them victory and rather than look at the “facts” of the situation, they looked to God’s promises.
As the story rolls out, we learn that God had planned to hand the enemies over to the Israelites. But the Israelites listened to the bad report and gave up hope. They missed their moment and ended up wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.
OK…this is good stuff.
The lesson I see here is to refuse to look at the bad report and instead look to God and His promises. Do I trust the bad report? Or do I trust God’s plan for my life? He has not promised me that I will remain cancer free, but He has promised me that He has a plan for my life and that it is good.
It all comes down to this – do I trust God’s plan no matter what that looks like?
My daughter said to me, “Mom, I believe Doogie believes you will be cured. I believe he thinks you will fall into the very few people with Stage 3C that never have to deal with it again.”
Have I mentioned to you how much I adore that daughter of mine?
I believe that Doogie believes I will be cancer free. I believe that my friend’s daughters will have a trifecta triumphant story that will be told many decades from now, I believe that God can stretch the days of my friend who has cancer in her spine, and I believe that when God calls us home He provides a gentle exit from this world. I believe that He lovingly upholds the survivors as they fulfill their call and they live out their stories until they meet in heaven with those who passed before them.
I know that I cannot see or touch God. But I know that He is a fact. He has been moving in my life and caring for me for 61 years …especially on my hard days.
Yesterday I was sad.
This morning Maggie “happened” to send me a blog, Making Moments Matter , (click on the link – it’s soo good) and it reminded me that our lives are a mist. Yep! A mist. It reminded me of the importance of making every moment matter in my little mist of life. Every year, every month, every week, every day, every minute, every second, and every millisecond I need to be intentional about living in my moments instead of looking at a bad report.
If I take my eyes off the bad report and look to God and His promises, and enjoy all the good things and good moments in front of me…I don’t feel like crying anymore.
Next on the agenda, I met Terri at Bellacour in Wayzata, MN. We have kept a regular meeting ever since I was diagnosed. We ordered our usual coffee and quiche Lorraine and could hardly pull ourselves away after 3 hours. Moments with Terri make me feel like I am away on vacation. I’m not kidding. It’s like sitting on an outdoor patio in California, only we were sitting inside on a winter day in Minnesota. It was a perfect moment and it made my bad report fade from my mind.
After rads, my sweet husband took me to dinner knowing I had been struggling with my bad report. We enjoyed the happy hour specials and talked about everything under the sun. My bad report was not even a thought as I enjoyed the moment with that man of mine.
And then I got the sweetest note from my highschool friend, Laurie. It reminded me of all the fun highschool moments where we dreamed of what our lives would look like when we grew up someday. It touched my heart…and the bad report was permanently erased from my mind.
And then just now…you’re going to love this. Our friend who has the twin daughters with breast cancer and were waiting on the biopsy for their third daughter ???? The biopsy was BENIGN. God gave them a YES. God said – enough cancer.
And suddenly the world seems right again.
I don’t have the promise that I will live for 20 more years…but I have the promise that God will see me through. I don’t have to live in the land of worry. I refuse to believe in the bad report. I think I am done being a whiny-faced baby.
Yep, I’m done with that.