Thursday, May 12, 2016

Be My Shepherd and Carry Me Forever: An Antidote to Depression

I walked three times yesterday, for a total of ten miles. I could get used to recuperating. Resting, and walking with little other obligations is a pleasant life, except for that bit about the mastectomy to bring it all about. I don't recommend sacrificing a breast for the privilege, but I enjoyed the restful convalescence.

Just one quick visit to my GP doctor yesterday to check the status of the remaining blood clot. My doctor thinks we can just "wait and see" now since the pain is nearly gone, and neither of us can feel anything in my calf.  Otherwise, I spent the day resting, and walking. Walking is critical both to help dissolve the blood clot, and to promote healing of the mastectomy and regaining strength.

The last time I was at my GP doctor's office was two days after the mastectomy, in terrible pain from the unknown blood clots. My blood pressure and pulse were sky-high, and I think I looked pretty terrible. I sure felt terrible. This time, eleven days from surgery, I bounded into the exam room, newly showered, in a cute skirt, and feeling downright perky.

"Oh my!" said the very sweet nurse, "You look great!"
"I feel great," I told her.
"Last time, I felt so bad for you. I thought about you all day...just having had surgery, and then those blood clots...I thought, 'This is real...' "
I was so touched that she had felt sad for me, thought about me, and been sorrowful about the burden I had to bear. The doctor was similarly kind. She told me she wanted me back for the follow-up visit, "to lay eyes on you, and be sure you were okay." She hugged me when I left.

There are people who don't trust the medical profession, who feel they are just in it for the money. This has not been my experience. Maybe I am just blessed with stupendous doctors, but they have all been beyond kind to me. Even the Hospital business office man I spoke with yesterday told me the story of his own mom who had breast cancer, and he encouraged me with how well his mom was still doing 36 years later.

My pastel artwork at the top of this blog is called: Be My Shepherd, and Carry Me Forever. I titled it from a verse from the Bible. It is what Jesus promises His children. He will guide, protect, and care for us for all eternity. While we are here on earth, He calls each of us to be more like Him. That must entail whenever possible that we carry one another's burdens as best we can.  Through my cancer ordeal, many have helped me carry the burden. I have never felt alone, not only because God is with me, but His people are too.

It makes me want to reach out all the more to those who have no one else. So many people feel all alone, and that should never happen. Jesus would never want us to let a fellow human being suffer without the comfort of others. Isaiah 58:10 says: If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.

When we pour ourselves out for others, our own light is brighter. Look at how the verse closes -- when we help others our "gloom is like noonday". Noonday is the brightest time of the day! This is the antidote to depression -- find someone to help. Feed the hungry. Ease the pain of the afflicted. Your gloom will vanish, obliterated by the blazing light of God.

To all those who have been lights in my darkness, I am grateful. May I go forth and do the same.

Today, I go to the plastic surgeon and get my drainage tube removed! This is a huge step forward into normal-ville. I am just sad my sister Amy couldn't stay here long enough to share that moment with me. She was the only one that dared look at the drainage tube for the first three days after surgery. She earned some massive jewels in her crown.

James 2:14-18 

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.

And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”

But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.


  1. You are the only person I know who would describe a ten-mile walk as "restful."

    1. well, it was ten miles over three walks that day