3…2…1 Countdown to Chemo

When I was a little girl, I loved to countdown to the important days in my life: Birthdays, the last day of school before the start of summer vacation, and especially Christmas. My sister and I would begin wishing each other Merry Christmas Eve about a week before December 25. “Merry Christmas Eve’s, Eve’s, Eve’s, Eve’s, Eve’s, Eve’s, Eve!” It became kind of a game to see who would start it. We still do this even as adults.  🙂  Looking forward and counting down to big days is natural for me. Since first being diagnosed with breast cancer a month ago, I have known I will start chemotherapy at some point. Now with just 24 hours to go before my first infusion, I would like to stop the clock. Do I really have to do this? Isn’t this whole thing just a bad dream and can someone please wake me?

Yet even in this dark anticipation, I know God is with me, reminding me of His love and faithfulness. I went on a hike this past weekend with my kids. It was an incredible day, one I will never forget. God’s love was demonstrated in the beauty of His creation and in the faces of my children.

Mother and daughter rejoice!

I will remember this glorious day when I am sitting in the chemotherapy room on Wednesday. I will recall the smiles of my children and cool mist from the waterfall. I will focus on God’s love and mercy poured out to me everyday. Some days are delightful and some days are dark, but in every day, God is faithful.

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”   Psalm 90:12

Kate and Cullen at Lake Clementine Trail

 

I am so thankful for the many demonstrations of God’s love. I am blessed.

“For you make me glad by your deeds, O Lord; I sing for joy at the works of your hands.” Psalm 92:4

 

A beautiful day

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Thanksgiving

I had a port placement procedure yesterday and first I must say, “OUCH!!” But more importantly I must also say “thank you!” I have so much to be thankful for: My son who took the time to drive me to the appointment and help me get settled in at home afterwards, the doctors and nurses who carefully performed the procedure, anesthesia which enabled me to rest comfortably while the medical team did their job, the researchers who designed the port which will allow for easier chemo transfusions, the many cancer patients who came before me and took part in clinical trials, and just so much more.

All throughout the last month since I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I have thought about the people who share my diagnosis but not my many blessings. What do homeless people do when they get cancer? I am so incredibly blessed and thankful to have health insurance, to have a bathtub and clean water, a warm bed and pillow, food in my kitchen, family and friends praying for me, and above all else the hope of Christ in my soul.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.”1 Peter 1:3-4

Cancer is just one thing in my life, but I have so many other things to be thankful for.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs of the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”

Colossians 3:15-16

Glory days

Just yesterday I wrote about the frustration and pain of having to endure test after test that hurt my body and leave me bruised while I wait for the doctors to come up with a plan of attack. Yet, I am comforted by the knowledge of God’s presence with me and for me. I can rest assured that God knows what is happening with me. This morning brought new hope when I received word that all three of the additional biopsies I had on Wednesday came back clear!

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23

 

 

I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our GOD! Deuteronomy 32:3

Rough days

There are some days I wish I could just turn back the clock and avoid all together. Yesterday was one of those days. Being poked and prodded is getting really old, really fast. I know that the doctors need the information in order to treat and kill the cancer in my body, but do they have to keep sticking needles me all the time? Goodness, I am getting tired of that!

I am comforted by the knowledge that my God is aware and hasn’t lost me in all of this. He knows the pain I am going through; He loves me and cares for me.

Last weekend my dog Annie was frantically running around under the bushes in my back yard barking at something and when I checked it out, I discovered a baby bird had fallen from a nest. The poor thing was just a few days old and had a broken leg. I wrapped it in a paper towel and held it for a little while hoping to calm it. I knew it was not going to live very long. I cried when it breathed its last breath and thought of the scripture in Mathew 10. God knows every sparrow that falls. Of course He is aware of the pain that is all around me now too.  I can trust Him through this. He loves me.

Waiting…

         Two weeks now since the diagnosis and it seems all I do is hurry up and wait: More tests, more scans, more appointments, more doctors. I am ready to get this show on the road! Let’s start the treatment, get the surgery over with, and let me get back to my life! But even in my impatience I hear the voice of my Savior telling me to rest in Him. He has a plan. I am reminded of Jericho and God’s instructions to Joshua, “See I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” Joshua 6:2-5

But why, God? Why have the people march for six days before bringing the wall down on day seven? Couldn’t God have knocked it down with one breath even before the marching began? Of course He could have, but God always has a plan. I may not understand it; it may not make sense to me; it may seem counter-productive, but I know I can trust it. God always has a plan.  So I will rest and wait on Him.

Did God’s people need to see the strength of the wall around Jericho up-close and personal while they marched around and around for days in order to see and appreciate the miracle God was planning for them on day seven? God always has a plan. So I will wait…

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him, Psalm 37:7

The beginning…

10 days ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. While the news is still swirling in my head and so much is uncertain about my treatment, I choose to focus on the positive things in my life. I am a daughter of the Most High God and I know I am in the palm of His hand. I am surrounded by His love and beauty every day. I do not know what the days ahead will hold for me but I do know my future…I will see God’s goodness displayed through this trial. Romans 8:28 is just as true today as it was 11 days ago. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and called according to his purpose.”

My hope and prayer with this blog is to encourage others with God’s grace and mercy as we all face the trials and struggles that compete for our attention. I choose instead to dwell on the good. Philippians 4:8 has been my battle cry, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent and praiseworthy—think about such things.”

It is not my choice to have breast cancer, but I can choose to walk each day by the love and light of God’s grace and mercy. I can choose to focus on all that is good in my life, to look up instead of down, to smile instead of frown, to sing even through my tears, and to have hope, always have hope.

In His hand,

Erin

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