Thursday, July 7, 2016

5 Year Benchmark

I can remember the day like it was yesterday.  I knew the words before the doc even said them.  I knew in my heart what I needed to do.  I knew in my soul that God was with me from the start and even before the diagnosis.  Breast cancer it was and never will be again.  To wade through the past five years has been good and a positive thing to do.  My mere description of all the things that happened to me, for me and through me with others and God is not sufficient.  I have written them out in full on my blog and only captured some quotes here on this post.  

"And even though it is gone forever from my body the weight of  cancer lingers heavy in my mind trying to work its way into my soul any chance it has, trying not to let it creep in."

Many of the things people, doctors and friends would share with me were all true and helpful.  Processing and filtering through all of it, judging what would work best for me and what to consider, was a daily challenge.  So I am here.  Five years after discovery.  Living my new normal. Choosing more and opting in for much more of what this life is offering.  I did things in the past five years I have wanted to do, but was afraid or never took the time to do.  I did things that were bold, stupid, scary, uncomfortable, courageous, justified, and lots of fun.  Why, you ask, does it take a life changing experience for us to wake up and decide to do things differently, think differently and live a different life?  I don't know why.  I do know I see things differently. I know I hear things clearer.  I know I understand more deeply.  I know I trust more freely.   Many times I tell people cancer saved my life.    It saved me from my other life before cancer.

The life in me I ignored.

The experience of cancer can only change people one way or the other.  People said to me over and over, "well you have a great attitude about it, not sure I would be the same".  My response to them would be, "Having a bad attitude accomplishes nothing for self or God, and who wants to be around someone with a bad attitude?"  I could not bare the thought of being alone or without my support people.  Having those people in your life during a time like this in your life is vital for recovery.  I am grateful for those that came along side and walked with me.

If you go back through to July 2011 in my archives you can read in full some of my blog posts, videos etc that I posted all during treatments and those early days where writing about it seemed to help even if nobody read the words, getting them out felt better.

Here are some excerpts from my favorites........

July 2011
 "That is just how I have felt for the past two weeks.  FROZEN.  Not knowing many things about my prognosis, treatment and outcome of my diagnosis just seems to freeze my steps. "

"For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb.  I will praise You , for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works,  And that my soul knows very well.Ps 139: 13-14  
I feel His covering, His weaving the lining and fabric to this story, this journey, this incredible opportunity to praise Him and see His glorious works manifesting all around me.  Who wouldn't want that, I mean really?  More Lord, I desire more of You every day as prayer shawl wraps itself around every prayer spoken and knitted into each thread. "

"Whenever anyone gets the news of cancer their world seems to STOP.  That was my world two weeks ago today. Breast cancer. STOP. Surgery. STOP. Mastectomy. STOP. Chemo. STOP. Radiation. STOP.  Suddenly I was forced to STOP.  Taking the news pretty well, trying to be brave and strong knowing what I had to do, I pressed on into the dark unknown, trusting God, seeing God all around as decisions had to be made, but still feeling out of control on the inside.  Stinking thinking thoughts came into my head like, what if I die, o gosh people will come to my house and its not clean, maybe people will read my journals, I want to be a grandmother, I don't have time for this, I have a wedding to plan, is this really me they are talking about, this is gonna hurt, how will I keep up with my old life, I am racked with fear, and I feel so out of control.  Round and round and round it went in my head like a bad record that has a scratch and it kept skipping and skipping. Til finally I was able to let it go. "

August 2011

"So began the process.  How do I marry this feeling of wanting to do what I can to help my body with what I knew I had to do...... chemo.  I was still trying to make it about me and not giving all of it to God.  It felt like I had jumped into a fast moving stream and there was nothing to grab onto.  It was a scary.  I decided to walk with God through all the doors He opened....."

September 2011
"Well in a way my life will never be the same again and it is sort of the end of an era as I have known it, but it is all for the better.  Being diagnosed with breast cancer sort of stops most things in their tracks, but it has not stopped life from moving down the tracks. "

"From the beginning of this entire adventure as you may have read, God has been faithful with me even when I have been afraid, even when I wanted to bolt, even when I have said no, even when I did not lean on Him.  He waited so patiently for me, teaching me through circumstances, crossing people in my path to reassure me, and just was for me not against me.  It was I who was going against the grain until I realized He is always right.  What was I thinking?  It was a host of other obstacles trying to think for me t keeping me out of His peace and in fear.  Don't get me wrong I am stilling bouncing around figuring it out as I go, but I know I am not alone.  James 4: 6-8 "But He gives more grace.  Therefore He says; "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble"  Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."

