A lot of Sundays our church has a time during the service that they call “Faith Moment”. It is a time when someone gets up and just shares a little bit about the journey that they are on with their faith. A couple of months ago, they asked me to share my story.
And so I did.
Two years ago my world changed forever. A phone call came while I was out jogging that confirmed that I, a healthy 47 year old with absolutely no risk factors had Stage IV Adenocarcinoma of the lung. The disease had spread from the primary site in my right lung into the middle of my chest and up to the lymph nodes near my neck and in my abdomen. Stage IV meant that there was no surgical option for me. We could do chemo and radiation or some combination of the two, but that was it. The next few weeks were a whirlwind of activity as we met with oncologists both here and at the Cleveland Clinic in order to formulate the best plan for treatment.
Telling the girls was the worst. Telling family and friends almost equally bad. I will never forget the look on my friend’s faces as they sat in our living room and JD and I shared the devastating news. The statistics were grim. On our 14th wedding anniversary I started an aggressive course of treatment that would leave me bald, weak and shivering through one of the coldest winters in recent years. I could no longer do most of the things that had defined me as a wife and mother and I was dependent on those around me for the simplest of tasks.
We were so grateful when the chemo and radiation did its job. For the past 9 months my scans have been coming back with no evidence of active disease. It is a miracle. I am currently on maintenance chemo once a month that knocks me flat for a day or two, but allows me to live a pretty normal life. However, they will never pronounce me cured. What they will say is that for now I am good. And we are so thankful for that.
Here is where I’d like to say that I believe the Lord has healed me. – and that the prayers of people too numerous to count did their work and I have complete peace every moment of my life.
But that would not be true. I don’t know if I am healed or not. And I’m not sure that is the point, anyway.
For me, the biggest lesson has been the constant letting go that I have to do. That means turning over to God again and again my fears and my anxieties. I have to constantly remind myself that I am in His very capable hands and that He has a plan for my life and the lives of my family. It has been a lesson in learning to live in the narrow place between the grace of continued good results and the reality of my situation. He is teaching me to live joyfully even through the sorrow of a disease that can be a really heavy burden.
Someone recently asked me what I thought the biggest thing I’d learned through these past two years. After giving it some thought, I’d have to say it is knowing that I really believe what I’ve always said I believe. My foundation has not been shaken even when everything around me seems to be whirling madly.
I wish I could say that a prayer or two sweeps all my fear and anxiety. I wish I could tell you that I will feel perfectly calm as my next scan approaches, but that doesn’t seem to be my path. Instead, I lean on Him on the bad days and try to remember time and time again that He cares for me. He has been faithful through the storm so far and He will carry me home, whether that is 2 years or 20 years from now, safely wrapped in His loving care.