Cancer means something different to all of us.
To the daughter it took her mom.
To the young girl it took her beautiful hair.
To the parents it took their precious, rambunctious child.
To the husband it took his wife.
Cancer seems to take.
But it doesn’t have to.
Today marks my One Year Anniversary. My Survivor Day. On this day, November 21, 2012, I was diagnosed with Stage 2A Malignant Melanoma. (Read that story here)
As this anniversary approached, I became more and more emotional about all of it. I guess the initial feelings, questions, and unknowns came flooding back. I thought about all those in the world today who fought a battle far more costly than I.
My dear 32 year old neighbor fought her battle with breast cancer and endured a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation—all the while raising a family with her husband and three young children in tow. We were both told we had cancer within two weeks of each other.
My other dear neighbor, who was told the very next week, is still fighting her courageous battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma. She had her last chemotherapy treatment this week. She is raising a high-schooler and a college student with her husband while enduring the madness called cancer.
My MawMaw wasn’t so fortunate, as she lost her battle with lung cancer 5 months after diagnosis. And my PawPaw, too, after enduring radiation for esophageal cancer only to have a heart attack in the midst of treatments.
And I’m sure you have many, many stories that are similar about how cancer has affected your friends and family.
I know how it feels to be called into the doctor’s office urgently, being told you should make your best effort to leave work and get to the office as soon as possible.
I know how it feels to cry with your doctor holding one hand and your husband holding the other after she tells you it is cancer.
I know how it feels to be told you cannot have another child for 2 or 3 years, “just in case” the cancer comes back. And you were ready to have another one.
I know how it feels to wait for a surgery date two months away, just wanting them to dig the spot out. It doesn’t have to look pretty, just get it out. You can come to my house to do it. I’m available anytime.
I know how it feels to have the lymph nodes removed and biopsied to see if the cancer spread.
I know how it feels, however, to receive that phone call from that nurse that tells you it was NOT in the lymph nodes and all is well.
But cancer doesn’t have to take. It can give, too.
After shedding some tears this week, God opened my mind to a fresh perspective.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
Through my journey, I was given peace that passed all understanding.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Through my journey, I felt the Lord so near.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Through my journey, I knew there was a purpose for me.
I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.
Through my journey, my faith grew.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
Through my journey, I got rid of my natural reaction to worry.
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
Through my journey, I learned to wait for the Lord.
Peace. Closeness. Purpose. Faith. No more worries. Patience. That’s what cancer gave to me.
I’m a Survivor. And as I celebrate this milestone, I pray for you dear friends. The ones who have had to deal with cancer in such a tough way. May God hold you close and remind you that He loves you dearly.
Oh, and wear your sunscreen!