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Showing posts from August, 2017

Hurricane Harvey How We Hate Thee

Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Corpus Christi, Texas last Friday evening as a Category 4 storm. As the powerful winds swirled across Texas, massive amounts of rain and devastation have occurred. During the storm, however, hospitals have still managed to take care of their patients and one of the major hospitals, M. D. Anderson, in Houston, has done an astounding job. About two and a half years ago, I was able to personally visit M. D. Anderson. I was on my way to Texas to spend a week with my oldest daughter. On the way there, my son in law and I stopped to spend some time with a friend. She was dying of cancer. This young mother of four knew there was nothing more to be done for her. She spent her remaining days in a pristine hospital room surrounded by those who loved her and the hospital staff treated her with utmost respect. That visit was difficult for me. I had also been diagnosed with breast cancer and though I was not stage 4, as my friend was at the time, having the r

A beautiful and interesting stranger

I'm a firm believer that nothing happens randomly in God's world. He orchestrates everything and His timing is always perfect. Today was a prime example of that fact. I was able to have a lovely one hour and 41 minute phone call with a complete stranger! Well, she's kinda sorta. The fact that we've never met in person makes her a physical stranger to me but we've corresponded via Facebook messenger and email for a couple of months so she's not a total stranger. Some months ago, I received a Facebook message requesting information about an article I'd written. I always respond to those types of messages because I know God has used me in the past to minister His love to others and I always want to be available to help someone in need. It was interesting to me since I live in the sunny South and she lives across the country. Our paths would never have crossed other than with God's divine intervention. As we talked, it felt like we'd known each oth

Accepting Results Gracefully

Yesterday was the big day. I was to receive the results of my bone scan. It had been a year since my last one, and I was nervous. I’d been having a lot of spinal pain and was concerned. I didn’t want to admit my worst fear – the fear of recurrence. After a lot of prayer, I finally resigned myself to the fact that the news was either going to be good or bad and there was nothing much I could do about it. I was determined to accept the outcome gracefully. Seated in front of the oncologist, we went through the customary formalities of greeting one another. When that was out of the way, I sat on the edge of my seat. I wanted the test results. The doctor could tell I was eager and said she wouldn’t beat around the bush. I braced. I was prepared for the worst but expecting the best. Thankfully, I received the latter. As Dr. N shared the good news that there was no evidence of active disease, I was filled with joy. She could tell by the look of relief on my face that she’d given me a hug

God Sent Mr. Browning

My signature on the gloves I had been in a hurry to get to my appointment with the oncologist. Traffic in the mornings here is always hectic so I wanted to make sure and leave early. I grabbed a frozen smoothie, got dressed, put on my makeup and dashed out the door. I didn't have time to ready my Bible and have my devotional as I usually do but on my way to the center, I began to pray and asked God to give me a verse to hold on to today. I felt Him impress Philippians 4:13 on my heart, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." So I meditated on that verse until I reached the center. (I had been nervous about getting the results of my bone scan but had surrendered the results to God and had told Him earlier in the day that no matter what they showed, I'd accept either good or not so good from His hand because I knew He'd have a purpose for either result and I trusted Him completely.) Armband and nametag When I entered the cancer treatm

The Never-ending Fear of Recurrence

The fear of recurrence looms overhead like a brown turkey vulture on a Georgia, hot summer’s day. Swooping and diving, she circles. I can feel her, a living presence. I walk daily in her shadow. Some days the ominous darkness overwhelms me. I never thought myself to be a fearful person. I’ve always done my best to walk by faith, not by sight, but when the oncologist scheduled a complete body bone scan three years after my initial diagnosis, doubt and worry crept in. Thoughts I’d failed to consider became reality. What if? What if cancer returned? How would I feel? What would I do? The more I thought, the closer I felt the brush of her wings. I wasn’t ready. Do all lives touched by cancer feel this fear? At diagnosis, does that great bird of destruction perch idly on shoulders waiting for an opportune moment? Do we carry her with us for days, months and years, unseen and quiet, or am I the only one sensitive to her nearness? Am I overly sensitive? I’d prefer not to think about rec

Dressing Challenges With Lymphedema

I’m going to make a profound statement and one that will more than likely be misunderstood by some, but for me, lymphedema has been more challenging than breast cancer. Now that your mouth is hanging open, let me explain. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I had surgery to remove both of my breasts along with many lymph nodes. After several weeks, my scars were in the process of healing and I knew it wouldn’t be long before the wounds would be better. The physical aspects of surgery were pretty easy to deal with, but the aftereffects of lymphedema were not. I didn’t develop lymphedema immediately after surgery. It took several months before I began to notice the uncomfortable swelling in and around my armpits. At first, I thought it was just accumulated fluid that would dissipate after elevation and rest. But the swelling got worse and did not disappear. After a visit to the breast surgeon, I was told I had lymphedema. As the doctor explained, it would be a lifelong conditi

Picking Out Bras and Prostheses, Again.

I never considered myself a na├»ve person, but when I was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago, I had no idea it would impact me for the rest of my life. I thought I’d have surgery, go through treatment and be done. Then, when I made the decision to have both breasts removed, I didn’t know choosing not to do reconstruction would be such a challenge. There was so much I needed to learn. Today was my annual visit to the prosthetic shop. Every year, for the past three years, I’ve made this trek. Forty-five minutes of driving to a neighboring town takes me to a tiny specialty shop. The clientele are breast cancer patients and survivors. Inside the shop are wigs, head coverings, bras and prostheses. The ladies who run the shop have been specially trained in bra fitting, so I feel confident going there. Today’s visit will be old hat, but I remember when it was all very new. About a month after I’d had my breasts removed, the breast surgeon called me into her office for a checku