What’s On Your Mind?

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“You have cancer.” What comes to mind when you think of a cancer diagnosis? In 2011, this question was no longer a hypothetical. I’m sure my response was normal as I began to wrap my mind around cancer and my name in the same sentence.

I dealt with many different emotions in the beginning.

Denial: I remember telling the doctor that I didn’t have any pain. “How can it be cancer?” (This was my first lesson about breast cancer. Pain is not necessarily a symptom.)

Fear: Would I be around for my younger son’s high school graduation in six months. We had a diagnosis with no further details. What did my future look like?

Grasping for Control: Immediately I began to network with friends and friends of friends who were in the medical profession or knew breast cancer survivors. I wanted to be informed and ask the right questions so I could get answers. If I could articulate the issues, perhaps I could grasp control and rein in this cancer invading my body.

Going to a Dark Place: Learning and discovering more information introduced me to the sad stories and sadder endings with breast cancer. I began to ponder the new realities in regards to my body, my life, and ultimately, my mortality. Would I feel the same if I had a mastectomy? Would I look like me if I needed chemotherapy and lost my hair? Would there be a future? Would I be there to celebrate my sons’ weddings and dote on grandkids someday?

One evening, my husband and I sat at the kitchen table discussing my cancer as it was a too common conversation topic in those days. The burdens of all my thoughts, fears, and anxieties spilled out as tears falling down my cheeks. I asked my husband, “Will you still love me if…?” and filled in the blanks with the very personal feelings I hadn’t been able to express up to that point.

I desperately needed my husband to scoop me into his arms, reassure me with the strength of his love and answer with a loud “YES!” My husband did and said something that caught me off-guard. It was even better than what I thought I needed from him. He looked me directly in the eyes with an intensity I am not used to and responded, “I am in it for the long haul!” That moment was a turning point in my cancer journey.

We were going to get through “this,” whatever it looked like because I had his heart and he had mine. I have no doubts that God used that conversation around the kitchen table to personally demonstrate His love for me.

As we face crises, we need something, really someone, to lean into and know that we are never alone. We can look into God’s word in the Bible and sense His intense love and unending compassion for us. We can keep on keeping on with confidence because God has promised to never leave nor forsake us.

God wraps us in His hedge of protection and whispers into our hearts, “You are loved. I have always loved you.” Jesus’ death on the cross is the purest evidence for the depth of God’s love for you and for me.

Almost seven years later, I am healthy and remain cancer-free. I still lean into God for His hugs and to hear Him say, “I love you!” My heart responds with gratitude and devotion as I tell God, “I’m in this life for the long haul with you!”

Isaiah 42:16

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

 

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19 thoughts on “What’s On Your Mind?

  1. Debbie, I’m reading through tears. This is an incredibiibly touching story that speaks of human love, which we all need and crave, and Godly love, which we also need and crave and is ALWAYS there for the asking and taking as God generously wants to give it.

    I’m so proud of Tom for his beautiful response and to you for your transparency. So happy you are healthy and seeing those beautiful fruits of life that you got to experience … the boys’ graduations, weddings, and now a beautiful little granddaughter. Bless you always my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Difficult journeys often teach us lessons that we might now have been able to learn any other way. Our worship leader shared a truth the other week, “Experience is what you needed after the fact. Wisdom is what you need before it happens.” God’s love never fails! And yes, I am enjoying the blessings of life lived with God! Thanks for the affirmation!

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  2. Wonderful Wonderful Words dear Debbie expressing God’s Love and yours for Him.

    I wish I could give your Tom a big Thank you Hug for showing the strength of his Love for you at a time when he too must have been dealing with painful negative emotions.

    When I was told I had suspected Breast Cancer after recently loosing my Sister who had bowl Cancer, I too was very frightened and yes worried how I would get through what was ahead but later I said to my Abba Father if it’s my time to be with you I’m ready and I than experienced His wonderful Peace which was so overwhelming even Ron was amazed at how calm I was. When I had the Tests they could not find any evidence of the Cancer which the Doctor had noted clearly as being there only days before.

