Monday, 31 December 2007

The Seasons Of My Life

It is interesting, looking back on this past year and looking ahead to 2008. I know that God uses all that we experience to work out His plan for our lives. I have had one set of chemo, which is destroying the cancer cells. In the new year I will have surgery to remove any remaing cancer and the affected organ, as well as related ones - I am having a complete hysterectomy. Then I will have some more chemo to erradicate any remaining cancer cells.

It is intersting how these procedures have been divided, not only by year, but by season. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and began treatment in autumn, which is a season where plants wither up and die. My CA125 levels went from 4095 to 58 after three rounds of chemo. The cancer, like the plants, was withering up and dying. Winter is the season that I have my surgery and remaining chemo. It is as if the soil of my life is being prepared for the new life of spring. The tumor, ovaries and nearby organs are being removed. I don't need those anymore. I am thankful for the three beautiful children that my ovaries produced and my uterus nurtured. I will be fruitful in other ways and give birth to other things in the spiritual realm. That has not ended, nor can that be taken away from me. I will be totally done chemo and able to move on by the end of spring. I am looking forward to the new life that God has for me. There have been things planted that have either weathered the harsh storms or that have lain dormant and are awaiting the spring and summer time of my life.

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: ... a time to plant and a time to uproot." Ecclesiastes 3:1,2b (NIV)

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Gratefulness or Self-Pity

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:15-17 (NIV)

I resented the fact that I needed to have surgery. I was regaining strength and health; I didn't want to be cut open and have to recover from surgery. I was struggling to have the right attitude toward surgery. I knew that I needed to be positive and to go into it with a positive attitude rather than a negative one.

As I was praying and thinking about my upcoming surgery, the thought came to me that I had a choice. I could wallow in self-pity or I could choose to be grateful. I have much to be grateful for:

  • I live in Canada, where the medical tests and procedures are readily available and paid for in Ontario by OHIP
  • When I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, treatment began immediately
  • I have access to specialists and hospitals where I can receive treatment and have necessary surgery
  • All my medication is covered by my husband's health insurance plan
  • I have home care nurses who are paid for by CCAC
  • I have a wonderful family who is supportive of me in every way
  • I have been regaining strength and some of the weight that I had lost; I will be better equipped physically to undergo surgery
  • I have a caring church family, who pray and offer practical help as well
  • God has given me strength and His grace to cope; I know that He will be with me through the surgery and recovery

  • "Praise the Lord, I tell myself; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases." Psalm 103: 1-3 (NLT)

    Tuesday, 18 December 2007

    Giving Hope To Others

    I have recently had two conversations with friends about this topic "Giving Hope To Others". God has given me hope in the midst of this difficult time of dealing with ovarian cancer. I have been encouraged by my nuclear family, my extended family and my church family giving me emotional, physical and spiritual support. Several friends have also provided encouragement. I have drawn much strength and encouragement from God's Word, either through my own reading or from others' teaching. It is as if I am "gathering" encouragement and hope in a big bag like Santa's sack. I feel that I am storing up these things for future ministry. I am looking forward to the opportunities that God will provide for me to share with others.

    "All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us". 2 Corinthians 1:3,4 (MSG)

    Wednesday, 12 December 2007

    My Times Are In God's Hands

    I am longing for this time to be over. God has sustained me through this time. I have experienced His peace in hard times. I am not looking forward to my upcoming surgery. Yet I know that it is necessary. I have finished one leg of this journey, and the next one awaits me. I am having surgery on January 8. I am glad that I am able to enjoy the Christmas season with our families. After surgery I am to have more chemotherapy. I hope it is not many rounds. I want to move on and begin to heal from the effects of chemo and surgery.

    Father, I again commit "my times" into Your hands. You already have a time for me to heal. May I continue to rest in knowing that You are in control.

    "My times are in your hands" Psalm 31: 15a(NIV)

    "There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven...a time to heal..." Ecclesiastes 3:1,3 (NIV)

    Friday, 7 December 2007

    Light-hearted Moments

    In the midst of this season of my life I am able to have moments of fun with my family and others. I thought I would share a couple of recent examples.

    Because my head is mostly bald I usually wear something to cover my head to help keep it warm. I was recently given two scarf-hats. They are made by a lady at the local seniors' centre for those undergoing chemotherapy and experience hair loss. One of the scarves is a denim blue colour with little off-white flowers. I wore my blue dangly earrings, that my sister made me, with it when I was wearing blue. At the dinner table my youngest son said"Say 'ARRGH!' Mom". He thought that I looked like a pirate! We felt that it would be more authentic if I wore only one of my earrings! My daughter stated that she felt that I looked more like "a biker chick"! The shape and style, but not the colour, is similar to the type of scarf that Paul Sr. wears on Orange County Choppers !

    When I was last at the hospital for my chemo I was able to pick out a few hats that had been donated. Yesterday I wore a crocheted hat that is almost florescent pink in colour. My daughter said that she wants to "punk" my hat sometime and wear it. I was wearing a pink top, not nearly as bright as the hat, and a pair of dangly pink earrings. I decided to keep the funky look going by wearing my psychedelic pink fuzzy slippers that my sister had given me in my Sunshine Basket. When my home nurse came for my bi-weekly checkup, she exclaimed that she liked my outfit! She said that the hat's colour was Barbie pink!
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