Today is brought to you by the letter "C".
C is for Compassion and Courage.
Thanks to all of you, for everything.
I am overwhelmed. So many people sending cards and messages, sharing their own journeys, fasting and praying with us, leaving homemade cookies, soup, fresh picking from their gardens, listening, answering questions, and so much more. I knew of a number of women who are cancer survivors, now I know of many more. Some of them are very private, but they have generously and courageously told me of their experiences, let me ask many very personal questions, and helped me have more information about what is ahead.
Every time I go somewhere, when I return there is something on my doorstep. Handmade cards, drawings from children I know, nourishing foods, special treats. The other day, 10 people from church showed up to help us finish a yard project. It all lightens the load, and lets Mike and I have our strength for what cannot be handed to someone else.
I debated sharing this whole experience with others. But I remembered how much I want to help when those I know are carrying burdens. I need to take this beyond a concept, and let it be the way I live.
And I feel the thoughts and prayers of others working on me.
C is for Care, as in the Red Rocks Cancer Care Center.
I guess timing really is everything. Apparently, this tumor probably started growing about 8 to 10 years ago. I felt it a few months ago because fibrous tissue grew over it. This new cancer center was opened a few months ago. I have met with several of the specialists there, and I am amazed. They took all the time needed to go over every scan, test and report, every option, every part of my life that will impact the healing. My surgeon is not just looking at her part in removing the tumor, my radiation oncologist is not just looking at his part in therapy. They are helping Mike and I form a team with them to overcome and kill the thing that is trying to kill me. And they want me to come through it healed and stronger than ever.
After Dad died, there were people who had worked with him who told us how he was one of the few bosses or teachers they had who would pray with them and for them, and who would hug them. I can now say that I have doctors who pray for me, accept prayers for their own guidance, and who hug me.
C is for Comedy. This is not only from my sisters, it is now officially doctor's orders. So I look for ways to endure with joy. I will take surface level humor as well.
I could go with pop culture, such as the line from "The Devil Wears Prada"..."I'm only one stomach flu away from my goal weight." Maybe I am only one treatment away from my goal weight.
If you need some great humor around this subject, go to youtube and search for Jack Black Mammogram.
This is also a good time to see what kinds of crazy head pieces my artist siblings will make for me, even though (at least for now and I hope never) there is no chemo planned.
C is for Chocolate. The really good kind. I think there should be a clinical trial on the healing properties of fine chocolate. Sign me up for that one.
C is for Cheese, as in "Do you want some cheese with that whine?" Please ask me that if I ever do. Whine that is.
C is for Choice.
Since this is early detection, I still have some choice in some aspects of my treatment. So if you are wondering how important it is to get regular screenings, check-ups and do self-examination, stop wondering. It horrifies me to think how little choice I would have otherwise.
And I always have a choice in how I live. So I choose my life, and every part of it, including the cancer. This is part of my journey, and I am blessed with a wonderful life journey.
Besides that, if I gripe about not wanting this life, and complaining that things should be different, it is exhausting, boring, and makes me unbearable to be around. I'd rather not be alone right now.
Michael told me yesterday that when he gave me a blessing the night before the biopsy, he knew it was cancer, but that we would make it through this together. That is when I knew that he had chosen to make this his battle, as much as mine.
This is how powerful choice is. A few days ago I had an MRI. I had to lie on my stomach, my face laying in an uncomfortable cutout, my hands over my head, not moving for 40 minutes. The physical discomfort was there but not extreme. The mental and emotional strain of thinking about why I was there, and what the scan might show is overwhelming. Mike had talked the technicians into letting him be in the room, holding my hand the whole time. Even though we couldn't talk to each other, he would squeeze my hand every minute or so. This is our battle. And each time I would feel overwhelmed I would think of all the people praying for me, and God's awareness of each of us, knowing us by name. I felt unseen hands placed gently all over my back and legs, easing the tension and worry.
That is the journey I choose.