At church our pastor has been going through a series on identity for the past many weeks. This last Sunday he talked about identity as "I am what I've been through." About perfect for my situation right now. I've been thinking lately that even though cancer is forefront in my life right now, I don't want it to be after I am done with my treatments and surgery. I want it to be an afterthought. A very small part of who I am. Yes, I will talk about it if people ask and provide support to others who are going through similar situations. But don't expect me to become a cancer crusader right away. I'm kind of tired of cancer.
The big idea from the sermon was "In Christ my suffering is redeemed and purposeful, therefore my suffering can make me better and not bitter!" That is the stance I have tried to take from the beginning of this experience. Of course I have had bitter days, but for the most part I have really tried to find the positive in this experience. What is God trying to teach me? What does he want me to do with this? A quote was provided for us that I really liked: "Because afflictions cost us so much they are too precious to waste." I cannot waste this journey. I must make something of it. My cancer, my very small story, does have a piece in God's big story. The conclusion to the sermon brought it all together: "What can I do now for God's glory because of my suffering that I was unable to do before my suffering?" I think a big part of the answer is this blog. I have people who are reading my words and hopefully thinking about what I have to say. I would like to think that I am making a small difference in some people's lives. I would be ecstatic if this blog leads a person to Christ. That would be the best thing ever. But if not that, I would hope that young women are taking charge of their health. Doing breast exams and making sure they stay healthy. A small difference through this blog would be awesome.
I have a lot of people comment on my attitude and how good I look. Well, I think I look pretty good because of my attitude. This cancer, this suffering, can be a positive thing in my life. Sometimes I don't see it that way, trust me. Some days have been really bad. But I will never be one of those people who says "F cancer." I'm not angry that I have cancer. This experience is purposeful for me and so many blessings have come from it. The year 2015 has been an odd one for me and Troy. He's had two surgeries - a foot surgery and an appendectomy. And now we're going through this. Some people wonder why my family has had to go through so many health issues and the accompanying struggles. Without these struggles I wouldn't have been able to see just how amazingly generous people can be. I wouldn't be uplifted by the prayers of so many people who I know and don't know. I wouldn't have connected with friends from the past. I wouldn't have grown closer to the ladies in my church group. I have had cards and little gifts from people I barely know and it is so humbling. I wouldn't have met so many new, wonderful people. I never would have known just how great the chemo nurses at Stoddard are. And I wouldn't have had the opportunity to write about all of it.
Today I had my fifth Taxol treatment and yet another allergic reaction. This time they hooked me to oxygen and stuck a pulse oxometer on me. My body doesn't like Taxol. My body is smart. I feel fine now and we'll keep moving along for the next seven treatments. Below is a picture of me with my chemo gear. I was trying to look pathetic; don't worry, I felt fine.
On the way home from chemo the radio played a couple of songs that really spoke to me about this journey. The first one was "Bring the Rain" by Mercy Me. I've always loved this song and had always sung along but inside was saying "no rain, no rain, please no rain for me." But now that I'm in the rain I am so grateful.
The other song that I've heard, but never really listened to, was Mandisa's "Stronger". Yes. This.
This is making me stronger. And it is a good thing.