Friday, January 7, 2011

A Musing on Cancer, Recovery and my Blogging Hiatus

It is pretty apparent from my lack of posts that I have decided to take a (semi-permanent?) break from blogging. However I did receive this email from my pastor, Andy McQuitty, and wanted to pass on the miraculous news of his recovery. Yes, after 16 months he has been declared CANCER FREE! Thanks to all of you who have inquired about his health, prayed for his recovery and read about his journey. He will be sharing stories of his journey over the next two weeks at Irving Bible Church (IBC).
Andy's cancer diagnosis hit me hard and I struggled with anger and fear for many months afterwards. I had some heated one-way discussions with the Lord, not stopping my tirades long enough to let him get a word in. Nine months later, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Anger was not the first emotion I felt, now it was more concern about how my mom felt and if she had the support she needed to get through this time of her life. I was 1,000 miles away and felt helpless, not hurt. I was not afraid -this time I was hopeful. I think the months I spend in conversation with God about Andy better prepared me for the news about my mom. I am happy to say that a few months after my mom's diagnosis, (and after she also endured a couple of surgeries) she is also CANCER FREE!
So this year I am starting out with more gratitude, prayer, and faith in God. I guess I can leave the big stuff in his hands while I handle the little things in my life. Like the four year old and one year old who keep my life too busy to blog! Yeah, I think I am going to keep focusing on them for awhile. Most of my downtime will be spent with my husband and training to run a 10K this spring. I hope to get back to blogging again in a few months but now I am going to enjoy some much needed time with my family.
January 6, 2011
My Dear Friends,

In July of 2009 I turned up with stage IV colon cancer. The prognosis was, according to the expressions on my doctors’ faces, grim. In the ensuing few weeks I had the first of two major surgeries, acquired the nickname “Semicolon”, began what would stretch into 16 months of chemotherapy, and wrote you all the following words:

“I’ve had the privilege of traveling to some pretty strange places in this old world, but now I’ve embarked to a new country which I’d heard about but heretofore never seen—the land of the valley of the shadow of death. I’m not (obviously) dead yet, and I entertain high hopes that, like Hezekiah of old, I might be granted an extra span of years to ride motorcycles upon the earth (big H had chariots, but same difference, he was “in the wind” all the same). Realistically, all of us this side of Heaven are traveling the valley of mortality. We know that death and taxes are inevitable, and that even with cryogenics “immortal mortality” is a silly oxymoron. But I’ve learned there’s an international divide between “the valley” and the “shadow”. When you go to the land of the shadow, you’re closer to the celestial gateway and you behold a different scenery in the shade cast by encroaching valley walls. It’s a new land. It feels like a different country. . .So, since I’m here, I thought I would adopt . . . a new role, the role of “travel writer”. Don’t worry. I have no illusions about supplanting Rick Steves as he clues the world in about where to swill authentic Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier or how many socks to pack for a mule ride through the foothills of the Himalayas. Instead, I propose to send a travel report to all my compadres who live back in my old homeland of “know I’m going to die someday but still insist on living like I’m immortal”, otherwise known in this transmission as “Myopia”. (I think the Post Office will know just where to send these missives).”

It’s been quite an interesting journey over the intervening 16 months since I wrote those and many other lines on my travels. I’ve meandered around The Valley and reached a somewhat surprising but most welcome destination: home. Back from the “trip”. Healed. Cancer free. Not on the undertaker’s list of shortly expected clientele. Not an imminent threat to my life insurance company. Back buying green banana’s. You get the idea. It’s just very good to be back.

Over the next two weekends, I propose to pull out my Travel Writer’s notes and launch the adventure of this new year at IBC by sharing the two most profound lessons God taught me over the last 17 months. I’m thinking of calling the series, “Stuff I Learned on My Trip”.
I know, I know. . . hearing other people’s vacation stories is a creative form of water-boarding. I wouldn’t impose these memoirs on you if God hadn’t already undertaken to teach them to us in Ephesians 3:14-21 and 4:1-16 (Hint: now you can pre-read the sermon texts!) I hope I see you at IBC. I promise not to throw family video’s up on the screens.
I believe God has some extraordinary things in store for all God’s people at IBC in 2011. I’m so glad He pulled a Hezekiah on me so that I can be with you on the journey!
Your former Travel Writer now home-body,
Pastor Andy 

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