I know it has been a while since I gave an update on my cancer journey – the road has been a little bumpy over the last few weeks. If you had seen me in October, unless you knew me personally, you probably wouldn’t even know I was sick. Even the chemo drugs were not wreaking havoc on me like they do some. However, right before Thanksgiving I started having some pain and also my tumor marker was increasing, signs that the cancer might have started to spread. A CT scan in December confirmed this, and so the Dr. decided to change my treatment drugs to two that had proven to be effective in others with my diagnosis. She said that typically the side effects were supposed to be less severe than the side effects of the three previous drugs I had been taking
However, for me that hasn’t been the case. Twice now, I have had to postpone the treatment due to my platelets being too low. Not only can I not get my scheduled treatment, but having low platelets makes me feel pretty rough. I can already tell my platelets have gone back up just by the way I am feeling, so let’s hope they are high enough for me to get my scheduled treatment on Wednesday. The treatment has also made me borderline anemic, so there’s the associated tiredness that goes along with that. And the hair loss – now why would I be so devastated by that with everything else happening to me? Thank goodness for wigs and hats!
As always, I know God is holding me in his hand during all this. It will be His will that is done. However, I continue to pray for physical healing, yet I am ready to face whatever lies before me. Your continued prayers for healing and peace are appreciated.
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” James 5:16.
I typically don’t post details about my personal life so this blog post is going to be something totally different
Only the readers that know me personally know that in July I was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer that had metastasized to the liver. It came as a total shock as I wasn’t even sick. The mass on my pancreas was found during a CT scan to check for something else. The morning before I went in for the scan I walked 3 miles.
Yeah, when you talk about cancer this is one of the “bad kinds”; but I guess there really isn’t any good kind, as I’m sure anyone who is fighting the big “C” will tell you.
On July 12th my husband and I were discussing our retirement plans and the next day I got the call from my doctor with the devastating news. My PCP immediately set up an appointment (that day) for me with an oncologist. Then began the series of tests, biopsies, and scans that would confirm the diagnosis on 7/27/2020. On 7/30 I’m in surgery for a chemo port and on 8/3 I began my first round (of 12 rounds) of chemo. I just completed my 5th round on 9/28. One of the blessings from God during these treatments is that my counts have stayed relatively normal.
Like many things in life, I didn’t see this coming. And it wasn’t something I ever planned to deal with. And like many who go through this battle I do not know what the outcome will be. I am told with this type of cancer, even if it goes into remission, will come back, but I know ultimately God will have the final say and I know there are prayer warriors all over the USA flooding the throne of God with prayers on my behalf. Prayers that I will be healed of this cancer that has invaded my body.
Of course I want to live to see my grandchildren grow up, to spend retirement days with my beloved husband, just to have more time here. I also know that ultimately the outcome will be in God’s hands. And no matter what, God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.
I have no doubt that God can physically heal me of this. I am trying to put my trust in Him no matter the outcome. And there are some days when I am able to do that, but there are also days when I feel fear and doubt creep in. But God has shown up in so many ways and places on this journey, I know I must trust in Him. What can I do but trust? I know He will be with me every step of the way.
The words below are not mine. I am sharing them from one of my African-American sisters in Christ. She’s expressing the anguish and sorrow of so many right now, no matter their race.
Here are her words:
Deeply Troubled, But Not Helpless
T R U T H
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
I N S P I R A T I O N
One of my favorite truths brought forth in the Bible is what I see carried out in the book of Esther. Haman has such a hatred in his heart for Mordecai and the Jewish people that he sets in motion their demise. He creates a system that he believes is fail proof. Because he walked among the rich and powerful, he believed himself to be untouchable. He believed he could do whatever he wanted to do because he had the backing of a system that gave him the authority. Haman was a man who hated without a cause and believed his plan would destroy those he had made his enemies. But what he didn’t bank on was running into a woman and a people who knew how to cry out to their God.
I am such a woman, for the Haman’s of this world. For weeks, I have been troubled in my soul and in my heart. Troubled by the blatant disregard of human life by those who have decided that worth will be determined by the color of your skin. I am seeing things that no mother and wife should have to witness in the 21st century. Vigilante behaviors no longer committed in the dark of night, but boldly in broad daylight. Murderous men and women being able to go home to their families with just a slap on the wrist after turning the world of others upside down.
