My friend, Paddy, has survived two types of cancer and a broken hip in the last 10 years. After each medical visit, she comes out saying "Hello! I'm still here!" Who knows what is coming tomorrow? Just greet each day saying "Hello! I'm still here!" and hold on tight to the hand of the One who gives us hope.
She's taken me from long to short, from layered to stacked...and
everything in between. We did brunette. And then we did
auburn. (And went quickly back to brunette). At some point during
the fifteen years I've known her (probably the earlier part), I went
from not gray to...well...you know. And she was kind enough to not
mention it. She just fixed it. Brenda is not just my hairdresser.
She's one of my closest friends. We've shared everything from the
joys and sorrows of motherhood to recipes and prayer requests.
I had an appointment with Brenda shortly after I learned of my
cancer. As soon as I sat down in her chair, I told her the news.
Then I explained my plan: if I ever had to take chemo, I would
ask her to cut my hair to the scalp so I could donate it to
Locks of Love.
She was standing behind me, hands on my shoulders, both of us
looking into the mirror, when she vowed that if we ever had to cut
my hair, then she would cut hers too. "Solidarity," she said.
"Kleenex," I said.
When I think back over the last few weeks, what comes to
mind is the loving care that I received from family and friends.
It's time now to tell you about my husband. He has never,
ever, failed to be there for me. He has made me laugh and he
has held me when I cried. He slept on a cot next to me in the
hospital and was standing over me at the slightest wimper.
As soon as we came home, he printed out a chart and followed
the medicine timetables like a soldier in battle. He stood in
seemingly never ending lines at the drugstore for pain pills and
new nausea meds and will do it yet again today. He has altered
his work schedule so that I don't even have to let the dog out
in the mornings. He brings me lots and lots of water. He eats
foods with me that he never dreamed he would eat and never
complains. If I happen to wake in the night, he's aware of it,
and asks, "What can I get you?" What can I say? I love this man
and though I can't imagine what I've ever done to deserve it, he
surely must love me too!
“My beloved is mine and I am his.” Song of Solomon 2-16
The other day I was drawn to the French Doors in our dining
room by Julian, our little King Charles Spaniel. He was giving
me one of his "alarm" barks. He was looking down at the porch,
outside the window. I could see that one of our winter birds,
a little Junko, had flown into the glass. Sometimes, when that
happens, the birds are just stunned and can soon recover and go
on their way. The Junko was trembling and had his eyes closed.
After convincing Julian to hush up, he and I knelt together to
watch and wait. Sometimes the bird would throw back it's head.
Sometimes his head would drop to the ground. That's when I
began pleading to God for the bird's life. I knew and I’m sure
God knew that this was about a whole lot more than the little
bird. As it's head stayed down and the trembling ceased, I
walked away, not able to stand any more.
I wasn't 10 feet away when Julian began barking again. I hurried
back to see that the Junko had flown away!
His gentle breathing was barely audible over the sound of the ocean
waves, lapping onto the shore inside our white noise machine. He
had fallen asleep soon after his head found the pillow, exhausted from
the “what if” conversation path that had lead us in circles, no closer
to an answer than when we had begun. I lay still, my eyes refusing to
close. The only movement in the room was the clicking of green
digital minutes, and then hours, on the alarm clock next to our bed.
Silent tears began to roll. And then, finally..finally, I cried out to God.
No sooner than I had called His name, I was calmed. His peace covered
me like a blanket. I knew then that no matter my future, my God was near. I took in a
breath of pure hope, snuggled against my husband, and slept.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you
rest.” -Matthew 11:28 NIV
When the story of my life turns intense with drama, why does it take so
long for me to reach out to the author of my life?
Follow me on my journey to wellness. These journal entries are highlights from my first year after cancer diagnosis. Just to ease the suspense, we'll go ahead and give you the closing line: "And she lived happily ever after with a prayer of thanks always on her lips, like a brightly colored lipstick."