Hello dearest followers of my wacky yet wonderful blog posts!
I have not written for a while because I have been busy visiting friends for a week, working and anticipating the results of the end of my chemotherapy. So apologies, but I am back with a lot to say as always!
Firstly, I know you all want to know, ‘have you been given the ‘all clear’?’ The answer to this question is no. On the one hand there is no visible cancer hotspots to see, which is awesome and answered prayer. However, they cannot give me the ‘all clear’ because there is some residual scar tissue that has been left behind due to the effects of treatment. This is very common in Lymphoma patients and nothing to worry about. However, there is no telling if the tissue will develop into cancer at a later stage. To make this easier for you, here are some stats. If there were 20 Hodgkin’s patients, 16 of them would be fine, as it were. 80% will be ok. The remaining 4 may get the cancer again. Now, I have been offered the option of having radiotherapy to bump this to 85-90% . HOWEVER, if I have radiotherapy, the long term effects could be more threatening to my health such as an increase in the chance of strokes, risks of secondary cancers and numerous other health issues. They would radiate near my neck and on my chest (think about the closeness to the breast tissue e.g. breast cancer, but it is also in the centre where, heart, lungs etc are all present).
So what should I do? I personally think I am going to risk it and NOT have the radiotherapy. Is it worth taking the risk to prevent other risks? Of course I will be regularly scanned and if there is cancer developing I will deal with it again, just like I have the last 6 months. I know it might be tougher but I would rather carry on living a normal life and it is after all an IF it came back. The radiotherapy has no guarantee that it will prevent it from coming back so I could still be paranoid either way!
As far as I am concerned I have been healed and the chemotherapy has done the job. It is a tough decision, because, like at the start of treatment and having to decide what chemotherapy course I was going to choose, once again I feel as if my life is my hands. But… it isn’t. I am safe in the knowledge that I am in God’s hands. Hence why I am more chilled about this. Oh the tears have come a lot over these last few days… I am human. Even Jesus said on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27: 46). He has shared in our suffering. I believe that if I have to face it all over, I will. I have enough grace for each day to get by. I will not worry. For, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Luke 12:25)
Drawing near to God
I have realised over this last year that through suffering I have an even greater desire to learn and be closer to our Creator. It seems crazy that I know of a lot of people that would be quick to point the finger and blame all the sickness on God, however, the reverse has happened for me. I have never felt stronger. Knowing that He is with me and only through Him can I fully trust, my relationship with God has grown deeper. For that alone I am truly thankful.
I do not understand the whole picture and why I have been diagnosed with cancer. Nor do I know how life is going to pan out for me. No one knows what is around the corner. We all make choices and it is always full of surprises to us. But nothing surprises God.
Today I have been reading the book of Psalms within the Bible. Not all of it. There is a LOT of it! There were some verses that I would love to share with you tonight that have really uplifted me and made me think.
1) Firstly, there is Psalm 77 verses 1-2:
“I cried out to God for help, I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretch out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted.”
This summarises how I feel at times when things in life go poopy. I just get all annoyed at myself, I can’t seem to relax and I want God to do something about it! Then, a few verses down it continues:
“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.”
In short, I feel that if I remember all that God has blessed me with and all I am thankful for PLUS the amazing stuff He has accomplished throughout the Bible and in the lives of others, I can rest assured that OUR GOD IS GREATER than my problems.
2) Psalm 39:5-7:
“Each man’s life is but a breath. Man in a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it. But now Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.”
I love this verse. It spoke to me today as it really challenges us to consider life and how brief we are actually on this planet for. And for what purpose? Without knowing God we are just people, minding our own business, getting on with day to day activities. Saving up our money. But for what? If we put our hope in God, we will always have Him in all seasons of life, come what may. God never changes. Even when our circumstances and everything in life becomes uncertain. He is always there. Yesterday, today and forever.
Finally some quotes from Psalms to finish off:
- Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. Psalm 55:22
- The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. Psalm 145:8
Give God a chance
I think we have all had times when we are so upset, distressed and frustrated. I am sure we talk to our friends and family about life’s problems which is great. But, I encourage you all to talk to God and get to know Him personally. Why not try reading the Bible, try out a Christianity Explored or Alpha course or simply try praying? I went on an Alpha course and even helped to lead a few sessions. Have a read of my blog post ‘6 Highlights from Alpha’ here.
I know you may all have your views about God. Give Him a chance. He loves you unconditionally. Once you realise that he sent his Son to die on a cross for each and every one of us, you will begin to understand that there is so much more to your life than you ever thought possible. He has the plan. Start from the basics and then go and get answers to some of life’s tough questions. God is not in heaven with a big wooden stick waiting to beat us all up and tell us ‘Thou art doing everything wrong’. He has not got a magnifying glass, he does not want to treat us like ants, burning off our feelers and watch us squirm (I always have time for a Bruce Almighty reference!).
I am praying for all of you that read this, that you will get to know Him somehow, whether it’s by reading this blog, through friends or family, on television, through the wonder that is nature… whatever. Just give God a chance. HE LOVES YOU.