For those who have read the book of Esther and know this story, I challenge you not to be fooled. Haman is alive! And he has set his sights on African-American men and families. Yes, there are people being murdered all over this country and my heart weeps because of it. But my heart bleeds as a mother of African-American sons. I have found myself deeply troubled and angry. Troubled that such systemic hatred can be allowed to continue on so many levels. Troubled that the voices that could be speaking out are not because they too believe the darker the skin the less we are welcomed in…
Trust me, I understand the peace found in silence, but perhaps what we need is a nudge such as the one Mordecai gave to Esther. Sometimes we keep our voices silent, because we made it into the “palace.” But Mordecai reminded Esther to consider that she made it into the palace for this very purpose. He also reminded her that just because she is there, it doesn’t change the fact that she’s a Jew. What happens to one happens to all and pretending not to see what we see while hiding dirty hearts and singing about heaven one day. Really! Heaven is not America.
Esther was deeply troubled when she learned of Haman’s plan, but realized that she was not helpless. I am deeply troubled but I am not helpless, neither are you. I have gone before my King many times over the weeks and each time, He has held out His scepter to me. He has heard the groans in my spirit. He saw the helplessness in my eyes when one of my sons came into my bedroom last night and said, “Mama, did you see what they did to that man?!.” He knows the anger in my soul, anger that I know cannot rest there because anger will never be enough. My heart is broken for mothers of every nationality who have lost children but more so for African-American mothers and fathers losing their sons and daughters to a system never designed to give equality and fair treatment to them.
So, Esther realized that she had several choices. The first choice to turn a blind eye was quickly dismissed by Mordecai. Second, she could be a victim and complain about the injustices behind closed doors but never use her voice and power. Or, she could go before the King. Scripture tells us that she puts on her royal garment, goes before the king and he extended his scepter to her. Just as He will always extend it to each of us.
I’m always fascinated that it was important for the writer to note that she put on her royal garment. I believe it was important for Esther to remember who she was and the power in her hands. We all have royal garments! We all can go boldly before our King. Brothers and sisters, this is why I am writing to you today, to request for the next 3 days as you pray for our world, please make time to pray specifically for African-American men, women and children. Pray specifically for protection against the “Hamans” of this world.
We all know how this story ended. Haman’s ugly, wicked plot had no power after the Jews fasted for 3 days and Esther who represents us all, went before the king with her heart’s plea for her people. A system designed to destroy Mordecai and the Jews, destroyed the one who created it and the Jews were given permission to defend themselves against those seeking to do harm to them.
We can get angry, be troubled, and feel helpless at times but none of that is productive. The most productive thing we can do is petition heaven on our behalf and be still and witness the power of our God to be our protector and defender. There’s a great evil in this country an evil that will come face-to-face with its defeat. But until them, put on your royal garments and go before the King with me…
P R A Y E R
Father, thank you for extending your scepter to me. I ask of you, give me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. Don’t let what my eyes see swallow me up in bitterness, anger and unproductive emotionalism. Send refreshing, Lord, to your children. Give us the courage to face the troubles in this world; knowing that trouble does not last always and our weeping will be overshadowed by joy one day…speak to the hearts of mothers and fathers who are battling the loss of sons and daughters abused and murdered by a system that should be protecting them. Help us! Help us Lord see the real enemy and prick the hearts of those being ruled by him. Tear down the pride of those who think they are superior because of the color of their skin, power, or perceived authority. Show them all that power belongs only to you, Father. Teach our hearts when to be still and when to fight, when to be silent and when to speak out. This has been going on for so long Father, and we don’t know what to do, but we trust you, Lord. Give us supernatural power to overcome. We don’t just want to sing the songs anymore, and participate in the marches Lord. We want to live the abundant life you said is ours. We know that there isn’t anything about us prescriptive except our identity in you. Help others to know it too. The wounds are deep but not too deep for your reach. Father, I surrender these tears, this broken heart, my anger and my hope for a better tomorrow into your hands. I know you’ve got this and like David, we as a people have come a long way in a country never designed for us and have learned to strengthen ourselves in the Lord. Thank you Father for not leaving us helpless. We know you are fighting for us to work all things for our good. Thank you. We love you Father. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
My prayer is that God will bless us all. He is the giver of true justice and vengeance is ultimately His. Go forth in peace and love and be a light in this broken world.