Wednesday, 31 December 2008

January 2008 Journal Entries

Today is the last day of 2008 and I have decided to read over my journals from this past year. Here are some of the notations that track my spiritual journey, life experiences, and reflections concerning ovarian cancer and surgery:

(January 4 2008)
"Yesterday I took encouragement from two things. The anesthesiologist's last name was Morningstar - Jesus is described as the Morningstar. When we were trying to find the parking lot at Sunnybrook, we passed by the Wellspring building that was featured in the video from Ovarian Cancer Canada. I was reminded of the women and their stories - that gave me hope; if they made it through chemo and surgery, then I will too." [My husband Dan and I had gone to Sunnybrook hospital in Toronto for my pre-op appointments.]

"In a way I feel as if my life is on hold. My world is so small."

(January 6 2008)
"Yesterday I had two surprise visits. The Sutherlands [longtime friends] gave me several gifts; then prayed for me regarding my upcoming surgery and for healing. My neighbour, Mary, dropped in with a gift bag for the hospital; in it was a purple housecoat and a lilac nightgown. [Purple is my favorite colour!]

(January 7 2008)
"Tomorrow I have my surgery. Yesterday, the songs at church ministered to me. Colleen and Sonja both prayed for me. Others assured me of their thoughts and prayers." [Colleen is a cancer survivor and Sonja is an intercessor]

(January 13 2008)
"What God impressed upon me is that I don't need to try to figure out who will be influenced by my witness I just have to be faithful. When I was in the hospital I was distraught over a comment that someone had made to a relative that maybe I had been misdiagnosed; that maybe I didn't have cancer, which would be why they didn't find any when they opened me up. It caused all the fears, worries and doubts to rise up and burst forth. I tried to call Dan at work, but when my son Tim answered the phone and was asked by a recording if he would accept a call billed to our number he said no. I was then very upset and emotional and I was crying. My blood pressure was very high since I was so distraught. One of the oncologists came to see me and was concerned. She said that it was natural what I was feeling, given all that I have experienced. She said that I was being strong for others, but that I needed to release what I was holding inside. I asked if there was a chaplain that I could speak to. She said yes there was and that she would call one. She mentioned that when her grandfather had surgery he had spoken to a chaplain and that had seemed to help him. The chaplain came and I shared a bit with her. I asked her if she would pray for me and she did. Later the nurse rechecked my blood pressure and it was again in the normal range.

(January 14 2008)
"Yesterday Dan shared the good news at church. He spoke a bit about our journey and how this type of cancer [ovarian cancer], 'is like throwing sand- you don't know where it will land'. He shared about trusting God and how God had answered our prayers. He thanked the people for praying and for their acts of kindness. The congregation clapped in response to the good news. After church people came up to him. Two men were crying and one of them even hugged Dan tightly."

"I got my first real meal - scrambled eggs, toast and cornflakes. I ate some of it; I didn't want to overdo it. It was like a victory breakfast. I was so excited I called Dan to tell him. I started to cry when I got my meal and could eat it. I was going to live! I saved the tray list of the foods I ate as a souvenir. I was able to go home in the afternoon after lunch. I was very emotional and cried a bit as I was being wheeled in a wheelchair to the lobby; and I cried more when I got in the van. I had gone through the surgery and I had survived! I was going to live and be healthy! That was now past and I only had a bit more on this journey toward complete healing. I am to have one more chemo treatment in February."

(January 19 2008)
"I would not have known God's miraculous healing power if I had not been healed of cancer. If I didn't have cancer in the first place I would not have experienced God's miraculous healing power from cancer. It is almost overwhelming to think about that. Yet there is the example of the man born blind. Jesus said it was not because the man or his parents had sinned but that the glory of God would be seen when Jesus healed him." [John 9: 1-7]

"I am glad that I am home to stay."

(January 22 2008)
"I have had so much bottled up inside. When I mentioned a bit to my sister Gayle, she said she wouldn't blame me if I should cry about all that I have gone through."

"I am not in despair; I have been given hope for the future."

