Friday, April 15, 2016

Shall I be a Tree...or Eternally Alive with God? A Cancer Journey....

Before my last appointment with the oncology team (until surgery), I went on a walk on the beautiful Sugar Creek Greenway. I passed this plaque by a small tree. I love what it says: Now I'll be a tree.

This person understood that as his body decays, it would return to the dust from which it was created. His molecules would nourish the tree planted nearby and in a sense, he truly would become a tree.

But, I wonder, what happened to his soul? That matters to me, because it matters to God. I hope someone told him in time that being a part of a tree was lovely, but eternal life with Jesus was lovelier.

With these thoughts, I went on to see my plastic surgeon, and my 'nurse navigator'. I have been there so often over the past two months that when I stepped into the elevator,  the receptionist at the biopsy center recognized me and called me by name. Just like Cheers, where "everybody knows your name."

So, I learned some important things. First, my surgery is scheduled. April 29th at 10 a.m. I will have a single mastectomy. If all goes perfectly, the plastic surgeon will be able to put in the "expander" then and there, and actually fill it half way. That would mean I would wake up from surgery with a somewhat normal looking breast, instead of Flat Stanley. Here is another hopeful thing to pray for. They might be able to preserve the  nipple. (I told my friend I was texting at the time, "That's so civilized!")

The plastic surgeon said if the oncology surgeon agreed that the tumors were not too close to the nipple, then it could be preserved. I won't know if it was till I wake up from surgery. However, he warned me that sometimes, depending on how the skin shifts as the expander does its magic, the nipple may not end up exactly where I want it.

"What do you mean?" I asked, "Could it end up in my armpit...or on the tip of my nose?"
He laughed and told me probably not that extreme.

Next important object of prayer: chemo is not a definitive definite. If the lymph nodes are clear, and if the cancer tumors are not large, I may yet escape chemo, and even radiation. Oh how desperately I would love for that scenario to be reality. Please pray, all ye saints.

All in all, I am happy. A friend popped over with this:

It's a little Noah's ark. She had had it for months, thinking God wanted her to give it to someone. When she read my blog a few days ago which mentioned Noah's ark, she thought God wanted her to give it to me. I am sooooooo blessed by the most thoughtful, kind, generous friends on Earth.

Get this. As she stopped by and was talking to me, she started crying. I had to comfort her.
"Really," I told her, "I am ok. God is right here with me."

I love you all. I cannot thank you all enough for the prayers, the gifts, the emails, the cards, the food, the offers of help. I am overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by love. God is here. Right here. In all of you. I am blessed.

One thing for sure I have learned on this cancer journey. When someone is suffering, offer whatever it is that God prompts me to offer. It will be magnified and God will be glorified.

Romans 12:15 

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself,

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. ...

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