    There is no words that can describe the Thankfulness I feel for our Awesome God and His Love shown to me so many times. What also amazes me is that even after my being deceived that I came from an Ape and He was just made up and so I hurt Him greatly as I walked in Sin without Heart Repentance, He still saved my life three times that I know of but I wonder how many other times He has Lovingly intervened to rescue all of His Children from all types of danger.

    Christian Love Always – Anne.

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    • I have often been overwhelmed by the thought you shared… How many times has God intervened and I didn’t realize it?

      God is so interested in our future that He redeems us from our past and fills us with His joy (peace, love and hope) for today!

      I have to admit that when I was going through cancer, I was praying for the big miracle that you described in regards to your cancer. (God wants us to pray boldly and He will answer boldly!) In my situation, it was “better” that I had to fight cancer in the flesh because it taught me to let go of any control I thought I had and lean into Him, trusting His means and His timing. It was exactly the lesson I needed to grow in my faith. I am thankful that God works in our lives for our ultimate good!

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  3. Debbie, I will no longer be a Paraplegic as diagnosed because of my Arthritic condition when I was 40, it disappeared from my Spine 4 years ago and I now have very good pain relief which I Thank God for too but I still have Psoriatic Arthritis in my feet and Osteo Arthritis in my neck and shoulders.

    As we know Debbie, God who is our only Healer uses many ways to Heal us, Doctors, Medicine, Natural Remedies etc they are all His Tools and all come from His Creation, yes all good things come from Him and Healing is very good regardless of the tools He uses or if He heals us Miraculously as He has done with me much more than once in my Life.

    God also gives us His Strength to endure whatever Satan and Life brings to us and we never walk alone but He does not plan evil for us or afflict us and cause us to suffer to Teach or to Mold and Shape us, instead He gives us opportunities to walk in The Fruit of The Spirit and as we choose to walk in them He empowers us so we can which puts our Carnal flesh to death, good and evil cannot co-exist but yes He does work everything out for good in our lives even when we do suffer.

    Lamentations 3: 33 For God doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the Children of Men.

    Isaiah 43:1-3 – Do not be afraid for I have Ransomed you. I have called you by Name you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression you will not be burned up the flames will not consume you. For I am The LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel your Saviour.”

    Jeremiah 29 :11-12 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you says the LORD, thoughts of Peace and not of evil, to give you a Future and a Hope.

    Christian Love my dear friend Debbie, you are often in my thoughts and always in my Heart- Anne.

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    • Faith gives us the “eyes” to see God’s healing in our lives! The verses that you shared are your theme verses, aren’t they?!!!! I thank God that He grabbed a hold of your heart and never lets go! Love to you Anne!

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      • Debbie I just thought I would take this opportunity here to wish you my Christmas Blessings as you haven’t Posted recently.

        Yes you are right, they are Scriptures God gave me when the Storm hit my life and they are in my Heart and Reassure and Comfort me greatly because it is True that all Scripture is inspired by God and regardless of who it was first given to it is also for us.

        My wishes for you Debbie and for your Loved ones this Christmas are for Treasures great and small and as we remember Jesus our Special Gift to Cherish above all others, His Love, Joy and Peace are His Gifts for us that never depart when kept in our Heart.

        “Christ”mas and New Year Blessings,
        Annie.

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  4. This is so very precious Debbie. Reading the 1st paragraph I had a fear that maybe there was a reoccurrence with your cancer, but as I kept reading there unfolded something very beautiful. Your husbands tender response was what you needed to have him walk with you on the cancer road that lay ahead.

    May God bless you richly with a wonderful Christmas, and all the best in the New Year!

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  5. Debbie, I so agree with you about how God answers in His way and in His time. He brought me through my cancer journey as well. I am at 8.5 years survivor of triple negative invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer. Thanks to posts like this, more people are getting to know who we are as people and not just as cancer victims.

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  6. Congratulations on being 8.5 years out from cancer! I agree with you: I don’t want to be known as a cancer victim. God has used the cancer journey to give me more purpose, more passion and more joy in my life that I did not have before the cancer.

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