I love this quote as it really puts our lives into perspective. Many years ago my father-in-law went on a bus trip and decided to spend the first 15 minutes thanking the Lord for all the blessings in his life. He said at the end of the 15 minutes he had many more blessings to still recite. Upon hearing this, I decided to try this task as well and was not as successful. First of all, it was hard to keep my mind focused for 15 minutes straight and once I ran out of the “big” things like family, friends, health, etc. I had to stretch my mind. I am happy to say this comes much easier to me these days.
I read recently that we should be thankful by imagining we are guests on this earth. All that we have is not really ours but a gracious gift from God. We are privileged to enjoy these gifts of friends and family, home, health, food, recreation, etc. etc. I am thankful for these past few months to enjoy quiet time and stillness with the Lord. I noticed for the first time a tree in my front yard that keeps its red berries all winter long, the numerous birds that come to the bird feeder, and the softness of the socks given to me by a friend.
I have a friend who sees the beauty in so many things. She is a lover of nature, old things, and architecture. She assures me she will continue to point these beautiful things out to me until I can do it on my own. I will know the day I am independent once I see the beauty in the bug carcasses she had setting on her school desk! That might take some time!
Tonight Richard is driving me to Gilda’s Club for a support group. I have been unable to attend this specific group since October because of the weather. The first one was emotionally draining but I am much stronger mentally than I was back then. I pray that I am blessed by going but also that I may be a blessing to someone else.
I am getting stronger and louder! Last week I shoveled snow and was proud of my job even if my family did not recognize my efforts. I was winded doing it but had to admit this was probably my baseline pre-surgeries! My voice is also able to carry through the house now. RK consoled me after hearing me crying and carrying on about Richard turning off my heater and leaving the bathroom door open which lost all my acquired heat! So maybe my hormones might still be a little off, but I am getting there!
1 Thess 5:18 In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
I received awesome news today! Dr. Brader called with my PET scan results and there was no metastasis beyond the original lymph node that was removed. This is such amazing news because my chance of no metastasizing was very slim. The spot on the lung from the previous scan did not change and they believe it is due to an old granuloma or fungal infection but nothing to worry about. The area from the original surgery did light up but not as much as the last PET scan. Dr. Brader felt it was because the area is still healing and was recently biopsied. He felt it would have lit up more if it was melanoma rather than less. However, I do need to have another PET scan in three months to check it out. While I wish this area had not lit up, it does not take away from the greatness of this news and definitely calls for celebrating.
Everything went well at my oncology appointment today. No concerns; however, Dr. Brader felt I needed more time to let my body and voice heal. I was surprised as I had just finished telling him how much better I was feeling. Of course, my voice chose to be all “crackly” as I was trying to spit this out. Perhaps, I did not present as a picture of health. Anyway, I prayed for clarity and I got my answer.
My PET scan is scheduled for THIS Friday at 7:00 a.m. I AM a morning person and always like to choose the earliest appointment. Luckily, my friend who is taking me doesn’t read this blog, so she won’t know that there was actually a 9:30 a.m. time. I would ask for prayers for a clean scan and peace of mind while waiting for results (my oncologist will be off next week so results will be Friday or in a week).
It is a heavy title for this post but these are topics I have been enlightened on recently and wanted to share. I struggled with the term “cancer survivor” and wondered when you can consider yourself one. It seemed you would need to be declared cancer free by the doctors or at least be a few years out from your diagnosis and treatment to use the term. However, I have learned you are a cancer survivor the day you are diagnosed. You are a survivor the moment you realize God is bigger than cancer and you put your trust in Him. So let it be known that I am victorious over cancer and I am a “Cancer Survivor”.
Another area I struggled in is miracles. My faith is strong, and I believe God is capable of miracles. In fact, I have already witnessed many throughout this journey. Yet, I did not understand why he does not answer everyone’s prayer for healing when He has the power to do so. I want to be a believer and not a doubter but I think of the many people who have been incredible blessings, givers, and definitely entrenched in God’s work who still pass away from accidents or disease. The basis for miracles was preached at church this Sunday and God’s desire is that each person would have as close of a relationship with Him as the father, son, and holy spirit have with each other. Sometimes this occurs not through the healing of the person but through the effect of the person’s trials on others around him or her. Ultimately, you need to have a need, believe that good can come from a difficult situation, and be willing to do your part in the miracle. Miracles can come in all different ways and may not be the way we expect it. I had an overwhelming sense of peace upon leaving church.
I have been increasingly more joyful, peaceful, and hopeful. Last week I felt the answer to prayers. My thyroid medication is the correct dosage and my energy level has returned. I knew it the day I wanted to clean the basement storage room because who in their right mind would choose that task! My voice sounds more like me and is getting stronger (the Minnie mouse voice only makes an occasional appearance) and my shortness of breath is a little better. However, I am still waiting on that spectacular singing voice.
I have been completing some of the smaller items on my bucket list. This weekend my friend taught me how to do her fancy card shuffling. She seemed wary that I would be able to learn it and felt maybe it was a genetic thing, like curling your tongue. Once I proved I could curl my tongue, she began to teach me. I conquered it and now like to impress my teenage boys with my newly acquired skill. So now I am looking for someone to teach me parallel parking. The card shuffling friend is definitely not up to the task. She doesn’t like riding in the car with me just because I almost hit a shopping cart corral in a parking lot once. Geez! Any takers on helping a parallel-parking-impaired woman?
Since my last prayer requests were definitely answered, I am asking for a positive oncology appointment on Wednesday and perfect timing and results of my PET scan. I am just so needy, arent’ I?
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.
Good news is abound in the Boomer household. My biopsy taken from the original tumor site on Monday came back clear and no cancer was detected in the area that was inflamed (and of concern). Richard also received good news from his cardiovascular doctor at his six-month checkup. His ultrasound showed no additional accumulations in his carotid arteries; and the doctor praised him for his lifestyle changes. We are feeling pretty thankful.
Recently, I created a bucket list at the advice of a friend. While I realize I am not very adventurous, I am trying to be more spontaneous. Richard actually convinced me to go to Chicago to visit family with two hours notice last weekend when the weather was predicted to be so bad. We luckily beat the storm and had nice travels most of the way. I am so thankful we went as we had the best time connecting with cousins from both his side and my side of the family. We never realized they lived just a half hour away from each other! Celebrating his cousin Beverly’s birthday, who was visiting from South Dakota, was a real treat.
On the way home we ended up eating at the Iron Skillet Truck Stop in Gary, Indiana. (Not my choice but we waited too long and we were desperate by that time). While the food was tasty, the language and stories were very colorful and more memorable. Our eyes were round as saucers! One truck driver stated “I don’t believe cigarettes kill as my grandpa smoked unfiltered cigarettes his whole life and lived to be 95! Guy next to him retorts back “my aunt lived to be 120 and used snuff and drank moonshine”. (this is just a small taste of all the stories – some I am too embarrassed to write!) So I realized I have it all wrong with this exercise and clean-eating plan – what I really need to be doing is smoking, chewing tobacco, and drinking! :O)
I would ask for continued prayers for a clean PET scan in February, correct dosage for my thyroid medication, and healing of my voice and shortness of breath. My family and I really appreciate all the prayers and words of encouragement.
Psalm 112:7 He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.