Monday, May 2, 2016

God Isn't Through Building my Character: A Cancer Adventure

This is my view while convalescing from the mastectomy. But since just getting a breast whacked off is not character building enough....I developed a very strange, excruciating pain in my calf muscle. The surgeon doesn't think it is a blood clot, since I was up and walking soon after surgery... but I can't imagine what it is. After sitting down for a while, when I stand up it really hurts. I can't move. Then I sit, try again, and am able to walk.

Bizarre. It feels like my achilles tendon is ripping from my calf when I first stand. Waves of pain. Sit, breath. Walk again and little to no pain. Lovely. 

The rest of the mastectomy recovery is not bad at all. The drainage tube is not fun, but there are worse things. Like not being able to walk....

So yesterday (and likely today) I  sat reclined, with my computer nearby, and read my Bible, Facebook, gmail, and napped. It is amazing how much surgery wipes you out.  I would be one sorry mess if my hubby and Amy weren't here helping out.

For example, the sink clogged in the kitchen yesterday. I could not have fixed it to save my life. Had I been alone, the gunk-stuffed waters would have overflowed and I would have been powerless to stop them. I would have raised the white flag with the one arm still able to move above shoulder level, and said, "I surrender! Take me now Lord Jesus, before I drown in the putrid  flood." And then I would pray.

Perhaps that is God's lesson for this season in my life. I may be able to do very little right now, but I can pray.  Now I see why my sisters laughed at me when I said Amy should bring her bathing suit in case we could kayak sometime this post-surgical week. No way will I be kayaking anytime soon. I can barely get off the couch.

But I can pray. There are many times when the waters of sorrow threaten to overflow us. The Bible is filled with verses of God's people calling out in despair as the flood of trials engulf us. Psalm 69:2 says: I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.

In that sorrowful Psalm, the writer can hardly bear another moment. What makes it even sadder is he says he is looking everywhere for God in the midst of this struggle, and his eyes fail. He cannot see God, and he cannot bear life. Hopeless!

Then, in verse 30, there is a shift. As far as we know from the Psalm, nothing changed in the writer's situation. However, his attitude changed. Verse 30 says: I will praise God’s name in song
    and glorify him with thanksgiving.

The psalm closes out with the writer praising and glorifying God, and claiming the victory he knows will emerge in the end. When all is helpless, and trials flow over us like an uncontrollable flood, praise God. Totally non-intuitive...

This morning, the pain in my calf was greatly reduced. I even took a shower, washed and dried my hair, and put on a nice outfit. I studiously avoided looking in the mirror. I cannot yet gaze fully on the poor wrecked breast, though the docs and nurses all claim it is "beautiful." Still, with small glances, I am growing used to it. Praise God for the small daily blessings.

Psalm 69
Save me, O God,
    for the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in the miry depths,
    where there is no foothold.
I have come into the deep waters;
    the floods engulf me.
I am worn out calling for help;
    my throat is parched.
My eyes fail,
    looking for my God.
Those who hate me without reason
    outnumber the hairs of my head;
many are my enemies without cause,
    those who seek to destroy me.
I am forced to restore
    what I did not steal.
You, God, know my folly;
    my guilt is not hidden from you.
Lord, the Lord Almighty,
    may those who hope in you
    not be disgraced because of me;
God of Israel,
    may those who seek you
    not be put to shame because of me.
For I endure scorn for your sake,
    and shame covers my face.
I am a foreigner to my own family,
    a stranger to my own mother’s children;
for zeal for your house consumes me,
    and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.
10 When I weep and fast,
    I must endure scorn;
11 when I put on sackcloth,
    people make sport of me.
12 Those who sit at the gate mock me,
    and I am the song of the drunkards.
13 But I pray to you, Lord,
    in the time of your favor;
in your great love, O God,
    answer me with your sure salvation.
14 Rescue me from the mire,
    do not let me sink;
deliver me from those who hate me,
    from the deep waters.
15 Do not let the floodwaters engulf me
    or the depths swallow me up
    or the pit close its mouth over me.
16 Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of your love;
    in your great mercy turn to me.
17 Do not hide your face from your servant;
    answer me quickly, for I am in trouble.
18 Come near and rescue me;
    deliver me because of my foes.
19 You know how I am scorned, disgraced and shamed;
    all my enemies are before you.
20 Scorn has broken my heart
    and has left me helpless;
I looked for sympathy, but there was none,
    for comforters, but I found none.
21 They put gall in my food
    and gave me vinegar for my thirst.
22 May the table set before them become a snare;
    may it become retribution and[b] a trap.
23 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
    and their backs be bent forever.
24 Pour out your wrath on them;
    let your fierce anger overtake them.
25 May their place be deserted;
    let there be no one to dwell in their tents.
26 For they persecute those you wound
    and talk about the pain of those you hurt.
27 Charge them with crime upon crime;
    do not let them share in your salvation.
28 May they be blotted out of the book of life
    and not be listed with the righteous.
29 But as for me, afflicted and in pain—
    may your salvation, God, protect me.
30 I will praise God’s name in song
    and glorify him with thanksgiving.
31 This will please the Lord more than an ox,
    more than a bull with its horns and hooves.
32 The poor will see and be glad—
    you who seek God, may your hearts live!
33 The Lord hears the needy
    and does not despise his captive people.
34 Let heaven and earth praise him,
    the seas and all that move in them,
35 for God will save Zion
    and rebuild the cities of Judah.
Then people will settle there and possess it;
36     the children of his servants will inherit it,
    and those who love his name will dwell there.


  1. I know you will be fine. However, please take pain seriously. I did not and I did have a pulmonary embolism just 6 days after surgery. Out of nowhere with very tiny twinge of pain in my calf till it hit my lung. But I didn't recognize it as such, I thought it was a back spasm. By the time it was diagnosed 2 days later there was no pain (thanks to percocet) but I ended up in the hospital anyway getting heparin shots. 2 years ago I got a pain in my foot and only went to dr just to get something for the pain. By the end of the day I was having a doppler on my leg and again the blood clots in my leg! Geeze. And that time I only sat in the car for 14 hrs twice (sarcasm here) cause I didn't need to get out. Now on coumadin for the rest of my life. It taught me to report all pain and be suspicious. You'll get used to your new breast. It'll be fine, after all how often do you look at them anyway? LOL

  2. Love and prayers for each moment of this recovery process! Wonderful post, Vicky!