(January 23 2008)
"Today I received a parcel in the mail from my sister-in-law Darlene and her family. It was in a bubble package almost as big as a pillow. Inside were tissue-wrapped gifts. In the card it mentioned that these were to replenish the "Sunshine Basket". I opened the first package, which was puffy; it was a snowman candle holder. That was really special." [I collect snowmen]

(January 26 2008)
"Last night I went to 'Change of Heart', [a women's'ministry event]. I spoke to Laura and Judi before the meeting; I shared about God healing me. It was mentioned if I would share this; I said 'I don't know'. I went into the foyer to get a drink . As I was at the table there was another lady standing there and Jodie came to us and said 'I don't believe I know you ladies'. She talked a bit with the other lady and then she turned to me and then said 'I know you!' She put her arm around my shoulder and told the other woman that God had done a miracle. I shared briefly with the woman about having ovarian cancer and when I had surgery they couldn't find the cancer. She was blessed. I know that I was to share so I told Laura I would and she told Judi. We sang a couple of songs The song just before Judi called me up was 'I can't do anything - I can't face anything without You'. It was a perfect lead in . I know God wanted me to share last night; it fit in with the theme of Jesus/God being the Great Physician."

"What came to me as I was lying in bed - I am not to resent this time of rest; recuperation; and isolation - that is all part of the preparation time."

I hope to share other journal entries in other posts. I was encouraged as I read them and it is my hope that they will encourage others as well.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

If Life Was a Musical

As I was looking out the living room window at the bird feeder, that is attached to our front deck, the song "Feed The Birds" from Mary Poppins came to mind. I have not thought of that song for years! It got me wondering what my life would be like if I was to break out into song as I went about my day. It is not unusual for people to sing along with the radio or a CD, but to spontaneously break out into song about one's life and daily activities would be thought unusual.

When I was younger I loved to watch old movies on TV that were musicals. I never found it strange that people would suddenly break out into song. I was a young child when The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins came to the theatre; and Julie Andrews became my heroine. Recently I have seen other musicals such as Hairspray.

There are times that I do break out into song, though it is when I am home alone. They are praise choruses that seem to just bubble up from within and overflow my being; I love to worship God with song. Maybe I might try singing about my daily activities the next time I am home alone. A song with the words "Washing the dishes, Lord; washing the dishes; living for Your glory; washing the dishes" just came to mind. I do not remember where I first learned that song but maybe it is one I will incorporate into my daily life!

"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you. Take your everyday, ordinary life - your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life- and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him." Romans 12:1 (Message)

Friday, 19 December 2008

Winter In The Country

We once lived in a little house on a hundred acre farm. The driveway was over five hundred feet long and much of it was exposed to the north winds. Neighbouring farmers would plow our driveway several times after a snowfall, given the frequency of snow drifts forming. While it was blustery and cold outside we were warm and toasty inside. We had a wood stove in our dining room that not only provided heat, but on occasion was also used for cooking.

We were on well-water that came from a well that was also about five hundred feet away, in a field closer to the road. There were two winters that we were without water for a couple of months as the line was frozen due to inadequate snow cover. Friends and family opened their homes to us for showers and laundry facilities. We got to know members of our church family better as we spent more time with them on a regular basis.

Living in the country provided many opportunities for outdoor activities in the winter. A natural rink formed at the side of the house right under a hydro light pole. Our children learned to skate on this rink and the boys played many games of hockey with their dad there. The house was on a small hill so the children would sometimes use their crazy carpets to slide down the hill. Snowmen and snow forts were often built with the abundance of snow available.

While we have since moved to town, we often venture out into the countryside to enjoy winter activities. Today my youngest son has gone sledding with a friend, but the hills are much larger compared to those of his childhood.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Continuing To Live

I have been very burdened of late; three people I know have recently passed away as a result of cancer. I have the hope of seeing at least two of them again. It is easy to get waylaid by the questions that naturally occur. I felt as if I was slipping into depression and I needed to hear God's voice to direct me.

Last night I could not fall asleep and I decided to read my Bible. I had previously found some scriptures that pertained to death and life and I wanted to study them to see what God might say to me through them. The verses are found in 2 Corinthians chapters 4 and 5. There was a reference to Philippians 1:20-26, which is where I found God's direction for my life. By looking at the Apostle Paul's example I was able to discern what God's will is for me in continuing to live.

There are several purposes to be fulfilled:
  • exalt Jesus in my body (Philippians 1:20)
  • fruitful labour for me (Philippians 1:22)
  • encouragement for others' progress in the faith (Philippians 1:24,25)
  • on account of me being with them others' joy may overflow (Philippians 1:26)

I am thankful for the direction God has given me through His Word. I now have a purpose as I am continuing to live.

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