Life After My Breast Cancer Diagnosis

I recently wrote an article for LivingBetter50.com.  I thought I would share it here as well.  Please go to their magazine by following the link below and leave your comments there this time instead of here.  If you don’t already subscribe to this magazine, you should.  It is a wonderful read for those of us over 50 and even for those who aren’t!  I hope you’ll also share this link with those you know need some encouragement through their cancer journey.  Have a blessed week and don’t forget to get out there and be a blessing!

Life After My Breast Cancer Diagnosis

 

It’s My One Year Cancer Free Anniversary!

cancer free 1
Thanks to my cousin and fellow survivor, Jeanne, for the shirt!

Anniversaries are good.  They cause us to reflect.  In my case, it overwhelms me a bit to go back and think about where I have been.  It also strengthens me to think about where I have been, knowing that I have made it another year.  I am what they call a survivor!

I was reading what I wrote over a year ago when I sat down to write my blog tonight.  It reminded me how I was struggling with anger knowing that I had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  As I was whining one day about my circumstances, a man who works at my publishing company called.  He was asking me about my upcoming speaking and writing schedule, when I told him I just didn’t know what tomorrow held.  The things I have on the calendar today may all look differently after I figure out what this disease is going to do to me.  He told me, “I think I should tell you, I am cancer free for 10 years this month!” Then he went on to say, “I was angry for about fifteen minutes and then I decided to fight, never looking back.”  What great wisdom there was in his words.  They were exactly the words I needed to hear.  I believe God sent him to me that day.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

I was also able to see my fears in my writings. As I was waiting for my diagnosis, I penned these words… So tonight in the darkness I fight the enemy.  I say, “Get you behind me Satan!”  I am a child of the King…a princess in His eyes and He will take care of me in the days ahead.  I do not need to fear or panic about what tomorrow might bring.  For when the sun arises, once again I get another day.  That was on a good day.  When I couldn’t be strong, He always seemed to intervene through my circumstances or through others.  I thank God for His strength when I was weak.

Psalm 94:18-19 (NIV)  When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

I am thankful that the worst appears to be over.  It’s been a hard year and has cramped my style in a lot of ways.  However, it’s moments like the phone call I received from my publisher that I knew God was there.  In fact, He had appointed an army of warriors to pray for me, call me, encourage me, send me cards and notes, and offer their help in many ways.  There were several times that He made Himself evident in my situation and comforted me through others.  It is a wonderful thing to serve a God that meets us where we are.  I will be forever grateful for those who joined the fight with me by answering His call.

Many of you that I don’t even know in person, left encouraging comments, sent private messages and even sent cards.  Even though I was stubborn and didn’t allow friends to go to my appointments and tests with me, they offered.  For that, I am also thankful.  I appreciated those who sent texts and scriptures at just the right time, made phone calls, or invited me out to lunch to get my mind off of my circumstances.  You are angels in disguise.

My last day of radiation with two of the best radiation therapists around!  Bless you Holly and Jenny!
My last day of radiation with two of the best radiation therapists around! Bless you Holly and Jenny!

For those caretakers who took the time to ease my fears and give me a hug when I needed one…you were a true blessing from God.  And, Jim.  You stood by me and put up with me through it all.  What a wonderful man God gave me in him.  I love you, sweetheart!

To my friends who are currently in the battle of disease, my prayers are with you. I am humbled by how gracefully some of you are going through it. For you…I offer my testimony that even when life gets very difficult and you think the struggle will never end…God is Good.  Cling to Him.  Call out to Him.  Let Him show you His stuff.

You don’t have to do it alone. 

He is faithful.

I love this video as it shows people helping other people through the battle.  Perhaps you know someone that has been recently diagnosed or is going through treatments.  Pray and ask God how you might be able to join them in His army to encourage and assist them in battle!  Click here and be inspired!

What Is Bugging You This Week?

015As I age, I have grown to appreciate bugs.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t like them in my house.  However, they fascinate me when they’re outside.  Did you ever stop to think about how they feel being called a bug?  Did you ever look into their eyes and wonder what they’re thinking?  OK, I’m being silly.  Seriously, have you ever taken the time to look at the wonderful design of each one?

Since I love to take pictures, my photography has really given me a chance to examine bugs  up close and personal.  As I look at these, often times beautiful creatures, I am in awe of God who designed each one.  This week as I was reflecting on my latest bug picture—a dragonfly in my backyard—I knew God had a lesson in it for us this week.

As most of you know, I’m still recovering from my treatments for breast cancer.  I have been discouraged because I am still having low energy and other problems that bug me.  However, I know it is a process, so I am taking time to allow myself to heal.  As I was thinking about bugs this week, it dawned on me.  God has taken care to create some beautiful bugs on the earth.  We take them for granted and often look for ways to get them out of our lives.  They bug us and we simply want them gone.

bug

Just as bugs torment us, so do certain situations in our lives.  We often just want to stop the pain and suffering and get on with the things in life we enjoy.  We don’t want to be bugged by inconveniences of illness, job loss, financial difficulties, divorce, etc.   We simply want to rid ourselves of the problem.  However, could it be that these bugs have been perfectly designed just for us?

If we take the time and lean into God during tough times, there, we find the beauty in the situation.  We begin to see our trials from His viewpoint.  He knows exactly what it’s going to take for us to grow into the person He has created us to be.  Just as He has concerned Himself with every little detail of a bug’s design, He concerns Himself with every little detail of our lives as well.

001So this week, if you’re feeling bugged by life’s trials, relax.  Know that God knows every detail about your situation.  He doesn’t allow us to go through hard times because he wants to bug us.  Rather, He is interested in teaching us to find the beauty in the design.

Matthew 6:25-34   “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.