October 2011
A video I posted of a synopsis of a 31 Day Walk to Wellness Challenge.  I was able to post 27 posts out of the 31 days......lots of good info there.  Look at archive Oct. 2011. 


November 2011
" I had chemo today, drove myself there, came home, had a bowl of muesli and hemp milk and a cup of green tea and cried.  Not because of the alone part but because of all God is revealing to me through all of this.  I am looking out my window and see a Wisteria tree that has grown big and strong but not strong enough to do without the tall oaks that stand beside it, that carry it, that hold up its branches that spritz us with perfume in early spring.  Today was the last treatment of this sort, the worst of the worst and I cried.  I cried when they plugged me in, I cried when I left and I am crying now.   I feel like the vine and God is carrying me through all of this and His presence sometimes is so overwhelming the only place for it to come out is my eyes. "

"It never fails when I am needing Him the most He provides a call, a text, a letter, a hug, a meal, a ray, a sprinkle, a pressing in from all sides carrying my branches like the strong oaks. A hand up not a hand out. "

December 2011
"When you think you are in charge.....thank God and think again!"

January 2012
"Thank you God for lingering still in my hearts desires."

February 2012
"Love love love. It is everywhere. It is in each one of us. We are meant to meet and greet and love one another networking through our stories every day. "

"Why is it we get these opportunities to explore what God had intended for us all along? 
 To understand the meaningness of connection and how that all works to glroify Him."

"Why do I go into the worthless feelings instead of worthy prayer when I get like that? Pitiful if you ask me, but hoping the lesson sticks this time. Even in my prideful anguish my God does not hesitate or resist an opportunity to help me see how He is waiting for me to cry out to Him"

"Another lesson in waiting.  I am finding that waiting is closely linked to control.  When you are really at the mercy of God, the doctors, the chemo, the process, and your body my willingness to yield is challenged.  I still have that little mole try and rear its head trying to convince me that I need to be in control.  A very humbling experience and one that I obviously need to learn again and again.  I want that submission to Him to be automatic, always.
His Word never fails me, always corrects me and gives me peace.
Psalm 27:14  "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
The Word describes it as a gift.  We are waiting for a gift.  The Gift."

"Living intentionally for God everyday is where I have to go each day. "

"Chemo and fear dance closely next to one another. I am learning and insisting I learn the difference so that God can have His way in me."

"Everything He has done for me has only been for me to draw nearer to Him.  Our lives are so filled the fullness almost makes us too blind to see.  Open your eyes to the wonders of God and all His Creativity."

"I got through it and it was the worst of the worst as far as meds I thought, "wow I really can do this". 

 "I don't believe this is the end for me and that God wants to use me still for His purpose beyond even what I can see now. "

March 2012
"He is putting love, His Love first in the forefront of my mind.  Right in front of my eyes.  Reassuring me He is with me every step of my walk, every step of my journey, every step of my story.  His glory story. "

May 2012 : Radiation
Here is another video of me and my rabbit fur hair.....

"Hallelujah! For the place where I am staying, like a palace, to the people I encounter at MD Anderson, to now the car I am driving, God is good all the time. Such a spoiled brat thing......I have been spoiled all my life not only by my family, but by God. How thankful I am that my eyes can be opened, the scales lifted and the veil torn just for me. Opening not only my eyes but also my heart to more and more of what He desires for me. What a blessing to be loved, saved and spoiled by God. "

June 2012: Ringing the Bell

Ringing the Bell

"This bell song is for all of you who supported me, kept my circle from being unbroken, girded me up for a battle accomplished and fought.  Thank you for all the cards, comments, text messages, letters, gifts, facebook messages, Tweets and love you showered me with this past year.  I AM DONE!  Just a few more follow up things to tie up this entire does take a village.  I have had to enlarge my tent from the generosity shown to me, blessed forever by the kindest words and expressions I have ever encountered in my life.  This bell is for you.  I am ringing my bell for me yes......but for you too!"

August 2012: Rap Up

September 2012
I became a grandmother. 

I will end with this picture because it sort of sums up the epiphany of all that I went through, we all went through,  to be blessed with new life in our family on many levels.  Yes it's been five years since I started this new mantra, and I am so much happier because of it.  Thankful is not enough of a word to express how I feel for so many.  

Yesterday, at camp,  I heard a song by Jill Phillips and her husband Andy Gullahorn called The Otherside.  Here is the video of that song.

Thank you Jesus for 5 years past my ground zero!

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